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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    303

    OT: Best cell SIM cards for OZ

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    Hey there Aussie ladies-
    I am getting ready to head down under in 2 weeks, and am planning on getting a pre-paid SIM card for my cell phone to use while I am there (I already got my phone unlocked, so we are all good on that front). I was wondering if there is a certain carrier that is better than the others? I am going to be in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and then around Hobart. Basically the ones that I have found that have good international rates (will really be using it most to call the US) are through Vodafone (through Go-Sim) and Optus (sold by cellular abroad). Or should I just pick one up once I get to Sydney... I just wonder if they have as good of international rates. The ones I am looking at I can call the US for between A$0.14 and A$0.27 per minute with the cheaper one just having a larger connection fee. they all have free incoming calls, even for incomming international calls and similar rates for calls within OZ.

    Any suggestions?

    Also, one other thing I am looking at right now... I still haven't booked my place to stay in Hobart... I am planning on doing the Hostel thing as it is crazy how much $$ it saves that I can use on other things. The problem is that I am going to have a rental car there so I can get out of Hobart and see things. The two hostels I am considering are Montomery's down in the CBD and Adelphi, which is closer to the North Hobart resteraunt area, but not downtown. Montgomery's doesn't have parking, but there is a 24 hour lot that I can park at for $2.50 over night and a max charge of $13.50/day, and there are meters on the street. Adelphi has free off street parking as they are in a more residental area. Given that I am going to be out and about most of the days, do you think that it is worth staying out of town for the conveninece and just driving or bussing in when i want to in the evening? Also remember I have never driven on the "wrong" side of the road before, so too much crazy city driving is not terribly appealing

    Thanks for all your help, and I am looking forward to spending some time down under!
    Ellen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    5,318

    vodafone

    When you arrive at the airport venture over to the Vodafone shop at the airport. I use vodafone & if you purchase a $49 top up it gives you $250 worth of calls They're sold in $29, $49 & $69 value bundle packs i believe.

    NOt sure about your Hobart q...

    Have fun driving on the left! Have you driven through roundabouts?

    C

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    303
    Thanks CC-
    I think that I will just stop at the Vodafone shop at the airport... it seems to be cheaper than getting things set up with the starter kit before I leave. I will just have to call my parents with the OZ phone number once I have it, but not a big deal.

    I have driven in roundabouts before....and been a passanger in them on the left side of the road when I was in New Zealand a couple of years ago. it should also help that I will have been in OZ for almost 2 weeks when I get the car in tasmania, so I will at least be somewhat used to seeing the traffic coming from the wrong direction

    Thanks again!
    Ellen

    PS. I am sure that I will make it to Perth at some point once I start working (going to work for an oil company).....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    57
    I don't live in Hobart but visit there frequently to see my sister.

    My humble opinion would be to stay in Nth Hobart. You can wander down to eat and it has a warmer feel to it than the CBD. But I haven;t stayed in either hostel to know if one is better. I will ask my sister.

    Hobart is really small, just like a big country town- which is wonderful- and I would be surprised if you had to pay more than a minimal amount for parking.

    I LOVE Tasmania with all its beautiful countryside and magestic hiking. I hope you are getting out into the backcountry. If you need some recommendations for walking, I would be delighted to help.

    Have a wonderful trip,
    Sue

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    303
    Thanks Sue!

    I am currently leaning towards staying North Hobart, it just seems simpler all around.

    I don't have a lot of time in Tasmania, only 3 full days (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday). My current plan is to go out to Port Arthur one day (maybe Monday as I am guessing there will be fewer people, right?), One day at Bruney Island, and one day up at Mt. Field Natl Park. How does that sound for only 3 days? I would consider switching out Bruney Island for something else if someone had a great idea for something that I am missing....

    Thanks again for your help!
    Ellen

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    57
    Sounds like a great trip.

    Mt Field is great and really close. The Russell Falls are lovely and then drive up to Lake Dobson ( I think that is right).There is a nice walk around the lake and if you have time and the weather is kind, walk up to the Tarn Shelf and wander along the walking tracks up there. The 3 different elevations mean that you will have a really varied day of walking

    Port Arthur is interesting and a little bit of history. Near there, there are some great coastal day walks which I LOVE. From memory, it is Fortescue Bay. I will dig out my old Day Hike Guide and get some more specifics for you.

