The great big Australian bucket list, everyone has one right? I sure did when we left the UK for a year in the sun. There was so much I wanted to see in Australia and there still is. One thing I found out is that one year is not enough time to see it all! What I also discovered a year later was that both Dave and I had managed to make our Aussie dreams come true and seen so much of this beautiful country!
In this post, I’m sharing the parts of Australia we loved and the parts we are still yet to see! I hope you enjoy it!
New South Wales – Australian Bucket List
Sydney Opera House
No visit to Australia is complete without a visit to the Sydney Opera House. You can go right up to the Opera House for free or take a tour inside for a cost. Grab some food and drinks at Opera Bar for the best views in the city.
2. The Sydney Harbour Bridge
You can see the Harbour Bridge from anywhere in Circular Quay but the best way to experience it fully is to walk or climb over it!
3. Bondi Beach
Sunbathe and swim in the sea on Bondi Beach just watch out for the sharks!
4. Walk from Bondi – Coogee
The most famous coastal walk in Sydney and for good reason it pretty spectacular. But if you don’t want to follow the crowds then there are plenty more gorgeous walks in Sydney which you can check out here!
5. Drink in the Pubs at The Rocks
Find Sydney’s oldest pub in The Rocks and feel like you’ve been transported to the UK as you sup a pint.
6. Spend an Afternoon on Milk Beach
For calm waters which make it swimming spot and gorgeous views of the city in the distance!
7. Explore Manly
Manly is my favourite part of the Northern Beaches in Sydney. The Northern side of Sydney is beautiful and Manly is one of the most popular spots in the city. Manly will be busy but the beaches are worth it! Walk from Manly Beach round to Shelley Bay which is a great swimming spot in the summer
A cute bay with plenty of beaches, coastal walks, fish and chips and nude sunbathing if that’s what you’re into!
10. Learn to Surf on Bondi Beach
Another experience you’ve got to have whilst in Australia. It’s mesmerising watching the professionals in the water but so much more fun trying to stand up yourself! We took our lessons with Let’s Go Surfing and I couldn’t recommend then more!
11. Hike in the Blue Mountains
Go hiking or photographing in the Blue Mountains one of the biggest UNESCO Heritage Sites in Australia spreading itself over 1 million hectares.
If sunbathing on the beach in Byron is all you want to do then that’s great but make sure you at least do this hike too! It’s beautiful and you’re 99.9% likely to see dolphins on route!
14. Take a Day Trip to Nimbin
Nimbin is hard to explain. If you thought that Byron Bay was the hippy capital of the East Coast then you’re wrong it’s certainly Nimbin. You may get asked to buy ‘cookies’ on every corner so be prepared!
15. Cafe Hop in Byron Bay
As well as the beaches, hikes and great day trips Byron Bay is also full of all these amazing cafes! There’s every cuisine you can imagine in Byron Bay so dig right in!
16. Day Trip to Lake Macquarie
This Lake is beautiful and so scenic! Wildlife watch and just enjoy a day full of nature! In summertime its great time to try your hand at paddleboarding.
17. Go to Newcastle for the Day
A smaller city just a couple of hours north of Sydney. Swim in the natural pool and enjoy a quieter New South Wales city.
18. Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley
We took the iHop tour which was amazing value for money! We definitely left the tour with full stomachs and a little tipsy!
19. Experience Sydney on New Year’s Eve
What an experience! New Year’s Eve in Sydney is one of a kind! Even though we sat in torrential rain for those fireworks it was 100% worth the time and money – I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!
20. Enjoy the View from Sealy Lookout in Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour is a great place to stop off on the way to Sydney. But if you do anything in Coffs Harbour drive up to Sealy Lookout and enjoy the view!
21. Visit Jervis Bay
Jervis bay is a popular weekend travel spot for those looking the escape the big city for a few days!
22. Visit the Queen Victoria Building
Australia is all about the beaches, we all know that! But there are a few good looking buildings around. The QVB in Sydney is beautiful inside and out!
23. Visit the Northern Beaches in Sydney
Sydney’s Northern Beaches are incredible! The best ones I recommend visiting are, Narrabeen, Manly, Dee Why and Palm Beach! Sydney has so much to offer other than the obvious Opera House and Harbour Bridge – make sure you add some time in the Northern Beaches to your Australian Bucket List.
Whilst it’s still got its colour and plenty of marine life to watch.
26. Explore Fraser Island
A trip to Fraser Island, the worlds biggest sand island, is another once in a lifetime experience I urge everyone to enjoy at least once! Take a tour so you don’t have to drive on the crazy sand tracks and enjoy some Australian history, perfect beaches and pristine lakes.
27. Lake Hop in the Tablelands, Cairns
The Tablelands in Cairns has some beautiful lakes to go swimming in! Visit Lake Eacham and swim with a crocodile (nope I’m not joking), kayak and paddleboard on Lake Tinaroo and enjoy lunch on the water at Lake Barrine.
Cairns is called the city where the rainforest meets the reef. So it would be rude not to visit one without the other!
30. Find the Curtain Fig Tree
It’s one huge tree that’s worth stopping at to be amazed at!
31. Sky Dive onto Mission Beach
Mission Beach is the only beach in the world where you can land on the actual beach! We didn’t actually skydive but we did enjoy being the only people on the beach! Mission Beach is one of the most relaxing places on the East Coast! We enjoyed sunbathing and hanging off the trees a little like the monkey you see in the photograph below! Be careful when going in the ocean on Mission Beach. Marine stingers are found in the water and their sting can kill you – best not to risk it!
32. Visit Australia Zoo
Ran by the legend Steve Irwin’s family find some giant crocodiles and have the chance to cuddle a koala.
33. Camp with Kangaroos in Agnes Water
Our favourite campsite in Queensland was Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary. The owners rehabilitate orphaned and injured joeys before releasing them. They have created a small camping area with powered and non-powered sites to help fund the sanctuary.
34. Visit Noosa
Enjoy the coastal town of Noosa. Perfect for sunbathing, surfing, swimming in the Fairy Pools and shopping!
The Noosa Everglades are beautiful so why not rent a kayak and enjoy them from the water!
36. Visit the Quiet Town of 1770
The second landing point of James Cook when he discovered Australia. There isn’t a lot in 1770 but it’s certainly a nice town for a walk. It’s just down the road from Agnes Water so you can do both in one day or over two days.
37. Sand Board on Rainbow Beach
Take a sandboarding lesson on Rainbow Beach or just take in the gorgeous views! Rainbow Beach is located about 30 km off the main highway down the East Coast but it’s certainly worth putting into your Australian bucket list!
38. Visit Brisbane
One of Australias most underrated cities. We lived for over 6 months, take a look at all my other Brisbane posts here!
Eat Street Markets is my favourite place to eat in Brisbane! Make sure that you plan your trip to the city on a weekend so you don’t miss out, the market is open Friday-Sunday every week.
41. Climb Mount Coot Tha in Brisbane
One of Brisbane’s best hikes with amazing views of the city when you reach the summit! If you’re not up to hiking then don’t worry there’s a bus that will take you to the very top!
42. Take a Day Trip to Shorncliffe
Shorncliffe is a charming fishing town about an hour from Brisbane. The sunset from the edge of the jetty is beautiful! Wander the beachfront enjoying the views and maybe treat yourselves to some fish and chips! Shorncliffe is beautiful peaceful getaway from the busier Queensland cities.
43. Go Whale Watching from Brisbane
From June to November the humpback whales make their migration through Australian waters. We were so lucky to see a number of whales during our whale watching tour in Brisbane.
This is the company we chose to go on our Whale Watching tour with and I would recommend them to anyone! We saw so many whales, they use a unique vessel to keep the whales safe and the food was great!
44. Visit the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is home to some beautiful beaches. If you only have a short period of time to visit the Gold Coast then skip surfers paradise – there are far nicer beaches on the Goldie to enjoy! Some of the places to go on the Gold Coast are Greenmount,Nobby Beach and Burleigh Heads!
45. Go Up the Sky Point Observation Deck in Surfers Paradise
If you do visit Surfers Paradise then make sure you go up the Sky Point at sunset and watch the sun go down over the strip. Sunset is the perfect time to visit because you get to see the aerial view of Surfers Paradise in the daylight, at sunset and all lit up on an evening!
Ever wanted to ride around an island looking out for Koalas in a barbie car? Well, now you can! If you have no idea what I’m talking about here then take a look at this website!
Victoria Bucket List!
47. Drive The Great Ocean Road
Did you know that the Great Ocean Road drive is actually a memorial to those who fought in the wars? It’s the biggest memorial in Australia and lined with incredible views. The sea cliff formations that mother nature has calved over the years is mind-blowing.
48. Lunch in Port Campbell
Port Campbell is one of the most picturesque spots on the Great Ocean Road. The beach is divine and although a popular spot with tourists the town is actually pretty quiet. Simply enjoy – if you’re in a campervan full right round to the beach and park directly across from the sand.
49. Find Melbourne’s Street Art
Melbourne is famous for incredible street art and you don’t have to go far to find it. ACDC and Hosier Lane are two of the most popular spots.
Every night at sunset Little Penguins come home to nest on the pier in St Kilda. We saw hundreds coming back from their fishing trip and it was such an honour to watch. This experience is free but please read all of the rules on this website before visiting!
53. Visit Phillip Island
Phillip Island showcases a different side of Australia. It actually reminded me a lot of Scotland and parts of the UK. Maybe its the lush greenery and choppy waters but Phillip Island was one of my favourite destinations we explored down under!
Ready for another Aussie wildlife encounter? Every day at 12 pm in San Remo the fishermen feed the Pelicans, it’s so mesmerising to watch and I’m telling you these Pelicans are feisty little buggers!
55. Watch The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island
Unlike watching the Penguins in St Kilda it is expensive to watch the Penguin Parade. That said it’s certainly a more ethical way to watch the Penguins coming home to their nests. We saw over 200 little guys make their way up the beach!
Lorne is a surfing town at the end or beginning of The Great Ocean Road. It’s a sleepy town but if you want to live there then get ready to pay millions of dollars!
58. Visit Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Prom is a great place to stop off to explore on a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney. The scenery is beautiful and you can find both Kangaroos and Koalas in the park!
59. Find the Brighton Beach Boxes
Brighton has some of the cutest beach boxes in Australia and probably the southern hemisphere! Though they are super fun to enjoy it has become a little bit of a tourist trap!
