Today marks a week since we left our UK life behind and started our Australian Adventure in Brisbane & what a week it has been! We had tears at the airport but luckily there hasn’t been anymore since and this week has been nothing shy of amazing!
35,000 Feet High
Lets start with the flight! Seven and half hours from Manchster then a whopping fourteen hours from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane! Luckily the flights were pretty steady with no big dramas! We were delayed by an hour on both flights but we were already on board and way to excited to notice too much!
There was a slight panic when touchng down in Brisbane! Picture this: we land, we are beyond giddy getting ready to disembark! Theres then the voice, over the tanoy, explaining we must sit back down because there is a sick person on the plane and we must be quanratined until cleared by immigration!
Luckily, immigration were on and off the plane within twenty minuets and we were let loose! Immigratio was a blast and we were through in minuets! And BOTH BAGS TURNED UP YAY! (Always a fear!)
We managed to locate our Air BnB via bus! Which we were both pretty smug about! Our new home for the ten nights is a lovely little home in New Farm! New Farm a lovely suburb just twenty minuets walk from the city which is amazing!
On our first day we got up and headed off to explore! We had asked the people we are staying with the correct and his words were ‘go that way and you’ll practically fall into the river!’ And he wasn’t wrong!
We were stunned as we came across the Brisbane River and the views had us speechless! The walk into the city from New Farm is along the river walk! Amazing! That first day we walked 27,000 steps exploring the city!
The Rest of the Week
We’ve been spending a lot of time over at South Bank. A gorgeous area that runs along the river which is full of bars, restaurants, shops, the Brisbane Wheel and Streets Beach!
A man made beach in the middle of the city complete with two lagoon pools! With it being 22-24 degrees here its like the British summer and with most Queenslanders wrapped up head to toe we were making the most out o the quiet beach!
It’s been a wonderful week so far and we are loving the city of Brisbane! We have been house hunting and getting boring jobs done this week! As well as tasting all the cafes and food delicacy Australia has to offer! We have managed to meet a couple of friends from the UK which was awesome! We enjoyed some food in the sun and drank beer by the tube! (See photograph!)
As those who know us will know Dave wouldn’t give up climbing for anything! Luckily we have been to two climbing gyms so far which are pretty good! (Although it will take some getting used to with it being so warm!)
Here’s some more from our first week for you to enjoy:
Holy smokes, I can’t believe it’s been five months since we were packing our bags getting ready to start moving from Australia to New Zealand in search of a new adventure!
Moving from Australia to New Zealand has been a complete whirlwind. Somehow moving to a country just a three-hour plane ride away (we left from Brisbane in case those of you from Perth are reading and screwing your nose up at that one) is so very different.
The last five months have kind of gone by in a blur. I want to be honest with you, it’s taken us a lot longer to get settled here in New Zealand and to think that we’re halfway through this current visa is crackers. So I decided to reflect on our last five months. The good, the bad and the windy!
On Finding Somewhere to Live in New Zealand
The biggest struggle here in New Zealand has been finding somewhere to live! Last year in Australia we moved to 5 different houses pretty easily. We would give ourselves around 10-14 days in an Air BnB and have somewhere snapped up soon before our time was up.
Either it just isn’t as easy in New Zealand or this girl is a lot fussier than she thinks! I think it’s possibly a mixture of both but a lot of the latter!
If you’ve following my blog for a while then you’ll know I’ve been hustling hard at this travel blogging business. In fact, in just one short year I’ve managed to grow an Instagram community of over 3000 and somehow Alicia Overseas is gaining over 4,000 page views every month.
Not so long ago I was dreaming of travelling non-stop full time. Can you think of a better way to live? Turns out I can.
When we first arrived in New Zealand we spent our first 4 months jumping from hostel to hostel spare room to spare room and it drained me. Emotionally, physically I couldn’t have felt more disconnected to everything that I love from travelling.
The past 2 weeks in New Zealand have been the best so far. Dave and I are finally in a lovely house-share with a gorgeous little room. It might sound materialistic but it has honestly done wonders to my mood and relationships.
Here’s what I’ve realised:
Nothing beats being able to cook in a real kitchen
Having a window that floods the room with light is life
I love nothing more than sitting down with my book, a cuppa and candle burning at night
Having an actual desk to work on at home is now non-negotiable
Decor matters – sorry but it really does.
