Check out our day of driving to the 12 apostles from Melbourne and back!
When you think of Australia, you think of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane. So it surprises a lot of people to find out the capital is actually little Canberra.
Located between Victoria and New South Wales, it’s a relatively new City with building commencing in 1913. It was built due to a disagreement over which existing City should become the Capital of a united Australia.
We were visiting as a little stop off point between Melbourne and Sydney. It’s a 9 hour drive between these two, and Canberra sits around 6 hours from Melbourne.
We arrived late in the evening after an eventful drive, stopping off to see a giant Ned Kelly, a submarine and a dog on a tucker box. It was a pleasant drive until we hit the smoke from the NSW fires.
We stayed at the QT Canberra, which is a lovely hotel set within walking distance of the parliament and museum area.
We woke up early and crossed lake Burley Griffin, a huge man made lake set right in the centre of the City. You can hike around the whole thing which would be fun. Unfortunately the huge fountain located in the lake wasn’t on when we walked over.
We stopped along the opposite bank and followed the Australian of the year walkway before passing the national library.
Next up was the old parliament, a classic looking white building which was superseded by the new parliament built up on Capitol hill.
So off we trekked up the hill, and the new building is definitely well thought out architecturally. The best part is that you can wander around inside with no tour guide or security following you.
So we visited the senate room and the house of representatives. Although parliament wasn’t on session, it was still interesting to learn more about Australian politics.
The great hall was beautiful, with a great tapestry on the wall, but the best part was heading to the roof and seeing the 266ft flagpole. The views from here were also amazing, albeit ruined by the bushfire smoke a little, but hey, that’s the least of Australia’s problems with the fires.
We headed back to the hotel and checked out. Then drove over to the ANZAC parade. This was really interesting with memorials lining the parade to every war Australia has fought in.
There was also a memorial for army nurses which I loved, but the most interesting were the Boer and Vietnamese war memorials. Lots of history and information.
I really love the quote from Atatürk after the battle of Gallipoli.
We didn’t have time to go inside the actual war museum, instead we drove up to Mount Ainslie lookout. If you had time the hike up there would be brilliant, with a chance to see kangaroos and other interesting Australian animals.
The view was still hazy, but it was still really interesting, with a straight look down ANZAC parade to the lake, and the fountain was now on!
That was the end of our little Canberra journey, it felt like there was still a lot of hiking opportunities we missed because of time constraints, and I’ve heard the art galleries and museums are top class here.
So there’s plenty to see and do to fill at least a couple of days. Lastly, we were on a budget so we didn’t try out any of the restaurants, but Canberra is meant to be a foodies dream!
It was on to Sydney for us, this time we got to see a giant Merino sheep and stopped at the town of Yass! To get a picture with the sign and live our Queer Eye fantasy.
Today was a big surprise! We were headed to Perth for my Birthday, unfortunately the flight was delayed by about 5 hours so we arrived late. This left us little time to explore one of the most isolated Cities on earth, as we were only here for 2 nights and the main day was for Rottnest Island!
We arrived at the airport and took a taxi to our Hotel Rendezvous we dumped our stuff and headed out to find food. We headed straight to William Street where I had read about some cool sounding restaurants, and after wandering about for a bit we settled on this cute little Italian called Francoforte Spaghetti bar.
It was some of the best pasta either of us have ever had! We had the pasta broccoli and the eggplant sugo, and we just feeling very happy. Obviously we needed to follow this up with dessert so we headed to Whisk Creamery. This place is a pudding palace! I got a salted caramel cronut with vanilla soft serve. Craig opted for a fish shaped green tea ice cream Taiyaki.
The next day we were picked up at our hotel and whisked away to the Northern port at Hillary’s. We were given our bikes here while we waited for the ferry. It takes around 45 minutes to cross to the island and it was a very choppy sea that day!
You land on the Western side of the island and immediately have free reign to do whatever you like. The only cars on the island are maintenance vans and passenger buses so it’s super easy to cycle around.
We checked out the map and decided to try and do a full loop of the island after grabbing some refreshments, we set off. Starting off South we passed a few buildings and then we were out on our own, I was desperately trying to cycle and look for Quokkas, the reason we had come to the island.
