I have a quick trip planned to Australia with a couple of friends in August. I have never been there before, and neither have my two friends. I’ve started to do some research on hotels to stay in/things to do/places to eat — but since I’m currently biking across the US, my research time is very limited right now. So, I am coming to you asking for suggestions!


My friends and I are flying into Brisbane, and plan to spend a day or two there and then head north to Cairns for 3 or 4 days. Because of the length of our trip, I don’t think that we can add any other cities to the list this time around (but I will definitely be back to check out Sydney!).


Hotel wise, I have status with Priority Club, Hilton, and Club Carlson. I am planning to do a status challenge with Marriott before that time, so I should have status with them as well. I also don’t mind spending money at Starwood properties because I like their points (and hopefully I will have status with them in the near future). From my basic research, it seems that there is a Sheraton, Hilton, and Marriott in or near Brisbane, and a Sheraton, Holiday Inn, and Hilton in Cairns. Thoughts on these hotels?


We also had talked about renting a boat for a day and maybe night? Does anyone have any experience doing that?


In Cairns we are planning to rent a car. How trippy is it to drive on the other side of the road? I’m kind of excited to have a go at it!


As for activities, scuba/snorkeling is definitely a must. Have you had a good experience with a dive shop near Cairns and want to recommend them?


Any ideas/comments/tips are greatly appreciated!