How lucky we are to have a place to call home that we can make our little sanctuary.
So even though it took longer than I would’ve liked to have been settled in a permanent home for the rest of our time in New Zealand, it has made me so much more grateful for it now.
On Finding a Job in New Zealand
Luckily this was a whole lot smoother than finding somewhere to live! Dave snapped up work the first week we got to Wellington! Luckily the hospitality scene is big here and they are always needing extra staff, especially those with experience!
For me, it was pretty easy too! New Zealand like the rest of the world is crying out for nurses and just as we arrived in Wellington a job advert in my area of nursing expertise was put out.
Coincidence or fate? I’m not sure but it was perfect. I was lucky enough to secure the position and found myself working a few weeks after Dave. From securing a nursing position to being on the floor can take a little time as you imagine there are thousands of checks that need to be done! So this meant I got an extra month off to enjoy being in Wellington which was wonderful.
Nursing in New Zealand is similar to Australia and the UK, of course with some cultural and practical differences but very similar which makes me happy.
I’ve also gone back onto a permanent rostered system instead of choosing my shifts as I did in Australia. I must say I have some strong feelings about which I’ll go into a whole other post. I could talk about nursing shifts and roasters and pros and cons until the cows come home!
All in all, finding a job gets a big thumbs up from us! It makes even more grateful that I can take nursing all over the world with me!
On Travelling the North Island
New Zealand is breathtaking.
There are no other words to describe it. It’s the quietest country I’ve ever stepped foot in and in the countryside I can sense how clean the air is.
You don’t have to be far out of the cities to be surrounded by mountainous views and lush green fields. We’ve seen the whole of the North Island so far and have just got the South Island to explore. As I’m writing this we actually go on our first trip to the South Island in 2 weeks time. I can’t wait to explore more of this beautiful country and I honestly don’t think we’ve seen anything yet!
My favourite destinations on the North Island of New Zealand
We still need to see Mount Taranaki and I can’t wait to spend a few days hiking around Egmont National Park!
Moving from Australia to New Zealand – On Feeling Homesick
To my surprise, I’ve felt so much more homesick since moving from Australia to New Zealand. I can’t decide if its because we’ve not been home in over a year and I’m craving some time with my family and girlfriends or if it’s because New Zealand is so similar to the UK.
If I’m honest since my mum left Australia the homesickness didn’t really leave (hi mum, please don’t start crying, I love you)!
Homesickness is hard and completely normal whilst travelling the world. But as much as I love my home (which I’m only just realising now by the way) the experience of travel is certainly worth being away for a little while. I’ve adopted a few ways of dealing it. I’ve also had my fair share of tantrums and have been certain that I was booking the next plane home!
Time differences suck but it’s easy to keep in touch if you really make the effort.
On the Weather
After living in Brisbane and Sydney we arrived in New Zealand in the middle of winter and boy was it a shock!
Being from Northern England we are used to the cold but just one year Australia has turned us into complete wimps!
I’ve only just taken off my woolly hat five months later (it made for a great accessory). I have no idea if we’ll ever be warm again after living in Australia but we did have our first beach day in New Zealand where I braved my swimsuit at 20 degrees! I’m sure when we one day get back to the UK we’ll be ramping up a huge heating bill even in the summer months but I’m it won’t take long for our bodies to re-acclimatise!
About three months into our New Zealand adventure I experienced my first ever earthquake.
It only lasted about 5 seconds but it isn’t an experience I’m likely to forget. I’m sure most New Zealanders probably slept through it and would be rolling their eyes reading this but coming from somewhere with zero natural disasters (although as I write this in November 2019 our home town of Sheffield is currently experiencing torrential flooding) it was so scary.
We were living in the hostel at the time and the bed was wheels and it shook! Dave was on his way back from work and I honestly had no idea what was going on! Luckily it was fine and stopped but holy moly I had no idea how common earthquakes are in New Zealand! I certainly didn’t do enough research where that’s concerned.
A tip for those looking to spend some time in New Zealand, research all about the earthquakes so you know the processes to follow should you ever need to.
All in All…
So, moving from Australia to New Zealand has certainly been an epic adventure so far. Filled with highs and lows, all the ingredients to make a wonderful adventure.
