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Exploring Australias best cities and towns

Travelling in Australia must include getting out and about but you will inevitably pass through or stay in some of their cities.

Sydney

By far the most interesting city is Sydney, this now sprawling conurbation actually has a small heart and is the main focus for any visitor.

Places to see and things to do in Sydney

The Metro system is really good, easy to use and gets you around in no time, don’t drive a car in Sydney, its chaos. Heading to the famous Bondi beach for a day is good fun as is getting the metro to the swish Paddington district with its boutique shops and restaurants.

George and Pitt Street downtown hotels are good locations to stay, we like the Tank Stream hotel for location here or try the Harbour Rocks hotel in this historic suburb right next to the Sydney harbour Bridge.

One of our favourite modes of transport in Sydney are the zillions of local ferries, transporting the population to every conceivable nook and cranny. You have to visit (or stay) Manly, the best beach in our opinion and a great boat trip to get there. For a good meal out try the ferry to Balmain, a once remote cheap area of Sydney in the 1990’s to one of the most expensive now. It’s a very pretty spot.

For a real adventure head out for a gorgeous treat lunch at Berowra, located on Berowra Creek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury River.

The beautiful Sydney Opera House is spectacular inside and out, try and book a performance there. A pleasant stroll through the Botanical Gardens is a good way to arrive at the Opera House. The backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is equally as stunning, the walk across is worth it and for those not afraid of heights, you can climb it. If you are short on time climb the 200 steps of the Pylon Lookout for excellent views too. We also love the half day bike tours in Sydney which are well worth it.

If you are not keen on too much travelling Sydney is blessed to have some utterly amazing places to visit within 2-3 hours and if you are inclined to pick up a hire car, the world really is your oyster. There are the achingly beautiful Blue Mountains, the famous Hunter Valley wine region and then the most gorgeous beaches in Jervis Bay. All 3 areas are beautiful in equal measure and would be on the top our ‘must see’ places anywhere in Australia.

You could easily spend 10 days just in and around Sydney and have an incredible holiday.

Melbourne

A very easy city to get around and 2 nights is ample. Strangely famous for its coffee there are a million and one coffee shops and plenty of fabulous restaurants, we particularly love the Labanese cuisine here. Walking or the tram are the best modes of transport and a good circle would be to see the famous sports arenas of Rod laver and the MCG and back for more coffee!

A real highlight is the National Gallery of Victoria, this is a really great art gallery and well worth half a day looking around. We really like the new development of bars and restaurants on the Promenade on the Yarra River. We like staying in the Crown Promenade, great location, fab pool and lovely rooms.

Like most cities in Australia it is what is on the doorstep of Melbourne that adds to its attraction. For a fun half day trip climb the Kokoda Track memorial Walk, all 1000 steps of it. You could in the same day drive the really beautiful Black Spur Road which is a world beater. Please find the time to drive it. Further south is the wonderful wine and beach region of the Mornington Peninsula, for a treat stay at the wonderful Jakalope Hotel, wow, we love this place, very nice! Just over 3 hours drive away is a hiker’s paradise at Wilsons Promontory National Park, there are seriously good walks here.

From Wilsons Prom to Melbourne allow a good week and you will have made the most of this pretty area.

Cairns/Port Douglas

Once the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, whilst still a landmark has been taken over by its neighbour Port Douglas for the place to stay in this part of Australia. Port Douglas offers great beaches and is a central point for every tour and excursion in the region. It is a brilliant base to explore the aqua waters of the barrier reef, the scenic rainforests in Daintree and the beautiful Kuranda region, home to a great train ride and gondola trip. Add in great beaches and you could quite happily while away a week plus. We love the Thala Beach Nature Reserve for a place to chill and enjoy the sunsets.

Brisbane

Once a relatively sleepy city, Brisbane offers a good two nights with a real art scene, notably the Queensland Art gallery and the gallery of Modern Art, both of which are well worth a visit. Every city in Australia claims to have some affinity to coffee and Brisbane is no exception. An odd thing to promote when a 70 minute ferry ride has you landing on Moreton Island with its idyllic beaches. Or try the 40 min trip to North Stradbroke Island with its magnificent surf beaches and migrating whales between June and October.

If you want to see Koalas then head to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where they have not only Koalas but kangaroos and other native Australian wildlife. One of our favourite spots in Australia is Byron Bay, this bohemian town is the proud owner of one of our favourite beaches and is only a 2 hour drive from Brisbane, perfect to combine the 2 before you head back home.

For the vast majority of time we encourage you to explore and see Australia outside of its cities, aside from Sydney which is very unique. There are so many things to see and do and the cities are great gateways to everything Australia has to offer.


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