Quokkas are small Marsupials that can only be found on Rottnest Island in the wild because of invasive species on the mainland. They’re also one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Balancing on the bike I spotted movement in the undergrowth and came screeching to a halt, I moved as stealthily as a 6″1 man can, and spotted a little Quokka! I was so happy and the little guy wasn’t bothered by us at all.
Continuing on we stopped at a couple of nice beach areas, and did a bit of rock climbing as I looked for sharks. They are often seen around Rottnest and the Western Australian coast. There’s a cool website you can use to see where the most recent sightings have been. We also stopped to look for Quokkas in the bush to no avail.
As we continued to cycle on we got a little lost, then the heavens opened up above us and the rain came pouring down! Without coats we got absolutely soaked, but we didn’t care as the sun came back out it seemed like hundreds of little Quokkas suddenly emerged from the undergrowth. One took a real shine to Craig and we got some great pics.
Totally happy despite our soggy clothes we cycled on to the big lighthouse in the middle of the island, it’s not free so we didn’t climb up, instead we sheltered from the next wave of rain next to the toilets.
Carrying on towards the South West we had some amazing views of the island, and more Quokkas! This time one decided I was very interesting and came hopping over to give me a sniff, we got some great selfies with him and started to dry off as the glorious sun came out.
Finally we reached the furthest tip of the island, and it was so worth it, the rock formations in the sea were incredible. We sat and had our little lunch and enjoyed the waves crashing through the rocks. This had taken us a few hours with stops along the way so we thought we better start the journey back.
On the way we saw more Quokkas, making my excitement at seeing the first little one a little over the top. The cycling started to get a little harder as I’m not the fittest, and even though it was mostly flat there are some steeper hilly bits, just don’t be too proud to stop if you need to! Again we stopped at a couple of nice points, it was a shame the weather wasn’t a little warmer as the beaches looked amazing with the white sand and clear blue waters.
As we neared our destination we passed a huge lake which smelt pretty eggy, like sulphur, with loads of different birds who didn’t seem to mind the smell one bit. Once we arrived back to the main area we had about an hour till our ferry. At first we were going to continue cycling but it started raining again so we settled for a couple of beers.
There were even Quokkas near the shops and restaurants! It’s probably harder to miss one than find them. We took the ferry back, and it was just as rough, I was in hysterics watching Mr Bean while Craig was trying his best not to be sick along with most of the other passengers. Soon we were back on dry land, handed our bikes back and back in Perth. After all that cycling we were ravenous, we thought we’d head back to William St but on our way we noticed that a burger chain called Grill’d were doing vegetarian night!
Feeling like it must have been a sign, in we went and ordered a classic veggie burger along with a beyond meat burger and 3 types of fries, including zucchini which were delicious! We sank a couple of beers, and then headed back to the hotel. It had been such a fun day out, those little Quokka are everything!
Brisbane is the 3rd largest City in Australia, the capital of Queensland and a great gateway to the Sunshine coast and Great Barrier Reef. It has 283 days of sunshine, making it the perfect place to wander around and relax with a beer
Many people fly in to Brisbane just to head back out, but I had an opportunity to fly up with my partner for a night, so I tried to cram in as much as possible in 24 hours!
We arrived at the Domestic airport, and took a taxi to the City using Didi for the first time.
It was the cheapest option at $25 and it took around 18 minutes. We checked in to our hotel, the Mercure at North Quay and dropped our stuff off.
It was 12:30 and we were ready for lunch, I had found a cute little place called Brew just off Albert St. They do great vegetarian options on their menu and a good selection of beers. We had the halloumi bagel and Mac cheese balls, both with fries and both were delicious!
We were nearby the City Hall which is the largest in Australia, I had read you could go up to the top of the clock tower and it was free! So off we went, taking the lift to the 3rd floor. Unfortunately there wasn’t a tour space until 15:30 but we took our tickets just in case.
After this we walked straight down Albert Street past all the shops and through the botanical gardens where the first macadamia nuts were cultivated for farming! It was super cute and there were little lizards and interesting tropical plants.
Crossing the Brisbane River on the Goodwill bridge we went past the Maritime museum and began walking North along Southbank. The weather was gorgeous and the walkway beneath bright purple Bougainvilleans was stunning.
