Author Topic: Mittens 2019 booked! Cairns, Australia, 05 - 12 October  (Read 2808 times)

Wiggy

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #20 on: 25 Jan 2019, 11:08 »
Hi all!

As an ex-airline pilot, I can help - not with cheap airfares, but how to organize yourselves. Firstly, for all Americans out there (and this is NOT a joke) Columbus proved that the world is round. If you want to come to OZ, go via Hawaii - yep head WEST - or fly direct via LAX. The amount of idiots I have seen fly via the middle East is laughable and lamentable.

For all other sane people, Singapore is the most accessible hub. Norwegian Airlines offer cheap flights from LHR. Silk Air (low-cost offshoot from Singapore Airlines) fly direct to Cairns, where I live. I have a Japanese friend, Sammy Kawano, who rode his bicycle around the world. He lives here now because it is the most beautiful place he ever saw. Accom is cheap - particularly through Wotif.com - and we charge per room in this country, not per person like in the UK.

Exchange rates are favourable at the moment, and food-wise you won't get a mountain of fatty inedible crap like in the US, you might actually taste really fresh produce beautifully cooked. I really hope to see you here!

Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #21 on: 06 Feb 2019, 21:07 »
Is it too early to discuss timing?  I need to get my vacation requests in early in the year.  I can't do September.

AGA

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #22 on: 07 Feb 2019, 07:29 »
What about the very end of August, or start of October?  October seems to be about 10-15% cheaper for flights, although a quick search shows rental prices to be the same either way.  I've also found a few big (15+) houses going for about £150 per person (!!) for a week.

Layabout

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #23 on: 07 Feb 2019, 13:43 »
I'm in Japan from 2nd Sep to 16 Sep so August or October works for me, but I'd lean towards early October, mainly for the weather (hotter but not too close to the wet season in the tropics).
August only gets average highs of 27 C in northern QLD (which I'd suggest, as have a few others), whereas October gets average highs of 30 C. Not much of a difference in surface temperature, but the ocean temperature will be lower.
If we were looking at northern NSW or SE QLD, October would be the optimal time to visit. Sydney definitely October and Melbourne you never know what kind of weather you will get.
WA is an option, but I don't know enough about the wrong side of Australia (sorry Ben XD)
Both time periods do not fall on Australian school holidays so we won't have to worry about that.

I'd recommend anywhere between Mackay and Cairns, as you have the reef. Though the close to Cairns you get, the more likely you are to get eaten by crocs. #justaustraliathings
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Privateer Puddin'

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #24 on: 11 Feb 2019, 10:58 »
First week of October works for me - might be able to to use public holiday

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #25 on: 11 Feb 2019, 15:30 »
October is best for me, preferably sometime in the first half.

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #26 on: 12 Feb 2019, 07:31 »
    I think Saturday 05 - Saturday 12 October sounds like a good option.  Of course I'd assume people will want to do more stuff in their own groups afterwards, given the travel distance involved for most of us.

    Mackay doesn't have any large rentals available.  Nor does Townville, which seems to be the largest place between Cains and Mackay?  Got a couple of nice looking options for Cairns at least:

    The first looks nicer to me!

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #27 on: 12 Feb 2019, 07:41 »
(thumbs up)

Pumaman

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #28 on: 12 Feb 2019, 11:54 »
Put me and the +1 on the interested list too, after all if you're coming all this way I couldn't miss out on some Mittens goodness!

Cairns is ok, it doesn't have a beach but it does have some tourist activites like the bleached barrier reef, and the weather should be good. Port Douglas is probably nicer but smaller

Zanzoo retreat looks nice but is perhaps a bit too isolated - might be good to have a couple of places within walking distance so we don't have to drive to the pub?

