Our Aussie Adventure



We are back! It feels like yesterday we were boarding that one way flight to Thailand and now here we are. I tried my hardest to keep up with my Travel Diary blogs but we just ended up being SO busy and in Australia we were on the move basically every other day, so I thought I would just do one big post of our whole Aussie itinerary, where we stayed, what we ate - the lot. So have a little read if you’re planning a trip down under and have no idea where to start, or if you’re just nosey and want to see what we got up to... 

Melbourne

Our adventure began in Melbourne, we flew from Singapore with Qantas which took around 8 hours, so if you’re flying direct from the UK then Singapore is a good place to stop (read my Singapore post here) The flight was awful and although it was a night flight neither of us slept a wink, anyhow, we landed around 6am and met our pre-booked airport transfer to the city. We had booked a hotel prior to arriving and paid for early check in as we knew we were arriving super early and didn’t want to be hanging around all day with our luggage - plus we didn’t know how tired/jet lagged we would be. So glad we did as as soon as we got to the hotel at 9am we both crashed and slept until 1pm! 

Our Melbourne highlights: 

Eureka Skydeck - always got to get above the city to get the best views! 
Southbank - lots of nice little eateries to grab lunch or a drink by the river. 
Hosier Lane - Street art and Instagram heaven.
St Kilda beach - just a short tram ride out of the city and you’re at the beach, you’ll find Luna Park here too. 
Fitzroy - we fell in love with this quirky little hipster paradise just outside of the CBD.
Philip Island Penguin Parade - we booked a day tour through Go West Tours which I would highly recommend if you aren’t hiring a car and don’t mind group travel. The tour included a stop off at the famous Brighton bathing boxes, Moonlit Sanctuary wildlife park (cutest little wallaby’s!), a couple of lovely beaches and coastal look out points and of course the famous fairy penguin parade after sunset. 
The Great Ocean Road - of course no trip to Melly is complete without venturing out to The GOR! Again, we booked a full day tour with Go West and it was brilliant, their TripAdvisor reviews speak for themselves. 

We ate and drank at: 

The Grain Store (healthy, brunch)
Bear Brass ($20 lunch menu with wine or beer, can’t go wrong)
Rozzi’s (Italian takeaway)
The Provincial Hotel, Fitzroy (drinks)
Souvlaki King, Fitzroy (kebab after drinks, lol)

Tips: 

  • We saved a lot of money by booking an Airbnb meaning we could cook indoors and do loads of washing, having a kitchen also meant to could prepare packed lunches for our day trips and have little picnics! 
  • We wasted a load of money in a little Asian supermarket close to our apartment on our first food shop, before we discovered there was a Coles just down the road which was a lot cheaper for better produce and more choice. 
  • Get a Myki card - which is a bit like an Oyster card - for use on the trams, we topped up the minimum of $10 which got us returns to St Kilda and Fitzroy (twice) and i’m pretty sure there was a couple of dollars leftover on them. There are Free tram routes than run through the city too. 

Accommodation

Ibis Little Bourke Street 
Airbnb (dreamy apartment, I could live here!) 
Get money off your first stay with Airbnb here

The East Coast - Cairns to Sydney

Palm Cove 

We flew from Melbourne to Cairns with Qantas again, to spend two nights relaxing in Palm Cove before we met up with our Gadventures tour group. We booked a transfer from the airport with Sunpalm Transfers which took about 40 minutes. There isn’t an awful lot to do in Palm Cove but that was the point, so we chilled by the pool, took a stroll down the cute little promenade and enjoyed the beautiful beaches. We had an apartment again for two nights so we cooked indoors, our food shop this time cost us $91 for hardly anything as there is only one little store in the village which is seriously overpriced. If we’d of had a car we could have driven to the nearest Woolies but hey ho. 

Accommodation

The Sebel Palm Cove Coral Coast

Cairns 

We got an Uber back into Cairns which was a little expensive (did I mention Australia is EXPENSIVE?!) as we both caught a little too much sun the day before and neither of us fancied lugging our backpacks down to the bus stop and sitting on a bus for an hour! We checked into our new hotel in Cairns where we would be starting off our Gadventures tour. I wasn’t a huge fan of Cairns itself but it’s a good base for exploring the many surrounding attractions. 

Tip

  • There is a free public swimming lagoon on the esplanade where most people hang out during the day which was pretty cool. It’s not a good idea to swim in the sea in Queensland because of the stingers and crocs, so this is ideal. 

We ate and drank at: 

Little Loco (healthy, Buddha bowls etc) 
Raw Prawn (amazing seafood) 
Fetta’s Green Taverna (we had a huge mezze to share which was delicious)

Accommodation

The Hotel Cairns 

Cape Tribulation/Port Douglas 

So our we met with our new group (we are pros at this now) and set off from Cairns towards Cape Tribulation. We spent two nights in the rainforest before stopping at Port Douglas for the morning and then driving back to Cairns. 

Highlights

  • Daintree National Park - Our tour included a morning tea and an interpretive walk through the Daintree Rainforest which was extremely interesting and we learnt a lot from our guide on aboriginal culture (this was one of the most memorable, authentic and non-touristy things we did in Australia). 
  • Masons Waterhole - a natural swimming hole open to the public for a small donation, we enjoyed a peaceful afternoon swim here. 
  • Dubuji Boardwalk/Myall Beach - watch out for the spiders (and crocs!)
  • Lync Haven Rainforest Retreat - we had a gorgeous lunch here and got to hang out with kangaroos, snakes and all kinds of birdies. There’s a crocodile on site too but we didn’t get to see it. I’m pretty sure it’s free to visit the animals here as long as you buy something from the gift shop, eat lunch or make a small donation. 
  • Snorkelling the Low Isles Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas. 
  • Exploring beautiful Port Douglas (wish we had more time here) and wandering around the Sunday market. 

