Sydney middle town can be a little confusion, with shops in every street. All the streets are heading down to the harbour, the opera house and Circular Quay, where trains, busses and ferries meet. East of the opera house at city center is all the Sydney´s gardens, including the beautiful botanic garden. A little west of Circular Quay you find The Rocks, which is an area with old buildings and lot of shops. Further west, close to Harbour Bridge, Pier One is placed, a little area with restaurants and a view over Dawes Point. West of Sydney center is Cockle Bay/Darling Harbour, which is a really great area in Sydney, with lot of restaurants, shops, nightlife possibilities and of course Imax studio with the world’s biggest cinema screen. Sydney also offers great beaches, as Bondi Beach.
One of the best ways to see Sydney is by sea. Sydney offers lot of cruises and tours through Port Jackson, which mostly departs from Circular Quay and Darling Harbour. Another way to see the port is by using Sydney’s ferries, which is also the best way, together with walking to get from a to b in Sydney center. The way you pay for transport in Sydney is mostly by OPAL Card, which is easy to use and refill, it works to all public transport. At the other side of Port Jackson from the opera house, is the Krilibilli area. A nice and quiet area with great ferry transport possibilities, and small hotels.
The Opera House in Sydney is of course a must see, because of it's unique design, and iconic status for Sydney and Australia. There are tours inside the opera pretty much every day, and it is possible to book underneath the opera house, or in the many booking centers.
Harbour Bridge is another must see icon in Sydney, just as incredible as the opera house. It is possible to get up on the bridge, with different kind of tours, some more expensive than others, but even though it is expensive it is definitely worth the consideration.
Sydney by night
Bundeena south of Sydney is a little, and pretty unknown pearl at Sydney surroundings. Bundeena is a little town, with great nature, beautiful beaches, and a nice little ferry. Surrounding Bundeena is some great walking tracks (Difficulty medium), which are leading out to The Cobblers and Marley Head/Beach.
Many of the locals from the Sydney area is going to Bundeena, to spend a weekend day at the beautiful beaches, which is perfect for relaxing, and playing with their jet ski. At the beach there is also the possibility for renting kayaks. Down by the edge of the beach is Bundeena’s only camping park also placed, and still close to the town. The camping place is really popular, so maybe book a day or two before arrival. There is two ways to Bundeena. The little town is cut off from Sydney by the Hacking Port, which means a bit of driving before getting out there by car. The other way is to use the ferry, which is sailing between Bundeena and Cronulla. The ferry is an old one, and probably the most charming of all the ferries in Sydney and surroundings. From Cronulla is there departing trains really often, driven all the way into Sydney center, without changing trains. Because of the ferry, Bundeena also have a little port, which is really great for fishing. So Bundeena is a great place for a day trip, if you live in Sydney center and want to see something else. It is also a great place to stay for longer time, because of the beautiful and calm surroundings, with possibilities for visiting Sydney center.
The biggest nature experience near Sydney got to be the Blue Mountains, which is located some 100 km west of Sydney. Blue Mountains are a really big area, with many different lookouts. The most popular place is The Three Sisters lookout, where you will find a beautiful view over the valley. Just beside The Three Sisters stones is a small track/stair leading down to the valley. Near The Three Sisters lookout is Scenic World, where you also can get into the valley by using railway or cableway. Down in the valley there is a walkway, heading true the rainforest and the old mining area. The Three Sisters and Scenic World are really great, and other tourist also think, which means it sometimes can be a little crowded. Another place to visit in Blue Mountains, with a little fewer tourists is Evans lookout, also with really great views, and tracks.
Byron Bay is a small town at the east coast, with white beaches, waves suitable for surfing, and a great town spirit. Byron Bay is famous among backpackers, mostly because of the town’s layback/hippie philosophy, which attracts surfers, backpackers and lot of other tourists. Because of the many backpackers, there is really good opportunities to get in touch with other backpackers, who live on camping areas and hostels. Byron bay isn’t only party, surf and chill. Byron bay also have its famous lightning house close to the town, which is ideal for a walk, where you sometimes will experience wildlife.
