The arrangement of my trip to Australia was done in 2 weeks time easily through the phone and by email. I told the travel agent, the places I wanted to see and he gave me a 2.5 week itinerary that hit all the spots. I went to Sydney, Port Douglas (GBR), Ayers Rock, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island.
Sydney - location of hotel chosen was perfect. It was within 10 min walks to both the Sydney harbour bridge and opera house.
Port Douglas was chosen over Cairns which turned out to be a good choice as the GBR, Daintree and Mossman Gorge were closer to Port Douglas.
A cruise was booked for my GBR experience to Low Isles. I would NOT recommend this one to adults or solo travelers as it was full of children (99% of ship was children and their family) and wasn't too exciting. I specified that I wanted a tour without a lot of kids but I got this instead. I think skipping Low Isles and going further away to other parts of the reef would have been more memorable.
Ayers rock - There could have been better arrangement here as the travel agent booked my flight early in the morning so I got to Ayers rock at 10am. However, the hotel he booked let people in their rooms at 3pm. There really wasn't much to do around the hotel for 5 hours. It was hot, uncomfortable and I much rather enjoy Port Douglas a bit longer and taken a later flight instead. I asked the hotel staff whether they could get a room ready sooner as I was sick with a cold. The hotel staff still did not have my room ready at 3pm - the promised time for a room. With some juggling, they had to give me another room instead.
The arrangement of activities during Ayers rock was not the best. I had a dinner booked the first night at 6pm. Then the next day, he booked me a 12km walk around Uluru with a 7km hike around kata rock in the afternoon. Bad idea! It was 40C so I don't think both walks should have been on the same day at all. He did not tell me that he booked a 12km walk. He just said he booked a sunrise Uluru tour. Had I known the walk was that long in that heat, I would have gotten it changed earlier so that I didn't lose money switching to another tour.
Adelaide was great. I did my own tours without the help of the company but it was a good city choice. Hotel was in a good location.
Kangaroo Island was also a good experience. If you want to see animals or be in a quiet place away from bigger cities, go there.
Overall, I would go back to Australia. I saw so many things but I also know I missed a lot of the country too (Brisbane, Melbourne, gold coast etc). Just another reason to go back. It was nice of the company to help book my tours so quickly but some improvements especially in Ayers Rock would have made the trip a bit better. I would use this company again but would ask the agent to lay out every little detail about each location/hotel/tour so that I could decide whether a change is warranted.
Seeing kangaroos - all different kinds. I saw an albino one on Kangaroo island.
Koalas - cuddled with a 7 month koala on Kangaroo island.
Sydney Opera house was lovely. I bought a ticket to see a violin concert while I was there and it was great.
Experiencing vastly different environments within one country - big city to tropical to rainforest to desert.
Skip the cruise to Low Isles. I would skip Low Isles altogether. It's just mostly a small beach that has some coral around it. It might be a good idea if you want a tour for your little children if they can't handle long rides on a boat or dont care about the reef too much.
Ayers Rock tour arrangement should have gone: 1st day at 2pm go for a sunset kata hike. 2nd day: sunrise uluru tour then 6pm dinner. Do not book 19km of hiking on the same day when the temperature is 40C.
I should have eaten more seafood!
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