“ Country: Australia / World Region: Australasia / Pacific „
All the wonderful things you've heard about Australia are true! It is an absolutely fantastic country.
I'll tell you about my trip and an overview of the places that I went.
I was only in Oz for three weeks and landed at Sydney airport. I was lucky to be staying with family friends who collected me and took me to their home in the Coogee area of Sydney. My friends threw a BBQ for me down at the beach on the day I arrived and had invited many of their friends. Iit was such a welcoming experience but I would say that this is typical of Australians - very friendly and welcoming and they want to show off their country!
Coogee is a 20 minute bus journey from the centre of Sydney but you feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The beach is great but watch out for the sea currents- they are very strong.
There is a lovely coastal walk that goes from Coogee to Bondi beach - it takes about an hour and a half and you can get the bus back - it has some stunning scenery.
Sydney itself is great and it's fantastic to see the scenes you're seen so many times in pictures. The view of the opera house from the botanic gardens is wonderful as it is from the public ferry.
The next stop on my itinery was the blue mountains which is about an hour from Sydney by train. I stayed in Katoomba which isn't much to write home about in itself but has easy access to all the sights. There's some fantastic walking and again the scenery is amazing but so different to Sydney- the blue mountains are lush and green.
Next I went to Tasmania which is somewhere that most people miss from their itinerary but it should not be overlooked. I was lucky because Tasmania is not famed for it gorgeous sunny weather but it was beautiful when I was there. We hired a car and travelled from Launceston to Hobart. I don't really have fond memories of Launceston but that could be because we had quite poor accommodation and only stayed one night. As we travelled down the island there were some fantastic remote places and beautiful lakes. We had some lovely accommodation and saw an unbelievable amount of wildlife. If you like animals, Tassie is the place for you. There are some fantastic walking opportunities. Hobart is a great city- all the Australian cities seem to have their own unique feel - they don't blur into one in my mind like some other countries do. The waterfront and the botanic gardens are particular highlights in Hobart.
Next I flew to Melbourne but didn't really see it before setting off on a trip on the Great Ocean Road. The views of the apostles and the coastline in general was amazing. A helicopter trip over the apostles was brilliant. For me there was too much driving, I would have like to have got out and walked small sections along the coast but I was on an organised trip.
I then went to Kangaroo island which is beautiful - again this is a great place for seeing wildlife - Penguins and Pelicans in particular! It's also a good place to try sandboarding - but try not to fall off and bump your head like I did!
Adalaide was next - quite a laid back and arty feel to this city.
The final part of my trip involved flying to Alice springs which is an interesting little place - I took a walk to the Telegraph museum which was a great place to start learning about Australia's history. There's also a museum about the real flying doctors. From Alice I did a trip out to Uluru (Ayers rock) and Kings canyon. Again it's great to see the iconic images of Australia for real. I walked round Uluru - the native people don't like you climbing it as it is sacred - but many people still do it.
If you want to see a lot of Australia in a short amount of time then I do recommend that you get a couple of internal flights - don't forget that the country is huge! I covered a lot in my 3 weeks and it was a pretty active trip - be aware of your own limitation and don't try to take on too much. Do what's right for you - I think I paced my trip o.kfor me but you might prefer to see one of two places in more depth.
It is of course a long way there and back from the UK and so I wouldn't recommend going for anything less than 3 weeks ideally.
we recently went on a football tour to australia, and it was great especially when you finally arrive, we went to two places Brisbane, and Sydney.
the weather in sydney was great it got upto 24 degrees C and this was their winter, and as you came in on the plane other the beautiful coast line and see it lit up and yet still be able to see through the clear blue water, it was beautiful it didn't even show chance of being cold or rain it was worth the flight.
the sights were amazing, the amarillo which is called the sydney opera house and we even travelled out to bondi bay which was warm but not anything speical in my mind. Manly which you travel to on a boat was warm and is nice and calm especially for shopping.
the food was perfect you could get anything you want at a really cheap price for some really nice food.
weather, same as sydney
the beach was beautiful, and so was the town
shopping in brisbane was great and so was the mini gold and it was so calm and laid back, it was just beautiful and much better than our weather.