    I don;t know anything about Bruny Island. My memory is that it is a long way for a day trip. The Haartz (?sp) Mountains are a popular day trip in our family. If the weather is bad ( and it often is- you don;t get rainforest for free!) Mt Wellington on Hobart's doorstep has a myriad of lovely rainforest trails and it doesn't matter if the sun isn't shining.

    I will try to get some more details and get back to you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    57
    Back again!

    I spoke with my sister and she had a few suggestions.

    She thought that the 3 places you had chosen were great.

    Mt Field: Unless you are super fit, don't bother going up to the Tarn Shelf and Mt Field West, but spend your time walking around Lake Dobson to Twilight Tarn and the little museum there.

    At Port Arthur, go to Tasman Arch and do the Clifftop walk to Waterfall Bay. Don't bother with the Fortescue Bay/Cape Raul walk as you won't have time.

    She said that Bruny Island is great. She mentioned the Lighthouse there and a walk from Adventure Bay round to the Cape. She also has heard that they do boat trips from Adventure Bay out to see the seals. Apparently, there is a great tourist info service at the Ferry as you arrive at Bruny which will tell you all you need to know.

    I hope that this helps a little.
    Have a great trip,
    Sue

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
    Posts
    5,672
    Just popping in to wish you a great trip, Ellen !

    - Jo.

    2009 Lynskey R230 Houseblend - Brooks Team Pro
    2007 Rivendell Bleriot - Rivet Pearl

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    303
    Quote Originally Posted by susanm8048 View Post
    Back again!

    I spoke with my sister and she had a few suggestions.

    She thought that the 3 places you had chosen were great.

    Mt Field: Unless you are super fit, don't bother going up to the Tarn Shelf and Mt Field West, but spend your time walking around Lake Dobson to Twilight Tarn and the little museum there.

    At Port Arthur, go to Tasman Arch and do the Clifftop walk to Waterfall Bay. Don't bother with the Fortescue Bay/Cape Raul walk as you won't have time.

    She said that Bruny Island is great. She mentioned the Lighthouse there and a walk from Adventure Bay round to the Cape. She also has heard that they do boat trips from Adventure Bay out to see the seals. Apparently, there is a great tourist info service at the Ferry as you arrive at Bruny which will tell you all you need to know.

    I hope that this helps a little.
    Have a great trip,
    Sue
    Thanks Sue!
    This helps a lot, it is great to have an idea of what to really spend my time at, and what to skip given how little time I will have in Tasmania. I will be printing this all out to take with me!



    Quote Originally Posted by jobob View Post
    Just popping in to wish you a great trip, Ellen !

    - Jo.
    Hey Jo-
    Kind of hard to believe that I leave in just over a week! I am still frantically trying to get some new results to show at the conference that I am attending (the real reason for the trip, or at least the excuse ). Then once I get back it will be the mad dash to my defense I will be around all summer though, and hope to get a lot of riding in... we will have to plan another Bay Area TE ride!
    Ellen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    57
    Have a great trip. I wish I was going too!!
    Sue

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    5,318

    trip

    Hey Ellen,

    When do you leave????

    Hope your trip goes smoothly & no encounters with roos on the roads.

    Take care
    C

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    303
    Hey Ladies!
    Thanks for all the help with the trip planning! It was great! Got back April 27, but things have been crazy busy since then and I actually just got a selection of my photos uploaded for people to see. You can see them at: http://picasaweb.google.com/ellen.mallman/Australia
    This is only a small selection of the almost 500 photos I took Amazing how many photos you take when you are by yourself!

    I think that the best thing that I did was climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge (granted it was also the most expensive!). I did the twilight climb, so it was light as we went up, and we got to watch the sun set and the lights come up over Sydney... amazing! I would highly reccommend it to anyone going to Sydney!

    I did real well with my wild life sighting also, and not just in wildlife parks! In the wild I saw: wollabies, parrots, flying fox, echidna, platypus!, Tasmanian devil, but no penguins I did get to hold a koala though... but I had to pay for that

    All in all a great trip, and I can't wait to go back again, especially to Tasmania to do more hiking and see more of the island as I only had 3 full days there.

    Also, I did quite well with my first experience driving on the wrong side of the road! The first time was a little stressful since it was after dark, raining, and I was trying to find my hostel in Hobart But after that it was fine, though I did keep turning on my windshield whipers when I wanted to turn on my turn signal!

    Thanks again for the help!
    Ellen

 

 

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