New Zealand is definitely the definition of ‘Middle Earth’ it’s so far away from anywhere else in the world but boy is it beautiful. If you’re thinking about travelling to New Zealand then I couldn’t recommend it more at this point and we haven’t even locked eyes on the South Island yet which is supposed to be even more beautiful!
If you have any questions about New Zealand, moving here or about life here then let me know but here are a few facts about the country we’ve discovered so far:
Earthquakes happen every day
It’s normal not to see anyone else in the countryside all-day
Wellington is the windiest place on earth (not statically true but I’m rolling with it)
New Zealand has a teeny tiny population of just 5 million!
The worlds first commercial bungee jump was launched in Queenstown
Half the population own a car – literally! It’s hard to navigate without one!
Rugby is HUGE.
We’ve got plenty more of this country to enjoy and I’m excited to experience more of it! Here’s to our next set of adventures down South!
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!
A trip to New South Wales wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of its most unique UNESCO National Parks. Spreading over 1 million hectares, the Blue Mountains is an incredible place for lovers of the great outdoors. Though not my favourite National Park in Australia a Blue Mountains day trip is certainly worth doing! Whether you love hiking, photography or just want to drive around hunting for those incredible views, there is something for everyone to enjoy in The Blue Mountains Sydney.
We spent one night and two days in the Blue Mountains but for a lot of travellers, a day trip from Sydney is all they have time to squeeze in. Luckily you can see a lot in the Blue Mountains with just one day but to do so you will need to hire a car or go on a group tour of the Blue Mountains. But more of that as you read on!
I’ve decided to split this post into three sections:
One Day Itinerary in the Blue Mountains – my recommendations of exactly what to see and how to plan your day!
Best Photography Spots in the Blue Mountains – If you love photography but only have one day in the Blue Mountains then you might want to hunt down the best spots to get that perfect shot.
Unique Places to Visit in the Blue Mountains – If you like to wander off the beaten track then you might want to visit these unique places in the Blue Mountains.
But before we get into these travel guides for a Blue Mountains day trip let’s get the logistics out of the way first! But before we start a quick disclosure;
Some of the photographs you’ll find in this post will be stock images and all photographers will be credited in the caption. We spent a lot of time during our two days in the Blue Mountains taking epic photographs. Then my very old very sad laptop completely died and took all my photographs beyond the grave with it! It was honestly a tragic moment and I have since invested in a lot of back-ups for my photos!
Where are The Blue Mountains?
The Blue Mountains National Park is located 1 hour North West of Sydney. Even though it might mean getting up early it’s easy to drive up to the Blue Mountains for a day trip. If you’re on a road trip of the East Australian coast then I recommend stopping at the Blue Mountains either on your way in or out of Sydney depending on where you started the road trip. When we travelled the East coast for a month in 2018 we actually left visiting the Blue Mountains out. We knew we’d be staying in Sydney for 6 months so we had plenty of time to visit. In the end, it would’ve been so much better to have visited when we had our campervan – just some food for thought!
Getting to The Blue Mountains for a Day Trip
For a Blue Mountains day trip the easiest way to get there is by car. We hired a car from the company Car Next Door in Sydney for a good price. The drive is only a couple of hours and it’s pretty straight forward. The Blue Mountains are very spread out and especially for those photographers out there if you want to find all the great spots in just one day then driving around is the best way.
Car Next Door – a little more info
Car Next Door is a really easy app to use. Basically, everyday people put their cars up on the website to rent when they don’t need it. You pay a total for the car and then like 19 cent per km for afterwards, it’s pretty cheap and you can have a membership for just $19 a month. There’s no talking to anyone required as the keys are placed in a lockbox by the owner which fits onto the car window. The instructions on where to pick the car up and drop back off are really simple! I highly recommend this app for renting cars in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. A quick word of warning you do pay a deposit for your first hire but get this back 7 days later.
If hiring a car for your Blue Mountains day trip isn’t possible then don’t worry you can take public transport. There are a couple of ways to reach the Blue Mountains via public trains. There are a few different routes possible so make sure you check on Google Maps or Sydney Transport Website before you go which route will be best for your situation. The only thing you’ll be sacrificing on the trains is time. It’ll take just over 2 hours to reach the Blue Mountains by train but once you arrive it is quite easy to explore the different areas of the Blue Mountains by train.
