Trip to Oz in October 2006

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Hi all,

I would like some help regarding the following trip to Australia next year. Unfortunately the trip isn’t mine (mores that pity); it is for my daughter.
She has chosen the hotels and destinations that she wants to visit.

She will see a travel agent in the new year to get some prices but I told her that I would post the trip on here to see if my fellow moneysavers could come up with some good prices, or, if not, then perhaps you could advise me where I should start to look with regard to pricing up this holiday.

I am not too bad in pricing up or acquiring cheap holidays to Europe, but as for Australia, then that is a whole new kettle of fish.

Here goes,

Two people, leaving on the 28th October 2006, flying from Manchester

Fly to Perth staying 4 nights in Sullivans hotel then to

Ayres Rock staying 1 night in the Lost Camel hotel then to

Cairns staying 3 nights in The Lakes hotel then to

Hamilton Island staying 6 nights in the Palm terrace hotel then to

Sydney staying 5 nights in the Rydes Jamieson hotel then to

Home, flying back to Manchester

Trip of a lifetime I would think.

Knowing my daughter as I do, she will not alter any aspect of the above holiday. She has picked all the places she wants to visit and all the hotels that she wants to stay in.

Anyway, what do you all think she should be paying for a holiday of this sort?

I look forward to your replies

Leo
Dont you just love freshly congealed pigs blood, with a bit of fat in :D
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Comments

  • blindman
    blindman Posts: 5,659 Forumite
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    We did something similar a couple of years back. Cost £2000 for two if I remember right. We did stop over in Singapore and Bangkok and hired a car for our 7 nights in Perth.

    Personnally

    Ayres Rock I'd stay in the cheapest accomodation available (well maybe not a tent!) as it's very expensive and you don't spend much time in the room due to trips to the rock to watch the sunset\sunrise etc.

    Check in is at 15:00 and checkout is at 10:00. Also factor in what time your 'plane arrives\departs, this leaves little time spent in the room.

    We stayed at the basic "Dormitory Room (mixed sex share up to 4 people) - Outback Pioneer Lodge (2 star accommodation)"

    Outback Pioneer Lodge which was basically 4 beds, in a small cabin. There were only two of us which was no problem.

    I would suggest she stays 2 nights to fit in all the tours etc.

    Cairns
    Would stay in Port Douglas instead.

    Speak to Traifinders regarding booking and prices etc.

    We used NeeditNow for some last minute bargains, booking as we went along.

    Get a visa on-line its cheaper than a travel agent (even Trailfinders).

    Flight
    May be cheaper to get an open Jaw into Perth and out of Sydney, then source your own internal flghts using Virgin Blue or Qantas cheap airlines
    Compare the three of them here.
    There are tickets that give a certain number of stops in Aus. Ours cost £800 each and gave us 5 stops in Aus.

    There seems to be no stop overs planned.
    Is this because of time restraints?

    Look up Airline quality for whose the best to fly with at a reasonable price.

    Join up to the Airlines Frequent flyer club to get miles for this trip to use on a later holiday.

    Have fun.
  • LesD
    LesD Posts: 2,111 Forumite
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    We did Australia last year and found the Emirates schedule to be perfect. If you think Oz is a 24 hour trip, 3 lots of 7-8 hours is a good idea. That allows stop-overs in Dubai and Singapore with each flight sector being 7-8 hours.

    Dubai and Singapore both have interesting attractions - even if it's only the shopping!
  • leosayer39
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    Hi all,

    Hi Blindman and Lesd and thanks for your replies,

    Firstly stopovers,

    My daughter isn’t bothered about stopovers, as she has already visited Singapore and Bangkok.
    She just wants to get to Oz as quick as possible and you are right about a time constraint, they only have just short of three weeks off work to fit it all in.
    They have had to get special permission to get three weeks off as normally they can only have two consecutive weeks holiday.
    She appreciates that they may have to stop for fuel and isn’t bothered by that. (Hasn’t got much choice in that respect as far as I can see).

    Car hire,

    Neither of them drive, so no car hire.
    (Just imagine, no car, no insurance, no fuel, no car tax, no mot, no repairs)
    That’s why they can afford expensive holidays!!

    Ayres Rock,

    She has only allowed 1 night for this destination because they only want to see the sunset.
    They are not bothered about climbing the rock or seeing the sunrise.
    She plans on having a ‘Sounds of Silence Dinner’ (whatever that is) at Ayres rock, then bed after sunset, and then move on the next day.
    There is no possibility whatsoever that they will stay in a room sharing with other people. She is a 3 to 5 star hotel, kind of girl. (Likes her luxuries)
    She baulked at the idea of a basic dormitory room I m afraid. Sorry!

