Traveling to Australia May 3-16, 2009

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Traveling to Australia May 3-16, 2009

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Old 04-10-2009, 10:53 PM
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Traveling to Australia May 3-16, 2009

Hello everyone. I will be in Australia May 3-16, 2009. We (there will be 3 of us) will be arriving in Sydney and then driving to the Blue Mountains, on to Campbelltown, NSW, on to Canberra, on to Bairnsdale, VIC, on to Melbourne, on to Appollo Bay and then back to Melbourne to fly back to the USA. We will be renting a midsize car in Sydney for the whole trip. I am trying to get an estimate of how much Australian currency I need to buy for trip. Everything is paid for except petrol, food, admissions and souvenirs. I know this is a big question but can someone help me with an estimate? I have no idea how many liters per kilometer the car will get or how much petrol costs. Also, from my research it appears restaurant prices are quite high in Australia. We would not be eating at "fancy" restaurants. I am trying to avoid foreign transaction fees on my credit card as well as foreign currency fees. My bank will charge a 3% fee every time I use my card in addition to the foreign currency conversion fee. Any help will be appreciated.

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Old 04-13-2009, 11:37 AM
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Banks love to earn money through fees don't they and 3% is even higher than the usual 2% we pay to most banks here.

Foreign conversion rates are applicable whether you use a credit card, debit card or just buy some Aussie $$$ at your bank before departure and whereas your bank will have their conversion rate it ought to be pretty well much what you might get charged in doing progressive card transactions and so some savings to be had re the 3%.

Anyway re $$$
Off top of my head, say 2000km. to be covered, 10 km./L and @ $1.30/L you're looking at about $260 and could be closer to $200 so bugger all in fuel cost.

If you want to keep meal prices down and have a substantial meal, check out any hotels in towns that you stop at as most pubs as we call them here have counter lunches for lunch and dinner with prices from below $10 for basic meals.
Do try out Victorian fish and chips as a take away too, for flake [shark] is bland but great fish and they'll have things like prawn cutlets and other gear too [Lakes Entrance before Bairnsdale for some great fish and chips] - a Chiko roll surprise package and dim sims as aussie specialities not to be missed as is a game of AFL - The official site of the Australian Football League - , a night match at Etihad Stadium or MCG in Melbourne accompanied by a pie and sauce, a hotdog etc. and all washed down with some beer.

You might also want to check out hotdockets - Vouchers, Coupons and Dockets from Shop a Docket and see what deals are on the go - just plug in state/city and you'll see what vouchers can be printed off.

Sydney and Melbourne both have their entertainment precincts, the Harbour area for Sydney and Yarra South Bank amongst others in Melbourne where there are much higher restaurant prices to rip off visitors, but around both cities there are plenty of better priced options - walk back up George Street from the Harbour in Sydney and keep an eye out for older pubs and food halls in Chinatown and in Melbourne you'll find plenty of options all over the CBD once away from southbank - Celtic Club Bar on corner of Latrobe and Queen Street for some good Irish fare and Guiness a favourite and if you feel like a late night meal head over to Brunswick Street Fitzroy, plenty of pubs and for a decadent desert, try the Chocolate Cakes at the Red Tongue.

Do you have Subways [ the roll type sandwich type] in states for they are healthy and good value.

And with breakfast, don't get sucked into $10 for a motel/hotel breakfast for you'll be able to get some orange juice night before in a 711 store or Safeway, some cheese and rolls or whatever and grab a coffee if need be and water anywhere you're going will be good quality and so after having bought some bottled drinks initially, just fill up with tap water.

But all up, I'd reckon three of you ought to be able to eat/drink reasonably well for $100/d, wack on another $50 for nights you might want to have a few drinks [ at pub prices] but if you fancy some wine, some not too bad cask varieties of red and white for about $12/4L - that's cheap drinking and with nights cooler you can also get port by the 2L cask too - They say we're the lucky country, and especially so for cheap soaks.

And those wine casks can be the base of the ultra cheap Aussie meal, a loaf of the best Helgas multigrain or pumpkin seed bread, bottle of BBQ sauce, some cheese, tomatoes and a Kg. of Gourmet sausages and find yourself a free or coin operated electric BBQ, and plenty of free ones about at parks near beaches or on Yarra Bank opposite Tennis Centre and three of you will be truly full on well less than $30 with plenty left in the cask for tomorrow.

Admissions, depends on what you're going to, but tourist attractions can be anything from just zero or $10 up to $200 for more expensive stuff like hot air ballooning, a night at the footy, allow about $70-80 including eats and drinks
Souveneirs, walk Swanston Street in Melbourne and a few shops there with stuff starting from about $2 and then just past town hall could be some jewellers with discounted Opal stuff and for some interesting Aussie parafenallia, get yourself to an Australian Geographic store - google that and you'll find the shop addresses on the website.
And then at the footy there'll be all sorts of stuff for footy fans.

So all up, if you're allowing A$100/d per head you ought to be laughing, bit more depending on what things you want to do.

And seeing as you're heading from Canberra to Bairnsdale, most direct route for you will be to head from Canberra down to Cooma and then on south to Cann River which is on Princess Highway and then it's about 200 km on to Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale.
Have a look at Travelmate - Australia Accommodation and Hotels, Tours, Car Hire, Maps, Australian Travel Guide and that'll give you routes, distances and times.

The alternative to heading more or less south from Canberra for quickest route would be to head back over to the coast at Batemans Bay to go around via the coast, a great drive too though a lot of it is a bit monotonous forested country well away from the coast and probably about an additional 300-400 km.

Different choice of locations you've chosen, especially Bairnsdale, someone seconded to RAAF that you know?

You've got a bit of a hectic trip lined up but one thing to streamline it a bit would be to instead of driving right into Melbourne before GOR, consider heading from Berwick to Cranbourne and across towards Frankston and then down the Mornington Peninsula for Sorrento and a ferry across to Queenscliff and then on to the GOR - misses a lot of Melbourne Traffic.
If you can fit in a couple of nights, you could leave the Princess Freeway just past Morwell for Mirboo North, Leongatha, Inverloch, Wonthaggi and on to Phillip Island for Koalas and Fairy Penguins if of interest, stay the night at Cowes and then head around to Cranbourne and Sorrento next day.

Cheap good value accommodation for three could probably be got in cabins or on site vans at Holiday Parks, plenty of vacancies during May.

On way back from AB if you can get booked in, check out Sovereign Hill - Home re accommodation there and dinner show "Blood on the Southern Cross"

You drive into Melbourne next day and offload car as you do not need it for around Melbourne and check out the free city circle tram as best way around and also give you an idea of what's where.

Last edited by Wanderer; 04-26-2009 at 11:27 AM.

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Old 04-26-2009, 04:12 AM
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Wanderer's reply is very detailed and is full of excellent tips. And I have to agree if you budget for $150 a day you'll be doing well, some days you'll spend more than others. I'm an Aussie living in NYC and I find traveling in the States is not that much different in cost compared to traveling in Australia. Matter of fact the US dollar goes further since the Australian dollar dropped from where it was last year... Have a great trip you'll love OZ just like I love the US!

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