Here's another option, might be a few others on Airbnb too.
https://www.airbnb.es/rooms/18199497?location=Cairns%2C%20Queensland%2C%20Australia&adults=16&guests=1&toddlers=0&check_in=2019-10-05&check_out=2019-10-12&s=Az3FEvUL

The Gold Coast is another October option, it has beach stuff and pubs and theme parks and stuff like that, if we fancied somewhere with more activity options. Should be 24/25 degrees by October

Privateer Puddin'

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #29 on: 12 Feb 2019, 12:53 »
Put me and the +1 on the interested list too

Yes!  :=

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #30 on: 12 Feb 2019, 14:33 »
Well, well, well. Mr. Jones emerges.

Now I HAVE to go to this.
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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #31 on: 12 Feb 2019, 16:37 »
Well, well, well. Mr. Jones emerges.

Emerges / is dragged to the surface by me.

I only had a very quick look for housing options, based on Layabout's suggestions.  Of course anyone is welcome to chip in with anywhere that looks suitable (and houses 16+ people!).


Layabout

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #32 on: 13 Feb 2019, 01:34 »
The one that Chris shared looks alright. I couldn't find anything reasonable in Port Douglas, but it wouldn't be a bad drive from Cairns.

From my searching, North Queensland is kinda lacking when it comes to larger properties.
Here is one near Airlie Beach, however still a 25 minute drive. Ubers are likely to be operating in the area however:https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/30129781?location=North%20Queensland%2C%20Queensland%2C%20Australia&adults=16&guests=1&toddlers=0&check_in=2019-10-05&check_out=2019-10-12&s=BJ2SHNSr

This one is in Agnes Water, near 1770 and Gladstone: https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/22455055?location=North%20Queensland%2C%20Queensland%2C%20Australia&adults=16&guests=1&toddlers=0&check_in=2019-10-05&check_out=2019-10-12&s=Y34ooedo

There seem to be quite a few on the Sunshine Coast (1 hr north of Brisbane), an example: https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/28970815?location=North%20Queensland%2C%20Queensland%2C%20Australia&adults=16&guests=1&toddlers=0&check_in=2019-10-05&check_out=2019-10-12&s=htTeKvr_

And on the Gold Coast (which I honestly hate, but I'm putting the option out there): https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/28617920?location=North%20Queensland%2C%20Queensland%2C%20Australia&adults=16&guests=1&toddlers=0&check_in=2019-10-05&check_out=2019-10-12&s=i7tFr7l6

This one is Northern NSW, in the Byron hinterland, 20 mins from Byron Bay: https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/31010575?location=North%20Queensland%2C%20Queensland%2C%20Australia&adults=16&guests=1&toddlers=0&check_in=2019-10-05&check_out=2019-10-12&s=iycEbMkx

The rest of the NSW coast above Newcastle is also a reasonable option. It might be swimming weather for you Europeans, but the Aussies will probably not be too keen to get in the water!
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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #33 on: 13 Feb 2019, 15:30 »
Cairns is an expensive connecting flight (or loooong drive) from Brisbane for those of us flying from abroad. Perhaps we'd be better looking at places with good transport links too?  Personally I'm not too fussed about the weather either way!

Layabout

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #34 on: 14 Feb 2019, 01:36 »
Well Gold Coast has a direct train link from Brisbane Airport so it's a good prospect (as much as I think it is a poor man's Miami)

If we don't care about the beach or anything like that, then Melbourne would be my pick. It is the most culturally vibrant and progressive cities in Australia, and you can't miss a trip to Phillip Island to watch the Penguin Parade (though this may need to be done after Mittens as its at night and a fair drive from melbs to phillip island)

With 16 people (at current count), this place https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/2178434?location=Victoria%20VIC%2C%20Australia&adults=16&guests=1&toddlers=0&check_in=2019-10-05&check_out=2019-10-12&s=2GlQwF_c would be 341AUD per person.
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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #35 on: 14 Feb 2019, 19:01 »
Cairns is an excellent start or destination for a roadtrip along the Australian east cost. You should be able to book connecting flights from Melbourne or Sidney when booking the ticket to Australia at not much higher cost. Cairns is great, IMHO, Gold Coast not so.
What we did (15 years ago, mind you!) was fly into Sydney, drive up the east coast to Port Douglas (is it still a thing to rent a 4WD there and go to that national park, driving through creeks and stuff?), take a flight from Cairns to Melbourne for a few days and then fly home from Melbourne.