Australian Capital Territory Bucket List
We both ‘ummed and ahhed’ about visiting the ACT during our time in Australia. Canberra was somewhere we hadn’t really thought about visiting. Not because I didn’t want to see the Australian capital but because I wasn’t sure what there was to do there! Anyway, we made the decision to go and I’m so glad we did! It was actually a family we stayed with in Sydney who persuaded us to go and we were not disappointed!
60. Visit the Australian Parliament in Canberra
t would be rude to visit Australia and not pay a trip to the countries capital! Did you know Canberra was made the capital because the country couldn’t decide whether to choose Melbourne or Sydney as the capital!
61. Hike Up Mount Ainslie Lookout for Sunset
Mount Ainslie towers over Canberra and it’s honestly one of the best sunsets we saw in Australia! You’ll also get to spot some kangaroos too!
62. Visit the National War Memorial in Canberra
Pay your respects to those fallen at the National War Memorial and the building is pretty epic too!
All of the things on this Australian bucket list os far we have done! I can’t believe we’ve managed to enjoy all of these experiences. Creating this blog post has made me feel so damn lucky! But I must admit we are far from done with Australia yet. We only scraped the surface during our first year in the country.
So, below are the experiences that remain on our Australian bucket list! I can’t wait to return one day to see more of the land of down under but I don’t think it would matter how long you spent in Australia you could never see it all!
The Rest of Our Australian Bucket List
63. Visit Uluru
Known as ‘Ayres Rock’ or the ‘Red Rock’ situated in Australias Northern Territory. This was always pretty high on our Australian Bucket List but time just ran away with us and we didn’t make it!
64. Visit Perth
We visited 3/4 of Australia’s main cities with just Perth left and I’ve heard amazing things! I’d also like to visit Darwin too!
65. Perth to Broome Road Trip
Photographs and blog posts that I’ve read about this road trip look amazing! In fact, the whole of Western Australia looks out of the world!
66. Visit Alice Springs
I would love to visit this remote town in the middle of the outback! It seems so far away from anywhere that I’d call ‘normal’ I think it would be so interesting to see how the locals live!
67. Wine Tasting in Adelaide
The Adelaide Hills are famous for the wine and I would love to get a tour around the best wineries!
68. Visit Adelaide
The City of Adelaide looks gorgeous too it reminds me of small cities in the UK from the photographs I’ve seen!
69. Tasmania Hikes
Basically visit Tasmania and hike everything in sight!
So at 71, I decided to wrap this post up. Australia is high up on most travellers bucket list and then all the experiences you can enjoy in Australia need a separate bucket list themselves! All of these adventures we had in Australia were some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I’ve conquered the fear of snorkelling (I was not a fan of deep water until Australia), I learnt that you can enjoy the many hikes and national parks without getting eaten by a shark, I learnt of flipping surf – the proudest moment of my life was when I stood up on that board!
Australia catapulted me out of my comfort zone on more occasions than one which is why I LOVE IT. Travel is about discovering new places, meeting new people, having new experiences and maybe even learning a little bit more about yourself along the way!
Australia is a great country for taking long walks and hikes into the countryside or along the many beaches. The best hikes in Australia are some of the best in the world! I personally have a love-hate relationship with hiking in Australia. Told like a true Brit sometimes the thought of hiking in Australia makes me sweat just thinking about it. Hikes in the heat of summer down aren’t that much fun! As much as we love exploring nature and hiking we found ourselves doing a lot more hiking in the wintertime. Of course, we did enjoy some walks in the summer but we kept to easier tracks and all the coastal walks so we could run into the ocean to cool down!
Despite the not so co-operative heat at times Australia has some great walking routes. Whether it’s multi-day hiking or just an afternoon there’s something for all abilities. In this post, I’ve put together a guide to some of the best hikes in Australia across 3 states, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. This list is my no means exhaustive but are these some of my favourite hikes in Australia.
The Best Hikes in Australia – Queensland
If you’ve followed my blog for a while now then you’ll know I kind of have a soft spot for Queensland. Home to the beautiful east coast of Australia and the state I called home for 7 months out of 12. Some of the best hikes in Australia are found in Queensland. We completed all of these hikes in winter, not summer. I do not advocate hiking in Queensland in the summer months. Unless you’re used to it of course. But coming from a much cooler, and wetter, British climate I am definitely not used to doing anything with a humidity of 90%! Even in winter, Queensland is hot. The average temperature in Queensland in winter is 24 degrees celsius in the day time.
Whichever of these hikes you decide to give a go make sure you go prepared. This goes for all the hikes in this post. Plenty of food, water, suncream and a hat is essential whilst hiking in Australia. I’d also take a first aid kit wherever you hike. Some tracks are quite rural and even though we never saw one, snakes do live in Australia. Make sure you’re prepared for all possibilities after all the Australian countryside can be unpredictable. I’d also recommend telling someone where you’re going, you know just in case!
This hike comes in at one of my favourites during our time in Australia. All of these hikes are brilliant but this one is extra special. Mount Ngungun is found deep in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. As you reach the summit the views of the Sunshine Coast are incredible. The countryside stretches for miles and in the distance, on a clear day, you can see the coast too.
This is a great hike for beginners in Australia. Though the walk to the summit is steep it’s fairly short with lots of rest areas along the way – you’ll want to stop to enjoy the view anyway. It’s also a great option if you’re solo hiking in Australia too as it doesn’t take long so no overnight planning or anything is required. Time-wise keep 2 hours minimum available for the hike up Mount Ngungun. In reality, it probably won’t take you that long especially if you’re an experienced hiker. Take a picnic and enjoy the panoramic views as you eat. I’m also told that this is a brilliant sunset hike too so if you’ve got a vehicle that’s also a great option. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do this because of the train times back to the city which I’ll go over below.
Getting to the Glass House Mountains
The 70 km drive from Brisbane is straight forward around under one hour. It’s the same from the coast but the time depends on where about on the coast you are. The Glass House Mountains are 87 km from Noosa so it’s not much of a difference. There’s free parking at the base of the Mountains and it’s signposted once you reach the town.
Trains run from both the sunshine coast and Brisbane. The train runs hourly from Brisbane and is direct so no need to change. Take the green line from the city straight out to the Glass House Mountains. It does take 1.5 hours via the train but the hike and views along the way are totally worth it.
North Stradbroke Island is the perfect day trip from Brisbane. This island is popular with Aussie locals but often missed by travellers. That’s not a bad thing of course because this island is a beautiful quiet escape from the mainland. North Straddie is a haven for wildlife and marine life spotting which is one of the reasons I love the Gorge Walk. Again, we completed this walk in winter but it could easily be done in summer. This is definitely one of the easier walks on the list.
Short in distance with paved tracks all the way around dit’s accessible for everyone. There are a couple of steps and small inclines but you can definitely take a stroller if you carry it up a few of the steps. Though this walk would be easy in summer I still recommend it in winter. During June-November the humpback whales are making their migration from Antartica to Australia for the warmer waters and you undoubtedly be able to spot some from the Gorge Walk.
Pack a pair of binoculars and I’m sure you’ll see whales dancing in the distance. We were lucky enough to spot whales, dolphins and turtles during this walk. It truly is magical and shouldn’t be missed. There’s also plenty of kangaroos to be spotted on North Stradbroke Island too!
The Fraser Island Great Walk – Voted One of the Best Hikes in Australia
Fraser Island also known as K’Gari is an island that can only be described as paradise just off the Australian East Coast. It’ll most likely be quite high up on your Australian bucket-list and with good reason. Stunning beaches sweep the coastline, crystal clear lakes occupy so much of the land and the whole island is made up of 98% sand and 2% rock. Fraser Island is actually the biggest sand islands in the world and one of Australias UNESCO world heritage parks.
Distance: 90 km
Time: 5-7 days
Difficulty: Hard (long distance)
Advisories: Long distance, inclines, animals, take caution with planning and packing.
Tackling the Fraser Island Great Walk or Great Sandy Walk will be tough. At 90 km in total its hike only for those who enjoy hiking and taking their time doing so. But what a brilliant way to see the island. Take a week to just explore Fraser Island on your two feet and experience all that it has to offer. Planning is crucial when deciding to embark on this adventure as Fraser Island is full of all the dangerous creatures everyone fears down under, Dingos, poisonous snakes, spiders you name it they live on Fraser! Take a look at these guides/downloads available from the QLD government to plan your great walk on Fraser Island. I really recommend not doing this walk in the summertime as Fraser Island can get some serious heat and humidity but in winter it would be a fantastic experience.
Nestled in the wet tropics of Far North Queensland sits Mount Bartle Frere otherwise known as Australias highest mountain. For panoramic views across the rainforest and wet tropics then this hike will provide the goods but again a lot of planning is required. This hike is for the more experienced hiker who has embarked on similar excursions and is used to scrambling. There are different tracks to hike this towering beauty but the most direct by starting Josephine Falls. The distance from the falls is 15 km in total taking approximately 12 hours so it’s an early start kind of hiking day. As soon as that Queensland sun rises you want to have made tracks.
There is the option to camp overnight during this hike! You can find more information about the campsites and facilities on this website! This one is definitely one of the best hikes in Australia but also one of the hardest, plan well and enjoy hiking the highest mountain down under! The summit is usually only exposed 5-10% of the year so if you want those views to plan carefully, the rest of the time it’s hidden underneath the clouds.
Mount Coot Tha Brisbane
Time: 1-2 hours one way
Advisories: Steep incline to the summit
Mount Coot Tha is one of the best lookouts in Brisbane. The hike up to the summit is well worth enjoying. There is a bus which reaches the summit but where’s the fun in that. This is one of the most reward hikes in Brisbane when you reach the summit the views of the city are beautiful. On a clear day, you can also see North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island in the distance, it really is beautiful. Mount Coot Tha is hands-down one of the best walks in Brisbane. If you’re an early riser then hike to the summit just before sunrise and watch the city wake up beneath you.
Some of the Best Hikes in New South Wales
Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
The Undercliff Track – The Blue Mountains
Katoomba Falls – The Blue Mountains
National Pass – The Blue Mountains
Bondi-Coogee – Sydney
Rosey Bay to Watsons Bay – Sydney
Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
Byron Bay is one of my favourite towns on the Australian east coast. It has something for every kind of traveller. Sunbathing, shopping, eating, walking, hiking, swimming, it has it all! This town has breathtaking views around every corner you turn. It’s also the home to the most easterly point on mainland Australia which can be found on the Cape Byron lighthouse walk. Cape Byron lighthouse overlooks the ocean and rest of the bay. It’s my favourite spot in the whole of Australia to watch dolphins playing in their home. During our time in Australia, we visited Byron a number of times during summer, winter and spring. Each visit we saw hundreds of dolphins from the lighthouse, it really is such a special place.
