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The Backpackers Guide to the Best Walks in Sydney!

The Backpackers Guide to the Best Walks in Sydney!

 

Australia, the home of the great outdoors. Exploring places by walking and taking epic hikes has always been close to my heart. Growing up in the Yorkshire countryside, surrounded by hills for miles, Sunday walks were a family favourite. Since walking has always been something I loved to do, it’s no surprise that over the years I’ve discovered that the best way to explore is with your own two feet. Some of the Best Walks in Sydney I discovered by accident, just from walking around!

The scenery that captivates you during walks in Australia may be somewhat different to the UK but it’s just as special. Taking walks along beaches with nothing to see but the dancing ocean is magical. Combined with perfect weather most of the year Sydney is a fantastic place for walking along the coast. In this guide to the best walks in Sydney, I’m sharing some of the walks and hikes that you can’t miss when visiting Australia’s most vibrant city. I’ve also included some great walks beyond the city at the end of the post!

The Best Walks in Sydney: The City

The city centre in Sydney is where most travellers make their first stop. A trip to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens. Though Sydney is a big city and it can take a little navigating to find your way around the best way to do so is to walk! There are numerous walks you can enjoy around the city to capture all of the sights and inner city beauty.

Harbour Bridge to Mrs Macqauries Chair

To capture all of the tourist sights in Sydney why not talk a walk from the Harbour Bridge, past The Sydney Opera House and finish in the Botanical Gardens. This walk is really nice to enjoy in the hour before sunset so that you can finish at Mrs Macqauries Chair ready to watch the spectacular sun disappearing for the day.

Start: Overseas Passenger Terminal

Finish: Mrs Macqauries Chair

Distance: 1.7 miles or 2.7 km

Difficulty: Easy

Start this city walk at the Overseas Passenger Terminal (where the cruise ships dock) at Circular Quay. This gives some gorgeous views of the Harbour Bridge where you’ll get some fantastic photographs. If you’re lucky enough for a cruise ship not to be docked then the views of the Opera House are also perfect. To get a little closer to the Harbour Bridge follow the walkway to the left and just follow it around adding about 20 minutes onto the total walk. From the overseas passenger terminal follow the crowds around the harbour passing the ferry terminals as you go. Circular Quay is lined with shops, restaurants and cafes for travellers to enjoy on the way if they wish.

As you follow the pavement around take in the beauty of circular quay. Filled with travellers mesmerised with the views, locals enjoying their lunch break or rushing to the ferry docks eager to get home and out of the city (a great place for people watching!). It’ll only take a mere 10 minutes depending on your walking pace to reach the world-famous Opera House.

From the Opera House, you’ll clearly see the Botanical Gardens to your right. Follow the walkway around the edge of the water and keep going until you reach Mrs Macqauries Chair – which is signposted throughout the gardens.

Get that Postcard Shot!

The postcard shot of Sydney found at Mrs Macquaries Chair after one of the best walks in Sydney

The ‘Postcard’ Shot from Mrs Macquaries Chair

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is where you’ll find the famous ‘postcard shot’ of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge! This short walk is wheelchair accessible and good for any level of fitness, with no hills just flat ground that’s paved the whole way. In total it will take around an hour once you’ve accounted for how many times you’ll be stopping to enjoy along the way. I think this is one of the best walks in Sydney to capture all of the main city sights.

Best Walks in Sydney: Milsons Point to Lavender Bay

Milsons Point to Lavender bay is another, like Bondi-Coogee, famous walk in Sydney but it’s definitely worth exploring to enjoy scenic city views!

Transport to Milsons Point

Milsons Point is located in North Sydney and easily accessible by public transport or by taking a walk over the Harbour Bridge. If you’re travelling from Circular Quay then the train will be the quickest way of getting across the water. There is a ferry that goes from Circular Quay to Milsons Point but it’s expensive. The journey lasts only 5 minutes and will cost a whopping $6! The train will only cost a couple of bucks if that so the train is 100% more budget friendly. To enjoy amazing views from the ferry then save it for visiting Manly which is the same price for a journey that’s 40 minutes rather than 5.