Day Tours to the Blue Mountains from Sydney
Planning a day trip to the Blue Mountains can be tricky. There is so much to see and when you’ve only got limited time to see it, it can be hard deciding which places are worth. This is one of the reasons why I decided to write this post! But if you really don’t want to mess around planning the day yourself or catching a train then why not take a day tour?
There are so many tour companies in Australia and a few tours running day trips to the Blue Mountains from Sydney. Obviously these tours come at a price but are a great way to this unique national park. There aren’t many places in the world where a blue haze fills the horizon! I’ve linked some of the most popular guides according to Trip Advisor right below! If you do decide to a day tour to the Blue Mountains from Sydney then I would recommend planning in advance especially in summer!
One Day Itinerary to the Blue Mountains Sydney
In this section of the post, I’m going to give you all the spots I recommend seeing during a day trip in the Blue Mountains. This itinerary is going from sunrise to sunset to make the most the only day you may ever spend in this gorgeous hinterland.
One Day Itinerary to the Blue Mountains – The Highlights:
Honey Moon Bridge
The Yellow Deli
Set off from Sydney early in the morning. Get the car packed up the night before and rise before the sun comes up. That could be 5 am in Australian summertime but it’s worth the early rise to get to the Blue Mountains just after or as the sun is rising. We arrived at Echo Point our first stop in the Blue Mountains for about 8:30 and it was perfect. There were hardly any other people around and honestly an hour later the lookout at Echo Point was packed full of people!
First Stop – Echo Point
Echo Point is probably one of the most popular lookouts in the Blue Mountains so I recommend getting there early. It’s located in the Katoomba area of the national park and offers panoramic views of the famous Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is a famous sandstone formation in the Blue Mountains and an important part of Aboriginal Culture in Australia.
Legend tells the story of the three sisters as three women who were sisters that lived in the Katoomba Tribe. The sisters fell in love with three men from another tribe nearby but marriage between these tribes was forbidden. Them and the men refused to abide by this rule so the men captured the sisters. The sisters were then turned into stone. Of course, you’ll read many different variations of this tale but it’s certainly interesting.
Echo Point is also the gateway to Honeymoon Bridge and some great walks including the Prince Henry Cliff walk and Giant Staircase. We managed to get about halfway down the Giant Staircase during our visit but we figured what goes down must then come up so we decided against the rest of the walk as we didn’t have loads of time! I do recommend enjoying The Three Sisters Walk to Honeymoon Bridge though, the views are fantastic and the walk will take around 20 minutes!
After spending some time at Echo Point take a quick drive around to Katoomba Falls. You can park for free next to the playground and then follow the short track to the lookout point. Katoomba Falls is a wonderful waterfall that cascades 150 metres down the cliffs of the Blue Mountains into the Jamison Valley. You can also watch the cable car that runs from Scenic World across the top of the national park. We didn’t do it but I can imagine that it’s a lot of fo fun with some incredible views! There are various other walks you can enjoy at Katoomba Falls but the Katoomba Falls Round Walk is perfect when spending just one day in the Blue Mountains.
Katoomba Falls Round Walk
The walk will take about two hours so will bring you up to lunchtime. The walk is a 4 km circuit so it depends how good at walking you are, you may be able to conquer it a little quicker. I think the walk took us about an hour and a half but we were taking photographs for a while at the smaller waterfall you can enjoy on the walk! If its summer you can also take a paddle.
Lunch at the Yellow Deli
The Yellow Deli is one of the most unique places we found in the Blue Mountains. It was actually a friend of mine who recommended this spot to us and I’m so glad we went! The food is great and the atmosphere of the cafe is incredible. The Yellow Deli is actually a chain ran any a family who started out in America. Their mission is to provide love and a network of people through the art and spirit of great food. You can read a little more about the history behind the Yellow Deli here! They also do AMAZING green bars too which you just have to try honestly you’ll be craving this healthy snack – if you do like it you can find the green bars at a few of these markets around Sydney: (yes, I became obsessed)!
