Well, well, it is Friday again already! Where is this year disappearing to? Well, another Friday means another Friday Favourites. A few weeks, I put off writing a post about all my favourites places down under and did a cruise filled post full of favourite tit-bits. But I can’t put off Australia no longer, so here is a selection of my favourite places in Australia (finally).
Friday favourites is a fortnightly post featuring travel tips, guides, advice, and thoughts based on my travel experiences!
Australia: the land of surfing, BBQ’s, and every deadly animal known to man. I am lucky that I managed to spend a couple of months travelling round the country, trundling between places in Draco (our trusty camper van). So, to make it a bit easier to follow, and for me to remember everywhere, I have categorised places by Australian States.
- Fremantle: Friends, family, fun, food, football. OK, so there was more than that, but it sums up this portion of the trip so well. Yes, we did visit Perth and enjoyed it, but it was all about Freo. We got to experience Freo Dockers win at the Domain system on opening day of the AFL season. We celebrated birthdays around the esplanade and had a look around (and of course a drink) at Little Creatures Brewery. We went to Caversham Wildlife park, we toured the old prison, and went to watch Allegiant at an outdoor cinema. We relaxed and did nothing but have fun with family in the pool and over good food.
- Margaret River: I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I think most of the best memories I have from Australia come from the couple of days we enjoyed in the Margaret River region. Lots of laughs in huge mansions, lots of wine tasting and barbecues, lots of scenic stops and brilliant photo opportunities.
- Cape Leeuwin & Busselton Jetty: The southern point of Australia where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. It was the last part of our Margaret River/Western Aus tour, before we got drenched walking along the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. Such a laugh in the rain, and such unique places to say you have visited!
- Brisbane: If it hasn’t been for family and family friends in Western Australia, Brisbane would have been far and away my favourite Australian City. OK, so this is probably largely due to it feeling homely – a big city on a river, with parklands and galleries and shopping, but it’s also because it was awesome.
We got to visit sanctuaries where we held Koalas and petted Kangaroos. We had a cultural day visiting museums and galleries to get out of the rain. We wandered through the South Bank recreation area, walking through the gardens, past the pools and giant wheel, and even took advantage of the reduced rate cinema tickets to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. We stayed in a great hostel, we enjoyed ourselves, it was pretty amazing!
- Rockhampton: The Geography nerd in me absolutely loved Rockhampton for one simple reason. The Tropic of Capricorn runs through it, and there is a very conveniently placed sculpture with some photogenic signs indicating the tropic and temperate zones that you can have your photo taken with. There is also a really nice botanical gardens in the centre with a free zoo featuring opportunities to get up close and personal with many Australian animals.
- Noosa Heads: I am not always the fan of a place that is all about the beaches, but Noosa Heads. Wow. The beaches were stunning, huge, pristine, sunny, and they were empty. It was a lovely piece of sandy heaven on the Queensland coastline.
- Cairns: Cairns was the first place on the Eastern coast of Australia that we visited, and it was exactly what I expected Australia to be. Hot sunny weather, beaches, outdoor swimming pools, and the Great Barrier Reef.
- 1770: We stopped in 1770 for such a short time, as we had read it was one of the best places to watch the sunset in Eastern Australia. Well, it didn’t disappoint. As you can see from the picture, the beach and bay at 1770 created the most beautiful setting. The town is built on the second landing point of James Cook (in 1770 funnily enough) and is therefore also a historians paradise.
- Townsville: OK, so this stop was for one thing, and one thing only, and that was a scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef (which we actually ended up doing from Ayr technically anyway!) We actually ended up doing much more than a spectacular drive. We walked along the front, we relaxed and spent some downtime as Riverway Lagoons, and we also walked around atop Castle Hill. There are so many awesome vantage points on the Australian coast!
New South Wales
- Newcastle: This was the perfect spot for a break on the drive to Sydney that turned out to be so much more than a rest. The Anzac Memorial walk let us see all of the best bits of the area, afforded unbelievable of the beaches and the sea, and was a great spot to unwind, relax, and accidentally learns some Australian history too.
- Blue Mountains: OK, so we didn’t spend too long here, because it was super cold and we were woefully under-prepared, but it was pretty damn spectucular to see the mountains, the valleys, the views, and of course the Three Sisters.
- Byron Bay: OK, so we didn’t see a lot of Byron Bay. We larked around on the beach, we wandered up and down the main street looking in the little shops, and we watched Manny Pacquiao fight Floyd Mayweather in one of the most anti-climatic boxing matches ever. That said, the relaxed vibe and friendly people could be felt everywhere!
- Sydney: I really don’t think I can do our time in Sydney justice in such a small space, but it had so much to offer that we spent ages there. We embarked on climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, something my travel companion had always wanted to do. I wasn’t quite so sure, but when you’re standing at the top, it definitely is worth the money! We did al of the normal tourist things: wandered around Darling Harbour, hopped on the ferry to see Luna Park, watched the fireworks over the river.
We also did the Coogee to Bondi beach walk – an absolute must for everyone, and popped up to the Home and Away locations at Palm beach (a genuinely brilliant day out to see all sort of wonderful things and meet some cool people too!) And on top of that, trips to Macquarie park and point (the best place to view the bridge and Opera House), catching a glimpse of Prince Harry and the Sydney Opera House, and exploring the Chinese Garden of Friendship!
Victoria & Southern Australia
- Grampians: Australia is full of natural wonders. From the Blue Mountains, to the Gold Coast, the the Great Barrier reef, to Uluru, Australia has lot of famous natural hotspots that draw visitors in. I enjoyed many of them, but The Grampian’s were the biggest surprise. I had never heard of them, and we only discovered them during an accidental map reading session. They were incredible, so quiet and peaceful, with amazing views, fascinating lakes and mountains, and some great walks to waterfalls. If you’re ever in the area they are a must visit! (I preferred them to the Blue Mountains!)
- Adelaide: I don’t know how much of my enjoyment of Adelaide was due to the fact we properly walked around the city, and I got to see the Adelaide Oval (the cricket fan in me loves seeing these famous Ashes Venues!) We just wandered and looked around, and while we didn’t do a huge amount in the city, it was a really nice city full of amazing people and lots of things to do.
- Melbourne: Well, I could probably do an entire post on Melbourne itself. The city had absolutely everything that we could want, from interesting hostels, sports, music, stage shows, history, parks, it was unbelievable. If you want to relax and take in the cities sporting offers, then take advantage of cheap tickets at any of the big sporting venues (we watched the AFL game North Melbourne v Collingwood at the MCG) or go during the Melbourne Grand Prix/Australian Open Tennis/Melbourne Cup for a big sporting occasion.
If sports aren’t your thing, there is a great music and theatre scene in Melbourne (we went to see The Lion King and it was amazing) and also took a tour of Ramsay St and the Neighbours set. It is a city full of everything for pretty much anyone!
Well, that is is for another edition of Friday Favourites.
Where are your favourite Australian destinations?
Are you from Australia? If so, where are you favourite places?
Next Time: Asia