Milsons Point to Lavender Bay: The Circuit

Starts: Milsons Point

Finishes: Lavender Bay

Distance: 1 km or 0.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

The walk from Milsons Point to Lavender Bay doesn’t take long at all. In fact, if you don’t stop on the way you could easily do it in 10 or 15 minutes!

The view of the Sydney Opera House from Milsons Point- A couple looking out to the city

The epic views from Milsons Point!

The trail is paved the whole way so accessible for everyone. Start at Bradfield Park and walk under the Harbour Bridge enjoying views of the Opera House from a different angle! The view of the Opera House from the back is actually my favourite angle! I love how the glass panes reflect on the water and the architecture is so phenomenal. Continue under the bridge and past Sydney’s Olympic pool wandering onto the Luna Park. Fun for everyone the Luna Park is great to explore. Entry is free just for a nosey around or enjoy the fairground rides if you fancy! As you follow the path around the Luna Park you’ll find yourself in Lavender Bay. A small bay where boats are bobbing on the water and the views of the city remain sublime.

The view from the end of the walk from Milsons Point to Lavender Bay

Lavender Bay

The Best Walks in Sydney: Coastal Walks!

Sydney is renowned for its picture-perfect coastal walks. If you’re planning a short trip to Sydney then I recommend doing at least one coastal walk but I have no idea how you’ll choose one! Bondi-Coogee is glorious but it can be pretty touristy especially in the summer. I love that walk but I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite. I think that title goes to the Hermitage Foreshore Walk over in Rose Bay, imagine weaving in and out of secluded beaches with views of the harbour in the distance. One thing is for certain if you tackle any of these coastal walks that I’ll be mentioning – pack your swimmers!

Coast Walks in Sydney: Hermitage Foreshore Walk – Rose Bay

Starts: Bayview Hill Road

Finish: Neilsen Park

Distance: 1.6 km or 1 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Starting at just outside of Rose Bay on Bayview Hill Road the Hermitage Foreshore Walk is a tranquil trail that weaves along the edges of the Sydney Harbour National Park. You’ll find an array of beauty on this walk from tiny beaches, still waters perfect for swimming and panoramic views of Sydney. Pack a picnic and your swimmers because the beaches you’ll pass will be screaming your name. The beaches are carved like bays so the ocean is still which is my favourite kind of ocean! Crashing waves are fun but I love when you can just relax and bob up and down on the water.

My favourite beach on this walk is Milk Beach but there’s so many to choose from. The beaches before you reach Milk Beach will be the quietest. Shark beach which is just before Neilsen Park will be a little busier with tourists and locals alike but still a far cry from anything like Bondi, Bronte or Coogee Beach.

Transport to Rose Bay

Getting to the start of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk is quite straight forward if you’re coming from the city. Simply catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Rosey Bay and follow Google Maps for Bayview Hill Road. The walk to the start of this walk from the ferry terminal is about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can catch the 325 bus from Town Hall all the way to Bayview Hill itself.

Coastal Walks in Sydney: Bondi to Coogee

Starts: Bondi Beach

Ends: Coogee Beach

Distance: 6 km or 3 miles

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Tip: Route includes some steep steps and hills. Not accessible for wheels or prams.

The Bondi-Coogee walk in Sydney is a popular activity for both travellers and locals. It’s one of the favourites for runners with its gorgeous views and many beaches to stop at along the way. If you only have a short time in Sydney then most people do this walk because it’s central and you’re probably going to Bondi Beach anyway. This walk can be split up into sections, Bondi-Tamarama, Tamarama-Bronte, Bronte-Clovelly and Clovelly-Coogee racking up 6 km or 3.7 miles. The walk can take anything from one hour to three depending on your ability but I urge you to spend as much time on this walk as possible.

Views of Bondi Beach from Bronte Beach

Can you spot Bondi Beach in the corner?

The walk winds around the coastline stopping at five of Sydney’s best beaches along the way. You’ll find a separate ocean pool at each beach too so if you have little ones who would love a swim then they can so safely. The awesome thing about the Bondi to Coogee walk is that it can be split up. You don’t have to do it all if you wish. Simply conquer the part of the walk you want to see, but it is beautiful the whole way around. 