Bondi Junction Markets (weekends)
Frenches Forest Farmers Market (Sundays)
Next stop is Wentworth Falls. Fletcher’s lookout provides an amazing view of these epic waterfalls (my favourite in the Blue Mountains). The Wentworth Falls track is another easy track I recommend enjoying during your Blue Mountains Day Trip. The walk is just 1.4 km so will probably take an hour depending on how fast you walk. The walk shows off incredible views and leads to the top of the great Wentworth Falls!
Evans lookout was quite a surprise during our time in the Blue Mountains. Located in Blackheath this lookout was so vast and the scenery below so incredible! As we arrived at Evans lookout the sun has disappeared behind the clouds and the clouds were low. The thing about this was that the blue haze that fills the horizon was even more evident from Evans lookout! The national park isn’t called ‘The Blue Mountains’ for the fun of it after all.
After spending some time at Evans lookout it’ll be getting close to sunset. The sunset in the Blue Mountains is wonderful and I highly recommend it if you don’t have to rush back to the city. Of course the weather in the Blue Mountains is highly unpredictable but hopefully, you get a beautiful day with an incredible sunset! Some of the best points for sunset are:
Lincolns Rock – Wentworth Falls
Choose a spot or just take a look at the #bluemountains tag on Instagram – I LOVE doing this to find great lookouts in places I’ll be visiting!
Getting Back to Sydney
Of course, if you’re driving it doesn’t matter too much about what time you set off back to the city. Just watch out for those kangaroos once it’s dark! If you take the train then you might not be able to stay for the sunset!
The Best Photography Spots in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is every photographer’s dream especially if you enjoy photography landscapes. The sunrises and sunsets on a clear day are spectacular and even in the middle of the day the Blue Mountains a great spot to photograph. A Blue Mountains day trip dedicated solely to photography would be amazing. In this section of the post, I’ve compiled some of the best photography spots in the Blue Mountains.
Three Sisters – it may be one of the most popular spots but there is no denying the beauty of the Three Sisters. The way these rock formations tower over the valley is so impressive!
Grovetts Leap – Watch the sunset over the valley and create beautiful images using the suns rays as they dip low.
Lincoln’s Rock – Any time of the day would be amazing to photograph this spot but especially at sunset!
Mt Portal Lookout – Not only is Mt Portal a great place for photography especially the lookout but it’s also great for those who love climbing or abseiling!
Scenic Skyway – Scenic world offers the cable car 270 metres above the landscape that is the blue mountains. Though most photographers won’t want to photograph through glass you could definitely capture some awesome shots from up there if you wanted to!
5 of the Most Unique Places to Visit on a Blue Mountains Day Trip
If visiting the busy Three Sisters and famous waterfalls don’t take your fancy then step off the beaten track. The Blue Mountains National Park is huge. There are so many small villages, bushwalking tracks, places to try adventure sports and other things that are a little more unique to explore. When we travel I like to do a little bit of both.
I love seeing the landmarks that gave that destination their place in the world. I would never visit New York and not go and see the Statue of Liberty! But I also like to spend some time exploring different places too. It’s a great way to give back to the locals and just enjoy somewhere a little different and hopefully quieter!
Visit Jenolan Caves – The Jenolan Caves are millions of years old and most travellers visiting the Blue Mountains don’t even know they exist! There are tours running in the caves which you can attend all year round. These caves not only some of the oldest in Australia but in the world! Take a look at the website here to look at booking a tour of the Jenolan Caves!
Explore Mount Portal – If you’re an adventure junkie then why not try rock climbing or abseiling in Mount Portal rather than hiking or taking photos all day?
Katoomba Street Art – Explore the town of Katoomba and you’ll find plenty of very artistic street art!
Visit the Yellow Deli – As the only ‘Yellow Deli’ in Australia this place may be popular but it’s certainly unique to Katoomba!
Take a Horse Riding tour across the Blue Mountains – There are so many farms out in the Mountains and many of them offer Horse Riding tours around the Blue Mountains which I think is pretty cool!
Best Time of Year to Visit the Blue Mountains?
I’d say anytime during the Australian spring is perfect! Spring in Australia is anytime from early September to November. Don’t get me wrong, the views in the Blue Mountains will be epic in summer with those clear skies. The photographs I’ve seen of summer are perfect, especially at sunrise and sunset. But summertime in Sydney is extremely hot and my idea of hiking in Australia isn’t in summer. Honestly, you spend more time sweating than enjoying yourself. Summer is also the busiest time for tourism in Australia!
