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Kristine
Woodbridge, Virginia

Kristine from Woodbridge, Virginia asked

How many days do I need to visit Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef?

Couple in mid 20's who has never been to Australia before. Planning to visit mid-June.  Do not have a huge budget but also wouldn't mind spending more for a great experience.  We are looking to scuba dive in the GBR but other than that not too sure what to do/see in Sydney/GBR and how many days we need for visiting both?

Sydney   Great Barrier Reef

4 Answers
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top answer by
Annette from Gold Coast

How long is a piece of string? :) Seriously tho you could spend weeks in Sydney as there is so much to see, I'd allow 2 weeks at least.

The GBR stretches from just outside of Brisbane all the way up the Queensland coast 2000kms! You will travel via a big catamaran at least 1 hour off the coast to reach it, sometimes 2 hours depending on location. We dove the southern most tip of the reef just outside of Brisbane - Flinders Reef, great diving, high vis and only fairly shallow at 15m. That's the only place we've dived here in OZ as we head overseas for warmer weather and warmer waters. 

How long do you have here?


 


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Justin
I'd tell them to visit Brisbane, too. I loved that city! So underrated and overlooked by most travelers. I was there during the Brisbane Festival ...
 

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Kristine
Thanks for the suggestions! We will most likely only have a week in Australia so we'll definitely have to prioritize our time with so much to do and see!
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Brisbane (city)
  2. Queensland (attraction)
  3. Flinders Reef (attraction)
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answered by
Karen from Chesapeake

Hi Kristine,  It so varies on your interest, but suggest you spend at least four days in Sydney as a couple in the city is a must and there are some great places to visit outside like the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley.  The Great Barrier Reef is amazing and my favorite spots to see it are either Lizard Island right on the reef or Port Douglas, a wonderful little town where you can boat out for a day.  Other interesting sites to see from Port Douglas and good place to relax so again no less than 4 nights. Hope this helps.  Enjoy and check out my favorite book about Australia by Bill Bryson called In a Sunburned Country.  Enjoy.


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Mentioned in this answer:

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VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Blue Mountains (attraction)
  3. Hunter Valley (attraction)
  4. Lizard Island (city)
  5. Port Douglas (attraction)
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answered by
Justin from Phoenix

I spent 16 days there - Sydney, Katoomba, Darwin, KakaduCairnsPort Douglas, the Atherton Tablelands and finally Brisbane. The hostels are generally excellent, and reasonably priced everywhere but Darwin. I could've skipped Katoomba for an extra day in Sydney, but I wouldn't give up anything else. We were on the move a lot, but we got a great sampling of Australia's diversity. If you wind up near Port Douglas, there's a place called the Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm ... go for a tasting.


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Mentioned in this answer:

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VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Katoomba (city)
  2. Darwin (attraction)
  3. Kakadu (attraction)
  4. Cairns (city)
  5. Port Douglas (attraction)
  6. Atherton Tablelands (attraction)
  7. Brisbane (city)
  8. Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm (hotel)
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answered by
Caterina from Florence

Dear Kristine, I was in Sydney last December and January and I spent there let's say 9 days in total. It is a fantastic city to walk around in, full of colours and attractions, the only problem is that it takes a lot (years I'd say!) to cross the streets, due to the slowest traffic lights in the world! However, I literally fell in love with the area around the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks (there is my favourite pub & restaurant that is called The Argyle - not expensive at all, excellent fish platters!), Darling Harbour and the Chinese food at Chinatown. I also liked Paddington very much, walking along the coast from Coogee to Bondi Beach and Manly + Shelly Beach. I didn't actually see all the places I wanted to, but I enjoy travelling at a slow pace... I really wanted to visit the Luna Park at Milsons Point and the Taronga Zoo(in this article you might find some reasons...) but 5 weeks in Australia turned out to be just 5 minutes! :-( (how sad!).

As far as costs are concerned, I didn't find Sydney that expensive, Florence (my home city) is probably much more expensive than Sydney! In Sydney I had the opportunity to stay at a friends place but I also spent 3 nights at Y Hotel Sydney Hyde Park (website) as soon as I arrived and the price was good, even if it was Christmas time (I booked via booking.com).

The GBR is stunning of course and I recommend you Port Douglas instead of Cairns if you choose a base along the coast (the village is very nice and the vegetation impressive); however, I only spent one day on the reef 'cause I also visited Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Byron Bay and Uluru... the next time I will definitely choose an island resort or Airlie Beach and spend more time snorkeling around ;-)

PS Start "studying" ahead of time and enjoy every minute in Oz. You will never come back, I'm sorry... I miss Australia so much! ;-)

PS2 Mind the sharks! :-)

Caterina



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Mentioned in this answer:

map
VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Sydney Opera House (attraction)
  3. The Rocks (attraction)
  4. Darling Harbour (attraction)
  5. Chinatown (attraction)
  6. Paddington (attraction)
  7. Coogee (city)
  8. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  9. Manly (city)
  10. Shelly Beach (attraction)
  11. Milsons Point (neighborhood)
  12. Taronga Zoo (attraction)
  13. Port Douglas (attraction)
  14. Cairns (city)
  15. Airlie Beach (city)
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