Best Coastal Walks in Sydney: Watsons Bay

Starts: Camp Cove Watsons Bay

Ends: Hornby Lighthouse

Distance: 1.6 km or 1 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Tip: Route includes some stairs

This short walk may only take around 20 minutes but its definitely worth exploring if you’re in Watsons Bay. Watsons Bay is one of the cutest coastal towns in Sydney. It oozes character, relaxation and beauty. The beaches are small and locals friendly. As you hop off the ferry at Watsons Bay you can explore the esplanade filled with restaurants and bars. The walk to Camp Cover is only short taking about 10 minutes.

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Arriving at Camp Cove, a pristine beach complete with a smoothie shack, makes you feel like you’ve transported to a tropical island. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we stumbled upon it late on during our time in Sydney. From Camp Cove, you can follow the broad walk all the way to Hornby Lighthouse. Be warned that there is a nudist beach on the way around – it’s hidden away very discreetly so it gave us a little surprise when we saw people down on the beach! What baffled me was the viewing platform that looks directly onto Lady Bay Beach – weird!

Transport to Watsons Bay

The Ferry from Circular Quay is the easiest way to reach Watsons Bay from the city. Keep on an eye on the ferry times at this website because they are less frequent to Watsons Bay than to other areas of the city.

My Final Coastal Walk in Sydney: Fairfax Track North Head

Starts: North Head

Ends: Fair Fax Lookout

Distance: 1 km or 1 hour (see alternative walk in the description)

Difficulty: Easy

Another short walk in Sydney offering some incredible views of the city. The Fair Fax track itself is perfect for families or people who don’t enjoy walking. Pull up in the car park and walk the easy 1 km to Fair Fax lookout offering ocean views with the city skyline in the distance. Unfortunately, we did get rubbish weather and the city was all hazy but on a clear day, this view will be stunning.

There is also another option for this walk. Park or get off the bus at the bus stop and walk all through the bushland. You can also walk the Australian Memorial Walk dedicated to those who fought in the wars. We added this onto our walk during our time at North Head and It was worth it taking the walking time to 1 hour. 

View of Sydney from Fair Fax Lookout North Head

You can see the haze over the city on this day but I bet it’s wonderful on a clear day!

Transport to North Head

North head is located in Manly north of the city. You can get the 135 bus from stand B at the bus stops directly outside from the Ferry Terminal. To get to Manly from Sydney catch the Ferry from circular quay. The slow passenger ferry is the cheapest and takes 40 minutes but there is also a fast ferry option. Fast Ferry takes 20 minutes and costs around $11 opposed to $6 so it depends on your time and budget.

Walks Beyond the City: Walks Around Sydney

If walking is your thing then as you can tell there are plenty in Sydney to choose from. These few are my favourites but there are hundreds of walks around Sydney. The great thing about Sydney is its prime location on the coast. Just a few hours west of Sydney you’ve got the Blue Mountains and a couple of hours north is Palm Beach. Both the Blue Mountains and Palm Beach are well worth visiting during a trip to Sydney or New South Wales if your itinerary allows it. To finish this post I’m sharing two more walks, one from the Blue Mountains and one from Palm Beach.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk Palm Beach

Starts: Pittwater Beach

Ends: Barrenjoey Lighthouse

Distance: Access Track 800 metres or Smugglers Track 400 metres

Difficulty: Medium

Tip: Steep slopes or lots of steps! The Access Track is steep slopes up to the top or Smugglers Track consists of steep steps direct to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

Palm Beach aka Summer Bay! If you’re a soap fan then you might know what I’m talking about! If not then you’ve probably got better things to do with your time than the rest of us! Home and Away is an Aussie soap set in Palm Beach. After seeing the famous peninsula so many times on the TV it’s quite awesome to be there in person! During a visit to Palm Beach, a hike up to Barrenjoey lighthouse is a must so that you get that epic view. The walk up to the lighthouse is short but steep. The walk gives you two options as outlined above, the Access Track is easier than the stairs it’s still steep. We walked up to the Access Track and back down Smugglers Track.