If you’ve been following my blog or mainly my Instagram stories for a while you’ll know that I love being outdoors and more specifically walking/hiking in search for wonderful places and spectacular views. Byron Bay is no different. Sure you can have a great time on the beaches and enjoying the endless amounts of cafes, bars and yoga studios. But there are plenty of walks too. The lighthouse is probably the most popular but it’s also probably the best!
Distance: 3.7 km
Time: 3 hours return (including photography time)
Advisories: Steep inclines and steps
If you cannot walk for whatever reason then you can drive up to the lighthouse to see the amazing views!
This walk winds in and out of the bushland, over cliff tops and past gorgeous secluded beaches. Keep looking up every now and again as Byron Bay is home to plenty of Koala’s high in the tree-tops! As you reach the summit look back on the bay in the distance whilst keeping your eyes on the ocean for those playful dolphins. The most easterly point in Australis is quite near the top so keep on climbing – you won’t miss it because everyone will be there waiting to get their photograph snapped in this iconic spot. The cafe at the top does a very nice ice cream which is a great treat after all that walking!
Wentworth – The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains National Park, a rugged landscape just a few hours west of Sydney. It’s a far cry from the madness that lies within the city. The Blue Mountains are a welcome getaway for those looking to reconnect with nature. We spent three days in the Blue Mountains during our time in Sydney and spend each day hiking our way in and out of the hills.
The next three walks listed in this post are all in the Blue Mountains but each one is so different. The Blue Mountains stretch for miles and miles so no two walks are the same. As well the unique landscape the Blue Mountains gets its name because of the haze that sits above the land. Especially on a foggy day, the air that covers the hills looks blue. It’s quite majestic and really hard to explain if you haven’t been and seen it for yourself.
The only downside to the Blue Mountains is that it’s quite built up. There are villages and towns right up to the edges of the park. Whilst it would be a stunning place to wake up each morning I often think it takes some of the authenticity of just being in the mountains away – but what do I know!
One of the main towns in the Blue Mountains is Wentworth with a population of 6,000. Wentworth Falls are worth a visit as it’s one of the most impressive waterfalls in the national park. The way they cascade down the mountains is mesmerising.
Undercliff Walk – Wentworth Falls
The Undercliff walk is a great walk to see the falls from a variety of different angles. I was so happy strolling in and out of the mountains as well as over and under the cliff tops. My camera was stuck firmly in my palm the whole day. Unlucky for them and me those photos will never get to see the light of day because just as I exported them onto my old laptop I got the blue screen of death. Every photo from the Blue Mountains was wiped! My heart was truly broken for a good few hours! You’ll just have to take my word that this track is beautiful with views across the range that you can only dream of.
Distance: 3.5 km return (with the option to merge onto another track)
Time: 1-2 hours (2-4 hours if you continue on)
Advisories: Steep inclines, exposed cliff edges.
Make sure you take plenty of food and water on this walk because you’ll probably continue onto the next track (can’t remember what that one is called/cannot find it online but we definitely continued on for at least another hour and this track looped back around the main carpark).
National Pass – Wentworth Falls
The national pass hikes cascades in and out of the mountains, up and down past Wentworth Falls and past an array of panoramic viewpoints. This walk is a little harder than the Undercliff Walk but it starts in the same place. Park at the main carpark for the Wentworth Falls lookout and follow the signs. Both walking tracks are clearly marked. In fact, all of the walks in the Blue Mountains are really well marked out so it’s easy to get around. Be mindful if you plan on hiking the National Pass as some sections are often closed for maintenance and closed in bad weather so always check beforehand. There’s minimal mobile reception throughout the Blue Mountains national park so a map is always handy to have.
Distance: 4.5 km return
Time: 2-4 hours
Advisories: Steep inclines, exposed cliffs, slippery walking surfaces due to spray from the waterfall
Katoomba Falls Round Walk – The Blue Mountains
Katoomba is another town in the Blue Mountains nestled in between Echo Point and Scenic World. Scenic World is where you can ride a cable car across the blue mountains. It looks like fun but not something that we pay for on our travels. For more information about Scenic World go here. Katoomba Falls is one of the great waterfalls in the Blue Mountains and though I personally didn’t find it as impressive it’s definitely very pretty. The waterfall surges down into the Jamison Valley for over 150 metres. The Katoomba Falls round walk is an easy 2 km walk that shows off Katoomba Falls from different vantage points. Sometimes I enjoy the easy visually pleasing walks just as much as I love the more exhilarating hikes.
Distance: 2 km
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Advisories: some slippery area but other than it’s a flat paved track throughout.
Bondi to Coogee – Sydney
Distance: 6 km
Time: 3 – 5 hours
Advisories: Inclines, cliff edges and a lot of stairs!
This post wouldn’t be complete without adding one of the most popular walks in the country, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk in Sydney. I’m often dubious when places are known to be touristy. I’m quite good at preparing my mind for what I might be presented with. A lot of people and cameras everywhere. The Bondi – Coogee walk was certainly no exception to the rule. Even in winter, this coastal walk is full of people, locals, tourists you name it they are there. But I have to be honest this doesn’t take away from the beauty of this walk one bit.
The coastline between these two popular Sydney suburbs is simply awe-inspiring. Views of the oceans, beaches at every turn, gorgeous views of the mainland honestly this will quickly become of the best hikes in Australia you do. I know it’s still one of my highlights from living in Sydney. I loved waking up on a weekend and enjoying this walk.
Beating the Crowds..
It is possible to beat the crowds by waking up very early and getting a head start of everyone else. The sun rises to the left of Bondi Beach and really is special first thing in a morning. There often aren’t many people around but you won’t be alone. Surfers start heading for the beach to catch the morning waves and the swim club has often beaten most of them to it. There’s yoga classes and fitness classes on Bondi Beach every morning. This famous walk begins at the Bondi Iceberg pool which you’ll not be able to miss and weaves in and out of the coastline passing, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. Each has their own beach unique from the rest.
My best advice for this walk is to plan to have a whole day if not at least 5 hours to enjoy the coast. Pack some swimmers and take a deep in the ocean at each suburb or just take a moment to sit on the beach and take it all in. It’s beautiful with so many scenic points you won’t feel like your moving anywhere half of the time! On arrival to Coogee enjoy a cold beverage from the Pavilion – the food there is pretty good too!
Rosey Bay to Watsons Bay
The second Sydney coastal walk I’m including in this post rounding up some of the best hikes in Australia comes on par with the Bondi to Coogee walk. It’s just as beautiful but at the other side of the city. The views along the way look onto the harbour rather than out into the abyss. What makes this walk special is the views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge that are constantly in view.
Distance: 8 km one way
Time: 4-5 hours
Advisories: Long distance with some medium gradient hills.
At 8 km (one way) it’s not the shortest city walk but by far the best way to see both bays. I’d take a full day out for this walk to enjoy the beaches, cafes and lighthouses on the way. Starting in Rose Bay take the Hermitage Foreshore Track along the coastline. The best thing about this section of the walk is the secluded bays that line the shore. As you walk along the water with the iconic Sydney landmarks way in the distance strip off and take a dip in each of the bays. My favourite beach along the way is Milk Beach, the water is calm and the beach is so much quieter than the likes of Bondi or Manly. It’s perfect for a mid-walk swim.
Once you reach Watson’s bay there’s an array of restaurants, bars, ice-cream carts, beaches and ocean views. If your legs can carry you a little further then head to camp-cove beach for gorgeous water and yet more insane views of Sydney. Pass the beach and follow the track round to Watsons Bay Lighthouse where you can see all the way to Manly. There’s also a nude beach on the way round called Lady Bay Beach if you fancy.
The Grampians is my favourite national park in Australia. Get ready to immerse yourself in nature, adventure and the outdoors at The Grampians. Unlike the Blue Mountains, the Grampians isn’t half as built up and you can walk/drive miles without seeing another soul. It’s also nowhere near as touristy which makes it feel even more like an authentic bush experience! Though they may not be as many people you’ll be guaranteed to see some other native Australians. We walked amongst kangaroos, joeys, emus and koalas it was a surreal experience.
The Pinnacle hike is certainly one of the more exhilarating walks in the national park but it can also be completed in stages. The hikes starts in Halls Gap, also a great area to stay which I go into detail about here. And weaves in and out of the national park. Climb peaks tackle stairs and rock formations. Pass water-walls and wander of lots of bridges. It’s a unique hike with stunning views across Halls Gap and the rest of the park at the summit. Though I couldn’t recommend this hike more it certainly requires a certain level of fitness. The hike to the summit is long and steep with narrow passes and a lot of stairs. As I said you can do it in stages which you can find out more about here.
The Pinnacle Hike Facts
Distance: 9 km
Time: 6-7 hours return including breaks
Advisories: Up-hill the majority of the way, stairs and uneven surfaces throughout.
Mackenzie Falls Base Walk
As well as breath-taking views, inspiring hikes there are also some magnificent waterfalls and Mackenzie Falls is the one you want to see! It’s one mighty waterfall crashing against the land but somehow still manages to remain elegant. The hike to get to the waterfall is a breeze. Simply follow the steps and enjoy the leisurely stroll but don’t forget what goes down must come up! It’s a 2 km round trip but the walk to the base won’t take very long it’s the walk back up them that will take a little time with frequent stops if you’re anything like us!
Confession time! We actually haven’t walked The Great Ocean Road we, like most sensible people out there (or boring depending on how you look at it), drove it instead but you can walk if you wish. It isn’t for the fainthearted but it is rated as one of Australias best multi-day hikes. I can vouch that it would be a beautiful place to enjoy on two feet. The Great Ocean Road is beautiful despite being on foot or in a car you can’t escape the beauty. For those wanting to tackle the multiway hike, some experience of long-distance hiking will be necessary for the total distance is just over 100 km.
