It’s been a while I have written on IMBB and in the mean time I had a trip of lifetime. So, I thought why not share it with you all. This is going to be a picture heavy post….you already guessed that, did’nt you? While taking you all around the east coast of Australia, I would add on few bits of information, which would help you plan a trip as well.
We booked our trip with a reputed agent as we had a toddler with us, but Australia is a place where you can totally plan and explore on your own; rather, I would say you should. Group tours are hectic and it kind of takes away the relaxed “holiday” feel.
Gold Coast, Queensland
Anyway, we started from Gold Coast, which is known for its theme parks mainly. Though there are definitely more things to do and explore, but you want the rush of adrenaline you have to visit at least one of the theme parks. We had gone to WB Movie World and Dreamworld, but I would suggest doing one is good enough. Rather than doing similar things you can try and explore the pristine beach.
You can go around taking public vehicle, which includes a gorgeous tram ride. It’s expensive, but worth it. There is something called Aquaduck which runs both on road and water, so if you have some time you can dedicate an evening to it. Pretty relaxing and fun I must say. We stayed at Outriggers, which is a decent hotel, but nothing fancy. The good thing is the location and the super helpful staff.
There is an option of helicopter ride, which is must-do. The gorgeous view of the gold coast will definitely take your breath away. No wonder it is pretty expensive for a 10-15 minute ride, but that is once in a lifetime experience. Chances are rare that you spot a kangaroo or koala on the go. So, definitely check them out at the Dreamworld, where you can get to touch and feed them. Contrary to the popular belief they are very peaceful creatures.
Get a 360 degree view of the city from the Skypoint, which is the tallest building out there. There is a quaint café there. So, you know how it would feel to have the evening coffee with a view. I would suggest go there around 3-4pm, so that you get to look around in daylight, but again not too harsh sunlight.
- Temperature is pretty comfortable ranging between 20-25 degrees in this time of the year.
- Carry a cotton scarf or stole, it gets very windy at times.
- Make sure to wear shorts/capris and fitted tops to the theme parks. The rides tend to turn you upside down.
- Do carry umbrella, it rains anytime.
- You can shop for souvenirs like t-shirt, keyrings, fridge magnets etc….
We took internal flights throughout the trip, which saved time no doubt; but was very tiring. Trolleys at the domestic airports were on payment and they come 4$ each. Also worth mention is, the limit for one person is one baggage weighing not more than 20kgs. So you have to keep that in mind as the international and domestic baggage allowances are different.
Cairns is definitely hot and humid and so selection of clothes is important. The lighter, the better. We took a cable car ride through the rainforest, which is a lovely treat to the eyes. With some stopovers in-between you will get to see the awesome view. Have a bottle of water/juice and some snacks/munchies along, as there is no shop for those.
There is a night market in Cairns, which is pretty good, but nothing that cannot be missed. You can enjoy some authentic Thai/Chinese food and some opal shopping there.
We did the hot air ballooning, which is again something that is a must-do. From inflating, to ride, to deflating, you will get the experience of a lifetime. You can select the timing if you are planning the trip on your own. Advisable would be dawn or dusk, mainly for the view and also to avoid the scorching heat.
Cairns is the place which has the ultimate attraction of the Great Barrier Reef and be prepared for an all day trip. Lunch is served on the go and you can definitely opt for the activities in and around the reef. From snorkeling to underwater walking, glass boat ride to submersible, they have it all. Some are on additional payment and it is advised to book them as soon as you board the boat to the destination, as they fill-up fast. You can also book a helicopter ride there as well to get a view of the reef in its full beauty.
We stayed at the Rydges Esplanade hotel, which has resort kind of feel to it. Again a budget hotel with nothing fancy, but good in terms of location and service. Request for a sea-view room while checking-in.