It’s so great to have such amazing green spaces in the City, and even better is the Streets beach! A man made turquoise blue beach pool in the middle of the City. A great place to swim, relax and catch some rays.
A top thing to do in Brisbane is take the City Hopper a free boat taxi that runs up and down the river. Just make sure you take the free one as the other boats charge.
We took the boat past kangaroo point, where you can abseil down the cliffs, past the waterside restaurants of Eagle St pier and under the famous Storey bridge.
The final stop was Sydney St and we got off here to walk back up to the City over the raised walkway above the river.
It was so beautiful, with places to stop and sit and water fountains. I had read there were bill sharks in the river, and spent my time keeping an eagle eye out for them to no avail.
If you follow this walkway till the end, you can reward yourself with a beer at Felon’s brewing company. A wonderful spot directly underneath Storey bridge. Nearby is Wilson outlook reserve, which affords you spectacular views of the city.
Felon’s brews all it’s own beers on site, and the cool instagrammable Percival’s bar is right next door too. As we sat enjoying our beers a huge thunderstorm appeared out of nowhere. Lightning filled the sky above the skyscrapers and the rain suddenly poured down.
It was such a cool experience, helped by the fact that we were sheltered from the rain. Plus it was a great excuse to get another beer.
The sun soon appeared again, so we took the City reach boardwalk all the way back to Eagle Street pier, through Queen Street mall and back to the hotel. After a quick change and freshen up we had a drink in the hotel bar and went in search of food. The best place to go would be Fish lane in South Brisbane but we stayed local and tried Harajuku Gyoza.
This was really good, dumplings, agedashi tofu and deep fried eggplant. Tasty beers including a cool Japanese ale. All for $30 each with rice, edamame and miso. Filled to the brim we went back to the hotel as Craig was up early to work the next day.
Craig was off to work in the morning and I was off to solo explore. I walked down Fish lane with it’s amazing Street art and hipster cafes. I stopped at Naim on Melbourne street and had incredible smashed avo on toast. It’s a fabulous little brunch spot.
I was now ready to hit up GOMA, with perfect timing as it opens at 10am it’s free too which is a bonus. It’s the gallery of modern art and it had some very interesting exhibits on aboriginal art and life, and some really cool media displays. It’s got some cool architecture moments as well.
I spent around an hour here at a leisurely pace, and then quickly popped over to the state library of Queensland to see an exhibition on satirical comic strips from 2018.
After missing out on the clock tower from the previous day, I was determined to do it. So after another cute boardwalk I headed back over the river and picked up a ticket. This time it was an hour’s wait. I quickly checked Google maps and found an old windmill, which turned out to be the oldest convict-built structure in Brisbane!
I also got to enjoy a couple of nice parks, a quaint little shopping arcade and finally took the plunge and tried the Hungry Jack’s vegan whopper. It was soooo good, and whoever invented the spider is a GOD. It’s soft serve on top of a slushy and it’s incredible.
Ready to hit the clock tower, we went up in the original lift and had about 10 minutes to enjoy the views of the City. It was fun and because it’s free it’s definitely something good to do but I wouldn’t worry if I missed it. We stopped behind the clock on the way down and it was done!
I had about 2 hours left in Brisbane! So I marched back over to the Southbank, found the Brisbane sign near the Lyric theatre and walked past the wheel of Brisbane. It’s well priced at $22, I wish we had done it the night before as I bet the City looks amazing lit up.
An insta-friend had recommended The Terrace bar to me, so I thought that it would be a great way to finish the trip. It’s located on floor 21 of the emporium hotel, next to Southbank train station.
I was so glad I went, the views over the City are 10 out of 10. Service was really good and the drinks were pretty well priced. I had a caramelised peach mojito and green coast lager. I could have stayed there all evening, it’s definitely one I’ll recommend on to others.
Being so close to the station was good too, it cost $23 to get to the domestic airport from here, not much less than the taxi so a little pricey, but the journey was fine and there’s a Coles nearby to pick up snacks. The train takes about 30 mins. Then it was check in to the airport and back to Melbourne after a lovely little Brizzy getaway.
So I had arrived in Melbourne, ready to explore a bit of Australia for a few months. So one of the first things we did was book a flight up to the gold coast.