Bathurst is a small town 200 km west of Sydney, on the other side of the Blue Mountains. The town is not that special except for one thing, the racing track. The Mount Panorama Circuit is a racing track used for the Australian V8 series, and it is open for the public, so you can take your regular car for a spin.
Bathurst race track
Canberra is the capital of Australia, and is an important city in Australia, but is not the most famous city for its attractions. The Australian parliament building is a beautiful building, which you have to see if you are visiting Canberra. Canberra is packed with museums, galleries, and war monuments, so if you are into that, Canberra is the place. Canberra is actually it’s own state, but is surrounded by New South Wales.
South of Canberra is the Snowy Mountains, where Mt. Kosciuszko is located, the highest mountain in Australia (2228 meter). From the little town Tredbo near the mountain, you can in the summertime take a lift up to the 6 km walking track, which will lead to the top of Australia. In the summertime you can also rent mountain bikes in Tredbo, and drive down hill on the mountain. In the winter months the mountain and town is transformed to suit the ski season.
The top of Mt. Kosciuszko
A little north of Byron Bay is Surfers Paradise, also known as the Gold Coast. A place with beautiful beaches as far as the eye can see, big hotel skyscrapers, restaurants, shops and crazy nightlife. Surfers Paradise is obvious a paradise for surfers, where lot of competitions find place. In the middle of the city is Q1, the building is 322.5 meters high, and is a good way to get a good look over the town. To get up in Q1 Skypoint, you have to buy a ticket, and then take ride in one of the world's fastest elevators. Around Surfers Paradise and on the way to Brisbane is located lot of theme parks, with roller coasters, and water parks.
Brisbane is a nice city, even though it is a big and busy city, it doesn’t feel crowded as Sydney does. The reason behind that is probably because it doesn’t have the big tourist attractions as Sydney, but that doesn't mean Brisbane is lacking of things to do.
The city center is full of nice streets, all filled with shops, small arcades, and no cars. In city center is the town hall also located, a great building. The botanic garden, which is placed near the city center, and the Brisbane River, is a great place to relax and enjoy.
Another really great place in Brisbane is South Bank, a new cultural area with a lot of life, and a human made public lagoon.
The best way to get around in city center is by far the ferries, and the best thing about Brisbane, is that they have created a ferry route, which is free. Which means you can park close to city center, example New Farm, and then take the ferry to city center, South Bank, or the botanic garden for free.
I haven’t mentioned Moreton Island near Brisbane, that’s why we didn’t go there, because we visit Fraser Island instead. But I have only heart good things about Moreton Island.
For the more adventures, Glasshouse Mountains is a great place to hike, though it is some way north from Brisbane.
Near Glasshouse Mountains is the Australian Zoo, created by the famous aussie Steve Irwin. The zoo is a great place to get an overview of all Australia’s animals, and a funny experience to see the crocodile show at midday, and get to touch kangaroos and koalas.
Casper(for real) the crocodile in Australian Zoo
Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane is lots of cities combined together all the way up the coast to Noosa Heads.
Noosa Heads is a nice town, great beaches, surfing possibilities, and hiking walks. From Noosa heads it is possible to take a little ferry (remember ticket) to Noosa north shore, which lead out to the beach, where you can drive on the beach all the way up to Rainbow Beach. It requires a ticket, which can be purchased on the web or in Noosa. The trip also requires a 4WD, with low gearing if possible. Last but not least, it is important to have a high tide table, which Noosa information center hands out, with other great information’s. It is an awesome trip, and a big experience to drive on the beach so close to the water, but you have to be careful on the around 60 km to Rainbow Beach.
Rainbow Beach is a nice little town, close to the sea, and Fraser Island. That also means lot of tours for Fraser Island is departing from Rainbow Beach. There is lot of different kind of tours, example 4WD drive tours, where you get to drive a 4WD on the beach, and so you don’t miss that experience if you have a 2WD. To get from Rainbow Beach to Fraser Island you take a ferry, which departs from the beach regularly, which is really awesome.