This hike takes 7 days to complete and booking for the hiker’s accommodation is required. This website has some really great information on this epic 7-day hike. You can, of course, tackle shorter parts of the walk which may be beneficial to those with little hiking experience. Though it will be tough what and adventure and immense achievement to conquer this hike. The Great Ocean is a beautiful spot enchanted by sea cliff formations, stunning bays and views out into the ocean. Check out my highlights here!
The Best Hikes in Australia Extra: Street Art Walk Melbourne City Centre
As much as I love hiking through awe-inspiring landscapes and along Australia’s beautiful coastline I also love a good urban walk. You simply cannot visit Melbourne without walking around the city centre enjoying the street art that the city has to offer. You can probably just walk aimlessly all day and you’d come across so many awesome murals.
There are various walking tours in Melbourne some of which are free so these can be cool to go on especially if you get a good guide who knows lots about the history! From Hosier Lane to ACDC there is some street art for everyone in Melbourne. We used this website to plan our walk and it was so helpful and lead us to some really interesting art that we otherwise wouldn’t have found. The great thing about a self-guided city walks Is that you can make them as long or as short as you like!
Sharing is Caring – A Guide to the Best Hikes in Australia
I hope you enjoyed this post about some of the best hikes in Australia. Walking is great way to explore a new country and it’s usually free which is also amazing. If you’re an avid hiker then make sure you check out my New Zealand posts as there will be lots of walking adventures in there! If you did enjoy this post I would be so grateful if you could share with your friends!
Located just off the coastline of Victoria sits the luscious Phillip Island. This magical island is home to a different kind of Australia then what most are used to. We imagine Australia and our imagination is filled with long sandy beaches, sublime aqua blue waters and plenty of sunshine. Whilst Phillip Island, of course, has plenty of the latter, the scenery is a little different. Our time on Phillip Island reminded me more of the English Coastline than the Aussie one! Picture rolling hills and rough waves crashing against cliffs. Phillip Island transports you into the scenic countryside. With all this beauty comes so much to enjoy. In this post, I’m sharing some of the best things to do in Phillip Island. Of course, the difference between Phillip Island and England is that you definitely won’t see any wallabies hopping around the English coast!
Where is Phillip Island?
Phillip Island is located in the state of Victoria. The nearest large city to Phillip Island is Melbourne which is where you’ll find the nearest airport too. Driving to Phillip Island will take just under two hours from Melbourne. Though technical it is an island there is no need to take the car across via ferry crossing. Phillip Island is connected to Australia via the San Remo Phillip Island Harbour Bridge (that’s a mouthful)! The bridge is 26KM and starts at the seaside town of San Remo. If you don’t want to drive on Phillip Island then there is a passenger ferry which you can get across taking around 45 minutes. But if you do have a vehicle the island is made up of fully paved roads so it’s easy peasy!
The bridge that connects San Remo to Phillip Island
Weekend Itinerary and Things to Do in Phillip Island
In this post, I’m going to be sharing an exciting weekend Itinerary to Phillip Island. We adored this Island which gave us an amazing surprise. I had no idea how beautiful this Phillip Island is. I could take a week-long holiday just here! In fact, I think that a lot of Melbourians take frequent getaways to Phillip Island. The Island is famous for a few things here in Australia. From a huge Gran Prix circuit to a great colony of Little Penguins mixed with glorious scenery. Popular with tourists on a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney this little gem needs to be on your itinerary! You could spend a day or a week here on Phillip Island but I would definitely recommend staying overnight if you can.
History of Phillip Island
Before I get into my weekend itinerary and things to do in Phillip Island I wanted to share a little of history about the Island. Long before the European settlement on Australia and long before it became Phillip Island it was called ‘Beang Gurt’. The Island was home to some of the Bunurong people of Australia. Apparently, they roamed the island over 40,000 years ago. Even though a lot of people think the Phillip Island was discovered by Sir Arthur Phillip It was insect discovered by George Bass in1978. It was later that the island was renamed after Sir Arthur Phillip who was the first governor to sail from England to Australia in back 1788. In 1842 the first permanent settlers stayed on the island which was two men from Scotland. Over the years Phillip Island has become a hotspot tourist location gaining millions of visitors each year.
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Phillip Island Accommodation
When we visited Phillip Island it was part of a road trip which we drove in a campervan. So naturally, we enjoyed one of the many campsites on the Island. We stayed at the Big 4 Caravan Park. Located on the right just as you leave the bridge this campsite is located near the start of the Island. There are more campsites further on the island which might be more convenient if you’re not wanting to do as much driving. If the driving doesn’t bother you then this campsite is a great option. Offering powered and unpowered sites as well as cabins there is some accommodation to suit everyone. The facilities were clean and well maintained fully equipped with a camp kitchen, jumping pillow, toilets, showers, playgrounds and the beach just metres away.
This little guy was happy to come and check out our campsite! The wildlife on Phillip Island is incredible to watch!
There are also multiple hotels and villas located on the island if you’d prefer. You can use the deal finder below via booking.com to find the perfect deal on accommodation for your stay on Phillip Island!
Weekend Itinerary and Things to Do in Phillip Island
Morning: Explore San Remo
Depending on what time you arrive at Phillip Island will determine how you spend the first morning. I would aim to arrive at San Remo at 11 am. San Remo is the gateway to Phillip Island. Though small it’s one of the cutest seaside towns in Australia. With views looking across to the Hills of Phillip Island San Remo is beautiful. There aren’t many places in this world where I could live long term but San Remo is defiantly one of them. Pull up on the seafront for free parking. Take a stroll across the beachfront soaking in the sunshine. Grab a coffee and a bun from San Remo bakehouse. I can highly recommend the doughnuts but it all looked delicious. Check them out on Instagram here!
Budget: Coffee and Cake $10 PP or 5 GBP
Pelican Feeding at San Remo
Every day at 12 pm fisherman and women head to the beach on San Remo with huge buckets of fish to feed some local friends. Which friends you might be wondering? That would be a flock of pelicans! The pelicans are fed here every day. I think its the highlight of their day because they were all waiting way before 12 pm during our visit! This unique experience is completely free and awesome to watch. The feeding only about 20 minutes and is truly incredible to see these creatures up close in their natural habitat. I was pleased to see that there was no barrier involved and the pelicans we’re free to come and go as they please. Of course, they all wanted to be fed so every pelican in sight was on that beachfront!
Pelican Feeding at San Remo!
If you do have small children or for anyone really! These guys are huge! I couldn’t believe the size of these pelicans when they are stood out of the water and wings spread.And they ALL want the fish and they are not scared to fight for it! Just be aware that this is their territory and they will not let you get in the way of their lunch! Stand well back and keep hold of your kids just in case! This was one of my favourite things to do in Phillip Island and I’m 24 so if you’ve got kids I can bet they will love it even more!
Lunch: Fish and Chips in San Remo
Watching others get fed is always exhausting work even if it is pelicans! After watching the show head to the Fish and Chip Co-Op for a delightful seaside lunch. The fish and chips are amazing and very reasonably priced! The portion sizes are also amazing. Sometimes I find that you just get way too much when it comes to Fish and Chips and you don’t enjoy it as much. At the Fish and Chip Co-op, you can choose your size which is shown to scale by boxes hung on the wall! I think we each got a small and it was plenty big enough (and we are big eaters)! One thing to bear in mind if you opt for the hand battered prawn (my mum did) then make sure you order a few as they are singular when they arrive – oops!
Budget: Fish and Chips $11.90 Per Person or 7 GBP each
Fish and Chip Co-Op at San Remo! , the perfect pit stop for lunch!
Arrive at Phillip Island
After enjoying the morning in the beautiful San Remo jump back in the car and make your way over to Phillip Island. Check in at whatever accommodation you have booked and perhaps freshen up before exploring the island for the rest of the day. If you decide to stay at the Big 4 Caravan park then head out of the campsite for a walk along the beach. The views of the mainland are wonderful and you bet you’ll spot some pelicans still lurking around by the Fish and Chip shop! Keep your eyes peeled for Wallabies too. On our arrival to the Big 4 Caravan Park at Phillip Island, a wallaby wondered into our site without a care in the world – it was pretty awesome!
Afternoon: Explore Rhyll
Rhyll is an idyllic fishing hamlet located North East on Phillip Island. Visiting Rhyll is one of the most popular things to do in Phillip Island. With plenty of places to eat local seafood and a winery if you’d like to enjoy a drink Rhyll makes for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon out. Find an abundance of wildlife in and around the village. If you’re like us then fill the afternoon with walking. There are various hikes around Rhyll but the most popular are:
Black Loop: Starting at conservations hill and finishing in Rhyll, 1.5 hours return.
Blue Loop: Starts at conservation hill finishing at Rhyll Lookout, 1-hour return.
Green Loop: An easy walk along the mangrove broad walk.
The scenic views and secluded beaches are what made me fall in love with Phillip Island. The Nobbies Conversation Centre and Blow-Hole just added to that even more! Situated right at the end of the Island you’ll find The Nobbies Conversation Centre which leads to one of Phillip Islands Nature Parks.
Spend the morning walking along the broad walks spotting wildlife from geese to penguins – yes if you look hard enough you may see some penguins nesting. The walk around to the Blow-Hole is just awe-inspiring and the blow-hole itself is so impressive if the weather is right! Luckily for us, we got a windy morning so the waves came crashing in and back out of the blow-hole! The blow-hole is basically a huge cave where the waves come crashing into splashing water everywhere! I had a lot of fun stood with my camera practising getting some shots of the water in action!
Isn’t this planet incredible?
Another action shot!
If you stand at The Nobbies and look across the ocean you’ll be able to see seal rock in the distance. One of the largest colony of seals in Australia you can spot up to 5000 seals at any one time! Unfortunately, we didn’t experience the seals as you have to take a cruise to see them up close but I bet it’s an amazing experience! I think if we had longer to explore Phillip Island we would’ve done this but at $85 PP it’s also pretty expensive but if you’ve got the funds I think you should incorporate this experience to your adventure on Phillip Island! You can check out more information about the tours to seal rock on this website!
Visit Swan Lake
Not far from The Nobbies you’ll find swan lake where you can spot lots of swans! Depending on what time of year you go will depend on how deep the lake is! We went in April and the lake was still pretty dried up! The walk out to the lake takes about 10minutes and is a lovely little woodland walk where you’ll see loads of butterflies!
If you don’t see any swans you will definitely see some Cape Barren Geese grazing around Phillip Island!
