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Trip List by FreqTravelers

Two Weeks in Australia

25 Jan 2010  Great Barrier Reef, Fairy Penguins, and Sydney
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 3 votes

This was the first time either of us had been to Australia. Our itinerary included: 3 nights in Melbourne, visiting the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island; 5 nights in Cape Tribulation, visiting the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest; and 6 nights in Sydney, visiting Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains. We stayed with friends in Sydney, so we didn't have an accommodation there. Although our original reservation was at Lord Nelson Hotel.

  • 1. Boutique Hotel Tolarno
    Tolarno Hotel, St Kilda, Port Phillip

    Read My Review. OVERALL, we enjoyed this hotel and would stay here again. We definitely recommend the hotel if you are looking for a place to stay outside the CBD. There are lots of restaurants and the tram to take you to the CBD in about 20 minutes.

  • 2. Great Ocean Road
    Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

    We had a car rental. We got up and left our hotel about 730am hoping to get ahead of the tour buses, most leave Melbourne between 8am and 9am. We had a great start going, but were following the GOR highway signs when we decided it was taking us a way we didn't want to go, through Colac. We wanted to start in Torquay and go around the other way. So, we had to back track a little. We stopped and visited Bells Beach and the Split Point Lighthouse. After leaving the Lighthouse, we passed the offical entrance to the Great Ocean Road only to have to turn around. There had been an accident and the road was going to be closed for at least 4 hours. It's a 2 lane road, so there is no way to go around that point. We decided to ask at the information centers to see what our options were to get around. The info desk in Anglesea gave us a map with a dirt road that went around and we got back on in Lorne. It ended up being a 2 hour delay, but we continued on our trip.

    We continued on the Great Ocean Road visiting the Mait's Rainforest Walk, The Twelve Apostles, and other stops along the way. We grabbed dinner in Colac at Nu-Cafe and headed back to Melbourne. We didn't get back until 11:30pm to our hotel.

    It ended up being a really long day due to the back tracking, the detour and all the stops, but the Great Ocean Road was beautiful. I'm glad we drove ourselves, so we could stop and go whenever we wanted.

  • 3. Penguin Parade
    Phillip Island, Victoria

    Since the sunset wasn't until around 8pm during our trip, we had plenty of time to make our way to Phillip Island. We ended up leaving our hotel around 11am. As soon as we got to the round about to go to Phillip Island about 12:30pm, there was an accident that closed the entrance to the Island. Unfortunately, this was a fatal accident and no one know when the road would be cleared. We ended up hanging out in the area until a little after 5pm. We hung out at Kilcunda beach and the town of Wonthaggi. We had already made reservations for the Penguin Parade, so we were determined to get there to see them.

    The road opened back up around 5pm and we sat in traffic for a while. We finally made it to the Penguin Parade building at around 7:30pm. We checked in and made our way to the Penguin Plus platform. I highly recommend this option as there are way less people and a majority of the penguins come towards this platform, which is a little way away from the main viewing platforms.

    This was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. The little, or fairy, penguins come out of the water in huddles. The wait at the water for a little bit to make sure they are safe and waddle their way to their burrows in huddled groups. Once the reach the platform we were at, they were pretty much home. Some of them started calling for their friends or family and made their way to their burrow.

    It was definitely worth the sitting around for 5 hours! I wish we would have been able to see other stuff on the island, but I'm so glad we got to see the Penguin Parade.

  • 4. Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm

    Read my review. OVERALL, I would definitely stay here again and I really hope we do someday! I highly recommend this place to anyone looking to get away from the resorts, to experience nature, and experience life off the grid!

  • 5. Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery
    Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery, Mossman, Daintree Region

    Read Review. This was a very unique experience. We like to drink wine and had a great time learning about tropical fruit wine.

  • 6. Mossman Gorge
    Mossman Gorge, Daintree Region, Queensland

    This is a fun place to visit and jump in to swim. There are locals and visitors both swimming here. We met a young local who had brought 2 of his friends here for a dip. There was a little rapid here that people were riding down. This is a very nice and shaded area as well. Gorgeous scenery too.

  • 7. Dan Irby's Mangrove Adventures
    Dan Irby's Mangrove Adventures, Daintree, Daintree Region

    Read my review. I definitely recommend Dan's tour for the intimacy. You can't blame him for the crocs not being visible, because he really does try to find them. He has a small boat which allows him to get closer and in places the bigger boats can't get to. He even tried to get close to one and took us into really shallow water. He also went right to the bank for us to get a close up picture of a green tree frog.

  • 8. Ocean Safari
    Ocean Safari, Cape Tribulation, Daintree Region

    Read my review. This was a great, eco tour. The reef is beautiful and we were the only boat in sight.

  • 9. Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm
    Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm, Cape Tribulation, Daintree Region

    As if we didn't get enough exotic fruit for breakfast, we also did their fruit tasting. It's at 2pm most days of the week. I think it's only Sunday-Thursday. The fruit available for tasting depends on what is ripe at the farm. On our tasting we had: Breadfruit, Jakfruit, Mamey Sapote, Salak, Abiu, Black Sapote, Davidson Plum, Carambola (starfruit), and Jaboticaba.

    The tasting was ran by Trish. She described the fruit, where you'd find it and ways to eat it and cut it. After the tasting, we took a tour of the orchard to see the fruit on the trees.

  • 10. Ocean Kayaking

    We rented a double kayak from the Cape Tribulation Campground and spent 2 hours kayaking out along the ribbon reefs. We went up and around the Cape Trib lookout point to the beautiful bay on the other side. We were on the lookout for the dugong (similar to a manatee) in the area, but didn't spot him.

    The campground also offers tours, but we kayaked on our own.

  • 11. Cape Tribulation Hiking and Swimming Holes

    There are a lot of hiking opportunities in Cape Trib. Because we were there in the summer when the box jellyfish were around, we had to settle for swimming in rivers. Our hosts at our B&B gave us a lot of places to check out that were safe from crocs. We hiked to a swimming hole at Emmagen Creek and one at Blockade Creek. We also had a swim at the swimming hole at Mason's.

  • 12. Blue Mountains
    Blue Mountains, Katoomba, Blue Mountains

    We took the train from Sydney to Katoomba. We left around 11am, but should have left sooner. By the time we got to Katoomba after 1pm, we had to do a whirlwind tour of the area. We bought tickets to the hop on and off bus and did the 3 popular walks: 1,5, and 8. I recommend skipping walk 8 and just seeing Leura Cascades unless you have plenty of time. It was a long walk and exposed to a lot of sun in the summer. We caught the last bus to get into Leura by 5pm. At this time, everything in Leura was closed. So, it would have been better to get to the area earlier or have skipped walk 8 to get to visit some of Leura. We caught the train back to Sydney at 5:30pm and was back in Sydney by 7:15pm.

    The views in the area are amazing. The best being Echo Point and the Three Sisters and Leura Cascades.

  • 13. Sydney Aquarium
    Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, New South Wales

    We ended up visiting the aquarium and it was pretty cool, lots of colorful fish, coral, sharks and the attraction were dugongs when we were there. We skipped the zoo since we have a fantastic zoo in San Diego, but I'm wishing we would have gone there instead of the Aquarium now.

  • 14. Boutique Wine Tours
    Boutique Tours Australia, New South Wales

    Read my review. We had a great time on this tour with Jason. We love wine and we love to swallow it, so we were glad to have a SMALL tour take us. I'd recommend looking into going up and staying the night and then coming back to Sydney.

  • 15. Sydney Opera House
    Sydney Opera House, New South Wales

    We didn't do a tour of the Opera House, but opted to see an Opera while there. We saw Manon.