Beach ferry to Fraser Island
Fraser Island is a big sand island, with great beaches, rainforest, freshwater pools, and is a must see, up the east coast. There is different ways to stay at Fraser Island, book a hotel at Eurong Beach Resort, or use free camping areas. There are a couple of things that’s important to be aware of, of course the tide, also the road rules because there is no roads, and Dingo’s. It is possible to bring you own 4WD to the island, but remember to buy permission to drive on the island.
Fraser Island has lot of attractions to visit, some better than others; most of them are connected with the sand highway on the east coast. The champagne pools located a bit north on the east coast is a nice place to visit, and it is best to visit these pools at low tide, if you want to take a swim. Further south on the east coast there is a beautiful old shipwreck on the beach, and close by is Eli creek, where it is possible to swim in the freshwater creek with strong stream.
Fraser Island also has lot of beautiful lakes, two of the most beautiful are lake Wabby and lake McKenzie, and therefore also the two most crowded. But if you have your own car, is possible to visit one of the other lakes, and almost get it for yourself. Lake Wabby is closest to the east coast, where there is a track leading into the lake, and big sand hills. Lake McKenzie is found in the middle of the island, and it looks like paradise with the crystal clear water and white beaches.
Central station is also found in the middle of the island, and is a combination of rainforest walks, and the island's history.
To get back to the mainland, it is possible to take the ferry from the south coast to Rainbow Beach, which is the ferry sailing most often. It is also possible to take the ferry from the west coast to River Heads, close to Hervey Bay, but it is important remembering to book.
Beach driving on Fraser Island
Harvey Bay is like Rainbow Beach, though bigger, also offering tours to Fraser Island. Harvey Bay is a nice town, especially at the coast, where Urangan Pier is located, a long bridge that is ideal for a walking and fishing.
There is not that much to see in Rockhampton, but near Rockhampton are Capricorn caves, which is worth taking a look at.
Airlie Beach is one of our favorite places, up the east coast. The town is not that big, but has lot to offer. The town is full of shops, restaurants, and lot of backpackers. At the coast is Airlie Beach lagoon, which is beautiful created, and around the lagoon are BBQ places for cooking. Airlie Beach is also center for day tours going to Whitehaven beach, and the coral reef located in the same area, for sure good experiences.
Beautiful water on our way to Whitehaven beach
Townsville is a little bit dead in the offseason, but have the potential for some good party days at the weekend. Townsville also have Reef HQ Aquarium and museum of Tropical Queensland.
The quickest way between Townsville and Cairns is for sure A1 (Bruce Hwy), but from Innisfail (between Townsville and Cairns) there goes a much more beautiful road between Innisfail and Cairns. Instead of keep driving on A1 near the coast, there runs a way (Palmerston Hwy 25) west of Innissfail into the land, to a place called Millaa Millaa.
Around Millaa Millaa there is big green hills, and lot of waterfalls. Especially the Millaa Millaa waterfall is great, because of the good swimming possibilities, where you can get under the waterfall.
After Millaa Millaa just keep following the same way north to Atherton, and then keep going north on the Kennedy Hwy, which eventually will lead to Cairns through the mountains.
The Kennedy Hwy is also going through a little town called Kuranda, which definitely is worth a stop. It is a little aboriginal tourist town, where they selling all kind of aboriginal things. Close to Kurunda is Barron falls, a beautiful place with an easy walking trail through the rainforest to the waterfall.
Millaa Millaa waterfall
Cairns is the place for tours heading out to the Great Barrier Reef, and getting diving certificate. The Great Barrier Reef is a must see in Australia, even though it can be expensive. But the reef has taken damage by all the tourists, and will maybe get closed some day.
Cairns is also filled with backpackers, which create an amazing spirit in the town, especially at the nightlife. At the coast Cairns has also build a public lagoon, free for everyone, but remember to keep an eye on your stuff while you are swimming. The lagoon is probably made because there can be crocodiles along the coast, so it can be dangerous to bathing from the coast.
