Visiting Australia with different interests?
September 19, 2017 3:27 AM   Subscribe

Three friends are traveling to Australia for 9 days (including arrival/departure days). This time will be split between Sydney and the northeastern coast (Great Barrier Reef). They have very different interests, and they sincerely do not wish to ruin each other's trips, but also don't want their own trips ruined, especially because it is unlikely that they will ever have the time/money to return to Australia.

Specifically, one of the friends is an *avid* hiker/camper and nature aficionado, and extremely interested in that aspect of the trip. The remaining two friends are not "nature people". They hate hiking, though they'd love something like the walk from Coogee to Bondi, and they enjoy "easy" tropical snorkeling (not much experience with wetsuits). Even worse, one of the friends is very motion-sick, on boats and aircraft.

What's the best way to split the friends' time or accommodate their diverse interests? E.g., what are some activities that they could all do happily? Or different activities that are near enough together that the friends can conveniently split up to enjoy their preferred activity? Or what are some cities/places that offer a great mix of both cultural and natural activities? Or what are some decision-making processes that will ensure that everyone is maximally happy with their expensive vacation?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Near Sydney, the Blue Mountains are worth a visit. At Katoomba the hiker friend could do a more extensive walk while the others did more easy wanders around Echo Point/The Three Sisters (gorgeous views) and around the town itself (lots of cafes, funky shops, galleries etc).
posted by kitten magic at 3:43 AM on September 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

The Spit to Manly is another easy hike. More woods than Coogee to Bondi (which is well worth doing).

In Cairns there is not a ton to do other than snorkel or dive. You could head north to the rainforest - there's a nice boardwalk trail. If ou rent a car there are some other spots along the way (swimming hole, waterfall, etc). IF that doesn't interest the other two, then they should probably split up and go to Melbourne while the other goes up to the Reef.

Blue Mountains is another good suggestion.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:47 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hmmm if you're from the US/Canada I'd vote against Blue Mountains. It's a pretty area but not that different scenery from New Hampshire/VT. Go for the uniquely Australian stuff. Sydney harbor bridge climb is expensive but worth it. Queensland is great, the father north the better. Crazy wildlife and hiking plus beach/chill options.
posted by emd3737 at 3:52 AM on September 19, 2017

Agree that splitting up could be worth considering. Melbourne us great for culture, arts, food and drink whereas the outdoorsy one could do a sailing trip on whitsundays etc.
posted by emd3737 at 3:54 AM on September 19, 2017

South East Queensland
That's you're search term.
posted by UnoDosTresEsto at 6:10 AM on September 19, 2017

The hiking friend can do Spit to Manly - the others can take the ferry, wander through the shops and meet for ice cream after. Same with the Blue Mountains.

The tree escarpment walk near Robertson might be a hit for all, followed by a wander and coffee in Bowral? The hiking friend if they wanted could walk up to the top of Mt Gibraltar from the middle of Bowral (the rest could drive after their coffee). It's a nice short hike and has great views at the top. Dinner at the pub in Butrawang. You could stop at Symbio wildlife park on the way too.
posted by jrobin276 at 1:39 PM on September 19, 2017

As loath as I am to admit it, the best city to accommodate this diversity is likely going to be Brisbane, in South-East Queensland as mentioned above. South is the nature and the hiking and beaches.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:21 PM on September 19, 2017

I'm not clear how much has been planned, since there's (apparently?) already two destinations on the table. It seems to me that if one person only wants rugged outdoors and two hate rugged outdoors and all three stick together, someone's going to always be unhappy almost by definition.

I would split the holiday roughly into thirds, with the first part all together in Sydney doing some of the semi-outdoorsy stuff as outlined above (Blue Mountains, etc.); a middle part where the outdoorsist goes up to the reef while the urbanites see the more urban side of Sydney, and a final part meeting up in Brisbane, again with the potential for outdoorsy stuff. But that's a lot of logistics and travel in a short time.

The other possibility to me is to have the rugged outdoorsperson stay a little longer after the first two head home and do the reef and whatever else afterward (or the same, but arrive a few days earlier).
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:07 PM on September 19, 2017

Gordon's Bay is a cool, sheltered snorkelling spot between Coogee and Clovelly. If it's in Spring/Summer/early Autumn no wetsuit is completely fine.

If they go to the Blue Mountains for the day, the outdoorsy friend may be interested in joining a wet canyon tour - some of the canyons in the mountains are spectacular. BMAC start their tours in Katoomba, which is an cool little town that the others may enjoy hanging around for the day (visiting the three sisters, eating etc). Or if they have a car, they can drop outdoors friend in Katoomba and keep going to the Megalong Valley Tea Rooms. The Royal National Park is another option that might suit both sets of prferences for a day.
posted by cholly at 11:39 PM on September 19, 2017

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