In spring the temperature is perfect for hiking and there are fewer crowds. If you really want to avoid the crowds then visit the Blue Mountains in winter but it will be cold and they do get snow up there so just do your research and be prepared!
Check out the Australian Tourism website for information about the best times to visit Sydney in terms of weather!
Sharing is Caring!
The Blue Mountains day trip is one of the best you can do from Sydney. After living in the big city for 6 months it’s so nice to have these beautiful places so close by. Sydney is busy and tourist-heavy it can be so overwhelming sometimes! But with the likes of the Blue Mountains not too far away, it’s easy and so refreshing to get out of the city even for just a day.
I hope you enjoyed this post about taking a Blue Mountains day trip! If you did enjoy it then I would so grateful if you could share this post with your friends.
Heading to Australia? Well, you might like some of my other posts on Australia which you can find here! Its the most beautiful country I’ve visited so far and will always hold a very special place in my heart! Make sure you sign up to my monthly newsletter (sidebar) to keep updated on where I’m heading next, life updates and the occasional travel freebie!
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!
Brisbane is the gateway to some of the best authentic Australian day trips. The Australian east coast is lined with islands. Fraser Island, Moreton Island, the Whitsunday Islands and of course, North and South Stradbroke Island. All within such short distance away from the sunshine city it would’ve been considered silly to not visit these islands whilst living in Brisbane. One of my favourite trips in Australia was intact this North Stradbroke Island day trip otherwise known as north ‘Straddie’. Straddie, though popular with the locals is often missed amongst travellers to the east coast. I get it. It’s competing with the likes of the Whitsundays and Fraser Island but the beauty on this island is just as magnificent. It’s the perfect island for an easy and pretty cheap day trip. In this guide to a north Stradbroke Island day trip, I’m showing off the best that this island has on offer.
How to Get to North Stradbroke Island
Getting to North Stradbroke Island is super easy from Brisbane. There are both passenger ferries and transport ferries that run daily from Cleveland. Cleveland is a suburb just 50 minutes drive east of Brisbane towards the coast. It’s also easy to get to on public transport with a straight train running from the city to Cleveland. The train runs from Central Station in Brisbane all the way to Cleveland no changing required. Just make sure you’re on the blue line towards Cleveland. The ferry terminal is then literally a couple of minutes walk away, it’s really easy!
The ferry across to North Stradbroke Island takes just under an hour making it a perfect day trip destination! For a passenger ticket across the water, tickets start at just $10 for a vehicle if will be considerably more. We took a large 4WD across and it cost $150 return for the ferry. Considering we split between four it wasn’t bad at all. If you plan on taking a car across get a group together to lower the cost. You can use this website to book your ferry across to North Stradbroke Island.
Once on the ferry, the amenities are brilliant. Get out of the car and take a look at the vast ocean views from the upper deck. Depending on the time of year you may get to see some sea life too! During our trip to Straddie in June, we saw whales, dolphins and turtles in the waters so keep those eyes peeled! There’s also toilets and a cafe upstairs in the ferries as well and I must say, they do a rather delightful hot chocolate (yes, even in Brisbane they still drink hot chocolate)!
Getting Around North Stradbroke Island during a Day Trip
There are a couple of ways to get around the island once the ferry has docked. The easiest option and by far the most popular is to drive yourself. The island isn’t that big but it is large enough that you need some sort of transportation other than as your legs. There are also some cool sand tracks to get stuck into if you have a 4WD. But don’t despair if you don’t have a car. North Stradbroke Island also runs a bus service all around the island and its excellent value for money! Get a daily bus pass for as little as $10 to enjoy all the main sights on the island. The bus terminal is located just as you leave the ferry. Check out more details about the bus service on North Stradbroke Island here.
Four-Wheel Driving on North Stradbroke Island
Firstly, to be clear there is no NEED for a 4WD on NorthStraddie. The roads are tarmac and any old car can drive around the island. However, if you do have a 4WD and want to drive on the sand then you can. There are various sand bush tracks and beaches where 4WD driving is permitted. The majority of the bush tracks don’t require a permit just a 4WD.
