We were there last September and October. A lot of good recommendations have been passed along and here are a few more random observations:1) Buy a phone card at convenience stores for calls back to the State. Telstra cards work everywhere. We had rates as low as 10 cents (U.S) a minute.2) If you like oysters, try Sydney ``rocks' on the half shell -- and wrapped in a chunk of filet, called a Carpetbagger. Check out Kingsley's steakhouse in the Sydney's CBD and Wolfies in the Rocks. Also eat a few ``bugs.' The wine is outstanding.3) Take the ferry from downtown to Manly. Walk the Corso from the harbor side to the ocean -- all of about five blocks. Head back downtown at sunset for a great ferry ride.4) Climb the Harbor Bridge.5) If you ever wanted to get certified for scuba, do it up in Far North Queensland. Great rates and beautiful sites.6) Don't be afraid to drive, but don't curse me when you hit those 50-mph left-handed traffic circles north of Cairns ....7) When you go out on the reef, if you are divers do a three-day or more liveboard. If you are all snorkelers, choose a small boat -- Calypso in Port Douglas is great. If you have some non-swimmers, then perhaps a big boat like Quicksilver might have more options (submersibles), but prepare for huge crowds and regiment ``fun.'8) Cairns is a great base for activities, but a busy tourist town. If that's what you want fine, if not Port Douglas is smaller and a little like Lahaina ten years ago. If you really want to get away from the international tourist scene, try someplace down the coast like Magnetic Island. It's not posh and you won't be pampered, but you'll find great beaches, wonderful people plus koalas in the wild. Island escapes run the gamut from ultra-post to tents. Let me know where you fit and I'll take my best estimate at a match.9) In-country airline passes for international visitors from Qantas and Ansett, used to be a slam dunk. You'd buy them before leaving the U.S. However lately, airfare wars have produced some amazing deals -- although they've calmed down a bit. Price your incountry trips online through Australia travel sites before deciding what to buy.There are also pass plans through Flag Hotels, a national chain affiliated with Choice Hotels in the U.S.
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