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Where to go in Australia and for how long?
April 3, 2009 6:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm visiting Australia for 10 days / 9 nights, flying in and out of Sydney. How would you divide your time amongst the various cities? 3 nights each in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane?
posted by smackfu to Travel & Transportation around Australia (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd try and do just two cities (Sydney and Melbourne), you haven't enough time to appreciate all three
posted by MrMerlot at 6:22 AM on April 3, 2009


I wouldn't spend any time in Brisbane.
posted by grouse at 6:37 AM on April 3, 2009


I agree with MrMerlot - in ten days you don't have much time for all three, and if I only had to pick two it'd be Sydney and Melbourne (and I'm from Brisbane!). That said, Brisbane is a good base for both the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, and Moreton and Stradbroke Islands, all of which are lovely. And there's Byron Bay not too far south again from the Gold Coast as well, which is well worth a look.

It very much depends on what you want to see though - are you interested in beaches? mountains? cities and food and nightlife? What you want to see (and how quickly you're willing to see it) will determine how long you'll need in each place. Just bear in mind that Australia is big, and that you'll need to factor in a lot of travel time for getting around.
posted by shewhoeats at 6:44 AM on April 3, 2009


nthing skipping brisbane. It is a nice city but not much is going on.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 7:40 AM on April 3, 2009


I'd just do Sydney Since you are flying in there.

(Melbourne really isn't that different to Sydney - it just has more trams and slightly better dressed people). Brisbane is kinda weirder than Melbourne but there is not a lot to do.
I'd jsut do 1 major City then do other things.

go somewhere that isn't one of the Major Cities. Say:

- from Sydney spend a night in the Blue Mountains, say Katoomba do some bush walks.
- Fly to Alice Springs for a couple of nights
- go up Northern Queensland to say Cairns and enjoy the sun and the great barrier Reef
posted by mary8nne at 7:41 AM on April 3, 2009


More suggestions:

- go to Byron Bay, Nimbin or Belingen (North NSW) where all the hippies live.
posted by mary8nne at 7:55 AM on April 3, 2009


Like everyone said above, skip Brisbane (I think it'd be a great city to live in, not the greatest to visit with limited time). Do the Great Ocean Road near Melbourne instead. Although I'm not sure how great it is in the winter (you don't say when you're going).
posted by backwards guitar at 8:05 AM on April 3, 2009


I agree with mary8nne. Stay in Sydney. We don't like tourist in Melbourne. Seriously though, Melbourne is nothing like Sydney.

Sydney is probably the more tourist friendly place and certainly more scenic around the harbour. Melbourne isn't as transparent. Most of the really good places in town are in obscure locations and back alleys. But they are worth finding.

If you want to add a third 'major city' consider a drive from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road and up the Limestone Coast to Adelaide. It's an easy two-day drive or a hard push in one. I'd recommend spending a night in Port Fairy or Apollo Bay. The scenery is stunning, the food is stunning and the wine is stunning. Did I mention that the Otways are stunning and the Twelve Apostles are stunning (only seven left).

Adelaide is more interesting than Brisbane and a good location to either head to the Barossa Valley or take "The Ghan" up to Alice Springs to get a view of the centre.

Spend a day at the start and end in Sydney. Spend the rest in Victoria and South Australia. Just MHO.
posted by michswiss at 8:07 AM on April 3, 2009


I'd start in Sydney and then rent a car and drive the coast road to Melbourne stopping at Depot Beach for a night or two. Spend some time in Melbourne being sure to have a coffee for me at Mario's and then fly back to Sydney. I don't know Brisbane so can't recommend it or not but it's certainly true that you'll see nothing at all if you try to do all three cities. Have fun.
posted by firstdrop at 8:13 AM on April 3, 2009


I’m from Brisbane too. No love lost in this thread, I can see. I won’t try to defend it, except to comment on what shewhoeats said:

Brisbane is a good base for both the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, and Moreton and Stradbroke Islands, all of which are lovely. And there's Byron Bay not too far south again from the Gold Coast as well, which is well worth a look.