Tips

  • take more insect repellant than you think you’ll need! Honestly, it is bug city! 
  • The restaurant at the hotel we stayed at was GROSS so stock up on food and snacks for your room like we did (there’s only a small supermarket and one other restaurant I believe in Cape Trib)
  • Whilst we enjoyed two days without Wi-fi or phone signal, we did run out of things to do so bring cards, UNO, alcohol etc to entertain yourself in the evenings. 
  • Oh yeah, it rains in the rainforest. A lot. Bring rain jackets and suitable shoes, I managed to slip over and cut my knee open on a wet pathway. 
  • Book an extra night in Port Douglas, we sadly only had the morning to explore but would have loved some more time there!

Accommodation

Ferntree Rainforest Lodge 

Airlie Beach 

We were supposed to drive for 9-10 hours today from Cairns to Airlie Beach. Unfortunately because of the flooding in Townsville the main road we had to take was closed, so we had to fly from Cairns to Brisbane and then to Proserpine to get to Airlie, the gateway to The Whitsundays. 

Airlie Beach Highlights

  • A full day of sailing to the Whitsunday islands. 
  • More snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef. 
  • Chilling on the stunning Whitehaven beach. 

We ate and drank at:

Fish D’vine & Rum Bar (fish & seafood)
La Tabella (the best pasta I have EVER had) 

Accommodation: 

Blue Horizon Apartments 

Byron Bay 

Another full day of travelling, we caught a flight back to Brisbane and then drove to Byron Bay which took around two hours. We absolutely loved Byron, which we knew we would, even though we had awful weather for the whole two days we were there! 

Highlights

  • A very wet coastal walk (hike?) to Cape Byron Lighthouse. 
  • Experiencing nightlife in Byron. 
  • Surf lesson in Lennox Head, even though I had to sit out eventually as it was hurting my bad knee too much it was still so much fun!  

We ate and drank at: 

Guzman Y Gomez (Mexican fast food, salsa nights) 
Balcony bar (great for an afternoon drink) 
Foxy Luu’s (sorted out our craving for Asian food!) 
The Bolt Hole (gin menu as long as my arm.) 
Railway Friendly Bar (live entertainment and drinks) 
The Sticky Wicket (I’m officially too old for clubbing now)

Tip

Stay for longer than we did as it’s bloody amazing! 

Accommodation

Byron Bay Hotel & Apartments 

Bellingen/Port Macquarie/Blue Mountains


After sadly saying goodbye to Byron, we set off for two days of yet more travelling towards the Blue Mountains with a few stop offs on the way. 


Highlights


  • Port Macquarie koala hospital - a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and care of wild koalas, cuteness overload!
  • We had a quick stop off overnight at a cute little town called Bellingen, there were the sweetest little alpacas just outside of our room. 
  • We used Leura as a base, and explored the spectacular Blue Mountains. 
  • Scenic World. 
  • Jenolan Caves and the blue lake - STUNNING!
  • Wentworth falls. 
  • Katoomba Falls. 


Tips


  • Head to the Echo Point lookout at sunset for views over the beautiful Three Sisters, have a drink after at the lookout bar. 
  • Take one of the many hiking trails around The Blue Mountains National Park. 
  • Try all of the methods of transport inside Scenic World - the railway is an interesting experience! 


Accommodation


Bellingen Valley Lodge Motel 

Leisure Inn Spires, Leura 


We ate and drank at


Federal Hotel, Bellingen (good pub grub) 

Unearthed, Coolongook (health cafe) 

Thai Square, Leura (best Thai beef salad evsss) 


Sydney 


So we made it to our FINAL destination... SYDNEY! (Can’t seem to not be able to say that in Dory’s voice from finding nemo!). We spent 8 days in Sydney and crammed in a lot! 


Highlights


  • Moonlight Cinema. 
  • Bondi beach. 
  • Watson’s Bay. 
  • Sydney opera house and harbour bridge, obvs. 
  • Darling harbour. 
  • Sydney Tower eye. 
  • ALL the shopping. 
  • Day trip to the Hunter Valley with Kangarrific tours. 
  • El Circo show at Slide with 9-course meal. 
  • Ultra music festival! 


Tips


  • take the ferry to Manly beach, possibly consider spending a night here too. 
  • Get an opal card for travel all over the city, basically the same as an Oyster card, you can top it up at most of the newsagents dotted around. 
  • Take a walk from Bondi to Bronte or Bondi to Coogee. 
  • Follow to walking path at Watson’s Bay and visit the Hornby Lighthouse. 
  • Take a stroll through the botanic gardens in the city. 


Accommodation


Travelodge Hotel

Airbnb, Surry Hills 


We ate and drank at: 


Two Good Eggs (brunch) 

Basket Brothers (brunch) 

Trio, Bondi (brunch... can you see a theme here?!) 

Daniel San, Manly 

Lord Roberts Hotel 

The Opera Bar 

Slide (meal & show) 

Oporto (similar to nandos, fast food) 


...and just like that our incredible trip of a lifetime came to an end! Hope you enjoyed this blog post and happy travels if you are off down under! 



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