That said if you want to drive on the beaches then a beach permit is required. The prices for these start at around $40 for driving on Main Beach and Flinders Beach which are the only beaches that allow four-wheel driving on. There are rules that driving isn’t permitted 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to high tide so check the tide times if you want to fit it into your North Stradbroke Island day trip! For more information on permits and driving on North Stradbroke Island take a look at this website.
The Best Time of Year to Visit North Stradbroke Island
Time of year to visit North Straddie will depend on personal preference but winter in Queensland is so fabulous! The temperatures in Queensland don’t particular soar in the summertime staying consistent at around 28-32 degrees but what does soar is the humidity. Queensland can see days as humid as 90%+ in the summertime. If you talk to most Queenslanders they’ll tell you that they stay indoors in summer and outdoors in winter! Autumn – winter time in Queensland is like most peoples summers, temperatures vary between 20-26 degrees with constant sunshine and very little rain/cloud! Another awesome reason to take a North Stradbroke Island day trip in the months of June-November is to do some sea-life spotting! This is the seasons when the humpback whales migrate up the Australian Coast and you will be able to see them from the island!
How to Spend Your Day Trip on North Stradbroke Island
For a fairly small Island, there is a lot to get stuck into on North Straddie. From fabulous walks, shimmering lakes, pristine beaches, sandboarding, fishing, four-wheel driving and eating ice cream there is something for everyone to enjoy. During our day trip to North Stradbroke Island, we crammed a lot in and this could easily be split over two days if you wanted to stay longer than just one day.
North Gorge Walk
Kick off the North Stradbroke Island day trip by heading straight to enjoy the Gorge Walk. At 1.5 km in distance, it’s a fairly easy walk combined with paved tracks, broad walks and some small inclines. From bushland to beaches this walk showcases some wonderful views of the oceans and Straddie coastline. The Gorge Walk is a paradise for any bird or marine lovers out there. We visited North Stradbroke Island in late June and couldn’t believe how much marine life we spotted.
As we followed the Gorge Walk we saw not only humpback whales but dolphins, turtles and array of seabirds in the distance. It was incredible to see whales dancing together as they make their migration and turtles swimming with the current. The water is so clear close to the coast so the turtles were so easy to spot as they were pretty close to the land! The only thing I wish I had taken along was a pair of binoculars!
Spend the morning immersed the beautiful views along the coastline, divine views across Main Beach, the North Stradbroke Island blowhole (look out for turtles in this area) and point lookout! The Gorge Walk is an easy walk for most abilities with just a few stairs and a couple of inclines. The area is shaded intermittently by trees but remains in the open for the majority of the walk. You could spend hours just wandering along the Gorge Walk but if you do want to squeeze everything into your day trip on North Stradbroke Island then I recommend spending around 1.5 – 2 hours exploring this area of the island.
Park at Point Lookout Before The Gorge Walk
There’s free parking all around the island but I recommend parking up by Point Lookout surf club to get to the start of the walk. From the parking bays at this spot, you can explore the Main beach before beginning the Gorge Walk. Main Beach is one of the beaches that permits 4WD driving on North Stradbroke Island. To drive on this beach you’ll need a permit starting at $40 so check that out before arriving. Main Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand to talk a walk across too, follow the steps that lead onto the shore and enjoy the beauty.
Ice Cream at Oceanic Gelati
There’s no better way to cool down after a walk then with ice cream, especially when it’s to die for! Head to Mooloomba Road after the Gorge Walk for ice cream and enjoy a few of the indy shops that line the street. The ice cream at Oceanic Gelati was gorgeous there was four of us and everyone definitely enjoyed my flavour of Raspberry the most – creamy but fruity it certainly hit the spot! There are also a few cafes along the road too if you need a pick me up.
Explore Cylinder Beach – The Best Beach on North Stradbroke Island
A short drive away from Point Lookout is Cylinder Beach hands down my favourite beach on the island! In fact, this beach could easily be one of my favourites in Australia. The waters are pristine and the beach was wonderfully empty when we visited in June. I imagine it’ll be a lot busier in the summertime but it was nothing other than tranquil during our visit. It’s the perfect way to round off the morning.
Take out those swimmers, stand up paddleboards, surfboards whatever you like and get into that water. It’s also a lovely spot for lunch. There’s a campsite on the beach which also has some public toilets and BBQ areas for public use. If you want to stay on North Stradbroke Island longer than just a day then this campsite would be a great overnight location. You can take a look at the facilities on this website.
