Someone might have interests in travelling overseas on their own rather than with the travel agent.
Well, it took me a while to make a plan for a 9-day trip Melbourne to Great Barrier Reef at mid of July. Therefore, I am glad to share with you guys.
Great Barrier Reef is a huge area, which includes lots of cities. After I have made consultation with locals, I decided to take an airplane to Cains as it is the most popular city with the cheapest airplane ticket and more choices for the time schedules.
There are several steps for planning a trip:
First thing is book an airplane: search webjet, it has comparison flights which offer you the best price, sometimes there is discount if you can wait. Though tiger is the cheapest, but no Aussies like it, they all complain how bad service it is. I normally take Jetstar or Virgin Australia, which is cheaper than Qantas, the time is tricky if you want the cheapest one, then you have to get up very early in the morning. I would not suggest go on Friday or return on Sunday. That would be most expensive.
Well, before book an accommodation, you might have to search how many places you are gonna visit for 9 days. You may stay both in Cains or Port Douglas for a few days, on the way visit Palm Cove; for me, because I have plenty of time, after making comparison, I choice Palm Cove, which is between Cains and Port Douglas.
Second, book accommodation, remember in Australia, most places have to pay in advance, the closer the date, there is no refund.
Caravan Parks are accepted by most of the ordinary locals, they are good value for money with playground for kids and self-contained kitchen, you can cook whatever you like, but you need clean it before leave, otherwise fine be applied.
However, not all cities provide cheap caravan parks. In Great Barrier Reef, either Cains or Port Douglas, they are not cheap at all. Therefore, I searched Wotif.com or Stayz for apartments or Hotel, but I booked with Booking.com as it provided Oasis at Palm Cove, a little more expensive than Caravan, but good value, beach in front, it also provides cooking facilities, swimming pool, from the photos, I can tell it’s nice and clean. Accommodation is the hardest part, which took me a few days to make a decision.
Renting a car is the last thing on my mind, as most car providers don’t charge money in advance or some do in Cains, but with a small amount for car insurance. It’s better pick up and return at the same place, for a different location, that would be pretty expensive.
After you’ve done those hardest parts, then take a rest, you can start searching what specific attraction each city offers. The majority cities have information centre which provides you free magazines and maps for the specific travelling activities you can do, which is awesome. But I will still search information beforehand; the time is limited when you start a trip there.
Mainly, National parks are free entry, there are exemptions. Most tourist spots are free. However, I found Great Barrie Reef is a place paying the most for cruises, fun stuff.
Please don’t forget book a cruise to Great Barrier Reef or Green Island a few days earlier. Otherwise, seats might not available.
The last thing you may check restaurants, there are quite a lot, as long you search restaurant at Cains or Palm Cove, or whichever city, it will come out the whole list from trip advisor, from top 10 to the least. Whatever you choose suits you the most. Also, you can cook at home where contains cooking facilities, and it is a most popular way in Australia. For a Chinese, you will be very sick of having 3 meals a day western food for 9 days. Most Asian restaurants are all right.
That’s pretty much a general plan for a trip to Great Barrie Reef. I will write specific ones when I start travelling.
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