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When should we visit?
Posted: 11 August 08 10:50 am
We will be visiting Australia (Sydney area & Blue Mountains, Port Douglas/Cairns area, & Uluru) in 2009. When is the best time to visit? We were thinking of arriving Mid-September and staying for 2 to 3 weeks. Any concerns we should be aware of? Any geocaches in those areas that we shouldn't miss? Thanks for any help you can give us. We are very excited to see your wonderful country!
Posted: 11 August 08 7:45 pm
That's probably not a bad time. If you are doing that itinerary you wouldn't want to leave it any later as it will be getting into the wet season for Cairns (humidity goes through the roof which can be uncomfortable if you aren't used to it). Temps at Uluru will also start peaking from that time as well.<p>
Sydney might still be a bit cool then, so perhaps do the others first and finish with Sydney if you can organise the trip that way. Give it time to warm up.<p>
Sydney climate averages: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/ ... 6062.shtml
Cairns averages: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/ ... 11.shtml<p
Uluru averages: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/ ... 5527.shtml
Posted: 11 August 08 7:51 pm
That should be a nice enough time to visit. I would avoid the very end of the month because that is when school holidays will start in most areas, so travel & accom will probably be a bit more expensive, plus the tourist areas will be busier.
You may be a bit optimistic to want to cover all of those places in only 2-3 weeks. Australia is about the same size as mainland USA, so it is a bit like planning to visit San Francisco, Sacramento, New Orleans (& surrounds) & Chicago in the same timeframe. Yes it is do-able, but only very superficially at each location. If you only have 2 weeks I would suggest dropping at least one of the locations.
I have little experience regarding caches in any of the areas, so would defer to the locals. However, if you go to http://geocaching.com.au/caches/recommended/au/
you will see all of the caches in Australia that a geocacher (other than the owner) has recommended. You will also see that many of the caches have a rating (5 is best). On that basis, the recommended caches that also have a rating of 5 are perhaps the best (although no rating just means that no-one has actually gone to the effort of rating the cache, so they are possibly very good too). It's one possible starting point if you can only pick just one or 2 to do in each location.
There is also a "hider's choice" option, for cachers to self select the best caches that they have placed - http://geocaching.com.au/caches/hiderschoice/au/
- not all cachers bother using this option, but it can also be a good place to start.
Both of these links can be filtered by state - you are planning to visit New South Wales, Queensland & the Northern Territory - then you will need to work out if any of these caches will be close to where you are visiting, because each of the states is very large. Just be aware that if there is a little Geocaching Australia map/logo next to the cache name then that is a cache that is not listed on geocaching.com, but all the others are.
I hope I haven't confused you yet?!
Cheers & I trust you have a great visit when you do come.
Posted: 11 August 08 9:09 pm
I have to agree thats not too bad a time to visit, about half way between winter and summer.
Sydney would be cool at night, and pleasant in the days. Blue mountains would be bloody cold at night, and cool during the day. Could be rain.
Cairns/Pt Douglas would be pleasant at night, and warmish during the days, possibly with a bit of humidity added in. Less of a possibility of rain.
Uluru would be cold to bloody cold at night, and warm to pleasant during the day. Not much chance of rain.
I also agree about your plans and distances. You are looking at 2600km (1500mile) approx direct flight Sydney to Cairns. Then the same distance Cairns to Uluru. Theres heaps to see, more so if you are going caching- not too many lamp post skirt caches over here, we make you work for your smileys over here.
Is it possible to look at Sydney Cairns this time, and Uluru-somewhere else next trip?
Post code searches work over here in the same way as Zip code searches work in the States. Look up an online postcode listing at Australia Posts website http://www1.auspost.com.au/postcodes/
You should be able to find the applicable postcodes there, then transfer them to the search function on GC.com.
When to visit
Posted: 12 August 08 3:11 am
Thanks for the information! I had no idea about the school holidays. We are just in the preliminary planning stages, so the time of year we visit is flexible. We are visiting very different areas and are thinking about extending the visit to more than 3 weeks. Uluru is a definate must, as is a visit to Sydney so that my architect husband can see the bridge, opera house, etc. We will probably include a day or two in the Blue Mountains. I visited Queensland when I was 19 years old... but never got to see the Great Barrier Reef - so that's in also. And, since we're in the area, I want to see Daintree National Park.
Is there a better time to visit than September? Thanks to everyone for the help so far!!
Posted: 12 August 08 8:57 am
April wouldn't be a bad time either, being autumn (fall) here the weather conditions would probably be similar to October without rechecking those stats I posted before.
As for recommended caches, I could suggest some near Sydney but as your visit is a year away it is probably best to ask closer to the time as some will have disappeared by then and there will be some new ones. It also depends on the type of cache you enjoy - high terrain rating bushwalks or devious micro/multis. It will also depend if you have a hire car or are relying on public transport as to what suggestions would make sense.
Posted: 12 August 08 4:26 pm
....so that my architect husband can see the bridge, opera house, etc.....
You should head for Canberra. I'd recomend Tourist tours by Tank Engine. I think you'd both like the place if he's an architect and your a cacher.