Visit the small town of Amity Point
Amity Point is the most Northerly tip on North Stradbroke Island. There honestly isn’t much there but there is a wonderful jetty which is a popular fishing spot as well as the swimming area on the beach. The swimming area in Amity Point has a shark net around some of the water. Sharks are known to roam the waters in Queensland so you just never know when and where they could be lurking (not to scare anybody) so remember this spot for some extra safe swimming!
North Stradbroke Island Day Trip – Afternoon
After a jam-packed morning spend the afternoon exploring some of the National Parks and stunning lakes on the island. We visited both Blue Lake National Park and Brown Lake during our North Stradbroke Island day trip. But before we made it to the lakes we took the scenic route via one of the sand tracks! Driving on sand is a lot of fun in a 4WD but does require some experience beforehand.
Even though you don’t need a permit to drive some of the sand tracks I highly recommend taking some lessons before trying it out on Straddie. Though not as bad as the sand tracks on Fraser Island (those sand tracks are CRAZY) there is still a lot of hills with some steep drop-offs. The time on the sand took up the first hour of our afternoon so if you don’t want to go driving you could definitely fit something else into this day trip on North Stradbroke Island. At the end of the post, I’ll list some more options of things to do on this beautiful island.
Blue Lake National Park
Blue Lake National Park is the perfect destination on the island for walkers and avid hikers! As big outdoor enthusiasts we couldn’t wait to head on another walk for the afternoon and there’s so many to choose from at Blue Lake National Park all which end up at the Blue Lake/‘Karooba’ eventually. The easiest hike is 5.2 km to the lake one way so it’s a fair distance taking a couple of hours. The Blue Lake is sacred to Quandamooka people of North Stradbroke. Legend says that the Blue Lake is home to a huge carpet snake. It has big cultural significance to the Quandamooka people and therefore swimming isn’t allowed.
The walk to the lake from the car park is relatively easy bushland with some small inclines. It does take a couple of hours there and back so be prepared with your time. We probably should’ve gone earlier in the day but we somehow managed to get back to the car before sunset and head next door to Brown Lake.
Brown Lake is the hidden gem of North Stradbroke Island! Though we arrived late in the day I’m so glad we did! We were running a little short on time after our walk in the Blue Lake National Park and got to the Brown Lake just before the sunset. What a magical time of day sunset is at there. Though the sun does not directly set above the lake the red hue that filled the sky was nothing but dreamy. Again we were the only ones at the Brown Lake and the water was so still and the reflections, magical. I highly recommend giving Brown Lake a visit during the golden hours!
But this lake is also a favourite for swimming and water sports in the summer! A great place to get steady on a stand-up paddleboard or enjoy a tranquil swim in calming waters. The lake is surrounded by bushland and trees which are actually tea-trees. We were pretty intrigued to see whether or not the lake smelt like tea-tree and it certainly did! It wasn’t overpowering but the smell was definitely there. I’d say the Brown Lake and Gorge Walk were my two favourite things we did during our North Stradbroke Island day trip!
Watch the Sunset at the Ferry Terminal
From Brown Lake, the ferry terminal is only a short distance away and the sunset over the ocean is incredible. Watch the sky as it lights up in reds and oranges mimicking fire sparkling over the horizon. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day. I honestly felt like I’d seen the majority of beauty on the east coast of Australia but as we left Stradbroke Island it had become one of my favourite places in the country.
Of course, this guide to a North Stradbroke Island day trip is just how we spent our day and although it was a great one, there is so much more to do on North Stradbroke Island! So here are a few other things you can enjoy.
Other Things to do on North Stradbroke Island during a Day trip:
Take a dip in the freshwater at Myora Springs in Dunwich
Find your wild sand and sandboard on Straddie!
4WD on Main Beach and Flinders Beach
Explore Flinders Beach
Cycle the island
Beach Yoga is held during the summer months!
How ever you choose to spend your day trip on North Stradbroke Island I can guarantee it will be one to remember! I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it’s given you some inspiration to visit this part of Australia. If you love to explore islands then Fraser Island is a must-visit on the East coast of Australia and I’ve explained exactly what makes it so amazing and unique in this post! If you did enjoy this post then I would be so thankful if you could share it with your friends!