The view of the peninsula at Palm Beach at the top of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse

The gorgeous peninsula at Palm Beach!

Walks in the Blue Mountains

The Wentworth Pass adjoining to Overcliff Undercliff Track

Starts: Wentworth Falls

Ends: Wentworth Falls carpark/picnic area

Distance: 5km

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

The Blue Mountains is inundated with glorious walks for all abilities. We spent two days in the Blue Mountains and I’ll admit I wish we’d had more time! We did tackle a few walks over our two-day visit but the Wentworth Pass was one I enjoyed the most. This track is hard with a large distance to cover with some steep hills. The views are incredible and totally worth any sweat along the way! I’d share some of the epic views with you but my old laptop died last year and of course, I hadn’t backed up properly (you live and learn) so we pretty much lost ALL of our Blue Mountains photographs! But take my word for it you want to do this hike! The National Pass hike, also located at Wentworth Falls, also looks stunning but the track was closed during our visit.

More information on walks at Wentworth Falls 

Whether you’re staying in the city or venturing up into the mountains, there are plenty of walks to keep you busy. These are definitely not all of the walks you take on in Sydney but just some of the best ones!

For more information on some epic Sydney walks you can take a look at the NSW website for walks here.

Which is your favourite Sydney walk? Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t forget sharing is caring!

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If you enjoyed this post or know someone who might please share it! If you’re heading to Sydney then why not take a look at my 3 Day Guide to Sydney – the only travel guide you need for a weekend in the city!

Wishing You Happy and Healthy Adventures!

Alicia

New Horizon Whitsundays: The Ultimate Sailing Experience

New Horizon Whitsundays: The Ultimate Sailing Experience

Sailing the Whitsundays in Australia is an experience I shall never ever forget. Engraved in my mind, memories that will last forever and friends made that will last a lifetime. The Whitsundays is probably the most famous, popular and incredible experience to have in Australia. Though heavily populated with tourists and locals alike, this is one adventure that you have to embark upon. Sailing through crystal clear aqua waters, swimming with turtles and manta rays, star gazing and sunbathing on the worlds second best beach. A Whitsundays sailing tour is like nothing else in this world. With such high demand and so many sailing tours available here’s my review on the New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing Tour ran by adventure tour company True Blue Sailing.

First up this is not a sponsored post or a gifted tour we just had a great time and I felt this trip deserved a place on my blog!

Why Sail the Whitsundays?

Before getting into the review of the New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing Experience. Why exactly should sailing the Whitsundays be on everyone’s Australian bucket list? I travelled around Australia for a year from June 2018 and I had some unreal experiences whilst covering an enormous amount of ground. From Cairns to Sydney, Canberra to Melbourne I’ve experienced a lot that Australia has to offer. The Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, The Great Ocean Road, I’ve seen it all but nothing has come close to Sailing the Whitsundays. Of all the experiences Dave and I have thrown ourselves into here on the land down under, The Whitsundays will always remain the highlight (even for someone who gets seasick)!

Sailing around The 74 Islands around the Whitsunday’s boasts a magical experience. Whitehaven beach is undoubtedly the highlight. Voted the second-best beach in the world. Walk on the purest white sand in the world and swim amongst manta rays and yellow sharks. There is no other beach in the world like it and yes, it looks just like the photographs! As well as Whitehaven visiting some of the reefs that get less traffic than The Great Barrier Reef was a surreal adventure. The reef glistens in the Whitsundays filled with colourful sea life and lucky for us, one big sea turtle! The Whitsundays offers experiences like nowhere else in Australia.

The View of Whitehaven Beach from Hill Inlet
The View of Whitehaven Beach from Hill Inlet…

New Horizon Whitsundays Review

The Cost of Sailing the Whitsundays

Let’s get it out of the way! The only problem that some travellers run into when looking at sailing the Whitsundays is the cost. Basically, it isn’t cheap. The New Horizon Whitsundays 2 night and 3-day adventure that cost just under $500 per person or 250 GBP. That said, it was a million per cent worth it! The cost comes with everything included!