West of Cairns is the mountains, and behind them, is the beginning of the outback. Here are small towns located, as Normanton, where nothing really happens. From Normanton runs the Savannah way, which is a red dirt road running further northwest, and is the shortest way to Darwin from Cairns. The road is running from Queensland into North Territory through the outback, filled with small bridges and dips.
When you are driving on the Savannah way you have to be careful:
The road from Mount Isa to Alice Springs, or from Darwin to Alice Springs is full of good shopping opportunities, in form of gas stations along the way. Between Three Ways and Alice Springs is Devils Marbles, which is lot of amazing round stones located together in small area, with camping area close by.
Darwin is the capital of Northern Territory, and is one the most northern placed cities in Australia. This means Darwin is close to equator, which also means in the summer months there is a lot of rain, and really high humidity. But what to see in Darwin?
Darwin is a nice city, which has a large number of aboriginal inhabitants. This also shows in Darwin’s aboriginal museum and the aboriginal attractions surrounding Darwin, including the rest of the north in Northern territory. South of Darwin you find the hidden valley circuit, which is a part of the Australian V8 supercars championship.
Alice Springs is nothing special, but have a lot of shops known from other big cities, which is nice if you need anything special. South of Alice Springs is Uluru, or Ayers Rock.
Stones between Alice Spring and Uluru
The Uluru is one of Australia’s biggest landmarks, and is a big red stone. Uluru is the aboriginal name, and is mainly the best name to call it, because the Ayers rock name is kind of making you standing out as an unaware. Uluru is amazing, and it is hard to believe how big it is. It is also possible to climb Uluru, even though the aboriginals are not happy about it. It also seems like the local government is trying to stop the climbing, with excuses like; it is going to rain soon, to windy or to hot. So the best time to climb Uluru, is probably in the morning with the “low” temperature.
In the same area as Uluru is also Kings Canyon, a great place for hiking, but the trail is only open a couple of hours in the morning, so the government is sure everyone getting true before the warmest time on the day. The valley however is open all day, and is a beautiful sight. Kings Canyon amazingly also offers free WIFI near the trails.
Close to Uluru is also Kata Tjuta, which is a formation created out of big group of large stones, and is also worth a visit.
Close to Uluru and Kata Tjuta is the little tourist town Yulara, with a gas station, shops and information center, where you can book tours, like camels tours or helicopter tours.
Great Central Road is the shortest way from Uluru to Western Australia and Perth. It is a red dirt road 1126 Km long running from North Territory (Yulara/Uluru) to Western Australia (Laverton), through the aboriginals country. Because the road is going through aboriginal land, you need to have permission from the aboriginals, which you can get on there website, or in Yulara information center (it’s free). Another important thing that is important while driving on the Great Central Road is that you can’t bring any unleaded fuel with you. The reason behind this is that the unleaded is bad for the nature, but the real reason is that the aboriginals are inhaling the gases from the unleaded fuel to get high. Therefore are the gas stations along Great Central Road only selling Opal, which is like unleaded fuel without the fumes.
Great Central RoadThe road is a dirt road, which means that in some places it can be really rough. The part of the road that runs in North Territory, which is about 300 km, was really bad when we were driving on it, but after we got past the border to Western Australia, the road got much better, and we were driving 100 km/h. Even though the Great Central Road has the issues mentioned above, it is still an amazing experience, where you on the road will experience the real outback. But it is still a big decision, because if the car breaks down you can be pretty alone, because the aboriginals are by law not obligated to help you. You have about 5 days to complete the tour on the Great Central Road on the permit you get from the aboriginal council. The last advice would be to call somebody when you start traveling on the Great Central Road, and then make a deal to call them again 5 days later, so somebody know you got through without any problems.
When the great central road is done and the road in solid again, small mining towns will appear. Especially Kalgoorlie is a real mining town, with a really cool mining inspired information center, and big mines found around the town area, which also means lot of road trains. From Kalgoorlie to Perth the landscape is first dominated by mines and trees, but as Perth is getting closer farming areas showing up.
