Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Planning Stage: East Coast Australia, 30-10 Dec 2008

We hadn't had much time for trip planning...everything took place in a rush. Air tickets were booked before we had worked out our then it was too late to regret or make any changes. RG and I had booked our air tickets separately and although we were booked on the same Qantas flight to Brisbane, he had to pay more for his ticket (SGD300 more than my ticket which costed SGD1,100)....and we also ended up being allocated separate seats. It's definitely cheaper to book Qantas flights direct through the airline website

We had pre-booked our hotels and rental car via the internet. The rental car, a Nissan Tiida (hatchback), from Redspot (via
) was a steal at A$260 for 10 days! We hadn't bought the excess insurance 'cos RG's rental excess coverage amount under his travel insurance was quite high. We had collected the rental car when we arrived at the Brisbane Airport.

For accommodations, we had booked at the various locations where we had planned our stopovers - Gold Coast (2N), Coffs Harbour (1N), Sydney (3N), Port Macquarie (1N), Byron Bay (1N) & Brisbane (1N). All accommodations were sourced online and our budget were a little more generous this time round at $150-$200/per room per night. Our main criteria was - a room with a nice view! Instead of using hotel booking portals like we usually do, we realised that it was much cheaper booking direct with the hotels.

Our route was from Brisbane to Sydney and back. We had used the google map for our route planning The total distance of the entire trip was slightly over 2,000km. The routes to and from Sydney were a little diferent as we didn't want to retrace our steps. We had also planned to stop over at different towns along our way to and fro so as to cover more of the sights.

The final driving route was roughly like this:

Day 1: Brisbane - Harbourtown (1h drive) - Surfers Paradise beach (15min drive)

Day 2: Set off from Holiday Inn Surfers Paradise to Springbrook (1h15min drive). On the way back from Springbrook, we covered Tweed Heads (1hr drive) – Coolangatta – Bilinga – Tugun – Currumbin – Palm Beach – Burleigh Heads – Miami – Nobby Beach – Mermaid Beach – Broadbeach – Pacific Fair

Day 3: We left Surfers Paradise – Ballina (1h45min drive) – Woolgoolga (2h30min drive)– Coffs Harbour (30min)– Coffs Harbour Jetty

Day 4: Coffs Harbour (Farmers Market)– Forster (3h30min drive)– Raymond Terrace (1h50min drive) –Milsons Point - North Sydney (2h5min drive)

Day 5: We moved to North Sydney Harbourview Hotel, left the car in the hotel and took the subway for the entire day

Day 6: We took the car and drove cross Sydney Harbour Bridge – down George St – Broadway – Myrtle St – City Road (Uni of Sydney) – Paddington Market – Glebe Point – Glebe Market – Unilodge – Broadway Shopping Centre

Day 7: We left North Sydney and started driving towards – Newscastle (2h12min drive) – Bulahdelah (1h20min) – Bonny Hills – Lake Cathie – Lighthouse Beach – Tacking Point Lighthouse(2h drive)

Day 8: Left Port Macquarie – Frederickton (56min drive)– Urunga (57min drive)- Dorrigo (Dorrigo National Park) (1hr drive) – Bellingen (30min) - Byron Bay (4h drive)

Day 9: Drove to Cape Byron Lighthouse at 4.30am to catch the sunrise (8min drive) – Byron Bay main beach (6min)– Byron Bay town centre. Then we left Byron Bay for South Brisbane (2h10min drive). We left the car at the hotel and walked to the Brisbane CBD - Botanic Gardens – Queens Street – crossed Victoria Bridge – walked down South Bank Parklands

Day 10: We left the hotel and drove to airport (30min drive)

A lot of driving for 10 days but it was kinda fun and exciting.

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