Accommodation on the boat, 3 meals a day and snacks whilst onboard and all swimming/diving/snorkelling equipment. The only thing that it doesn’t include is alcohol which isn’t sold on board but you can bring your own. When planning a trip to Australia I urge to make sure you’ve got a little extra saved to enjoy all that the Whitsundays has to offer! Of course, you can take day trips to Whitehaven beach which are a little cheaper but honestly, an overnight adventure is the best way to explore the Whitsundays!

About True Blue Sailing

The New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing boat is hosted by True Blue Sailing. True Blue Sailing is an adventure tour company running only in the Whitsundays. So basically, they know everything and anything there is to know about The Whitsundays and Whitehaven beach. True Blue Sailing have two boats out on the water, The Atlantic Clipper and New Horizon. Both boats are seen as the most desirable on The Whitsundays especially by backpackers. Whilst both adventures offer a similar itinerary they definitely unique and different. In Airlie Beach (the gateway to the Whitsundays) the Atlantic Clipper is known as the ‘party boat’. Occupying up to 60 guests, a 12 person hot tub and party games that go well into the night, rumour has it if you’re looking for a party the Atlantic Clipper is the place to be!

We found ourselves in the middle. We definitely weren’t looking for a party but we still wanted to have fun and a good time with fellow adventure seekers! After researching for a long time in the end the New Horizon boat seemed like a great option, which it was! The Boat managed to exceed all of our expectations. As a company, I couldn’t recommend True Blue Sailing enough. Our crew on board did everything to make sure we had an epic time, cooked glorious food and kept us all in check! We felt safe and in very good hands during our time on the boat. The skipper and crew were extremely knowledgeable about the Whitsundays answering any questions we had as a group about the area. If we were to visit the Whitsundays again, I would definitely go on the New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing Tour again!

Learn More about True Blue Sailing 

New Horizon Whitsundays – The Boat!

Facilities

The most exciting part about the New Horizon Whitsundays tour (other than Whitehaven Beach) is the boat! Never did I imagine myself sailing the ocean on an old-style wooden sailboat! The boat fits 32 people comfortably on board with plenty of room inside and out! Inside the boat is a kitchen, dining area and bedrooms downstairs. The bedrooms are laid out like dorm style complete with bunk beds – even double bunk beds for the couples on board which was great. The facilities were clean with two toilets and showers, obviously, time in the shower is limited to a couple of minutes so everyone gets some hot water. Plus you’ll be in the ocean all day so who needs a shower anyhow? Call me gross but I don’t care!

The New Horizon Whitsundays Boat!
The New Horizon Sailing Boat (I didn’t take any full pictures, having too much fun!)

Zipper Bags!

The only downside to being on a wooden boat is that bags with ZIPS are not allowed. Weird I know but apparently, bed bugs hide in the zippers on wooden so no bags with zips will be allowed! Unfortunately, we didn’t know this information until we arrived at Airlie Beach so we ended up coming abroad with a couple of bags from Woolworths! But guess what, we were not the only ones! People came with duvet covers for bags, bin bags, cardboard boxes and all sorts of other weird and wonderful things! But this may be something to be mindful of before you book or get to Airlie Beach buy a couple of bags without zippers.

Hands down the BEST THING, well things about the New Horizon Boat is the slide and diving board! The huge inflatable slide goes off the top of the boat into the ocean and boy is it fun! We spent our final morning throwing ourselves down the slide, honestly the best fun I have had in years! The diving board with pretty fun too I certainly did more jumping in rather than diving elegantly. BUT, was the first to jump off so I think I get a point for bravery?

New Horizon Whitsundays Tour – Meals

All meals come with the price of the tour. The meals given out to guests onboard included three meals a day, morning and afternoon snacks. It’s bring your own alcohol on board the ship and you can purchase cans of pop on board which you pay for after the tour has finished.

Now, I’m a big eater. I’m hungry most of the time and I’m that kind of person who is thinking what’s for lunch no sooner than the second I’ve finished breakfast. So when I say we were fed well, we were fed well! I’ll admit when I book these kinds of trips I’m the person worrying if we’ll be fed enough and I’ve always got extra snacks hidden away in my bag – you can never be too careful!

