10 days in NSW in November

Old Aug 12th, 2022, 12:06 PM
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10 days in NSW in November

Our family (2 kids - 10 and 16, 2 adults) is flying into Sydney late November. We thought we'd spend 3 days in Sydney, then rent a car a head up the coast, either south or north. We were thinking we'd rent a house in a smaller beach town somewhere on the coast, and make that are base and explore from there. We're not really interested in staying in a larger city - but we do want to stay in a town where we can explore out and visit nearby sites, like national parks, museums, or zoos. Nothing fancy required. We like the water - surfing, fishing, snorkeling, boating. We also want someplace that is beautiful and has at least a few dining and shopping options. Does anyone have any ideas for towns where we should stay and what's nearby? Thanks!
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Old Aug 12th, 2022, 08:39 PM
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The smaller towns along the coast should give you the boating, surfing bit of your trip but most small towns don't have much in the way of dining or shopping (or museums). There is a zoo in Sydney and also Dubbo but Dubbo is inland. I believe there's a small zoo in Mogo, near Batemans Bay. If you went south from Sydney, you could look into Merimbula. It's right on the water, not too small and quite attractive. North of Sydney, Newcastle is a big town that might offer what you want and the area around Nelson Bay/Port Stephens is right on the water for beaches etc. We liked Shoal Bay but there are other options.

Car hire is fairly expensive at the moment, same as in other countries due to covid and selling off fleets. I would check you can get a car and accommodation before you book flights. Travelling domestically is not as easy as it was, more expensive and things are getting booked out earlier than normal.

You don't say where you are from and if you're from overseas, you might not realise distances here are vast. Best to check mileage on Google maps and see what's in the area close to where you'll rent. It might look easy on the map but in reality is a long way.
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Old Aug 13th, 2022, 12:05 AM
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I'm not sure where you are coming from, but reading that you like water activities I thought to point out that November isn't quite Summer so you are looking at temperatures in the low to mid 20's , and cooler if you head south in case you weren't aware. I grew up in Sydney and would never have gone to the beach until around Christmas. On the other hand when we lived in Bournemouth (UK) we were gobsmacked that people would swim at the beach any time the sun came out so maybe you are braver than I am. If it was for my family I would be thinking 4 days in Sydney (Ferry to Taronga Zoo, Ferry to Manly, day trip to Katoomba) and then head north to where its warmer. Perhaps Ballina (airport here so you can fly or drive 7.5 hours), we loved nearby Lennox Head (swimming surfing fishing etc) and not too far to Byron Bay (more touristy) and the hinterlands are great for a road trip (loved Mullumbimby). It's only an hour from the Gold Coast if the kids were interested in theme parks but also alternative airports home. I hope you have a great trip whatever you end up doing.
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Old Aug 13th, 2022, 01:19 PM
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Thank you louipivac and KayF for the great information. We are coming from the US - California. Sounds like 4 days in Sydney might be better than the 3 days we were planning to stay. While in Sydney, we had planned to hire a tour to the Blue Mountains, with a stop at Featherdale. Do either of you have an opinion about doing this?

We'd like a warmer climate, so we'll probably head North from Sydney. We thought we'd hire a car and drive up the coast, and then - depending on how far north we go, like Byron Bay - we'd fly back to Sydney for our departure back to the US.

I looked up Mullumbimby and it looks like a great spot for a side trip. It's the kind of place we like to explore. Also, do either of you have an opinion about Byron Bay? I keep hearing it's beautiful with a lot to do, but maybe too many people and and tourists? We thought maybe Yamba might be a good alternative (or Lennox Head, as suggested).

Thanks again for the help!
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Old Aug 13th, 2022, 04:57 PM
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It sounds like your plans are coming together.

As a local (in my childhood and visiting my family who are still there), I have always driven or used public transport to Blue Mountains. A tour could be good for local knowledge, but make sure the tour includes Scenic World (scenic railway, cable car etc). On the other hand itís an easy direct train trip to Katoomba with a connector bus to Scenic World (a bit over 2hr) if youíd prefer more independence. Its about 100km 1hr 40 drive so train or tour is easier.

I havenít been to Featherdale in 40 years so no idea what itís like now, but itís a great way to get up close to kangaroos and feed them. At Taronga you can walk through a enclosure with them but as you canít feed them youíre not likely to pat them. You can do up close encounters with koalas at Taronga at a cost. So really it would come down to whether you want to feed and pat kangaroos or just see them.

We didnít spend much time in Byron so canít help you out there, I think we just drove through. I think we chose Lennox Head based on cost and less crowded and as we had access to great beaches there (and at home in WA) we were more drawn to the hinterland than up to Byron sorry.

Have a great trip

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Old Aug 13th, 2022, 06:18 PM
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We did a great coastal walk in Sydney once, it was very popular with locals and tourists. Here's a link to a walks website, the one we enjoyed was Bondi to Coogee but there are other, shorter walks as well. https://sydneyuncovered.com/coastal-walks-sydney/

Sorry I don't know Featherdale but you could check on Trip Advisor. Plenty of good info there, as well as on the forums. The Blue Mountains are definitely worth a visit but I've never done a tour there.

We are not fans of Byron Bay. Too expensive and crowded with people and traffic. It did become so popular for a reason though, the beaches are gorgeous but there are great beaches all over the place. Lennox Head is nice but quite small, we stayed at a cabin at the caravan park, walking distance to the small shopping strip and opposite the beach. Yamba is bigger with a nice walkable shopping/eating area.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 03:50 AM
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With only 10 days in Australia, I'd spend 4 in Sydney, include a day trip to the Blue Mountains. You could do that by yourselves by train, or drive. Featherdale has mixed reviews, but takes up a chunk of time if you're on an organised tour.

The first thing you need to do - now - if you don't already have yours approved, is apply for your ETAs/ Visas. Do this before you book anything you can't cancel.

I'd fly to the Gold Coast and hire a car there. It's a 75 mins flight & if you book ahead there's always bargains as it's a busy route serviced by Qantas, Virgin & Jetstar. From the Gold Coast airport at Coolangatta, it's only a bit over an hour's drive to Lennox Head, Byron Bay & the hinterland towns you rightly noticed & thought looked interesting and beautiful. You might choose to stay at Brunswick Heads, Lennox Heads, or one of the lovely spots not far from Byron Bay, but a lot less expensive.
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