How many days at Uluru?

Old May 11th, 2022, 07:41 PM
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How many days at Uluru?

Our daughter is studying at UQ in Brisbane, and we are headed down to see her and travel with her during her semester break next month. Even though we live in Texas and think we're pretty acclimated to wide open spaces, the distance between manjor destinations in Australia is staggering!
Our current working itinerary is:
  • Arrive BNE, transfer to Sydney
  • Sydney (5 or 6 nights)
  • Uluru (2 or 3 nights)
  • Melbourne (4 nights)
  • Cairns/Port Douglas (4 nights)
  • Brisbane (4 nights)
  • Depart from BNE

Going to Uluru is a high priority for all three of us, and we know we need to nail this down quickly, as the options are quickly booking up. And these are the options we think we have for that:
  • 5 nights in Sydney; 3 nights in Uluru; fly to MEL on Tuesday, 6/21
  • 6 nights in Sydney; 2 night in Uluru; fly to MEL on Tuesday, 6/21
There are no non-stops from AYQ to MEL on Monday, 6/20, so 5 nights in Sydney and 2 nights in Uluru isn't an option (unless we shift the whole order of the trip, or have a really long day of travel on Monday going from AYQ to SYD to MEL).

My questions are:
  1. Is 3 nights at Uluru too many?
  2. Does the general order of our itinerary sound reasonable?
Thanks for any quidance you can offer!
annettetx is offline  
Old May 12th, 2022, 06:31 AM
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Australia is 11 times bigger than Texas. The US is about 1.3 times bigger than Australia.

In other words, it's huge.

It's easy to stretch oneself too thin when trip planning to Australia. Your trip has you covering about a third of the country, so yes distances will be vast.

Itineraries like these are exhausting, but I fully understand the desire to fit in as much as possible. Just know that a lot of your time will be spent transferring.

I think the order of your trip is fine. Two nights in Uluru would probably be plenty for me.

Our Aussie contributors will probably be along shortly; they can provide much better advice than I can.

Enjoy Australia. I lived there for seven years and really miss it.
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Old May 12th, 2022, 11:13 AM
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Thanks for your insight, Melnq8! Balancing the desire to see a lot, with the equally-compelling need to enjoy what you see is quite the challenge...

I appreciate your thoughts on time at Uluru. Our itinerary has evolved a little, and the decision point now is cool our jets for a day at Uluru or have a really long day of travel and get to Melbourne a day earlier...

All this planning makes things seem more real and very exciting!

Cheers,
annettetx
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Old May 12th, 2022, 05:06 PM
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I somehow managed to lose my whole answer twice last night which was annoying but basically, I think one day is too short. You can visit The Olgas as well as Ayers Rock and take some time to absorb the beauty of the area. The trip order might make more sense travelling north to south (or other way) along the east coast, then to Ayers Rock, then Brisbane to fly home. Plot it on a map to see your route. Also if you wanted to skip one place, I'd skip Melbourne. Melbourne has a lot to offer but perhaps more for tourists in the other places on your list.

You could check the advise here -
https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowF...Territory.html
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Old May 13th, 2022, 07:03 PM
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Australia misses you too, Melnq8!

I agree with KayF, I would allow two full days for Uluru, Kata Tjuta.

If you do that, you could experience sunrise striking the faces & crevices of Uluru one morning - get there just before dawn & take a jacket, winter mornings & evenings are cold there & it’s often breezy. It’s about 9-10 kms walk around Uluru. Take some water. And wear a hat & use factor 50 sunscreen. Buy some Deet based insect repellent in Australia ( I like roll on Rid or Bushmen’s) in case there are flies about. And go back for sunset viewing if you like.

Kata Tjuta ( The Olgas ) is about 45 mins drive from Uluru; a bit less from Yulara. Again, I would go early in the morning to take in the Valley of the Winds walk and generally have a good look around & absorb the place. You might find local guides doing tours and if so, I’d recommend taking that option.

There is, or was when I was last there, a very good Cultural Centre about 20 mins drive from Yulara. I would make this your first port of call. It gives a very good overview of the area, the indigenous owners & their culture. The first time I was there, we went to the cultural centre after we’d been to Uluru & Kata Tjuta and I was very sorry we’d not gone before as it added a lot of information & insight. I would allow an hour to see what’s on display there, which if I recall correctly, includes a video or two. It’s about 10 mins drive from Uluru, so if you were to go on your arrival day, ( check the opening hours!) you could then head over to Uluru for sunset.

There are two outdoor dinners, which would give a good opportunity of seeing the night sky. I’ve not been to either, so can’t comment. I grew up in the country, some would call it a remote area, so we, in our own car, just drove out & away from the settlement, pulled off the road & looked up. I think there may be rental conditions preventing that in rental cars.

June is very busy and with limited availability up there, you’ll need to book accommodation, tours & car very early.