Though Bondi is better known to foreign tourists, Coogee, another eastern suburb is equally beautiful, and well worth a visit. I have been living within sight of this beach for slightly more than 2 months now Im in a neighbouring suburb, but I live in a high-rise block and it hasnt lost its charm during that time. The beach is large and sandy and the water is clear and free from fish (including, most of the time, sharks). Its not the busiest place in the area in terms of the number of people or the quantity of things to see and do, but its a beautiful place to relax, and its not entirely dead. For example you could...
<< Go for a swim >>
As well as the gorgeous beach, Coogee has several sea pools for swimming in. One, to the north of the bay, has cliffs for jumping off, but is essentially just a small inlet blocked in on 3 sides by rocks. To the south is a small kiddies pool next to the Surf Life Saving Club, and further over the headland is the women and childrens pool. Known as topless lesbian central this is in fact a perfectly nice place to go there are changing facilities and showers, and a large pool with great views. There are also huge rocky areas to lie on, making a break from getting sand in your pants, and I often spend weekend afternoons down here reading the paper, soaking up the sun and chilling.
<< Go for a walk >>
The coastal path from Coogee to Bondi in the north and Maroubra in the south offers amazing views. From Coogee to Bondi takes between 90 minutes and 2 hours but is well worth it, and there are lots of places to stop and rest along the way. You pass several small beaches such as Bronte and Clovelly, most of which have cafes or kiosks and sea pools too. At the moment, the international festival Sculpture By The Sea is on between Tamarama and Bondi, making a visit even more essential.
<< Go for brunch >>
Coogee is literally teeming with pavement cafes and restaurants serving all manner of cuisine, from McDonalds to Gourmet Seafood and Thai and Italian. Gourmet doesnt mean all that much over here they stick the word into most restaurant names but it does tend to indicate a sit-and-enjoy kind of place rather than an eat-and-run fast food joint. As in most seaside resorts, having a view of the beach is something youll pay extra for, so the promenade places are slightly more expensive, but even they are no exorbitant. Breakfast menus are available all day and are extensive from raisin toast to American style pancakes to eggs cooked and served in any number of different ways. On a sunny day theres no better way to spend a few hours than by meeting friends for brunch, and its something we do quite frequently. I have yet to try somewhere and not enjoy it, but the Coogee Café, on Coogee Bay Road (just up from, um, Coogee Bay) is especially recommended for their pancakes concoctions. I love the tradition of having a huge stash of magazines for you to flick through while you eat. Well often grab a New Idea or Womens Day (kinda like a hybrid of Heat and Closer) to catch up on the essential gossip in between bites.
<< Go for ice cream >>
Ice cream is good, especially when the suns shining and its 35 C as it is here today. Coogee has a variety of places serving it up: theres a Baskin Robins tucked away in a convenience store at the south end of the beach, and a branch of Gelatissimo on the main street whose concoctions are pur heaven. Be sure to try a chocolate filled and chocolate-coated wafer roll with your ice cream. Like a flake, but posher. Most cafes also have ice cream selections, with most offering much more than the usual vanilla/chocolate/strawberry.
<< Go out at night >>
As a small place, the nightlife is centred around a few bars, some late opening restaurants and the main hotels. The Coogee Bay hotel gets most of our custom, and is an amazing place with numerous bars, outside seating with a view of the beach just across the road, a club, live bands and much more, plus free entry to most bits most of the time. Its a sociable place, frequented by locals as much as backpackers, and drinks prices are reasonable. The Palace hotel, just along the prom at the north end of the beach, is also worth a visit, if only for the Ikea style pod chairs they have suspended from the ceiling on one of the levels, perfect for swinging the night away. Going out runs on the same age rules as the UK, though ID is essential for everyone regardless of age, and I had to smile really nicely the time I left mine at home. ID must have an age / date of birth on a simple student card is not sufficient, though how many under 18s there are doing post-grad degrees I dont know. Dress codes are relaxed, though some places dont let you in in flipflops trainers, randomly, are fine.