Absolutely—if you’re into beaches you should include Brisbane airport in your trip and spend your time on the north or south coast (one hour up or down by car, if you can get around that way).

And, er, regarding this:

Adelaide is more interesting than Brisbane

…the Queensland tourist bureau has a much harder job ahead of it than I ever imagined. They need to pull their collective finger out and nip this shit in the bud quick smart.
posted by ads at 11:08 AM on April 3, 2009


I would definitely go to Melbourne, skip Sydney, and then come to Brisbane.

Melbourne is a great city. It feels like Europe in Australia. Check out this question of mine about what to do in Melbourne, especially the responses I've marked as best answers. I did most of it and loved every minute of it. Make sure you see Wicked while you're there; it's awesome.

Brisbane (where I live) is a big city that sometimes feels like a small country town. But that dosen't mean there's not things to do. Truth is, there's a great night life here, despite what some people would have you believe. Go to the Valley one night and take it in. It's great.

We also have the Gallery of Modern Art and two wonderful Botanical Gardens; great for a picnic if you're taking a loved one. Also take a ride on a City Cat and go see the current production of Chicago.

And as others have said, we're close to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. My personal preference is the Gold Coast. A bit more touristy but I think there's more to do down there than there is up at the Sunshine Coast. Plus, on your way down to the Gold Coast, you can visit one of three great amusement parks or stop at Yatala Pies and take in one of the best Aussie pies you'll ever eat.

Also, everyone always says go to one of the Coasts while in Brisbane. But no one ever says "Go West!" when they really should. Toowoomba, about two hours drive west of Brisbane, is a beautiful small country town with some wonderful gardens and great natural scenery. On the way you could stop at Lake Wivenhoe and have a picnic or a BBQ and take in nature.

I say skip Sydney because everyone goes to Sydney. Plus the place is a melting pot. Good if you like that sort of thing but not for me. Sure, you get to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, but that's so cliched. It's almost like those things are parodies of themselves now, having become tourist traps designed to sucker in outsiders. I don't count it as the real Australia. But between Melbourne and Brisbane you'll get a good cross-section of Autralian culture and Australian life.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:14 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000 said it best. Plus you couldn't do 3 cities justice in that amount of time and really, Sydney has a few 'big' things and then, well, not much else (the Blue Mountains are nice though).

As well as all of the trips mentioned by Effigy2000 from Brisbane, you can access some really beautiful islands such as Moreton and Stradbroke (images of nature in the region) by ferry - well worth the trip.
posted by micklaw at 3:52 AM on April 4, 2009


Of course the only issue with moreton bay at the moment is the big oil spill that happened a few weeks ago. But otherwise yeah, it and Moreton/Straddie island are really pretty.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:04 AM on April 4, 2009


I think Sydney is a better Tourist Town than Melbourne though. Melbourne jsut doesn't seem to have anythign very Exciting. Everythign they got in Melbourne has a better alternative in Sydney.

St Kilda? please - its horrible. I'd prefer Bondi Beach.

but the drive Along the coast from Sydney to Melbourne is quite fun in the Summer. (1000kms)
posted by mary8nne at 4:04 AM on April 7, 2009


Follow-up: It really was too short a trip, but what I ended up doing was 2 nights in Sydney, 3 nights in Melbourne, and 4 nights in Brisbane. My thoughts:

Sydney: Just enough time to see downtown and Chinatown. Not really enough time to see all the neighborhoods or the beach, or to get out to the Blue Mountains.

Melbourne: Would have liked to have a day or two more to do the Great Ocean Road. Also my friend in Melbourne was gutted that I wasn't there on a Friday to see footie at the MCG.

Brisbane: I stayed with friends in Brisbane, and got them to drive me to the various coasts (Coolangatta and Mooloolaba), so that worked out. Getting around by bus would have eaten tons of time, if someone is trying to do this backpacker-style. Otherwise Brisbane itself is maybe a half-day. The swimming pool/beach on the South Bank is fun though.

I met people who were doing 6 months around Australia. I could easily have done 4 weeks with what I wanted to do, so this trip was certainly a compromise, but that's life.
posted by smackfu at 9:26 AM on May 4, 2009


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