I think your Order of travel is fine. If you could have open jawed into Sydney & out of Brisbane, it would have saved you one domestic leg, but I guess there was a reason for your choice.

You’ll like our Domestic carriers & airports. Much less fraught than the US. Allocated seats & no pushing & shoving - and the security checks & people are swift & pleasant.

oh and ..in this part of the world, we use DD/MM/YYYY date format. Or just use the Month. Saves confusion up until the 12th of each month!

You'll already know about Visas. Apply for yours early. Before you book anything you can’t cancel with 100% refund.





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Old May 15th, 2022, 12:18 AM
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I'd dump Melbourne (even though I live there), spend 2 or 3 nights in Alice Springs, before or after ayers rock, and add any extra nights to Port Douglas / cairns or Brisbane.
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Old May 16th, 2022, 11:52 PM
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as a Melburnian I woudln't say dump Melbouren -it has differenct things to offer.But I would definitely do at least 2 nights in Uluru. Its fabulous.
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Old May 17th, 2022, 07:11 PM
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Yo Annette,
My original draft for this included 'Skip Brisbane entirely!' but then I went back and checked. LOL! I'm with Kay and Bok plus others with regards to pairing the Olgas with Uluru. But just focusing on Uluru for a sec---its hands-down one of the World's Great Travel Experiences, simply unmissable. And whenever I advise folks about those kinds of essential Top Places, the message is: maybe consider even a 3rd insurance day on site there coz Mother Nature always bats last i.e. what if it rained both days on a 2 day-only stay?
As for Melbun, it has its own charms: coffee culture, St. Kilda (might we compare its music scene to Austin?), the MCG sports field and not to forget: proximity to the Great Ocean Road, a classic scenic drive. Personally, and I say this with all due respect, there is no way that I'd spend extra days in Brisbane at the expense of Melbun.

As for Cairns, I'd give it 2 days and skip Pt. Douglas. If you're all into scuba diving (maybe consider also taking a brief aerial tour flight over the Reef), then of course Cairns is the place. Up in Cape Trib north of Cairns, there are things that might interest you. One offbeat example there (I always throw in an offbeat attraction on our itineraries) could be Dawn Gray's exotic fruit farm tasting. Her neighbour was poor Michael Chamberlain of 'A Cry in the Dark' fame.
If possible, maybe also see a small town somewhere in the Outback.

*suggested honey flavors to pursue: Tawari and also Manuka. None better.
Hope it all goes well!
I am done. The end.
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Old May 18th, 2022, 01:01 AM
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3 nts at Ulhuru only really gives you 2 full days. One for Ulhuru and another for the Kata Tjuta. Both offer some great hiking and views . some of which we covered in our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/australia/ . I suppose you could squeeze it into one very full day but part of the joy of Ulhuru was to get there to watch dawn rise, then hike around the rock, then have breakfast (we were in a camper van) and then return at sunset for an entirely different view.

Lots to see in Sydney so I think you have about the right amount of time there. Maybe add a couple of days if you want to explore further afield from Sydney, maybe the Blue Mountains, allow an extra couple of days.

Loved Melbourne but it's not Sydney and, with teatime you have, would probably add those days to Sydney and its environs
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Old Jun 26th, 2022, 03:43 PM
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Thank you, all, for your helpful answers and insights! I'm writing this from the back deck of the Air B&B we rented in Clifton Beach. You all have helped us to have a lovely time on this trip to Australia!

I'll write a better trip report when we return, but to reply to the comments about the amount of time around Uluru:
  • We had 3 nights, 2 full days at Ayers Rock Resort. We didn't book things as early as we should have, so our access to Uluru was limited to one day, but it was a fabulous day! We did the self-paced bike ride on the base trail around Uluru and the weather was absolutely perfect -- crystal clear skies and pleasantly warm temps. (In general, the weather gods have favored us on each leg of our travels. One of the resort staff members told us Uluru had been very rainy the week before we arrived.) I do think the "Hop on Hop off" bus is sorely misnamed. I assumed "hop on hop off" meant you could travel around the area on a whim; it really means "scheduled transfer with very limited availability." Live and learn. And a day to cool our jets, read, and relax was not a terrible thing. Our daughter just finished a week of med school finals, so a little down time was a welcome relief for her.
Thank you for the offbeat suggestions, zebec - we love those types of things! I don't think we're going to make it all the way up to Cape Tribulation, but am going to keep the honey suggestions in mind. I think I've seen Manuka honey a lot of places (and I think we can get that back home in Austin), but I'm going to keep my eye out for Tawari.

Cheers,
annettetx
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Old Aug 5th, 2022, 01:15 AM
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Okay my "2 bobs worth".......we just had 3 nights, two full days at Uluru. Found this to be ample, we had a car so that might change things, but plenty of time. We did sunrise and sunset at both Uluru and the Olgas, we also did the field of lights...........hmmmm not a huge fan.

I'm in Brisbane but I'm guessing if your daughter is at UQ you don't need any help from me. lol
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