I'm really sad I can't come to Mittens :~(

Layabout

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #36 on: 14 Feb 2019, 23:26 »
Cairns is great, IMHO, Gold Coast not so.

Like I said, Gold Coast is a poor man's Miami... and I hated Miami.  :-D

I'm not sure that many would be doing a roadtrip of Eastern Australia - you need a good chunk of time to do that properly. Its around the same distance to drive from Bris to Cairns than it is from Bris to Melbs. With your itineary, it would be 30 hours driving time up the east coast from Sydney to Port Douglas

I think you can still hire 4WD's and go off-roading.
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Wiggy

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #37 on: 16 Mar 2019, 07:47 »
I feel like I'm tilting at Gods here, but Regional pride will prevail and I must take exception to Pumaman's comment:

"Cairns is ok, it doesn't have a beach but it does have some tourist activites like the bleached barrier reef, and the weather should be good. Port Douglas is probably nicer but smaller."

Fair bite of the pineapple doughnut! Cairns city doesn't have a beach, unless you count the fabulous man-made city lagoon, (Google it) but what about the northern suburbs collectively known as the "Northern Beaches"? Namely; Machans Beach, Holloways Beach, Yorkey's, Trinity Beach, Kewarra Beach, Clifton Beach (my home) and Palm Cove? 5 minutes from my door I can walk along pristine sand for half an hour until I get to Palm Cove where I have breakfast under the 200 year-old paperbark trees; trees so treasured that the local buildings are built around them.

Regarding the Great Barrier Reef: Sure some reefs have suffered bleaching, but not the tourist destinations. "My Aquarium", as I call it, is largely unspoilt, and still a major world wonder. Just to give you an idea of its size, when you fly north-west out of Brisbane, after 20 minutes you pass Lady Musgrave Island - the southernmost part of the reef. If you flew for the next 3 and a half hours until you hit Niugini, you would still be over it. Are you really going to come to OZ and NOT see the barrier reef?

Other tourist attactions include the Skyrail rainforest experience, Tjapukai indiginous culture extravaganza, cold beer and nice steak. A word of warning though, if you see water, assume crocadile. Read the signs and obey. They really are out there.

Do you really need accommodation for 16+, or would 4 rooms of 4 suffice, or any other mathematical combination?

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #38 on: 19 Mar 2019, 13:56 »
We're six months ish until Mittens time. We should probably think about booking something... Would an Australian local be willing to pick this up?

Wiggy

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Re: Mittens 2019 - Australia??
« Reply #39 on: 27 Mar 2019, 08:27 »
If there's anything I can do to assist I will willingly volunteer. It's a long way to come for most of you, so maximise the experience! I know we all get precious little vacation time, and this country is huge - so air travel is necessary within country. I once met some tourists who wanted to hire a camper van to drive to Adelaide from Cairns "for the weekend". It's 2000 miles! 7 times the length of the UK! The roads are crap too.

When I was flying I was often asked "Where would you recommend I go, given that I have a short holiday?" I used to answer (and spoke to an airline marketing strategist about this), you need to see "City, Surf, Reef and Rock." City is Sydney for the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and other tourist traps (have a beer in The Rocks though); Surf is Gold Coast which is Miami all over again - for quality go north of Brisbane to Sunshine Coast; Reef is Cairns, which I love; and Rock is Uluru - expensive and miles from anywhere, an option that is probably not necessary to get the outback experience. I'm currently working on a business plan to combine tourism marketing between NZ and OZ so if you come all this way you should see both. The trouble is both sides see the other as competion, rather than combining to compete against tourist blocs, area destinations as opposed to specific countries.

Let me know how I can assist - PM me if you like. Personally I'd recommend holiday villas in Palm Cove, but it's up to you. I was never a travel consultant. But I can be a great host and guide!