Kimberley is a region, placed north in the Western Australia. The region is filled with big nature attractions, and really shows how magnificent Australia can be. Kimberley contains canyons, wildlife, freshwater pool and amazing 4WD roads. Even though Kimberley is far from everything, it definitely has something to offer.
Perth is the biggest city on the west coast, and the capital of Western Australia. The train is easy to use, and will get you right to city center, which is pretty much 2-3 streets with shops, and shopping malls. By following Murray St. east from city center, you will get to St Mary’s Cathedral, which are both an old and a new construction. South of city center is Swan River, and by the river is an amazing cultural place, with the Bell Tower as the main attraction. But the whole area is a nice place to spend time. Another cool area in Perth is Fremantle southwest of city center, where there is a train station near by. The area is full of history, beaches, hostels, and the most beautiful restaurants, some hidden in small places. Fremantle is for sure a place to see in Perth.
Further south from Perth is Rockingham, a nice place by the sea. Near Rockingham is also Penguin Island, where it is possible to see penguins and other animals. It only takes a couple of minutes on the small ferry, and penguin islands tracks and penguin center are ready for you.
South part of Western Australia close to the towns Denmark and Albany is the area pretty rough with lot of hills, and mostly forest.
Eyre Hwy is running along Australia’s south coast, it is a beautiful road, especially from the border between Western Australia and South Australia going east. From the border going east the road is running alongside the coast for a while, with rest stops along the way. The coast is made out of big cliffs that are just amazing, and you can get all close at some of the rest stops.
Adelaide, the festival city in Australia, where there is always happening something. When we visit Adelaide there was an art festival, and a street show festival, which was great. Adelaide has a really nice city center, with the green area close to the railway station, the River Torrens, Adelaide Oval and Adelaide Festival Centre. Going the opposite way of the Adelaide Oval (south from the railway station) is the city center with the walking street and endless amount of shops, and beautiful arcades.
Southeast of Adelaide is Mount Gambier, with two special attractions. The Blue Lake is as the name indicates a blue lake, and probably the bluest lake you will ever see. Umpherston sinkhole is the other attraction, which is really special, even though it’s just a hole in the ground; you get down and walk in the garden planted in the button, with plants hanging down on the edges of the sinkhole.
A bit east of Mount Gambier starts the Great Ocean Road, which is running between Warrnambool and Torquay. Great Ocean Road is not the fastest way between Adelaide and Melbourne, but is definitely the most beautiful one. The road is running along the coast, cut into the cliff side, with lookouts along the way. The part of the road closest to Warrnambool is full of beautiful limestone sculptures, which are slowly broken down by the sea.
Great Ocean Road
Melbourne is the home of trams and beautiful old buildings. The way to get around Melbourne is by using one of the many trams, where you use a card called Myki to pay for the trams, except in city center where it is free. Melbourne center is full of beautiful buildings, old and young. Some of the older buildings as St Paul’s Cathedral and State Library of Victoria are great places to visit. The younger buildings as ACMI next to Melbourne visitor center, are both special. South of Melbourne visitor center over Yarra River are many other attractions located, which is worth a look, e.g. skyscrapers where you can get up to the top. The National Gallery of Victoria is also a very unique building. The beautiful botanic garden, with the monument Shrine of Remembrance, created for remembering those who fought in World War 2, is also a great place. East of the botanic garden is lot of different stadiums placed, which have been used for the Olympic games. Further southwest is Albert Park, which is not only a park; it is home to the Australian Grand Prix in Formula 1, which is an amazing experience.
Melbourne is also where the ferry to Tasmania departs.
Formula 1, Melbourne
Tasmania should be the place in Australia where the climate is recalls the European. Big attractions on the island are their biggest city Hobart, and of course the famous Tasmanian devil. But they also have a big dam, which should be the biggest in Australia. Tasmania is also the crown princess Mary of Denmark original home, although she met her prince in Sydney.
We did under our stay in Australia record lot of videos, and uploaded them to Youtube. The main purpose of this was to show family and friends what they where doing on the trip around Australia.
These videos can now give you an idea how a trip around Australian can be, and where this websites authors have their expirence from.