Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Help my American Friends...

[UPDATE: We board a Qantas flight to Sydney tonight. We've just spent a few days in San Francisco en route. Dr Laurel was able to spend quality time with her good friend, Marlene. We also got to hang out with Christ Church NYC friends Liz and Jim Churm, also Nick and Stacey Bell and I drove Lunch and Cathy Payne to the airport. Good times. We fly out tonight and arrive in Sydney on Wednesday AM. Pray for us, cos it ain't easy with 2 toddlers and an infant.]

While in flight, I have two questions for you.

I'm asking because a couple I know from Chicago are going to spent 6 weeks in Australia and New Zealand. They want to know what to visit. I told them that I'd type out some ideas on the flight. But better still, you can help them, and save me the typing.

All you shy people and lurkers can now comment. How hard is it to answer these two questions while we are incommunicado?

1. What are the classic places for 2 Americans to visit?
(Like Sydney Opera House, Rotorua etc)

2. What is your personal favourite place?
(Like a restaurant, a garden somewhere etc)

i.e. Where do you take your visitors?

If you can provide a link, that's even better. But not required.

Go on, you shy people, just comment.

I'll pick up your comments on the other side...

Pic on FLickr by KyussQ.


Justin said...

I've already started, by the way. My links are in the post. How good is the Bather's Pavilion at Balmoral.

The Restaurant part is expensive, but the cafe is doable.

Ev said...

NZ tip - Waiheke island is a must do day trip from Auckland. Beautiful scenery and fantastic wine.

Aus tip - Way out back do an excellent red centre trip. 3 days is probably enough. http://www.wayoutback.com.au/

Sharon said...

hello, hope flight is smooth....Breakfast at the Portobello Caffe just near the opera house http://www.dolcevita.net.au/portobello/porto_home.htm

S xxx

Anonymous said...

1. Royal Botanic Gardens and Lake Taupo

2. A picnic at Cremorne Point and a trip to the top of Mt Ruapehu


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Justin, for setting this up...And thanks to all of you for posting your comments! We are Peter and Elizabeth...the couple going on the trip. It's great to get suggestions from locals! So far, we have planned most of our trip to NZ, but need help with the AUS part. We have about 2 weeks, so we were thinking Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef? Good idea? Any specific suggestions about where to stay in the GBR? Justin suggested the Whitsundays, which looks gorgeous! Do you fly into Cairns and drive down? Thank you again for all your comments...they are very helpful!

Anonymous said...

The GBR at this time of the year is not very good. The stingers are out and the weather likely to be inclement. But if GBR is a must do then Heron Island off Gladstone and further south than the Whits is lovely. Check out the website.If travelling later in the year no problem with the Whits or Cairns, and Port Douglas is worth it if time allows. Cairns is 2 hours flight N of Sydney.

michael jensen said...



a Bridge Climb.

gotta do both.

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Elizabeth.
We will be at the GBR around the 2nd or 3rd week of April. Do you think that's still too early to be as far north as Port Douglas?..at this time, should we stay further south, like near Heron Island south of the whitsundays?
thanks again for all your comments!

Andrew & Jessica said...

help from the smh:

Michael Kellahan said...

Don't stay in Cairns itself - go south to Mission Beach or north to Port Douglas. North of Port Douglas and into Dantree is also great.

Hinchinbrook is an alternative to Fraser - both big national park islands and not resorted out.

Jump on Sydney ferries for a day

West Head of Pittwater is maybe the least known brilliant lookout in Sydney.

Anonymous said...

If you can't do the bridge climb, walking across it from North Sydney then wandering around the Rocks is a good alternative.
And of course a visit to Teal Flat is a must!
Ruth C

Tom B said...

Agree with Bridge Climb. At first you may balk at the cost, but definitely worth it.

Also in Sydney, take a ferry to Watson's Bay. You get a great harbour cruise on the way. Have lunch at Watson's Bay (can go top class at Doyle's on the beach, middle on the wharf, budget fish & chips, etc). Then stroll up the steps to South Head (just across the road). Best views in Sydney, and it's free. Take your camera. Ferry back to the city gives you another harbour cruise.

All of our US family and friends have done this, and all have called it a real highlight of the trip.

Also recommend the Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Park next to it (at Darling Harbour). See all the Aussie fauna in one spot (us septics think it's neat).

To see the reef, I think Pt Douglas is better/easier than Cairns. You can easily get a boat to the outer reef, where stingers are not usually a problem any time of year. They also give you a 'stinger suit', a cute blue wetsuit kind of thing. On the outer reef bit (Quiksilver) can also see the reef in a glass bottom boat or underwater viewing area without getting in the water. Definitely worth a few days as it really is one of the great wonders of the world (and may be disappearing). While you're there, take a rainforest tour including boat ride on the river to see crocodiles in their native habitat. Would also suggest "Breakfast with the Birds" just south of Pt Douglas. Food is good, but you're surrounded by the most amazing birds you've ever seen. It's a really neat experience.

If you do this, by the time you leave Australia you'll be looking into the migration requirements.

Would also suggest St Phillips anglican on York St. I hear they're getting an OK preacher pretty soon :)

Anonymous said...

2nd 3rd week April usually good for Port Douglas. The boat ride out to Agincourt reef is a fair way [can't recall how far] but if not good seafarers, many get sick. So if snorkelling the reef is a must for you but the thought of being seasick is a problem would see if you can work in Heron island. Would agree definitely worth going further north to the daintree. Stop at the Echo lodge at Mossman. Hire a car from PD but need 4 wheel for beyond Daintree. And the Bridge Climb isn't too hard but might be worth not booking till in Sydney and got latest weather forecast.

Ali said...

I was just going to come in here and say the Bather's Pavilion - but you beat me to it. Breakfast at Bazura's in Coogee is not bad either!

Eb said...

I agree on the Watson's Bay tip. If you are short on time the Mosman Bay ferry from Circular Quay is good - it takes about 50 minutes to return to Circular Quay.

I'd also recommend a day trip from Sydney to the Blue Mountains. The sandstone cliffs are quite impressive. You can catch the train to Katoomba (2 hrs from Central) and get a ticket for a hop-on-hop-off bus.

There are some great walks if that's your thing. If you have your own transport I'd recommend some of the cliff walks in Wentworth Falls or at Govett's Leap in Blackheath.

Michael Canaris said...

A: the UTS Towerblock
B: the Genesian Theatre
C: Burwood RSL Club
D: Rockdale Town Hall
E: Macquarie Hospital

Anonymous said...

To all our Australian friends:
Thank you so much for all your comments. I can't tell you how helpful this blog has been for our trip! We leave March 10th and will be in NZ for 4 weeks and Australia for 2 weeks...in Sydney and the Port Douglas area. B/c of you guys, now we know some of the great places to visit in NZ and especially in Sydney and the GBR. We will let you know how the trip goes. Thank you to Justin for setting this up and for all of your help. Blessing to each of you!
~peter and elizabeth