Australia is one of the largest countries on earth and called the land ‘down under’ because it is below the Equator. Most of the land in Australia is hot and dry desert, called the outback. In the south, where the temperatures are a little cooler, you will find cities such as Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.
As the country is so big and there is so much to see and do, we did a round trip along the East coast, including a 3 day outback safari, in 3 weeks.
To be able to do this we had to take 4 domestic flights and unfortunately also skip some beautiful things such as the Great Ocean Road route and the Whitsunday Islands. But happily we also saw a lot of highlights and checked some bucket list items as well.
You can follow our travel route on the map below.
We booked this trip as a pre-arranged private tour, with nice comfortable hotels, transfers and all domestic flights included, for good value for money. This was very practical and relaxing, because this way we had more time to focus on exploring our destinations and could see and do a lot in a short period. During the trip we had all the freedom we wanted to travel around, no organized group tours and everything totally private. We can highly recommend this when you are planning to do a similar round trip, and only have a few weeks to spend.
Our first arrival was the beautiful Melbourne. In our opinion one of the most diverse and chic cities we have seen so far! Why? So many reasons, but I will try to name a few and convince you with the pictures, as they speak for themselves:)
Because it has lots of different types of architecture next to each other.
Lots of art and cultural things to do all around.
It has a lot of beautiful outdoor botanical gardens and parks, which you can visit all for free. We loved those as they have such a big diversity of impressive plants and huge trees.
The river Yarra has long nice terraced boulevards along both banks with many nice restaurants and café’s to choose from.
I can really recommend booking a river cruise as well, as the views of the city from the boat are beautiful.
St Kilda is a southern suburb of Melbourne which is really authentic and worth a visit. You can easily reach it by cheap tram ride. The vibe of this 60’s village is a bit like Coney Island with its big pier, Luna Park and lots of beach side restaurants.
These are a few of our reasons why we loved it so much and probably some of the main reasons why this city has been chosen the world’s most livable city 5 years in a row already…
From Melbourne we flew to our 2nd stop: Sydney, the most well known city of Australia, even though it is not even the capital of the country.
To do this city justice I have to write a special city review about it, as there is so much to see and do there, but I will come back on that in another blog post.
Hereby already a few highlights of this beautiful city and its surroundings.
The perfect spot for people watching, relaxing and a big choice of restaurants is:
Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay Wharf
Obviously THE must see sight of the city is the iconic Opera House! You will have the best views upon it from Circular Quay or from the other side over the Harbour Bridge.
We absolutely adored the Rocks! This is the historic city area and Australia’s first European settlement, right next to the main harbour and Circular Quay. This is the place where Sydney originated and because of that this area has a lot beautiful old buildings and a real authentic vibe!
It is right next to the Harbour Bridge, which is huge and you can even climb it if have the stamina and if you dare!
Manly Beach, situated north of the city is very quiet and chic and has many other quiet beaches nearby. You can easily get to Manly from Sydney’s main ferry terminal Circular Quay, which takes 30 minutes by public ferry. But there is also the option of a faster private ferry.
The famous Bondi Beach just south of Sydney has laidback surfer settings with lots of cool shops and bar, and is easy to reach by tram!
A definite must visit in my opinion and an absolutely stunning natural area is the Blue Mountains national park. This can be reached by train ride 2 hours from Sydney.
Get off the train in Leura, which is a really quaint town and has nice walkways to Echo Point, where you have one of the most panoramic views over the beautiful nature area. Also from there you will look directly upon the famous 3 Sisters rock formation and enter the Blue Mountains. There are a few different walking trails to choose from and a lot of cockatoos all around.
Did you know that you will always hear the cockatoos before you see them? They look beautiful but make a lot of noise!
And did you know that the Blue Mountains owe their name to the blue haze in the air, this is caused by the oil which is segregated by the eucalyptus trees in this area? If you look closely you can see the blue haze in the air in below picture, but even more in real life!
From Sydney we took our 2nd domestic flight to the outback for a 3 day outback safari. You can read all about this in my previous blog post: Australian outback adventure
After that we flew up north to Cairns for a few days. This is a vibrant seaside town with a beautiful esplanade and lots of outdoor things to do. For example it has a seaside lagoon, outdoor gym equipment and yoga classes along the esplanade, skate parks and bbq’s everywhere, all with views directly at the sea.
From here you can also do a lot of great day trips to the Great Barrier Reef and several rainforest areas in the north of Queensland.
Of course we did a snorkeling trip to the world largest coral reef area and UNESCO World Heritage Site the Great Barrier Reef.
This is a real bucket list experience and also a must do when you go to Australia!
Our last domestic flight was to Brisbane in the middle of the east coast of Australia. Here we rented a car and drove all the way up the Sunshine Coast to various beach side towns like Noosa Heads and Moffat Beach. which are beautiful and very chic!
We even visited the Australia ‘’Steve Irwin’’ Zoo, an amazing 100 acre (40 ha) zoo with views of the Glass Mountains and a real must visit for animal lovers.
Do you remember the crazy loud crocodile hunter? Steve, who became famous for his wildlife crocodile documentaries and tragically died a few years ago, helped his parents since he was a little boy with caring for the crocodiles, reptiles and many different animals in their zoo. He and his wife Terri took over the zoo and put all their money earned with the Crocodile Hunter documentaries into expanding the zoo. Which resulted in a very beautiful zoo where you can see lots of Australia’s indigenous animals such as the echidnas, Tasmanian devils, wombats, dingo’s, perentie lizards and of course crocodile shows and lots of kangaroos and wallabies.
As I am a real nature and animal lover I was delighted with the kangaroo and wallaby area where these guys walk around freely in an big open nature area. Here you can get up close and feed them by hand!!! You couldn’t make this girl more happy:)
And patting the koala’s also helped!
This round trip was a real journey of a lifetime for us and we ticked off a lot of bucket list items on the way! Although we did a lot of domestic flights and saw a lot in 3 weeks, we also missed a lot, as 3 weeks is just not enough for this big and diverse country..Some definite must sees which I can recommend from pictures and hear say to add to the Aussie list are:
The capital of southern Australia Adelaide,
The Great Ocean Road route,
And the Whitsunday islands.
We will definitely come back again for those as well!