That said, I am thrilled to say that I really didn’t need any of those hidden snacks! There was plenty of food and it cooked beautifully! Breakfast consisted of cereals, toast, yoghurt and a variety of fruits. Lunches involved sandwiches, wraps, crisps, dips, cold meats and pasta salads. Dinners in the evening were also great, fish and mash one night and Spaghetti Bolognese the second! Snacks during the day varied from fruit to hot dogs and of course, you are welcome to bring extra food if you feel like you might need it! I like to pretend the extra snacks we bring is because Dave’s a type 1 diabetic but it’s really for me!

The team at True Blue Sailing do cater for dietary requirements just let them know in advance.

Click here for a sample menu!

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New Horizon Whitsundays Adventure – Itinerary

Day One – Sailing

Sailing the Whitsundays from Day One was a surreal experience that I will never forget. As the ship leaves the harbour at approximately 2:15-30 join the crew for a short but very important safety talk before heading out into the ocean. During our first day at sea, we were very lucky. We managed to bag ourselves an extra snorkelling experience to what was in the Itinerary. I’m not sure if that’s because we were an easy group who signed onto the boat quickly with no messing around but it was awesome! After about an hour of sailing, we were in the water snorkelling amongst some amazing sea-life including a turtle – a life well and truly MADE! I know this doesn’t happen for every tour so turn up with your biggest smile and do everything the crew say and you might just get this treat too!

After some awesome snorkelling or sailing at sea, we dropped anchor for the night and witnessed the day fade into the night. The sunset from the New Horizon boat onto the ocean was the most incredible sunset I have ever seen. Without a single cloud in the sky, we looked on as the sky turned from a peaceful blue to a gorgeous flaming orange before settling down for the night. A few drinks began flowing and friends started to be made. The New Horizon boat is limited to play music but if you ask nicely the crew are happy to turn off the music and lights down early for some incredible stargazing. The ocean has zero light pollution and the view of the stars was just awe-inspiring. 

Photograph of the sunset from the boat in the Whitsundays
Moments like this exist to prove that dreams are real
Photograph of the sunset from the boat in the Whitsundays
Sunsets over the ocean…
Photograph of the sunset from the boat in the Whitsundays
Last One I Promise

Day Two – Whitehaven Beach

To Date one of the single best days of my life. What’s a trip to the Whitsunday’s without visiting the famous Whitehaven beach? Nothing, a trip to the Whitsundays would be nothing without visiting Whitehaven. So if you don’t have the time or the budget for an overnight sailing trip on the Whitsundays just make sure the day trip you take goes to Whitehaven beach!

Whitehaven Beach

Hill Inlet

Whitehaven beach has been voted the second-best beach in the world according to Flight Network in 2018. In my opinion, it should be the first but I’ve never been too Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos, Greece which has voted the first! It’s certainly one of, if not, the best beach in Australia! Whitehaven Beach is a heavenly oasis that has its visitors speechless as they look on down at captivating swirls and aqua blue waters. Hike up to Hill Inlet first for a view that will take your breath away. After you’ve captured those amazing photographs that you’ll be able to look back for years to come, the crew take you down onto the beach itself for more fun!

Did you know that no photograph of Whitehaven Beach will ever be the same? Because of the current and the density of the sand, the swirls that you see are constantly changing! Click To Tweet

There are so many reasons that Whitehaven Beach is so famous. Alongside its natural tranquillity and beauty, it’s also famous for its sand. The sand found on Whitehaven Beach is the purest sand in the world made up of 99% Silica! If you’re not sure what means then glass has 100% silica!

Ariel View of Whitehaven Beach
The View from Hill Inlet, Pretty Spectacular…

If you have any jewellery that needs shining up then take it down to the beach with you! Although, the crew did tell us a few stories where couples have ended up in a few fights because of ‘rusting’ jewellery in the sand, aka not real silver/gold! All jokes aside, the sand on Whitehaven Beach is mind-blowing. Because of how dense it is it retains zero heat making it cool all year round, it felt so so amazing to walk along a beach, with zero shelters, and feel cool sand between our toes! Even though the beach gets millions of visitors each year it still appears untouched. You’ll find no litter, broken trees or debris on this beach!