During our second day, despite the never-ending list of amazing things to do in Phillip Island we just relaxed at our campsite getting ready for the big evening ahead! Without a doubt one of the ultimate things to do in Phillip Island that everyone flocks to is the Penguin Parade. The Penguin Parade is what attracts millions onto the island every year. And why wouldn’t it, there aren’t many places in the world you can sit and watch Little Penguins come in from the ocean. Which is exactly what the Penguin Parade is. But if you want to get stuck into more on the island during this afternoon then there is so much more to explore! From chocolate factories, beaches for surfing, koala and kangaroo reserves you won’t be stuck for choice! You can take a look at this website for more options to fill your afternoon!
Evening: Penguin Parade
Phillip Island Penguin Parade
The Penguin Parade has been running on Phillip Island since the 1920’s creating a tourism hotspot for people visiting Australia. The Penguin Parade was created to protect these Little Penguins after a dramatic decline in numbers from 1985. In 1985 houses, shops, traffic and bushfires threatened Little Penguins who had made the Summerland Peninsula home long before they had. This are of Phillip Island is home to a colony of over 30,000 Little Penguins and the Penguin Parade only makes up a tiny number of that.
Credit: The Penguin Parade Phillip Island
Penguin Parade Conservation
The Penguin Parade in Phillip Island does a lot in the way of conversation and the money used for the entry ticket goes towards helping these penguins. There are a lot of dangers that pose a threat to these little guys which you can read more about on this dedicated website or I’ll go into some below.
Foxes: Foxes are a huge threat to the survival on Little Penguin on lands can kill up to 40 penguins in one night! The Penguin Parade state on the website that their fox reduction management programme has dramatically decreased the number of foxes and killings.
Predators: Of course Penguins are threatened in the ocean like every other seabird. They are hunted by seals and birds of prey. Although, luckily for the Little Penguin the fur seals that live in The Nobbies in Phillip Island don’t eat penguin – phew!
Oil: Oil spill on the feathers of these creatures makes them incredibly cold and unable to hunt for food. At the conversation, the centre ran by The Penguin Parade they care for up to 1500 penguins suffering from an oil spill at one time!
Rubbish: Every year between 700,000 and 1 million seabirds are killed due to rubbish. Swallowing plastic and getting entangled in fish nets are the biggest cause of death by the rubbish in Little Penguins.
So what’s it like to visit The Penguin Parade? Well, it’s definitely enchanting and so impressive to see these little penguins in their natural habitat. The Penguin Parade runs every night at sunset where you can sit and watch these little guys come in from a long hard day fishing, some have been out there for weeks! As the sun goes down you’ll hear the penguins call and then watch as they emerge in groups from the ocean.
Depending on the time of year will depend on what time the penguins come to shore but the Penguin Parade website or App will tell you at the time of booking. Anything from 300-1000 penguins come in every night so you’re guaranteed a sighting! We visited at low-tide so it took the penguins a little longer to emerge from the ocean as low tide is a scary time for the Little Penguin. The stretch of sand they have to navigate is, of course, bigger meaning more time for predators.
Luckily all the Penguins made it to the shore safe and sound and we saw over 300 penguins that night! Most of the penguins came out of the ocean in groups of 3-6 until all of sudden over 200 penguins came out of the sea and followed each other up the shore. It was mind-blowing and a bit like follow the leader!
There are a few rules when you go to watch the Penguin Parade mainly no flash photography as this can harm and frighten the little penguins. Photographs taken professionally on the Penguin Parade App can be used and shared for your own use. There are security guards on the beach who will kick you out if you use a camera or your phone during the parade.
Budget: $26.60 PP or 15 GBP
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Phillip Island is defiantly somewhere I put on any Australian bucket list. The scenery and wildlife that we got to explore on this island will stay with me forever. The rolling hills gave me a pinch of nostalgia for home and the gorgeous town of San Remo had me dreaming of staying forever. If you have any more questions about Phillip Island then make sure you either email me or let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to share this post with someone you know visiting the land down under!
From Luna Parks too Little Penguins St Kilda offers a gorgeous day out. A mere 15 minutes drive from the city centre of Melbourne sits the lovely seaside town of St Kilda. St Kilda is a special little town. It’s home to Little Penguins, which yes this breed of penguin is actually called the ‘Little Penguin’. The colony that nest on St Kilda currently sits at 1700. As well as an abundance of wildlife this seaside town is home to Melbourne’s Luna Park and the Brighton Bathing Boxes. Spending a day in St Kilda is a great amount of time to explore what this town has to offer. In this post, I’ll be letting loose on what we got up into in St Kilda and the best way to spend a day in this town.
A Day in St Kilda – Morning
Brighton Bathing Boxes
Ever wondered where you can find the vibrant beach boxes found in every backpacker’s photo album? These familiar bathing boxes are located on Brighton Beach. A little quieter than the fun-loving Brighton in the UK, this golden beach sits just minutes down the road from St Kilda. The journey from St Kilda to Brighton Beach will take around 5 minutes by car. Depending on which way from the city you are travelling to St Kilda from you may well drive past it, which is what we did.
Life really is a beach getting to explore these amazing places in the world
Pull up in the car park – which is pay and display, I’m sure if you hunt a little further you may be able to snag some free parking. As you wander onto the beach you won’t be able to miss the beach boxes to your right. Sitting almost flush with one another these bathing boxes boast an array of colours and will instantly make you smile! These little huts are painted with various different designs including country flags and camper vans – my favourite one!
Before you arrive it’s always good to note that this place will be packed with tourists, which does ruin the vibes slightly. You’ll be one of many trying to create a fun photograph outside these little huts. I enjoyed visiting these boxes and I was glad we got to smile in front of a few so we can cherish the memory but I can’t help wondering what the owners feel like? Do they get annoyed that people are smiling and posing outside their little boxes of escape? There was one family who had their hut open, sunbathing in hammocks outside who didn’t seem fazed by the tourists, but I can’t help but wonder their real thoughts.
So what’s the story with the Brighton Bathing Boxes?
These boxes have been around since the 1800s and pay a huge part in protecting the foreshore on Brighton Beach. In the past, they’ve escaped cyclones and protected the shore from damage. The boxes used to be used for ladies to get changed in for a day in the beach! Nowadays people may use these boxes as a little retreat from the world, relaxation or storage. One local had his box open and the decor inside was just beautiful. He appeared to have created somewhat of a Nordic sanctuary. A bright space painted with white walls, gorgeous sofas, finished with minimalism in mind. I could just imagine my days sat in a deck chair, book in one hand with the doors flung open welcoming in the fresh sea air. A girl can dream, can’t she?
The Boxes line the Beach
After taking a few shots, grab an ice cream from the ice cream truck in the carpark and take a stroll along the beach. You can use the sidewalk or walk on the beach but I will warn you Brighton Beach is full of broken shells so watch your step! You may also spot some fresh mussels if you’re lucky – all we copped were empty shells. As you continue to walk along the beach you can see the city of Melbourne come into view which is a wonderful sight. It reinforces just how close to the coast Melbourne really is.
You can learn more about the history of the Brighton Beach Boxes here!
Explore the Beach in St Kilda
As you arrive in St Kilda I’d recommend parking by the Luna Park. We paid $12 for the day opposed to $5 per hour that some areas charge. Spend the rest of the morning wandering around St Kilda. This small town has so much to offer in terms of a gorgeous beach, beachside restaurants, bars and a gorgeous pier. Fish and Chips is a must when visiting St Kilda and there are a few to choose from. Paper Fish sits on the beachfront and has delicious Fish and Chips for lunch! Head there and either sit in watching the waves as they come in and out of the shore or why not grab a take out and find a spot on the sand! Although I must warn you, you may attract a flock of seagulls so as nice as that idea sounds, maybe sit inside the restaurant!
If you love the Ferris Wheel then you’ll find one right on the beachfront in St Kila
The beach runs for miles which creates a lovely walk but we spent a few hours chatting in the sunshine with a beer in our hands, but each to their own!
Spend a Day in St Kilda – The Afternoon
An Afternoon at the Fun Fair!
St Kilda is home to the Luna Park of Melbourne. Can you think of a more fun way to spend the afternoon? Nope me neither, I love rides, even small ones but my travel friends did not! Dave and my mum were both with me during our day in St Kilda and fun fairs just aren’t their thing! So I already knew that the odds were against me! And it turns out that even though I wanted to explore inside the Luna Park – it was closed! It was actually opening that evening! So we indeed just went up to the park for a little look rather than a play on the rides.
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But when you visit St Kill be sure to check the opening times and spend a little bit of time returning to your childhood at the fun fair, even if all you purchase is candy floss! You can find the opening hours to the Luna Park at this website. It’s wise to note that the Luna Park is only open on a weekend, school holidays and public holiday They do not open during term time (April 2019).
The entrance to the Luna Park is impressive, if you’ve ever been to one in Sydney then you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s basically crafted like a face, and the one in St Kilda is scary as! The entrance in Sydney is all happy and inviting, albeit a little freaky, but the Luna Park in St Kilda is next level.
Coffee on the Pier
Since my dreams of returning to my childhood were crushed we decided to take a stroll along the pier. The pier at St Kilda is beautiful creating a lovely walk from the shore to the edge of the harbour. The views of the city are stunning from the end of so make sure you bring a camera. Watching the boats bob up and down from the Coffee Shop on the pier was pure relaxation.
Little Blue sits at the end of the pier, you won’t miss it as the building is wonderful. Enjoy a coffee or lunch in the cafe or restaurant. Open Monday to Friday until late with live music on show some evenings. You’ll find it becomes busier towards sunset as that’s when the Little Penguins come out to play and a lot of people make their way to the pier.
I felt so relaxed during our short visit to St Kilda because it was slow. We took a lot of walks and just enjoyed a day engulfed by nature and the ocean. As travellers, sometimes we are so busy trying to find the best places to explore we forget to take a moment and enjoy the moment.
Sunset in St Kilda
Before I do start chatting about the Little Penguins in St Kilda I want to talk about sunset in general, which is amazing (amazing sung at the top of my voice in an opera voice). As we flocked to the pier to watch the sun setting over St Kilda and the rest of Melbourne we had no idea we were in for the most beautiful sunset. Chasing sunsets is something I love to do and this one did not disappoint.
There is something so magical about the sun setting over the ocean
Find a spot on the pier and watch the sun close in over the beach. On a clear day, the sky boasts beautiful colours of orange and pink glistening on the ocean. What makes sunset extra special in St Kilda is the calling of the Little Penguins coming to nest. The sound they make is a bit like a high picked squeal but it really adds to the atmosphere of the sunset by the ocean which you just can’t beat.
