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Need a little help scratching my down under itch...

Discussion in 'Marriott Vacation Club' started by kds4, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. kds4

    kds4 TUG Member

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    So, in preparation for the upcoming devaluation of travel packages, I am aggressively working to put together a 2-week trip to Australia next year (June/July) that will include redeeming two 5 night packages (1 each for Sydney and Brisbane). If anyone has experience with arranging and traveling there, I would love to hear any tips (especially airline related).
     
    TXTortoise likes this.
  2. bbodb1

    bbodb1 TUG Member

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    Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison
    [​IMG]
     
    kds4 likes this.
  3. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    June / July will be off season, winter (which is not winter like here in the US). Therefore, you should be watching for fare sales as it's gets closer, I wouldn't suggest arranging now unless you are trying to use airline miles? 2 weeks should be a minimum stay, it's a L O N G flight. Brisbane is wonderful, Steve Irwins zoo is top notch. Sydney is without saying one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. You'll want an Australian airline flight between the 2 cities, it's quite far. Think about cell phone coverage, do your plan(s) have any there, what does it cost, what do you need, does the same number matter, etc.

    Cheaper Australian airlines include Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Tiger Air, you should get on the mailing list for those to get announced fare deals to save money, there is a lot of time for that and you will find some great sales.

    Australians do drive on the left side (unlike the USA), so, get ready for that if you decide to rent.

    Brisbane has a lot of potential tours into some of the outback, or even jungle.

    If you want to do something less urban, consider Palm Cove area, some TS there and a lot of activity with the Great Barrier Reef, night zoos (a blast!), and many other things. You can surely exchange into some in that area with your TS.

    Been a while since I went to those 2 cities admittedly. Was just in Melbourne, Perth, and, Busselton last year. I have a friend who lives in Melbourne.

    You will enjoy the trip! Australians are mostly very friendly, and, while they speak English, it's sort of fun learning hundreds of new words!

    If you like Fizzers, try Fruit Tingles while you are there, always been addicted to them.

    Do you have any specific questions? Open ended is kind of hard to respond to.
     
  4. kds4

    kds4 TUG Member

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    Great insights and much appreciated. We will be 4 traveling. We are looking at June/July based on DS and DD school schedules. Being below the equator, we did cue in on this being their winter and what temperatures could bring. Overall, quite mild. Planning on relying on the TP as much as possible to minimize expenses. For redeeming FF miles, we looked at United, Delta, and American. We ruled out Delta because the miles required were crazy ridiculous. Both United and American have availability for Economy at 40k per person each way (or 320k R/T for all 4 of us). We've decided on American over United based on their policies to upgrade to Economy Plus. United requires you to pay a flat upgrade fee for all segments each way while American will let us 'cherry-pick' segment by segment where we want to pay to upgrade to Economy Plus. Also, even if we upgrade every segment both ways, American's Economy Plus upgrade cost is about half of what United charges ($250 versus $460 per person R/T). Also, I am looking at American's new Premium Economy class. They will supposedly be available to redeem award tickets/award upgrades for (but nothing is showing available yet). American executives said in an interview they will be bookable before the end of 2018. We'll see.

    We have already decided that Sydney is definitely going to be one of our stops (since all international flights on the carriers I am looking at go through Sydney to get anywhere else in Australia). There is a Category 5 full-service Marriott that looks promising. I've been going back and forth about whether to go to Brisbane or Melbourne as our other stop. I'm leaning toward Brisbane (partly because of Surfer's Paradise and the ability to get up to a 2BR unit for a 'Florida' price). I did note that if we wanted to hit Melbourne for just a night or two, I can add a leg to the flight to do that for only 10k additional miles. The main attraction would be the chance to do a little skiing. Both Mt. Baw Baw and Lake Mountain ski areas are within a couple hours drive.

    Your idea of an outback tour from Brisbane would definitely be of interest to us. We are also looking at visiting the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo outside of Brisbane.
     
  5. bbodb1

    bbodb1 TUG Member

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    Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison
    I have to admit I was wondering if anyone around here was old enough to remember Fels Naptha....
     
  6. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Yep, do what is best, 40k each is likely the best you can do. You will not be sorry for Sydney! Their zoo is actually nice too. And the walk on top of the bridge there..... If you are daring... Surfers Paradise we were at (the MVCI property) last year and the pool is the picture shown by my name. Nice place, plenty to do around there, Sea World etc, but lots of people and traffic. It's certainly not cold. The MVCI property is not on a beach but it's not far. We also took a jeep tour into the jungle from Palm Cove, that was nice! They have underwater diving, where, they put the bubble hat on you and you can walk on the bottom, etc. Main problem is you have to swim in designated areas, Jellyfish. The Great Barrier is beautiful, there should still be some good places.

    Melbourne has a cat 8 Marriott we stayed at. It's very good service there. But it's in the central business district. Semi long drive away is the 12 apostles, beautiful rock formations, all day trip.

    Yes, everyone likes Koalas!
     
  7. SMB1

    SMB1 TUG Member

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    I have no idea what it has to do with this thread, but I do know it is a miracle stain remover. It is unbelievably good. Our kids clothes looked as good when we handed them down to friends as they did when we bought them. And when we received clothes from their cousins that were stained, like kids' hand-me-downs usually are, we made them look like new before our kids wore them. And when I say we I mean DW.
     