The gold coast is Queensland’s second largest City/Metropolitan, it’s south of Brisbane and the beaches stretch over 43 miles of pure paradise.
The flight is so quick, and we were soon in an Uber to our cute little home for the next two nights. The Pink Hotel in Coolangatta is Instagram friendly, comfortable and cool. With a secret piano bar, a rooftop terrace and a rock bar.
Check in was nice and easy, the rooms were large with interesting features. We loved the pink fluffy flamingo robes!
After a quick freshen up we went out to explore Coolie. It was warm but with a cold wind and we decided to walk up around snapper rocks and to point danger. The beach was white sand, clear blue water and plenty of surfers, it was paradise.
We were pretty hungry, so we stopped for lunch at this great little place on the main strip called Raw Energy. The food was so good and very vegetarian friendly.
After that recharge we walked around the little peninsula at snapper rock, spotted brush turkeys, lizards and rainbow lorikeets, watched the surfers and enjoyed the beautiful views.
Up on point danger we looked out for whales, and checked out the monument to Captain Cook and some nice little war memorials. There were even turkeys up here! The views down the coast we stunning.
It was pretty windy up there, so we wandered back down and decided to stop for a beer. We chose the rainbow surf club, with it’s cute balcony overlooking the beach and ocean.
Lucky for us it was happy hour! So we sat and watched the surfers, the sun slowly going down and enjoyed ice cold beers. Then to our surprise we noticed fins in the water, and before we knew it a pod of dolphins started leaping, splashing and playing right in front of us to the backdrop of a hazy orange sun.
Sadly there were a lot of bushfires inland and you could see the smoke up high causing the sun to go an eerie red as it set.
This was such a great experience so we were buzzing as we walked back to the hotel. We got changed and decided to try Eddie’s Grub house, the bar attached to our hotel.
It was pretty cool, they had a really fun live band playing country/rock music. The beer was good and the food was delicious, especially the jalapeno hush puppies!
Filled up with great food, we walked over to an interesting statue, marking the divide between two states, Queensland and New South Wales. So we took a couple of fun pics of us in either state and took a little walk along the beach. We finished the night off with ice cream.
The next day we hit the beach, at first the weather was a little cold and wet, but by midday it had brightened up and we had fun paddling in the water, relaxing on the beach and enjoying our little picnic we had put together from the Woolworths on the main strip.
It was great to relax, and we spent most of the day here, going over to the rainbow club for more happy hour drinks and then enjoying the view from the top of the hotel.
Tonight we had a drink at the Coolangatta Hotel, watching the lorikeets come in to nest for the night. Then we walked over to have what is probably the worst pizza of my life. I always thought pizza was something you couldn’t get wrong, but Earth and Sea pizza restaurant managed it.
The pizzas came out with about a cm of water under the base so they were really soggy and super small for the price. Definitely avoid it!
It didn’t dampen our spirits though, so we got mcflurrys from McDonald’s and wandered back to the hotel. I peeked into the piano bar which looked really cool but we were getting up for sunrise in the morning so called it quits.
That morning we got up while it was still dark, got dressed and walked up to point danger. We stood looking out over the ocean, watching the sun slowly come up. Then the most amazing thing happened, we spotted something big come up out of the water and disappear.
There was a little pod of Humpback Whales swimming right past us! It was truly a breathtaking experience and my first time seeing Whales! Sadly they didn’t breach but they did a lot of tail slapping which was fun to see.
We were both super happy to enjoy this experience together, it’s definitely worth getting up early to catch a glimpse of these majestic animals.
Breakfast was at the Bread Social, a really good bakery where we shared a blueberry custard donut and savoury eggplant pie. It was delicious and we’d definitely recommend going there for breakfast/lunch.
The rest of the day was spent on the beach, swimming in the cool clear waters, walking along the surf and then it was nearly time to go! We ate some tasty pokebowls on the hotel rooftop and then took a taxi back to the airport. It’s less than ten minutes away so it’s a great place to stay.
Then we were back on a plane to Melbourne, through the smoky haze of the forest fires which gave the landscape a weird look.
It was a great little getaway and we’d definitely go back to Coolie! I can’t wait to explore more of Australia.