Little Penguins in St Kilda
Undoubtedly one of the most popular things to do in St Kilda is to visit the Little Penguins. The colony in St Kilda had reached 1700 in April 2019. St Kilda and their research team do a lot of work in terms of conservation and protection of the Little Penguins. You’ll see at the very end of the Pier a section which is completely closed off to the public as a protected area for the Penguins and this is where most of them nest at night.
Little Penguins will head out to sea in the morning and then come back and nest on shore at sunset. In St Kilda the penguin’s nest along the pier within the rocks that line the shore. Every night at sunset you can guarantee hundreds of Penguins will leave the ocean and come home to rest. The area is patrolled by ‘Penguin Patrol’ volunteers protecting the safety of the penguins in their natural habitat.
If you do decide to visit these creatures then please make sure you follow the rules of no flash photography as this damages the eyes of the Penguins. This has become a very popular tourist thing to do in Melbourne as they aren’t many places you can see Little Penguins in their natural habitats so expect quite a few people. Arrive at sunset or just after sunset as this is when the Penguins will come in. You’ll hear them calling before you’ll see them so make you’re listening out.
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Though our trip to St Kilda was short it was indeed very sweet. This day out was full of relaxation and just taking it easy. This is definitely not an exhaustive list of things you can get up too in St Kilda. It’s merely a guide to some of the things you can enjoy! Strolls on the beach and watching sunsets makes for a great day out in my world of travel. But if adventure activities are more up your street then I’m sure you can find some!
I hope you enjoyed this quick guide to St Kilda in Melbourne. This was by far my favourite part of Melbourne. I loved how close to this city it was and the sunset was incredible! I would wholeheartedly visit St Kilda again just for the sunset.
Melbourne is Australia’s second-biggest city and has been Sydney’s biggest rival for years on end. When chatting amongst the locals here in Australia it’s easy to realise that most prefer one over the other. During one day in Melbourne, I also found myself comparing the two cities whom are both vastly different from one another. It’s no secret that I hold tremendous amounts of love for Sydney. As time goes on I wonder if perhaps the one day in Melbourne that we had just wasn’t enough to really understand what this city has to offer. But in our quick 24 hours in Melbourne, I most definitely enjoyed the places we explored, the food we drank and the street art I found myself ogling over!
Here’s how you can explore all of the best bits Melbourne City has to offer in one day!
Quick Warning! This one day guide to Melbourne is total tourist heaven! By that I mean we saw all the main ‘touristy’ sights with our 24 hours in Melbourne! So, if you’re after unique things to do in Melbourne this probably isn’t the place for you but we did visit an amazing Thai restaurant which I’m still dreaming about today so I still think you should read on! If you are looking for more extensive guides on Australia then my complete weekend guides to Sydney and Byron Bay are very popular.
Things to Do with just One Day in Melbourne
Morning in Melbourne
Breakfast in Brunswick Melbourne
After reading plenty of blogs about Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs it appeared that Brunswick was quite an up and coming area of the city. Between the city centre and the campsite where we stayed (find more on that further down the post) Brunswick was in the middle so we decided to try it out. Located on Union Street sits a delightful cafe nestled amongst the other grand buildings called Miss Marmalade.
Because it was a weekday it was quiet but it was obvious instantly that this place is loved by the locals. Though there were only two other tables filled in the cafe that morning they were both locals chatting away to the chaps working in the cafe. I love visiting cafes full of locals because you know the food will be good! In any travel guide, you read it always says ‘go where the locals go’ and in my travel so far I’ve found this to be true.
Dave and I ordered eggs Benedict which was served with Miss Marmalade’s take on a hash brown. They were probably the thickest hash brown I’ve ever seen might I just add! It was a taste sensation. Now I’m not a food blogger by all means but I know a good eggs benny when I taste one and this one was bloody good! Mum had a vegetable has which also had our tastebuds tingling. I would definitely recommend this place. Make sure you check them out on Instagram here!
Budget for Breakfast: $22 PP / 13 GBP for breakfast and a drink
Flinders Street Station
One of the most iconic photography spots in Melbourne has to be Flinders Street Station. If you’re staying in the city then you might be able to walk to the station. For us, we had to get a tram and train into the city. So if you’re like us and have to get transport in Melbourne then aim to get off and begin the day at Flinders Street Station.
It really is just a train station but the architecture is phenomenal. It gives the city a feel of culture and history from the moment you leave the platform. With the first station departing from Flinders Street Station, as it looks today, was back in 1919. This station is claimed to be the busiest in Australia and in 1926 was the busiest in the world. That was just seven years after the construction of this beautiful building.
I actually read an interesting fact on Culture Trip that this building was actually designed to be in Mumbai! Take a read of this blog post to find out some unique facts about Flinders Street Station!
Photography Tip: Stand on the opposite side of the road looking onto the station. Stand right on the corner and wait for all the traffic lights to go red – be quick and grab your shot with no cars in the frame!
Visit Melbourne’s Laneways
The laneways are probably my favourite part of Melbourne and really make you feel like a local. It’s clear to see that the food and drink industry is massive in Melbourne but the laneways show it off even more. From arcades to narrow cobbled lanes filled end to end with coffee shops, restaurants, doughnut stalls, pubs!
You name it if you can eat or drink it the laneways have it! There plenty of lanes to choose from in Melbourne but our favourites were Degraves Street and Centre Place. Both lanes are packed in tightly bursting at every seam with coffee shops and restaurants. Whatever food you fancy you’ll find it here. From cakes to 3-course meals, American to Asia style meals you are spoilt for choice!
The only aspect of these lanes I didn’t enjoy was a few of the local employees tried to entice you in. Sometimes this really puts me off a place but then again in some cultures it’s completely fine to do so – maybe I need to take a chill pill on this one?
Apart from that small factor, I loved the energy that both of these lanes gave off. I can totally see why people love this part of Melbourne. I could see myself happily cafe hopping over a period of months! Just one day in Melbourne is not enough to eat at all these delicious looking places – my mouth is watering just writing about it!
We had an amazing cake in one of the pubs in Centre Place. Of course, I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it – Budget for cake and a coffee: $12 PP / 7 GBP
Explore Street Art in Melbourne
You can’t spend 24 hours in Melbourne without visiting the famous street art! From laneways full of glorious food to laneways full of inspiration street art! The ACDC Lane and Hosier Lane are two brilliant spots for street art.
The ACDC lane is named after rock band ACDC, those who are into music will know that the band are in fact Australian but I did not until we visited this lane! You really do learn something new every day whilst travelling. It’s also home to the famous night club and music bar Cherry Bar. The lane is pretty cool with some great art pieces and tribute to the rock ’n’ roll scene.
If you’re looking for the ‘Melbourne’ graffiti as photographed above then you’ll want to head to ACDC lane and turn left as you reach the bottom onto Duckboard place and you won’t miss it!
Where to Eat Lunch in Melbourne
Okay, so we decided to choose cake over lunch because the cakes were huge and we couldn’t resist – at said pub mentioned above. But I highly recommend looping back to Centre Place or Degraves Lanes to grab some lunch on the laneways.
All of the Botanical Gardens in Australia are simply beautiful. The sun is always shining, flowers always blooming and they are so damn clean! Melbourne was no exception the gardens were gorgeous and the backdrop of the city is fantastic. As we walked from the city to the gardens the views and walkway beside the canal is stunning. We visited in April so the leaves were turning golden brown and it actually felt like Autumn in Australia. In the other cities, it kind of felt like seasons don’t exist down under so it was lovely to see a difference.
Photograph spot: Swan Bridge gives you lovely backdrop of the city.
As you wander over the bridge talk time in walking around the gardens. I found them to be so peaceful and full of gorgeous flowers boasting colours of yellow, purple, red and green. If you’re trying to save money then why not take a picnic to the Royal Botanical Gardens instead of buying it in the laneways.
Visit the Shrine of Remembrance
Anzac Day is extremely important in Australia and on January the 25th the country come together in order to pay tribute to those who in the wars. In every city, you’ll find tributes to the fallen. The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne is a great place to pay your respects and learn little more about Australian war history. The Shrine is located just above the Royal Botanical Gardens. The building is lovely and its position boasts incredible views of the city. Explore inside the building and head to the balcony for the great view of the city.
Photographs are allowed but always remember that this is a tribute and memorial so only take photographs that are respectful. For example, don’t try to stand on any of the statues.
No, the walking doesn’t end there! And why should it? Walking is, in my opinion, the best way to explore a new city and one of the ways that I keep fit whilst travelling. My Fitbit always helps me keep on track by knowing how many steps I’ve done throughout the day. I can guarantee whilst travelling I always exceed my 10,000. Sometimes at home especially on my blogging days, I barely make 7000! To look into purchasing your own take a look at the table before. I’d be lost without being able to track my activity whilst travelling!
For the remainder of the 24 hours in Melbourne, I’d recommend taking a walk along South Bank. There’s nothing better than ending the day with a walk along the river. Find heaps of bars and restaurant along South Bank too where you can enjoy a beverage or two whilst watching the world go by! We went to Hopscotch and enjoyed their happy hour of $6 wine and beer! Hopscotch has a great vibe where you can go for a relaxing afternoon drink or dress up on an evening.
Another Melbourne favourite is the Arbory Afloat a floating bar and restaurant situated upon the Yarra River! As a stinker for motion sickness, I’m not sure how I would get on as you could see it bobbing on the river but it looked lovely. Check out more bars around Melbourne and the CBD in this blog post by Hidden City Secrets.
Where to Eat Dinner in Melbourne
As the short 24 hours in Melbourne draws to a close make sure to finish the evening off in style! Since arriving in Australia Dave and I have become obsessed with Asian cuisine so that’s exactly what was on the menu! After the end of a long day walking around exploring it’s safe to stay we were knackered and the last thing we wanted to do was try and find a decent restaurant.
So we hit up Trip Advisor and I am so glad we did. Red Spice Road is located in the heart of China Town and services the most amazing Asian cuisine. Set out a little different than other Asian restaurants I’ve been to but in a good way. Basically, their menu is made for sharing so choose four or five different plates from the set menu and enjoy! It made me try something different other than the standard Pad Thai dish. All of the food was stunning, the scallops were divine, lamb fell straight off the bone and duck curry sensational! You can find their website here and location on the map below!