  8. bbodb1

    bbodb1 TUG Member

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    Long ago, Fels Naptha was used as a home remedy for skin irritations - including diaper rash and, um....other itches shall we say....
    I recall my grandparents swore by it.
    We're going in the waaaaay back machine here....
    I don't know why this just popped in my head but Dr. Tichenor's was another product they used religiously....
     
  9. sb2313

    sb2313 TUG Member

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    I manage a chain pharmacy and dr tischners is mentioned daily by our patients. Don’t forget the 3 6s couch syrup, certainly has brand name recognition!
     
  10. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I was thinking of Calamine Lotion. But a nice TS vacation followed by a cruise is how I did it. (or vice-versa)
     
  11. catharsis

    catharsis TUG Member

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    Sydney Marriott is well located and a good option. (Westin also good option)

    Internal Australian domestic flights are often a good use of miles as they are comparatively cheap.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
     
  12. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Another thing to consider, and we will probably do this next time. Consider a layover for a night in Hawaii or somewhere along the way. When we flew to MVCI property at Surfers Paradise from DFW, it was 39 hours door to door..... A layover sure would have been nice! Sure, there was a hangup somewhere, but, it's a long way.
     
  13. mjm1

    mjm1 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I can also recommend the Sydney Marriott on Circular Quey. It is currently Cat 8 but will be going to Cat 5 on Aug 1. I don’t know why. Great location and we liked everything about it when we stayed there a few years ago. We just reserved 5 nights there for next June. From there we will go to Surfer’s Paradise (SP) for 5-7 nights. Not sure from there as we have an additional 3-4 days before flying home. Are day trips from SPto Brisbane advisable rather than spending a couple nights based in Brisbane? Any suggestions on this or other places to visit would be appreciated.

    We spent several days in Melbourne during our last trip to Australia and New Zealand and rented a car one day to go to the Twelve Apostles. Long day but we really enjoyed the drive and the site. But, we don’t want to return there.

    Our return flight home is out of Sydney, because we were able to get Business class seats on Fiji Airlines through their partnership with Alaska. Never flown Fiji, but from what I read they are very good.

    Best regards.

    Mike
     
  14. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Brisbane is not that far from SP. You staying at the MVCI there? Great place.
     
  15. mjm1

    mjm1 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Yes, we are staying at the MVCI side of the resort. Initially we thought of spending a couple days in Brisbane, but it looks like it’s only a bit over an hour drive. Depending on what there is to do in and around Brisbane do you suggest just making a day trip or two up there?

    In addition, any other places in Australia you would suggest visiting for a couple days? We considered Cairns, but that seems like just a base for going out on the Barrier Reef. Seems we can do that from SP or Brisbane. Just a different part of the reef. As a side note, we don’t scuba and my DW doesn’t l8ke to snorkel. I will snorkel if the water is reasonable. Not sure about the water temp in late May and early June.

    Thanks.

    Mike
     
  16. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I have been to Brisbane - Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Whitsunday Islands etc several times, for business and pleasure like a million years ago. We are doing a 17-night Transpacific Coast out of Sydney ending in Oahu in 2020. I really want to go to Melbourne since I have heard so much great things but likely not make it there due to time constraint.

    My husband has not been to Asia-Pacific at all and I am a little rusty with regards to Australia, Sydney in particular and will need a little help. I am thinking 3 nights is plenty in Sydney... and yes, we do intend to book Sydney Harbour Marriott at Circular Quay. What do you suggest that we see in Sydney besides the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Zoo (I think it was the zoo where I took pictures with a Koala :))... and ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  17. mjm1

    mjm1 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    In addition to touring the Opera House, we liked:

    - Manly Beach area to which you can take a ferry, which on its own is a nice experience. We didn’t even go in the water, but enjoyed walking along the sidewalk with the beautiful trees and visiting some of the shops.
    - walking across the bridge and looking back toward the city and the Opera House. You can pay to scale high up on top or toward the top if you dare, but we just enjoyed a simple walk across the bridge.
    - The Rocks, which is a historical area near and under the bridge. Historic buildings that are now shops and restaurants.
    - Darling Harbour is also a nice place with many good restaurants.
    - Royal Botanic Gardens. We enjoyed walking around this large park for the view.
    - Day trip to the Blue Mountains. We didn’t get there during our last trip due to weather, but we hope to make it next year. You can drive or take a tour.
    - Opera House mentioned above. If interested see a performance if available. We didn’t have a chance to see one, but hope to do so next year. The tour was very interesting.

    I am sure there are other things to see and do as well.

    Best regards.

    Mike
     
  18. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    You can do the barrier reef from other areas, but note that Cairns is much more rainforest, different terrain, not the same as down south, and I think (but am not certain) the reef is in better shape up there. Brisbane, you have to do Steve Irwins zoo. There are many fine interior places, and, many fine western places, but doubt you want to go that far? Next time I go down there, I want to do Darwin, the middle, and Broome areas.

    In Cairns, water temps would be in the upper 70's during your timeframe. Down south further, probably low to mid 70's.
     
  19. mjm1

    mjm1 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Thanks Steve. We appreciate your insights.

    Mike
     

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