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_de ... ?wp=GC572D
Uluru is a major mega touri$t area. If you want to check out the real Aussie "out back" it could pay to head somewhere less muggly.
Posted: 12 August 08 11:10 pm
I'd recommend a few days in a select few places, while you won't get to see all your must sees, you will get a much better time for caching, and get to see more of each place you stay at. (And not feel rushed)
My first trip here in Dec/Jan 2006/2007 I'd planned to see Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree,Tasmania, Sydney, and the Great Ocean Road. All in 4 weeks. I realised when I arrived in order for that to happen, I'd be a different night at each place.
I started in Sydney, then up to Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, Noosa, Byron Bay, then an over nighter to Newcastle (staying 2 nights at each destination). Then it was a tour of the Great Ocean Road in a week. It wasn't enough, especially since we cached along the GOR.
Temperatures from north to south, coast to interior can vary widely as has been pointed out, and if you are going to travel over a large area, you may wish to bring something for possible weather. (I got caught in the Blue Mountains in December while it was sub 20c, rainy, foggy, wearing shorts, a tshirt, my hat and chaco sandals. I wasn't prepared, and being from BC, I should have known better...)
Advice for a North American cacher coming to Australia - do not stick your hands into places you can't see, and don't step if you can't see the ground. Walking sticks are your best friend.
The sun can be very unkind to skin - even early in the season in September I'd recommend sunscreen, as well as some light clothes/fabric to cover skin with. Never leave for a walk without plenty of water, even if it is a tiny walk to the local shops.
Most important - the Aussie caching community loves showing off for tourists!
(If you make it to Canberra, bring camo duct tape.
-Dv, recent transplant from BC to Canberra
Posted: 17 August 08 9:56 pm
If you like an adventure and are not claustrophobic or afraid of the dark, you should do "Daylight" near Katoomba. There are a lot of quality caches in the Blue Mountains but Daylight was a "Life Experience" for me.
Near Cairns, try "The Ice Age Starts Here" if you like a bit of a walk through a tropical rainforest with a view at the end.
Posted: 22 August 08 6:20 am
You are all so wonderful. Thank you for the excellent advice. I've been doing a bit more checking on weather. Uluru is a must, but we are only planning a day there... so whatever the weather is... we'll deal with it. I think we're planning on a week or so near Cairns/Daintree and another week near Sydney/Blue Mountains. Plus travel days. We would like to come when it wasn't too rainy or cold. How is early November? Late October? If we do decide to come in September, when is the school vacation - early or late? I'm getting so excited - I can't wait!
Posted: 22 August 08 8:35 am
Cairns/Daintree is in an area called the wet tropics (probably one of the reasons you want to visit- all the rainforests) and our summer is Nov- Feb. So, at that time of the year ie, the later months, it can ger very hot and humid- 90's farenheight and 80+% humidity. There is also the very real prospect of continuous heavy rain, thunderstorms, and cyclones (hurricanes). Basically, the closer to the middle of the year you visit, the more comfortable it will be, especially if you are not used to hot humid weather conditions.
Posted: 22 August 08 2:26 pm
NSW school vacations- Sept 27th- Oct. 12th 2008
QLD school vacations- Sept 20th- Oct 5th 2008
Northern Territory school vacations- Sept 27th- Oct 5th 2008
You're going to run into school holidays somewhere along the way.
Good luck! and enjoy you time here
Posted: 23 August 08 2:37 am
Thank you to everyone! I'm used to hot temps... but not humidity... so we'll probably stick with our original plan of a September visit and make it early September to avoid most of the school vacations. I really appreciate everyone's help!!
Posted: 23 August 08 4:41 am
we'll deal with it. I think we're planning on a week or so near Cairns/Daintree and another week near Sydney/Blue Mountains. Plus travel days.
If you are planning on travelling by car please allow genorous times. I have driven from Brisbane to Sydney (930km ish) and it took two days allowing for driving breaks and driving about 6-8 hours per day. <br><br>
I have also driven from Brisbane to Townsville which is about 1350kms. This took three days of about 10 hours driving allowing for rest stops along the way. Cairns is another 350km from Townsville or aobut 6 hours allowing for a rest stop. <br><br> Port Douglas is another 60kms north of Cairns or about 1.5 hours. <br><br>
If you are planning to drive by road check out the following website for a trip planner which gives you distances and times (not including rest breaks).<br>http://www.racq.com.au/travel/trip_planner
I know I have gone on about rest breaks but driver fatigue is one of the biggest killers on the road here, it's better to play it safe.
<br><br> Have a great holiday here, it truly is a beautiful country. I have been to most of the places you refer to (or the general location) except Uluru. You will have a great time and some great memories.
Posted: 28 August 08 11:23 pm
I agree that to go to all three places is pushing it a bit but you can certainly do it. I spent two weeks around Uluru/Alice a couple of years ago with friends and we all LOVED it. It is beautiful country. I really suggest making the most of whatever time you have in that area and picking up whatever caches happen to be in the way - there weren't very many last time I looked anyway. Make sure you have plenty of space in the camera memory.
I will bow to the advice of others who are close to your other destinations.