- If you are planning to buy opals wait for Sydney
- Make sure to avoid dress/skirt and heels if you are doing the hot air balloon ride
- Do carry a good sunscreen with SPF and PA+++ to avoid tanning
- Do carry a hat and shades definitely
Our next stop was Melbourne and boy! I am in love with this city. Such a lively vibrant city that you will not feel like not going back to the hotel. I just wanted to grab a cup of coffee and sit on the roadside benches enjoying the people walk by. Rarely have I come across such a culture mix, which blends so well.
There is complimentary tram service for all, which takes you around the city. You alight at a point and just sit aimlessly; it will bring you back to the same location. Make sure you do not mix up with the paid tram service as both are available there.
We took the all day road trip to through the Great Ocean Road for the Twelve Apostles. It was a lovely view all the way and there are stopovers for lunch and refreshment. Take the left hand side seat to get the view all throughout. Do carry your stole/scarf as it gets very windy throughout the journey. There are historical elements on the way, which dates back to the World War days.
Definitely take a guided tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It is an experience on its own, whether you love cricket or not. There was a short, but nice city tour which gives the feel of the place all the more.
We stayed at the Rydges here as well and again the location was awesome. But, the rooms are small. Anyways, you would not be in the room for long….hehe! On a serious note if you want to enjoy luxurious rooms, this is not for you. The bright sunny day added to the glam of the city and one more time I Am In Love with Melbourne!
- It was chilly and windy on the first day of our stay. Remember to carry a light jacket/pullover although it is summer there now.
- Take your time to sit back and appreciate the diversity of culture
- Dress as much as you like, you will blend in definitely
- People party like crazy, so if possible plan in way that you get to be in Melbourne for the weekend
Sydney, New South Wales
The final stop in our trip was this prim and proper city with it’s gorgeous Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. We took a cruise through the harbour area and there are lots of options depending on your budget. The idea was to take us through the harbor area for a view of the Bridge and Opera House mainly and enjoy the silhouette of the skyline. It was chilling in the evening with the breeze, so make sure to carry something to keep warm. Although not mandatory, but people do dress-up a lot for this cruise ride, so if you want you definitely can.
We took a city tour with a guided tour of the Opera House, which is again something not to be missed. The grandeur as seen from outside continues inside as well and if you are interested you can enjoy a show as well.
Take at least half a day for Bondi Beach, as the environment there is worth enjoying. You might love to take a dip or just sit by the beach to relax and soak in the warmth. It is said Bondi is the Miami of Australia, so you know what to expect.
Near the harbor there are some indoor wildlife and aquarium, which is enjoyable if you have some spare time. It is something that is not be done in rush, so decide beforehand. Or else if you do not have any complications like joint paint and breathing trouble, you can opt for the Bridge climb. We were way too tired for that and decided to give it a miss. Also, there was the infamous Lindt café incident during our stay so my shopping plans got a jolt. Nevertheless, the hotel staff at Hotel Mercure were very helpful and guided us where to (not) go.
- There is a complimentary bus service here numbered 555. If you want to go around the city on your own.
- There is a blue mountain trip, which we did not opt, but is worth mention as they say.
- Dress up glam/formally if possible for the cruise, as you may feel out of place otherwise.
- Carry your bikini/swimsuit as you would look like an alien otherwise, in Bondi Beach.
That pretty much wraps up the trip to Australia. You can add on New Zealand, but that would not only be a longer trip, but also a hectic one. Worth mention is that you can save about a hundred thousand bucks when you club these two.
I could not not write without mentioning about makeup shopping in Australia. The drugstore brands are exorbitantly priced. There is no point in picking up almost the same collection, paying double the price. There are a few local brands like Australis, Face of Australia, Sukin, ModelsPrefer etc… which are worth checking out. Priceline is a chain of shops which is like Sephora of Australia and I spent quite some time there. The GST refund is done at the airport, but you have to have 300$ purchase in a single transaction.
That is all as of now, do let me know if you have any questions…and welcome the new year with a big smile!
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