I had to scramble around to try to work out the best time and cost to match our plans. This is the part i hate about holidays, the planning.... no minons to do this legwork for me... sigh...and being the long good friday+easter break over the weekend, I decided to leave for our hols on the midweek after to avoid the surcharge, but mainly the crowd on holidays.
Took early Mon morning 8am+ Jetstar flight to Cairns. We had to catch a 11am chartered Hinterland flight to Lizard island. (http://www.lizardisland.com.au/video/)
We had to plan abit, as to how to orientate our stay. So in the end, we decided it would be in the order of Lizard Island, Palm Cove before jumping on Qantas to Uluru (Ayers).
My husband had opted to stay for 4/3 nites on the Voyages Hotel on the island as opposed to staying the entire week in Cairns city itself. Its pretty pricey (A$1100+/nite) but he reckoned it would be a great experience, less crowded and while we are there, might as well pamper ourselves to a "partial secluded & private" stay and explore the reefs from there. Its only an hour flight from Cairns and we would continue the GBR and Kurranda excursion before heading to Ayers.
We gave Port Douglas a complete miss and wide berth as we both hated built up touristy area targeted mainly at main-stream tourists. Cairns city appear to aim more at back packers and so too "noisy" for comfort. I googled the internet a fair bit and decided to go for Elysium located within Palm Cove instead, which was 25mins bus travel from Cairns (airport).
I strongly veto the idea of staying at the more upmarket chains like Angsana, Peppers or Sea Temple hotels in Palm Cove. Sure they looked prettier and more established, yet I didnt feel it was worth the splurge, especially considering after our stay at lizard island.
It was good that we both resonated in agreement that unlike at Lizard island, we will both be with nature the whole day and it didnt make sense to pay 50% more for a room per nite (A$400++) that will go empty 90% of the time. At a rate of A$180+, plus the incentive that Elysium is a new one year old service apartment with the independent reviews that the place had individual washer and dryer, there was nothing to stop me from booking this untested place (by travel agencies & frens). I had figured that washer is handier than a hotel with a big pool. Common sense isnt it?