Amazing Australia

Planning a trip down under is super exciting as there is oh so much to explore!  The entire country itself is the same size as the whole United States.  If this is shocking to you, I felt the same when learning that…doesn’t it just look so tiny on the map!?

The Australia Rock

10 Things to Know/Travel Tips:

  1. Be prepared to spend A LOT of money.  Australia is expensive- VERY expensive.  It is totally unlike visiting the countries in Southeast Asia where you can get away with spending very little a day.  It’s more like a minimum of around $150 a day vs. the $50 a day you can do in many other countries.
  2. Have a plan.  As much as you can always wing it anytime you are traveling, I suggest doing your research when it comes to the land of Oz.  It can be harder to find last-minute accommodations and due to how costly it is, it’s much better when you have a plan in place in advance.
  3. Road trips are not as easy as they might seem.  The country is BIG, even if it might look small on the map.  If you plan on visiting multiple cities, I would suggest booking flights between them. Otherwise, you may not get to see everything you’d like to see.  I’d still suggest renting a car in many of the destinations in order to be able to experience everything without paying insane costs for day trips and tours.  There’s also always the option of traveling by camper van if you are lucky enough to have an extended amount of time to explore!
  4. The main destinations of Sydney and Melbourne are very large metropolitan cities.  I’m not sure exactly why, but this fact surprised me a bit as I guess I was somehow expecting it to be much more rural than it is.
  5. You need to get a visa which you can apply for online.  A tourist visa is valid for one year and allows 90-day visits. (Also, if you happen to be under the age of 30 you should seriously consider applying for a working holiday visa and spending an extended period of time there- 1-2 years to be specific.)
  6. Australia is separated into six different states: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. There are also two territories: Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory.
  7. Many of the world’s most dangerous animals are found in Australia.  Always be mindful of warning signs before swimming in the water!
  8. Wear sunscreen when visiting the beaches!! There is a hole in the ozone layer just above Australia so the sun is extremely harsh and the UV rays are much more dangerous here. Skin cancer is no joke.
  9. Make sure you try Tim Tams- these little chocolate treats are a well known Aussie favorite and oh so delicious!
  10. Last but not least, Australia is beyond amazing and full of so much beauty and such fun people, you will without a doubt absolutely love it! 🙂

Places to See and Things to Do:

1. Melbourne

Located in the southeastern state of Victoria, this big city is a foodie’s paradise full of culture, street art, and charm.  A few of my faves here included the Street Art on Hosier Lane, Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes, and The Great Ocean Road.

Hosier Lane Street Art- This little street is full of tons of unique and fun graffiti artwork!
Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes- The happiest little beach on Earth! Want to get that perfect Instagram shot? This is the spot! These bright little beach houses are so photogenic and fun it makes for a great photo op!


Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road- If you love road trips then this scenic coastal drive is an absolute must do! From Melbourne, it is about a 3-hour drive.
great ocean rd
The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road- One of the most recognizable stops of this awe-inspiring drive.
The beach at Gibson Steps. Another must-do stop on the Great Ocean Road.

2. Sydney

Sydney is Australia’s most populous metropolitan and located on the southeastern part of the country in New South Wales.  This destination is at the top of most people’s list when visiting Oz and there are so many reasons why it should be.  This bustling big city is reminiscent of a beachy Australian version of NYC and it is full of adventure and exploration options.

sydney opera house
The Sydney Opera House. One of the most iconic places in Sydney, you can enjoy a stroll through the Botanical Gardens to get here and have a cocktail at Opera Bar for some great views of the sunset, Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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The famous Bondi Beach Icebergs pool. One of the most iconic stops in Sydney, this spot is a great place to enjoy a meal at one of its two restaurants with a view or spend the day at the pool if you decide to get a day pass.
Bondi Beach- Stunning beaches, great people watching, surfers and pristine water make this the perfect place to spend the day!
Bondi Beach Street Art
Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk- A beautiful 6km cliff top coastal walk great for a workout and spectacular views. Stunning beaches, parks, and rock pools are just some of the incredible stops along the way.
Ferry to Manly. Another great day trip is taking the ferry from Sydney Harbour to the beautiful Manly Beach. This 45-minute ferry route gives you stunning views of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the water along with scenic views the whole way.
Manly Beach- Full of beautiful beaches, a super cute and busy town with shopping and tons of great restaurants, you can easily fill your day here exploring!
The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains. Located just under 2 hours out of the city of Sydney, the Blue Mountains is a great day trip spot for nature lovers. This well-known destination is full of great hikes, waterfalls and mountain views.

3. Byron Bay

This super chic and trendy bohemian beach town located on the southeastern state of New South Wales, it is another absolute must while visiting Aussie!  Full of adorable shops and cafes and beautiful beaches, there is nothing not to love here.  Some must dos here would be visiting the lighthouse and visiting Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens.

Byron Bay
Byron Bay Lighthouse-If you love gorgeous scenic views this a must do.



4. The Gold Coast

Another large metropolitan, found just south of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia, The Gold Coast is full of beautiful beaches, high rises and Miami city vibes.  If you’re looking for a beach vacation, this is your spot.

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Views from Skypoint Observation Deck at the top of the Q1 Building
Picture perfect blues at Surfers Paradise Beach
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Rainbow Bay Beach


5. The Great Barrier Reef

Possibly one of the most famous things to do when visiting Australia is scuba dive or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef in tropical Queensland of Northeastern Australia.  There are three main places you can visit to tour the reef- Cairns, Port Douglas, and Airlie Beach.

The Great Barrier Reef from above!

Cairns is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the three, however, it is also the location closest to where the reef is the most destroyed.  A bit over-populated and not too exciting, we took our tour from this part of Queensland and based on how it went and what I know now, I would suggest visiting one of the other two places instead.

Scuba diving with sea turtles. (Although much of the reef is destroyed and bleached out, there is still a vast amount of sea life to be seen!)

Port Douglas is a cute and fun town with lots of great day trip options nearby, including the Wildlife Habitat where you can see kangaroos and koalas up close and the Waterfall Circuit (both pictured below).  Supposedly the tours from this area take you to the more northern sections of the Great Barrier Reef where there is the least damage.

Just be warned that although the coastal towns of Cairns and Port Douglas have stunning beaches…the water is actually infested with salt water crocodiles so swimming is not suggested!
port douglas
Port Douglas- A beautiful and fun coastal town to explore.
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas- a visit here gets you up close and personal with the Roos. (Just be warned that it feels more like an interactive zoo than an actual wild habitat.)
Kangaroo selfies
kangaroo babies
Kangaroo mama & baby
Koala hugs at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas.
Millaa Millaa Falls at The Waterfall Circuit. A quick drive away from Port Douglas takes you to a beautiful drive with tons of stunning waterfalls to visit!
Josephine Falls- another stunning stop at the Waterfall Circuit

Although I did not get to visit Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands due to time constraints in our travel schedule, based on photos, I would absolutely recommend going there!  One of the best ways to experience it would be a 3-day sailing tour that takes you around the Whitsunday islands.

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