Whitehaven Beach Natives

As if the swirls of Whitehaven beach weren’t enough you’ll even get to swim with locals. You’ll find manta rays and yellow sharks in the water at Whitehaven Beach. But no need to worry because the rays don’t have their barbs so they can’t sting you! I can’t express how amazing it was to swim alongside these creatures!

Manta rays in the ocean at Whitehaven Beach
This little guy swam at our feet for ages!

Snorkelling/Diving

The time we spent at Whitehaven Beach made the whole trip on New Horizon 100% worth it, the rest of fun was just an amazing bonus. After making our way back to the vessel we even had enough time for another snorkel/diving session. I urge you to get in the water on the Whitsundays if you can because the reef is glorious. As I mentioned above the reefs around the 74 islands that make the Whitsundays doesn’t get as much traffic as The Great Barrier Reef up in Cairns. Therefore the reef is a lot more alive and just glistens under the surface, truly magical.

If you’re planning on travelling the East Coast of Australia then make sure you check out all of these destinations!

Day Three – Water Sports

After an early wake-up call, yes I forgot to mention the crew will wake you up daily at 06:30 am! It’s time for some thrilling water-sports! The inflatable slide is blown up, the diving board out and plenty of paddleboards for everyone to enjoy. As well we these awesome activities there is an opportunity to go on a JetBoat riding or on Banana boat (at an extra cost) of course we went banana boating which was immense fun! Dave had never been on a banana boat before so it was a whole new experience for him! I must admit, from someone whose been on a few banana boats this ride was particularly rough! We spent a lot more time in the water than on the boat! It definitely knocked the goon hangover out of me that’s certain.

After a few hours enjoying the freedom of the sailboat life and fun on the ocean surface, it was sadly time to depart and head back to Airlie Beach. What was awesome about our particular group was how well everyone got along. There were a few groups that mingled really well and we were all up for the After-Party that the crew put on at Airlie Beach afterwards with plenty of discounted drinks and food! It’s safe to say that these few days will hold a special place in my heart forever. I’m yet to be as amazed as I was sailing the Whitsunday Island’s and I hope that this won’t be my only visit.

New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing Tour – Age Range

I’m not 100% sure if there’s an age range on the tours run by True Blue Sailing but I will say that the New Horizon and Atlantic Clipper boats are known as ‘party boats’ on the Whitsundays. Especially the clipper, even I wouldn’t go on that boat and I enjoy a good party! The clipper hosts drinking and party games well into the night and I dread to think what may go on in that 12 person spa! When I was 18 it would’ve been right up my street but at 24 New Horizon was definitely better suited to us!

As a couple onboard, it was nice to be surrounded by about 5 other couples as well as people who enjoyed to socialise and have a drink whilst listening to some music. We honestly had a great laugh but I wouldn’t describe New Horizon as a party boat. There’s no scheduled game for anything like that and people are free to go to bed as early or late as they like. I’d say the average ages onboard New Horizon during our trip were 18-35.

Tips Before You Go on the New Horizon Whitsundays Sailboat

No Zipper bags allowed on board

Bring your own alcohol – don’t forget!

Goon needs to be out of the box to make more spec in the onboard cooler

Clearly label your alcohol or someone will steal it

Expect to have to wear a stinger suit (wet suit) at all times in the water or you simply aren’t allowed in.

There are no limitations to drinking alcohol on the boat but once you have your first drink you’re not allowed in the sea again! Safety first guys. 

Don’t forget the seasickness tablets – the back of the boat is where it moves the less (don’t ask how I know that 😉

& of course, don’t forget to take your smile along with you! The crew from True Blue Sailing make it their priority to make sure you have a good time. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience on board the New Horizon Sailing Boat and I would definitely hop onboard again!

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For more information or to book this adventure head over to the True Blue Sailing Website – you won’t regret it!

As always,

Happy and Healthy Travels

Alicia

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Unique Things to Do in Phillip Island: 2 Day Itinerary

Unique Things to Do in Phillip Island: 2 Day Itinerary

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

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.

