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Australia and New Zealand

We are thinking of going to the outback,Great Barrier Reef,Cairns,Melbourne,and New Zealand. When is a good time to go? We thought about March but because of flies and heat in the outback and storms in Cairns,we are thinking of September or October?

Posted by
3961 posts

We started in New Zealand (North Island) in mid February. Went to Australia the end of February and started in Sydney>Adalaide>Kangaroo Island>Port Douglas>Great Barrier Reef>Cairns. We completed our journey the second week of March. We did not encounter storms in Cairns. The weather was perfect. We did not go to the outback or Melbourne. It is my understanding that the best time to visit the outback is May to October.

Posted by
14920 posts

How much time do you have for this trip, what are your interests, and where in the Outback do you wish to go? And how will you travel on the ground? Where did you read about storms in Cairns? How much of New Zealand do you wish to see?

Lots more information needed before anyone can help you in a meaningful way.

Posted by
6 posts

We are going to Alice Springs,Ayers rock,both North and south island of New Zealand. We are thinking about going with Globus or another group travel. I heard Cairns has a Monsoon time in the Summer and Fall and an occasional Cyclone.I am mainly concerned about the region of Alice springs and Ayers Rock and the heat and flies in March

Posted by
2635 posts

In March you would indeed be seeing the last of the wet season in Cairns. A better option might be to schedule your trip for September, which would see much less chance of rain there and still provide reasonably temperate weather for the other destinations on your list - especially Uluru which can get quite hot in mid summer.

Not to state what should be obvious, but you do know that Uluru is about a 6 hour drive from Alice, right? Some people don't know that and are thus mightily surprised upon arrival at the airport in Alice Springs to discover that they're nowhere close to Ayers Rock.
Know that you can put together a very nice itinerary connecting your various points of interest, and save yourself a lot of money in the process, by making good use of Jetstar - the Aussie low cost airline (Qantas affiliate) to get around the country. For example, you can fly directly into the airport at Uluru without going thru Alice Springs at all.
If you're concerned about driving, or would just rather not, there are day tours that are readily available upon arrival that will take you where you want to go with a minimum of hassle. Point being that you really don't need a tour company to book this for you.

Posted by
301 posts

I would suggest the Trip Advisor Australia Forum. I planned my trip last July using the site and the experts' excellent suggestions. There are also helpful links related to weather, etc.

Posted by
920 posts

As Karen stated, check the TripAdvisor forums for some very good advice. We went on a similar trip starting April 1. We started in Cairns for 5 nights and went to the GBR, Daintree, Mossman Gorge, Kuranda and the Atherton tablelands. The next 5 nights were in Sydney and we went to the Three Sisters (by train) and hit the highlights of Sydney. We then flew to Christchurch for 2 nights and rented a car. We spent one night at Mt. Cook and drove to Queenstown for four nights. We then flew to Auckland for the last 2 nights and flew home from there. If I had it to do over, I would start in NZ because of cooler/cold weather. We needed coats, hats and gloves by the time we got to the South island. If we had gone 3 weeks earlier, we wouldn't have needed them.

Posted by
7175 posts

Best times to visit ...
May to Oct for Outback & Top End
May to Oct for Cairns & Great Barrier Reef
Oct to Apr for Melbourne & New Zealand

I would choose October for your trip.
Start in the Outback/north and finish in the south/NZ.

Jan-Mar are best months for NZ, but don’t even consider the Outback or Reef at these times.

Posted by
8 posts

In 2008 we backed into Australia by flying into Darwin from Singapore in July, just as the winter tourist season was ending. We took in the digerydoo (sp?) music on the beach at sunset. We took the train down to Alice in perfect weather, stopping briefly for tubing in the river at Katherine. There is a wonderful "night for day" museum of natural history in Alice, where you can see nocturnal creatures in their dark habitats during the day, by wearing special glasses as you quietly walk through. Uluru is stupendous, and do plan to stay for the sunset. A catered buffet supper adds to the enjoyment.
Sydney was still cool as spring was approaching, but the bridge walk, the zoo...and the opera house are spectacular, We even lucked up and got tickets to a performance of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, a brilliant work not often seen in the USA. Bondi Beach was fun, the air was getting warm enough, but the water was still cold.