    Cairns,

    She has asked why you suggested that they stay in Port Douglas instead. Is there a major difference in these two places?

    Flights,

    She wants to pre book everything over here before she goes. She just doesn’t want the hassle of sourcing flights or indeed anything at all, while she is there.

    Thanks for you comments so far and I look forward to more.

    Oh, one more thing, she has just told me that they have been quoted £2150 EACH for this holiday from Aus travel.

    Leo
    Dont you just love freshly congealed pigs blood, with a bit of fat in :D
  • blindman
    blindman Posts: 5,659 Forumite
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    I wasn't suggesting car hire, just put it in so you could see what I spent the 2K on.

    Sounds of Silence Dinner is a BBQ under the stars with Astronomical info.
    We did a cheaper version, but very nice.

    We didn't share the Outback Pioneer lodge room, my missus would have gone ape!:eek:
    Just put a perspective across that the rooms are expensive and you don't stay in them much!

    Cairns\Port D

    The research I did suggested Cairns was a bit of a dump. Didn't go there, so can't comment.
    Pro
    Port Douglas was small but lively, plenty of good bars and eating places.
    Cane Toad racing is a MUST
    Barrier reef trips start in Cairns, go to Port Douglas and then to the reef.

    Con
    Airport transfers to Port D are about £25 each way as it's about 40km away.

    Flights.
    You can book Virgin Blue etc months before you go via the 'net, the earlier the better. So your flight itinerary is sorted before you go.

    Hotels
    It was easy to book as we went along, you can get major savings if you book last minute and of course that gives you some flexiblity if plans change.

    Cost
    "quoted £2150 EACH for this holiday from Aus travel."

    Well they would, wouldn't they.

    Probably about the right price, could be cheaper but with more effort.
  • leosayer39
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    Hi all,

    Hi Blindman,

    Once again, thank you for your comments, I have passed them on.

    Cairns v Port Douglas

    My daughter will now do some further research regarding these two places in view of your comments.
    I will let you know, in due course, what she decides.

    Flights

    I will look into this subject further on her behalf. I will have a look at Virgin Blue (just done a quick google search and found out that it is Australia's low cost airline)

    Hotels

    She will definitely want to book these over here before she goes and will not book last minute.

    Cost

    She will look into this further and get some quotes from different travel agents.

    Once again, thanks for your comments, they are much appreciated.

    If you think of anything else then please post here or pm me

    Leo
    Dont you just love freshly congealed pigs blood, with a bit of fat in :D
  • nearlyrich
    nearlyrich Posts: 13,698 Forumite
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    We started in Sydney where we independantly booked a room for about 5 days in a decent hotel in George street, then we moved on to Hamilton Island, they do a great day trip to the barrier reef, we stayed in the Palm Bungalows which were lovely. WE were there for about 5 nights and we had good food and lovely weather.

    We flew from there to Cairns hired a car and spent a day or two in Port Douglas, then we drove back to Cairns which I thought was far from a dump.

    We booked the Hamilton Island accommodation along with BA/Quantas flights (Man to London HR, Singapore, Sydney, Hamilton, Cairns.. cairns, singapore etc £800 each inc all taxes for all the flights ( we went in October 2 years ago) In Port Douglas & Cairns we just picked a hotel and booked in, I appreciate you have more freedom with a car and the need to book in advance via a travel agent means they will pay more however it's worth playing one off against another. We booked a holiday yesterday to NZ we got quotes from Travelbag, Travelmood and a local company..local company were about a tenner dearer so they offered free transport to Manchester Airport which is worth £50 at least from here, not to mention a stress free start to the holiday. Can't wait, hope your daughter has a great time, if she has any questions about Hamilton I'm happy to advise.
    Free impartial debt advice from: National Debtline or Stepchange[/CENTER]
  • LesD
    LesD Posts: 2,111 Forumite
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    Hi Leo,

    We also did Cairns a few years ago. Port Douglas is the up-market area. Cairns used to be the Japanese gambling location! From memory, there aren't many attactions in either. They are a centre for access to the rainforest and the reef.