Budget: Prices start at $40 a night or 20 GBP

Heading on an Australian Road Trip? Check out my ultimate list of East Coast campsites here!

Wallaby on Phillip Island at our Campsite

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!

 

Booking.com

Weekend Itinerary and Things to Do in Phillip Island

Day One

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

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!

Budget: FREE

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

The Fish and Chip Shop mentioned in the article at San Remo

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.

Find out more about these walks and more at this website.

Budget: FREE unless you buy food/drink in Rhyll.

Day Two: Morning

The Nobbies and Extraordinary Blow-Hole

The view of The Nobbies and Seal Rock from the mainland on Phillip Island

“The Nobbies” and Seal Rock in the distance!

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!

The Blow-Hole on Phillip Island

Isn’t this planet incredible?

The blowhole on Phillip Island

Another action shot!

Budget: FREE

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!

Afternoon

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.

The Penguin Parade Phillip Island

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!

How Can we Help Protect Little Penguins on Phillip Island in Australia? Drive Less, Use Less Oil and Save More Little Penguins! Click To Tweet

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.

As travellers, it is our duty to protect the planet. Check out my simple ways to achieve sustainable budget travel here. These tips are so so simple but they might just go a long way!

Visiting The Penguin Parade

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!

Happy and Healthy Travels,

Alicia

The Best Way to Spend a Day in St Kilda, Melbourne

The Best Way to Spend a Day in St Kilda, Melbourne

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. 

Brighton Beach Boxes a couple sitting on the decking outside the famous bathing boxes

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 long of Bathing Boxes that line Brighton Beach

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!

Ferris Wheel on the beach front showcasing all St Kilda has to offer.

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.

the sunset in St Kilda

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.

If you did enjoy this post then don’t forget to share it so your friends can have a look and enjoy it too! You may also like my guide on 24 Hours in Melbourne. The Great Ocean Road Highlights and my Full 2 Day Itinerary to the Great Ocean Road!

Happy and Healthy Travels as always,

Alicia

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One Day in Melbourne: The Best of the City in Just 24 Hours!

One Day in Melbourne: The Best of the City in Just 24 Hours!

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.

Eggs Benedict at Brunswick cafe Miss Marmalade
Eggs Benny at Miss Marmalade Cafe, Brunswick

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!

Photograph of Flinders Street Station during our one day in Melbourne
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?

Centre Place laneway in Melbourne
Centre Place

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.

Melbourne Street Art on Hosier Street
Just some of the amazing Street Art in Melbourne!

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!

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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.

Check out this list of Best Lunches in Melbourne by Time Out – I wish we had more than the one day in Melbourne so I could explore them all!

Afternoon in Melbourne

Visit The Royal Botanical Gardens

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.

Couple in Swan Bridge with an awesome back drop of Melbourne city.
What a backdrop!

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.

For more information on the Shrine of Remembrance visit their website here.

Walk along South Bank

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 
  • Cafe Hop 
  • 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.

My Guide to Spending One Day in St Kilda

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.

Check out the different zones for the free tram here

Myki Travel Card

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.

For my other campsite recommendations in Australia take a look at this post!

Hostels in Melbourne

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:

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!

Happy and Healthy Travels,

Alicia

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Great Ocean Road Self-Drive – A 2 Day Itinerary

Great Ocean Road Self-Drive – A 2 Day Itinerary

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. 

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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.

View of our campervan from below

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

Ariel view of Port Campbell

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

The Grotto

The Grotto

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?

The Arch

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 from the main lookout point

The Arch on the Great Ocean Road

Port Campbell

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.

Photograph of the meal at Forage on the Foreshore

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

Couple stood beside the 12 Apostles Sign

Guess Where?

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. 

Gibson Steps

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!

Koala at Kennett River

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

Lorne

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

Erskine Falls

Erskine Falls - photograph of the waterfall

Erskine Falls

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.

Photograph of the Great Ocean Road Memorial Sign

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.

Torquay

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!

Thanks for reading,

Happy and Healthy Travels,

Alicia