Other Things to Do During One Day in Melbourne
Kyak along the Yarra River
Visit Queen Victoria Market
Take a free walking tour
Visit the Melbourne Museum
Go to St Kilda for Sunset
Find Little Penguins in St Kilda
Visit the Melbourne Harbour
Go shopping in some of the Melbourne Outlets
Things to Do Near Melbourne
One day in Melbourne sure isn’t long enough to enjoy all has to offer but these are some of the highlights that you can enjoy in just one day. The great thing about Melbourne is that there are lots to do around the city. St. Kilda was my favourite part about Melbourne located just 15 minutes from the city centre.
Of course, The Great Ocean Road isn’t too far from Melbourne. In just three hours you can be on the sublime coastline of Victoria. For a complete two day itinerary for The Great Ocean Road take a look at my recent post here! I also wrote a post that shows off the Highlights of The Great Ocean Road which you can take a look at here!
Melbourne City Tours
I personally love exploring new cities with my own two feet but if you like to be guided around then Melbourne has plenty of day tours and city tours that you can take advantage of. Melbourne also has a hop on hop off bus where you can get on and off at popular locations around the city!
Transport in Melbourne
Free Tram in Melbourne CBD
To finish I wanted to share a few practical tips for visiting Melbourne! If you’ve research Melbourne well then you’ll know about the free tram service. In the Melbourne CBD the tram is free but only in the city. Once you leave the city you’ll need to pay for the service.
To travel on public transport in Melbourne you’ll need to get a travel card called a Myki. For 24 hours in Melbourne, you still need one if you plan on travelling on the transport. Luckily, we got one from our campsite and topped it up for $15 for the full day. When you’ve booked accommodation in Melbourne find out if you’ll be needing to use the transport and decide if the travel card is worth it.
Where to Stay in Melbourne
If you’re visiting Melbourne as part of a road trip then your transport options may be limited. We stayed at Discovery Park campsite in Melbourne because we had a camper van and it seemed like the best choice. Expect to pay more in Melbourne than other campsites on the road just because of location.
Discovery Parks – Melbourne
The Melbourne park cost us $200 for three nights for three people to stay on a powered site, so it wasn’t cheap! But if there is only two of you then you’ll be able to grab it cheaper.
That said we paid for the price. This caravan park topped all the others that we’ve stayed at purely due to facilities. The toilets and showers are sparkling clean, with a brand new camp kitchen you can cook in a clean and friendly environment too. The pool is lovely as is the heated spa pool too so you get what you pay for which isn’t always the case. The only downside is the distance from the city. It takes around 45 minutes on public transport. You can check out the rest of the facilities available at this campsite here.
Another popular way to stay over in Melbourne is in a hostel. So many travellers that I’ve met on the road stay in hostels and find it a great way to meet other travellers. This is the one regret I sometimes have about always staying in a campervan opposed to hostel accomadation! Some of the top rated and most recommended hostels in Melbourne as per Booking.com are:
United Backpackers in Melbourne CBD also recommended by Lonely Planet
Melbourne Central YHA
Space Hotel Melbourne CBD
In reflection, I wish that we had spent more time in the city of Melbourne. I feel like the CBD and the inner city has so much more on offer than what we got to explore. I preferred our day in St Kilda compared to the city centre. It didn’t give us the wow like Sydney but it was definitely less touristy and had a more local feel which I love.
Have you ever been to Melbourne? I would love to hear your personal experience and favourite things to do in this city! Let me know in the comments below & don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to find out all about our travels!
The most awe-inspiring, stunning drive in Australia, a strong statement but the Great Ocean Road is worth every ounce of recognition. On the coastline of South West Australia in the state of Victoria lies The Great Ocean Road, one of the most popular tourist destinations for all travellers. Known for its unique rock formations that line the coast, sleepy seaside towns and breathtaking views out into the unknown. The Great Ocean Road is one place that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The best way to explore it is by taking a Great Ocean Road self-drive. Grab your mates, loved ones and tackle the road solo, it doesn’t matter how you do it, it just matters that you go.
We took on the Great Ocean Road in April 2019 which is Autumn in Australia and it was the perfect time of year to do so. The sun was still shining over the coast and the tourists were very few and far between. It made the experience so much more enjoyable and really gave us a taste of what local life is like on the Great Ocean Road. We completed our Great Ocean Road self-drive in just two days but that’s not to say you can’t spend longer exploring this vast stretch of coastline. In this guide, I’m going into all the details so you know exactly how to spend 2 days on the road. And better yet, all the spots to stop off during your Great Ocean Road self-drive!
If you’re looking for a shorter quick guide to all the Great Ocean Road highlights then check out my earlier post here! I share with you all of my favourite attractions on the Great Ocean Road in a whistle-stop tour, kind of post. But if you’re ready for a comprehensive guide then keep reading to find out where you need to eat, sleep and play on the Great Ocean Road.
Why Self Drive?
Of course, doing a Great Ocean Road self-drive isn’t the only way to see it but I do believe it’s the best way. By driving yourself it means you can go at your own pace. I love tour groups but sometimes they can feel a little rushed. With so many amazing places to see on the Great Ocean Road, you’re going to want to take your time. This Australian coastline is packed with tourist attractions, gorgeous coastal villages filled with boutique gift stores and sublime coffee shops. Take the town of Port Campbell, I had no idea how beautiful this town was going to be and once we arrived we found ourselves staying for hours. Because we drove ourselves it meant there was no rush and we had the flexibility to stay a little longer in the places that we wanted to explore more of.
If a Great Ocean Road self-drive just isn’t an option for you for whatever reason then you can check out these tour groups, all voted as excellent by other travellers on Trip Advisor.
Save this post for later if you don’t have time to read it all now!
Car or Campervan?
If you’ve decided to go ahead and tackle the Great Ocean Road self-drive then you’re probably wondering about how to go about it. By this I mean, should you just hire a car, camper van or even a motor home? Well, it depends how long you’re on the road for. The Great Ocean isn’t that long in coming in at 230 km. If this is the only driving you’re going to be doing on this trip a car will suffice. There are plenty of places to stay on the Great Ocean Road from motels, hotels and campsite cabins.
If you’re incorporating the Great Ocean Road into a bigger road trip, most people do, then a camper van or motor home will definitely be the better option and probably the most cost-effective too. When we drove the Great Ocean Road we were driving from The Grampians all the way up to Brisbane by camper van. Camper vans are perfect for 0-4 travellers. They’re easy to drive, have plenty of space to sleep in and all the essentials you need for your road trip.
Our beloved Camper
Hiring a Camper Van for your Great Ocean Road Self-Drive
Australia is the camper van capital. The size of the country means travelling by camper van is extremely popular so it won’t be too difficult to find one. We’ve tackled two road trips in Australia this year, hiring a camper van on both occasions. You’ll find hundreds of comparison websites which can be a little overwhelming. For both our road trips we booked via the travel company Ratpack Travel, you can check out their website here. Sammy was super helpful when booking our trips always finding the best deal for us to hire a camper van. When we chatted to other people on the road we found out that we were, in fact, paying the least amount of money our camper van. Always a huge bonus right?
The camper we’ve hired on both occasions were from Camperman Australia. I cannot recommend this company more, with a low deposit of $500 and prices that start at just $70 a day for the vans they are great value for money. These vans are perfect for backpackers, they come with all the essentials, crockery, bedding etc plenty of storage space and have always been mechanically sound during our trips. If you want any more information on either of these companies then make sure you check out their websites as linked above. Or you can always email me at [email protected] for more details on my experience.
Best Time of Year for a Great Ocean Road Self-Drive Road Trip
Gorgeous Port Campbell
Like everything in life, this will be up for debate. We visited the Great Ocean Road in April which made it Autumn down under. In my opinion, this is the best time to visit the Great Ocean Road. The flocks of tourists have vanished, the towns are much quieter, there is simply no traffic on the roads. Not to mention the weather is still pretty good. The weather on the Great Ocean Road can be hit and miss, a little like Melbourne, the city with 4 seasons in a day! Except for hot summers and cooler winters. The busiest tourist season is, of course, summertime between December – February. Winter will be the quietest between June – September.
How Much Does it Cost to Road Trip the Great Ocean Road?
The Great Ocean Road isn’t just magical but most attractions during your Great Ocean Road self-drive will be free! This scenic drive is all about enjoying what mother nature has created. The sea cliffs and rock formations that line the coast are the main attractions. All of which are completely free to visit! Bring some cash to explore the seaside towns and perhaps enjoy some local food! Throughout this guide, I’ll be highlighting all of our costs as we drove the Great Ocean Road.
Great Ocean Road Self-Drive 2 Day Itinerary
This itinerary will be starting at the most Westerly end of The Great Ocean Road. We choose to drive to the far end so we could come back along the road but it doesn’t matter which way round you drive The Great Ocean Road, it also depends where you’re coming from too!
Great Ocean Road Self-Drive Day One
Start the Great Ocean Road self drive in Peterborough and be sure to visit, The Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs. Unfortunately, we missed out these two places. We’d been driving from Melbourne for about three hours and I’ll be honest when we saw the sign for ‘The Arch’ we got all excited. So our Great Ocean Road self-drive actually started at ‘The Arch’ (which isn’t a bad place to start even if you do go back on yourself a little).
These unique rock formations are one of the reasons that the Great Ocean Road is so popular. Mother Nature really has been busy on the coastline over the years and created some magnificent natural landmarks. The rock that lines this stretch of the Victorian coastline is limestone, a crumbly rock boasting vibrant yellows and oranges. You’ll find various shapes that have been created by the waves over the years including, the 12 Apostles which I guarantee you’ve heard of.
Stop off at The Grotto, London Bridge and The Arch
On this first stretch of road, you’ll find all these formations quite close together. You can drive between them all in just a couple of minutes. All of the attractions on the Great Ocean Road have free parking so no need to worry about that. The Grotto was my favourite creation of the gang. Boasting energy that is peaceful and charming, The Grotto is a cave come bridge. Below it, a sinkhole which allows the water to pool. When the sun is dazzling through the window the water glistens reflecting that gorgeous water. I could’ve sat by The Grotto all the day a book in hand just feeling close to nature.
There are various viewing platforms to see The Grotto, a short walk from the car park you’ll find the first lookout showing a perfect view from above. To get to the foot of The Grotto you need to be fully mobile and able to negotiate stairs. It’s not far, a mere 200 metres but all stairs.
