Australia. Its wild, its diverse, and its bloody huge.
It’s not just a country, it’s a continent. The reason I think that I haven’t ventured over to this part of the world (apart from the intimidatingly long flights) is that it’s so large with such a never-ending list of places to see that I’m forever left overwhelmed when I contemplate it.
Image from Unsplash
I’ve almost booked a trip to the Land of Oz twice. The first time as a recent graduate when I spent time between travelling and freelancing. But before I committed to a tour, I became happily swayed into a 5 week trip around America and Canada. The second time I had it in mind to visit a friend who’d just moved over for a year, however her stay was cut short and so my planned break was too. Then life happened… a full time job, a lack of annual leave and a want to spend money on the here and now rather than save for an adventure in the distant future.
But two years later and I’ve gone full circle. Australia’s piped back up in my sight as I’ve started to get the bug for far off places. As I suspect its somewhere I’ll venture to in the next 1-2 years, I’ve taken one of my ‘steps for curing wanderlust’ and begun reading into and researching this wondrous destination, putting together a rough itinerary for when my schedule (and bank account) finally allows it. (I also did this for Bali here).
If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Australia, then read on for some of the top tips and experiences from some of my favourite travel bloggers in this inspiration guide. (Please note I realise this is a LOT to fit into one trip but I can’t whittle it down just yet!).
Image from owlsandstags
If there’s anything I know about Australia already, it’s that it’s a bitch to get to. There is no real way to take the pain out of a 24-40 hour flight time apart from to break it up with a stopover.
One thing I’ll definitely look into is a layover in Doha, the home of Polly from Follow Your Sunshine. The capital of Qatar is a 7 hour flight from London, followed by 15 hours to Australia. Here you can get a sense for the Middle East with a free transit visa from Qatar Airways as well as potential free hotel stays and tours!
Doha - Image by Follow Your Sunshine
1-4 days of luxury brunching, soaking up the Souks, driving along dunes and exploring Islamic villages sounds like the best way to break up the jetlag. Flights; sorted.
Most visitor’s first point of call is the most famous city, mostly because of its flight access from London but also because it’s the most obvious place to start. I’m much more of a landscapes and wildlife girl than I am tourist packed cities, so I think I’d only spend a couple of days here, starting with Vic from Vic Advisor’s 24 hours in Sydney for free guide.
The route to the Observatory Hill to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair sounds like the perfect route for postcard views of the Harbour Bridge and legendary Opera House whilst Vic’s walk from Bondi to Coogee looks a little more off the beaten track with stunning houses and smaller beaches.
I think I’d also have to be a complete tourist and stop off for a ‘Instagrammable shot’ of the Jaracanda Tunnel, a residential street that blooms with bright purple Jaracanda trees once a year in November. DifferentVille also has recommendations for nearby restaurants and bars as well as a trip to Wendy’s Secret Garden, a lovely hidden spot filled with fairy tale creatures!
Wendy's Secret Garden - Image by DifferentVille
It’s also heard that the café culture is spot on here, so naturally mornings would begin with some Aussie brunch. Catherine from Lux Life Blog (who lives in Sydney) recommends Trio on Bondi Beach, a spot to book in advance for dishes such as cinnamon French toast and corn fritters. After hours of watching Bondi Rescue as a student, I’d then obviously be a complete tourist and spend the afternoon on Bondi Beach, making my way down to the middle where you can take a dip in Bondi Icebergs, one of the most famous pools in the world.
Bondi Beach - Image by Lux Life Blog
Another of Catherine’s recommendations I think I’d have to try is The Carter Bar in the evening, because… WAIT FOR IT… it’s full on Beyoncé themed. I mean… HELLO. Cocktails include the Obama Out and Snoop Lion; I just hope ‘Love On Top’ is on repeat.
My last recommendation is taken from Emma at Adventures of a London Kiwi who stayed at the Shangri-La during her Sydney stay. The hotel’s 36th Floor Blu Bar looks the ideal place to tick off my ‘cocktail with a view’ that comes with every city escape.
Shangri-La 36th Floor Blu Bar - Image by Adventures of a London Kiwi
Now Melbourne sounds right up my street; cool, arty and stylish. Or as the Lonely Planet says “Melbourne was 'hipster' before the word was ever attached to bearded 20-something Bon Iver fans”.