    We did Kuranda - up by the 'Historic Scenic Railway' and down by the Skyrail (cable-car).

    http://www.kuranda.org/

    We also went up to the Daintree - it's the furthest north the regular roads go - beyond that it's 4x4 territory!

    http://www.daintreerainforest.com/

    We did our reef cruise from Dunk Island, south of Cairns, and enjoyed it enormously. But there are many to choose from - don't know which one is best.

    http://www.dunk-island.com/

    When we were planning last year's trip, we got quotes from Travelbag. They were expensive, but very helpful. We ended up getting a one-location package through Mercury Direct with an add-on to Sydney at the end (for son's wedding!). I'm not suggesting this for your daughter, but you may want to look at their website for info.

    http://www.mercury-direct.co.uk/mercury/resortlist.php?dest=Australia

    Les D.

    ps...QANTAS also do cheap internal flights. Check their website for their RED e-deals.
  • richardw
    richardw Posts: 19,458 Forumite
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    I have stayed at the https://www.sullivans.com.au hotels in Perth and Sydney and they are good. I would ask for a bit of discount and book direct with the hotel.

    I have also booked Qantas Red E Deals and they are very good prices.

    I would book this trip separately you will save £££s.
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • leosayer39
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    Hi all,

    Firstly, I have pressed the 'thank you' button on all of your posts and would now like to thank you all in person

    Thank You.

    My daughter is most appreciative of all of you comments.

    Keep 'em coming

    Leo
    Dont you just love freshly congealed pigs blood, with a bit of fat in :D
  • willothewisp_2
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    Hi Leo,

    Have just been reading about the holiday your daughter is planning for next Oct. I used to be a Sales Manager for a Australian specialist travel agent before opting for a total career change. My advice would be to get quotes from 3 - 4 different agents in the new year (I would suggest Trailfinders, Austravel, Travelbag and Quest) to get an idea of the maximum amount the holiday will cost so that your daughter can start budgeting how much she needs to save. January, February and March are the busiest months for agents specialising in travel to Australiasia so there is nothing particularly great out price wise in these months as agents and the airlines have no need to offer any mega discounts. For this reason I woud suggest you hold fire on making any firm bookings. As you hit April the market starts to slow down and this is when the big 5 airlines (Malaysian, Singapore, Qantas/Ba, Cathay Pacific and Emirates) will all bring out their best deals.

    Regarding hotels, generally (but not always) you'll get a better deal through an agent as they negiotate quite good deals with the hotels as they send so much business their way. Its been two years since I worked for Austravel but they just to get some good rates with Hamilton Island - things like free upgrades for stays over 5 nights. As a back up I would try a couple of internet sites as well just to make sure you're getting the best deal (travelocity and expedia).

    I would agree that cairns in itself is not the best place to say. It's handy if you're doing something like a PADI dive course which means you don't spend much time in the hotel but otherwise it's a bit backpacker (which can be good but not if your daughter is planning her once in a lifetime trip). Port Douglas is north fo Cairns and has more of a resort feel to it. It has larger chain hotels like Sherton and Raddisson and is a nice place to base yourself. I prefer something a bit more individual myself and the last few times I went to cairns I stayed in a little place called Palm Cove. It's teeny but so peaceful and relaxing. It is a strip of several smaller boutique hotels and villas looking out onto a lovely little stretch of sand. It's the kind of place where you can have really good but reasonably priced meals outside overlooking the beach and sea and really chill out. There's very little traffic and it's really friendly. It's also really well positioned to do all the things you do when in Cairns like the Kuranda Skyrail, Cape Tribulation and the reef.

    Doesn't matter where you stay in Ayers Rock as you'll spend very little time in the room. I would save here so you can splurge elsewhere but the sounds of silence is fantastic. You don't get a great view of the rock at sunset from the sounds of silence clearing though. I would suggest that your daughter organise to see the sunrise before her flight out of Ayers Rock. Most flights leave in the late morning/afternoon so she'll have plenty of time to do this before catching the onward flight. Loads of people will be doing the organised tour and getting dropped off at the airport to fly out. I got some fabulous pictures of the rock and even though I was nursing a bit of a bad head from the night before I'm pleased I did it.

    Never take the travel agents insurance as they overcharge. It costs them about £14 and they try to charge you about £60. Shop around for it online. Also check about the cost of an ETA (electronic travel authorities). Some agents process these free if you purchase your flights with them and others charge as much as £25 each.

    Remember to haggle. Putting together big itineraries for Australia can be quite time consuming so the last thing the agent wants is to lose out to a competitor over a relatively small amount. Most will price match. You have more bargaining power if you purchase some hotels or tours from them as well as your flights. The mark up on flights is pitiful so they wont be keen to discount if all you buy from them is the flight. Ground products such as hotels, tours and car hire can yield them anything up to 40% so they can afford to be a bit more generous with discount if your booking contains any of these elements.

    Anyway hope this helps. I'm sure your daughter will have a superb time and this wont be her only visit to OZ.

    Willo
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