London Bridge is next!
Can you guess why it’s called London Bridge? Well, if you didn’t guess, this bridge was formed and named after London Bridge because of how it got there. As the waves cut up the sea cliffs causing great big lumps of the land to come crashing into the ocean eventually, the piece of rock that was holding up this part of the coastline fell away. What’s left is something resembling a bridge as photographed below! When London Bridge was formed two tourists actually got stranded on the estranged rock! Luckily, a helicopter flew in to get them to safety. I think that would have been pretty crazy, but what a story to tell the grandkids?
Another picturesque making of the ocean, the Arch is accessible by everyone via a short path with a slight hill, no stairs. Stand back as you watch the water crash in, out and around the rock. If you get a clear day at The Arch then you’ll be able to see the 12 Apostles dazzling in the background.
The Arch on the Great Ocean Road
This seaside town will have butterflies in your tummy. It’s tranquil, peaceful and utterly beautiful. This tiny town is strung together by cafes, restaurants, boutique gift shops and beachfront villas. As you follow the road into the town go right around to the beach and park literally metres away from the ocean. The sounds of the ocean here are is just so calming. Port Campbell is a bay so no crashing waves just peaceful dancing water. It’s clear aqua blue colour will have you swapping into your swimmers instantly.
Before you head down into town, as you drive back from The Arch watch out for a sign ‘Scenic Lookout’ on your right, make sure you pull in to enjoy Ariel views of Port Campbell beneath you.
Where to Eat in Port Campbell
The choice of lunch spots Port Campbell are limitless. For such a small town it’s got a fair share of cafes, restaurants and fish and chippies! We spent over ten minutes hopping from door to door taking in all the menus. In the end, we decided on Forage on the Foreshore, a sublime beachside cafe. You can check out their menu on their website here but there are options for everyone. All of the produce is sourced locally so it gives you a chance, as a tourist to give back to the local community, which I love! The food was to die for and they even have craft beer on sale too (much to Dave’s delight)! My eyes were on the cakes which equally were just as good as the mains! I opted for a club sandwich, which I would highly recommend. Portions were perfect and price very reasonable too.
Yes, I had already taken a bite!
The total cost of the meal: $20 AUD PP or approx 12 GBP
After eating, go next door to Spence Australia. I love looking in bespoke independent shops when I’m away, or at home for that matter. And Spence will have you wanting to buy everything! The owner designs a lot of the work herself and you buy all sorts from souvenirs to knick-knacks for the home. Check out the website and Instagram account here.
Total spent at Spence: $5 AUD 2.50 GBP
Onto Loch Ard Gorge
A Favourite amongst the tourists is The Loch Ard Gorge. With its unique history, impressive scenery and golden beach it’s easy to see why. First, walk around 500 metres to the furthermost lookout point and look back on the beach. The view from above is stunning. As you head down to the beach watch your step as the stairs are quite uneven. Once you’ve got your toes between that sand you won’t want to leave!
The Loch Ard Gorge is famous all over Australia and England. The story goes a little like this. Back in 1878 a cargo ship named The Loch had just made the three-month journey down under from England. Carrying over 300 passengers the ship pulled up near the shore and held a dazzling party. To arrive in Australia safe and sound the passengers and crew drank, partied and definitely didn’t see what was coming. A little while later the boat had got into shallow waters and started running aground, sinking. The ocean claimed the lives of all on board, except two, Tom and Eva. Sadly, Eva didn’t make it to shore as easily as Tom and had to be revived by Tom himself. Tom later became a known hero in Australia England for saving Eva under such circumstances. We enjoy the Loch Ard Gorge today remembering this story and those we lost their lives.
Top Tip: The ocean may look inviting here but there are signs around asking tourists not to swim in the Loch Ard Gorge due to extremely strong currents.
The 12 Apostles
The 12 Apostles are probably the most famous landmark on the Great Ocean Road and it will be busy no matter what time of year you go. We were almost the only people at every stop, except the 12 Apostles. It made me wonder if people literally just come down to the Great Ocean Road just to see the Apostles. They are the main highlight but it seems crazy to me to not explore all of the Great Ocean Road!
The 12 Apostles are definitely catered for tourism. You’ll find toilets, a gift shop and a much larger car park here. There are plenty of things to do at the 12 Apostles too. You can simply walk down to the lookout point or explore a little further on one of the longer walks.
Literally, a couple of metres on from the 12 Apostles are the Gibson Steps. These steps lead down to the beach where some of the 12 Apostles sit. If you time it right you can head down the steps and get up close to these magnificent rock formations. Low tide is the best time to get down the steps which wind down the cliff edge. The beach is inaccessible when the tide is in and the steps slowly disappear. Make sure you’re careful because you don’t want to get stuck on the beach!
The Great Ocean Road Self Drive – Where to Stay
As you explore the far end of The Great Ocean Road it’ll be knocking on for sunset pretty soon. I’d recommend staying in either Apollo Bay or Kennett River. Kennett River is a little further on The Great Ocean Road than Apollo Bay. As we only drove through Apollo Bay I can’t say much about it. We did, however, stay in Kennett River so I can definitely recommend and tell you more about that below!
Kennett River Holiday Park
Kennett River is a tiny seaside village on The Great Ocean Road and is well known for its surf and wildlife. If you want to see some koalas on your Great Ocean Road self-drive then this is your place! Surrounded by eucalyptus Kennett River attracts koalas from far and wide. The holiday park is a great place to stay to enjoy these Aussie natives!
The holiday park doesn’t have any koalas that they keep but they do come into the site! As we woke up the following day we were greeted by a huge koala playing in the tree just across from our campsite (it was bloody fantastic!). We also spotted at least another four the night before too. Adjacent to the campsite you’ll find a dirt track where you can spot Koalas, the road runs for around 700 km so hopefully, you’ll definitely see at least one!
No trouble spotting this guy!
The holiday park itself has everything you need. Offering cabins, unpowered and powered sites. For a powered site, we paid $40 (April 2019). The campsite is equipped with toilets and showers which are clean and tidy, BBQ facilities, camp kitchens and free WIFI. Another bonus is that you are only a short stroll away from the beach and on a clear day will get an awe-inspiring sunset! Take a look at the Kennett River Holiday Park website here!
Great Ocean Road Self-Drive – Day One Budget
Most of the attractions on the Great Ocean Road mentioned above are completely free. We did spend money on petrol and food which I’ve listed below.
Lunch – Forage on the Foreshore $60 for x 3 people
Petrol – Full Tank fill up on day one $65 (Toyota Hiace Camper)
Great Ocean Road Self-Drive – Day Two
The beautiful seaside town of Lorne! One of the few places on The Great Ocean Road I could see myself living in. Although with the average property in Lorne being a million dollars I think I might be waiting a little while longer! Lorne is a beautiful town that is sleepy in the winter and bustling with holidayers in the summer months! With a gorgeous beachfront that has an excellent surf, beautiful shops and cafes you won’t be stuck for something to do! Arrive in Lorne in the morning and head for a coffee and a cake!
Where to go for Coffee?
Moons Espresso is an awesome little coffee shop in Lorne that you have to visit! Voted Lorne’s second best coffee shop on Trip Advisor. With good prices for great coffee, it’s worth a visit. We enjoyed a gorgeous pastry too, I mean c’ mon it would be rude not too right? You can check out their website here or Instagram here.
Budget for Coffee and a party approx $10 PP
Love chasing waterfalls? Then make sure you don’t miss out on a trip to Erskine Falls on your Great Ocean Road self-drive. Located 10 minutes into the hills of Lorne you’ll be lead away from the ocean and into the rainforest. Erskine Falls is a gorgeous waterfall surrounded by rainforest. The car park is free and the waterfall accessible from a lookout above or you can head down the stairs to the foot of the waterfall. I recommend doing both if you can. Make sure you’ve got plenty of water for if it’s hot as there are quite a few stairs to climb up and down.
The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch
The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch is located just outside of Lorne before Anglesea, Aireys and Torquay. This memorial arch was first built In 1939 as a sign of remembrance for those who lost their lives in World War 1. The sign which is made from wood has been rebuilt over time due to damage. The government were planning on taking it down altogether but the locals fought back against the idea. Pull over into the car park for a photograph of the arch and to pay your respects. Hopefully, the arch sticks around for many years to come.
The Great Ocean Road Sign!
Aireys Inlet Great Ocean Road Lighthouse
Down the road from Lorne sits the small town of Aireys Inlet. You don’t need to carve out too much time here but I would recommend heading up to the lighthouse, you won’t be able to miss it as you drive by. Either park up at the bottom and walk up the hill about 700 metres or you drive a little further to cut short the walk. The views of the ocean are wonderful from the lighthouse too.
Our final stop on the Great Ocean Road self-drive is Torquay! Because it was Autumn when we arrived in Torquay and a little rainy, it was a bit like a ghost town! There weren’t many people around but the beach is stunning. I could imagine how busy and lovely the beach would look on a sunny day so hopefully, you’ll get luckier than us! The coastline stretches for miles so park up the van or car and walk along the beach front soaking in some of that southern hemisphere sunshine! The Esplanade is lined with bars and cafes where you can pop in and have a drink! We sat by the beach indulging in a homemade cheese sandwich to keep costs down!
If you need to grab anything for your journey to wherever your heading next then Torquay has plenty of options. You’ll find Coles, Woolworths, Priceline, Coffee Shops, Priceline etc to pick up all of the essentials you may need on the road! You can fill up your vehicle as well if need be.
Great Ocean Road Self-Drive Day Two Budget
Kennett River Holiday Park x 1 night powered stay $40
Coffee at Moons Espresso $30 x 3 PP
Total Budget for 2 Days on the Great Ocean Road
So the total budget for our 2-day Great Ocean Road self-drive came to $195 everything included for 3 people, that’s including the mentioned meals out, drinks, petrol and accommodation! If you are on a mega tight budget then you can easily spend nothing! Cook at your accommodation and don’t buy anything, pretty simple really! I feel like so many of us have an illusion that you need to be a millionaire to travel, you really don’t. All you need is planning and discipline 🙂
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I hope this post has inspired you to want to travel the Great Ocean Road in Australia or at least made you think about it. If you enjoyed this post then please share it with your friends because they might like it too! Don’t forget to leave a comment to continue the conversation or just let me know what you think about the post!