<< Go shopping >>
Though no one could mistake it for a shopping Mecca, Coogee has all the essentials. For groceries, a few minutes up Coogee Bay Road there is a small precinct with a Woolworths Metro in it (over here Woolworths is a supermarket). The same road has a couple of bakeries and some convenience stores, and lots and lots of take aways. There are a handful of boutique-style clothes shops, some surf shops, a few travel agents and estate agents (Thank you Mr Hooker ) and some random newsagents / stationary / a bit of everything else places. For better shopping, jump on a bus to the monster shopping centre at Bondi Junction, or check out the markets at the north end of Bondi beach on a Sunday.
<< Go and stay there >>
Living within walking distance I havent tried out the accommodation in Coogee, although there is a reasonable choice considering its small size. In addition to the Bay and Palace Hotels, there are a few smaller B&Bs, and a couple of youth hostels. For longer stays, weekly rents start at about $120 for a room in a shared house or apartment, and are readily available.
<< Go further afield >>
The nearest suburb to Coogee, Randwick, is very different from Coogee. Gone are the beach, the pool and the backpackers, and in there place are a cinema (with an amazing selection of food .gelato, cakes, sandwiches, salads, chocolate lasagne), a bowling alley, a great pre-loved bookstore, two small shopping centres, a whole road of proper shops (i.e. ones not selling souvenirs) and a funky little dining precinct called The Spot where we eat on a regular basis. Highly recommended come Arthurs and Caffe Ciao for proper food, and Sugar Plum for monster ice cream sundaes (for 6 people to share), waffles and more. Randwick is a 20-30 min trek up the steep hill or a 5 min / $1.20 bus journey, but going back down you can do it in 15 mins. Yep, the hill is that steep. Its worth it though, especially on a Tuesday when its $5 night at the cinema.
<< Go get there >>
Coogee it easily accessible from the city, airport and other suburbs by bus, and many routes terminate on the promenade. Unfortunately there is no train station nearby (I prefer trains to busses because theyre confined to tracks so you know where youre going all the time) the nearest are Sydney central or Bondi Junction.
has a route planner option for planning trips in and around Sydney, or look at
Taxis are also plentiful, especially at night, and some of the drivers are fascinating. Just last night we had a former Academic Lawyer from Poland who seemed to like to talk about politics and corrupt business men.
I dont have long left in Sydney before I take all my annual leave for ever more and go wandering off to Cairns to see what adventures Queensland beholds. Coogee is one thing Ill miss, then and when I eventually return home. Its a chilled out place, like Ibiza but with fewer drugs, like Minorca but with better ice cream, with a warm, friendly feel to it. Its as suitable for families as it is for backpackers which is rare in my experience, and is, bearing in mind Sydney centre, Manly and Bondi, comparatively cheap. Its safe, cheerful and clean, and I couldnt have asked for a better suburb to have at the end of my road for my time in Oz.
Australia is definitely the holiday of a lifetime. Unfortunately my friend and I could only go for four weeks but what a brill holiday we had. Starting of in Melbourne we shopped in all the best stores ate till we could eat no more, Melbourne offers a wide selection of restaurants and all at a very low price. We snorkelled on the geat barrier reef, spotted koalas up a tree in North Queensland, walked along The Rocks and saw the Opera house and Bridge in Sydney hiked up the Blue Mountains travelled back by train to melbourne to see the sights then sipped wine in the vineyards of Adelade feed the kangaros also won a few dollars in the casino but alas had to head off back to Ireland. But we will return.