I honestly feel like it’s a place I’d just want to mooch around in; soaking in the street art, architecture and popping into cafes as I go. The city also offers fantastic free walking tours as experienced by Wandermust Family.
Melbourne Street Art - Image by Wandermust Family
Another recommendation I don’t think I could resist are the Peninsula Hot Springs by Reena at Lifestyle Enthusiast. On a rather rainy day, Reena scrolled through Instagram as us bloggers do and discovered this hidden gem just an hour from the city. Natural hot pools and even onsite yoga have me adding this to my agenda.
I don’t think I could resist popping over to Tasmania whilst in the South. I’m a sucker for revealing visited destinations on my scratch map and when else would I be able to colour in Tasmania!
Delphine from LesterLost has some fantastic recommendations for the East Coast of the country including the striking Bay of Fires and Wineglass Bay. Of course, a trip would have to include some of the island’s incredible seafood with a meal fresh from the morning’s catch.
Bay of Fires - Image by LesterLost
Back up further North, Byron Bay looks a wonderful spot to recuperate and Jasmin’s stay at Elements of Byron had me feeling envious! The surrounding nearby views and onsite ‘sunset cocktail hours’ look absolutely perfect.
Elements - Image by JasminCharlotte
Back on for an adventure, Vic’s 5-7 day itinerary from Brisbane to Airlie Beach sounds so fantastic I think I’d just straight up follow it! Like many, I adore wildlife and don’t think I could resist a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for a sighting of the cuddly creatures and opportunity to hand feed some of the rescued kangaroos.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary - Image by VicAdvisor
Vic’s second stop off in Noosa looks like a spot less heard off, with stunning scenery and a natural pool for a quick dip before making your way to Hervey Bay. Apart from a beautiful backdrop, the harbour is a top spot for whale watching tours, something that’s been high on my list for a long time. From here you can also reach Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island that looks truly unique.
Emma from Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles really loved her trip here... Take a dip in Lake McKenzie's bright blue waters, try and spot a dingo or two as you drive along 75 Mile Beach, and float along with the current at Eli Creek. It'll be a place you never forget and will definitely fill your Instagram feed with so many gorgeous photos!
Fraser Island - Image by VicAdvisor
Fraser Island - Image by Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles
Reaching Airlie Beach is then where a trip to the Great Barrier Reef can be enjoyed. Aware of the effects of tourism on this world wonder, I’d of course book an eco-friendly tour. PebbleMag has a fantastic article on the 5 ways you can see this natural Phenomenon in a responsible way, including helping the many research centres or staying in one of the eco-friendly resorts such as on luxury Lizard Island.
The West Coast
From lots of reading, the only way to see my top places in the West Coast would be to road trip it, hiring a sturdy 4x4 and getting a good ole playlist on!
Recently I saw a photo of Wave Rock in my Sunday Times Travel and so immediately it got added to the list, followed by a long list of natural sights including Serpentine Falls and The Pinnacles.
The Pinnacles - Image from Unsplash
Catherine’s 4 week itinerary for West Coast Australia is packed with ideas driving from Perth to Broome where believe it or not, you can ride a camel on a sunset walk along the famous Cable Beach! Some of my other favourite ideas include a stop off at Nature’s Window in Kalbarri, swimming with white sharks in Exmouth and a trip to Esperance which Catherine claims to be one of the most amazing places she’s ever visited… I can see why!
Experence - Image by Lux Life Blog
Jess from Alright Blondie has also convinced me to go West, claiming that after a year in Oz, its where she saw the best sunsets she's ever seen as well as dolphins, whales and hiking through national parks in Perth. Now that definitely sounds like my kind of trip! Jess highly recommends including a visit to Fremantle, a quirky little town thats just so different from the rest.
Image by Alright Blondie
Of course, there is a ginormous list of incredible places and experiences to have in the West Coast, however without planning to move to the country, I think the above sums up a fair few I’d cram into a road trip. For further inspiration, check out Flight Centre’s guide to holidays in Australia.
Have you been to Australia? What would you add to my inspiration guide?
This post was sponsored by Flight Centre but all ideas are my own. Thank you to the lovely travel bloggers who contributed their ideas and photographs!