Australia/extended trip to Australia
we will have one month (Dec-January) to visit australia and would like to see as much as possible. Where do you suggest we go, and how do you recommend travel from one area to another. I know distances are big- we love train travel, but could fly if necessary or should we consider renting a car. what are the highlights and do not miss sites.
I guess coming from the cold you'll think the heat will be wonderful!
It's probably the worst time to visit but I'll do the best I can.
You really need to forward your interests so I can adequately assist you. Not much good sending you to a golf course when you really want to scuba dive!
If it were up to me (assuming you're arriving in Sydney), I would allocate at least 3 days for Sydney (check out my pages on virtualtourist.com under iandsmith for details), doing a harbour walk, checking out the beaches and generally having a look around.
Then I would head north to Urunga via the coast; cut over to Armidale via Dorrigo, allocating time at Dorrigo to do their rainforest walk. Then head south via Gloucester (very scenic), cut inland when you reach Hexham and visit the Hunter Valley Wineries.
After that head to Rylstone via Sandy Hollow then the Blue Mountains (recommend Govetts Leaps, Grand Canyon trail). After this go to the Southern Highlands (Bowral is beautiful, Berrima is historic and interesting) then to Goulburn and over to the coast via Braidwood.
Work your way south, stopping here and there where applicable until you get to Traralgon. Spend a day at Walhalla then go to the Dandenongs - best gardens in Australia, easily spend two days there.
Allocate a couple of days in Melbourne (National Gallery of Victoria is Australia's best if you're into art) before, wait for it, heading to Tasmania - Australia's best tourist state.
Again, check out my pages, to see what's available.
I know you're missing the golden tourist triangle of Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef but, with the time it takes to get there and the money you need, you're better off following my suggestions.
An alternative to going south is to go via Canberra and the Snowy Mountains and take in the gold rush towns of Ballarat and Bendigo, another excellent route.
Hope that helps for now, let me know if you want any further assistance.