Take two to three days to travel the Great Ocean Road - turn off the beaten track and find wild koalas in the trees. Also, head the opposite direction out of Melbourne and drive down the Mornington Peninsula then across to Wilson’s Promontory for some spectacular camping, bush walks and beaches. At the main campsite on Wilson’s Promontory you will have wombats snuffling around your tent at night. It's one of the most beautiful and unknown places in Australia.
Studley Park in Kew, set on the Yarra, is very pretty at all times of the year, although it gets busy on weekends. There's a boathouse, several walks, picnic areas and a golf course. There’s lots of Australian nature with excellent views of the city.
Access via Yarra Boulevard off Studley Park Road
This may not be the most hi-tech museum, but it tells a compelling story about Australia. That story, so sensitively and thoroughly expressed through words, pictures and installations, begins with an uninhabited land, which goes on to see the arrival of Aborigines, then British colonialists, Chinese gold miners and merchants, and European exiles of the 20th century, among many others. It gives you a strong sense of what it was like for those who set off from faraway nations to begin a new life in a strange land.
400 Flinders Street
A Sydney icon. Harry's Cafe de Wheels has long been held in high esteem as the premium pie-lovers late night eatery. Open late into the night, the vaudeville-style caravan offers drinker, thinkers, and tinkers the best in baked and savoury goods.
Try the Tiger, the café’s house special. There’s a hearty serving of gravy in both layers, all served up with mash and mushy peas. Dynamite.
Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo, Sydney
Melbourne is Australia's coffee capital (due to a large Italian influx in the post-war years) and therefore we studiously avoid all coffee chains and only drink our coffee in cafes. The wonderful Johnny owns a cafe in Flinders Lane called Journal.
The other thing about coffee in Melbourne is that we have our own names for each kind. An espresso is short black, a latte is a flat white, an Americano is a long black and a cappuccino is, um, a cappuccino.
Shop 1, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Melbourne's zoo is one of the oldest in the world, and today sets standards with its range of specific animal enclosures and education programs. Nearly all of the animals live in habitats that mirror their natural environment: rainforests for the gorillas, wetlands for the wading birds, native grasslands for the wallabies. A great place to visit, only a short tram trip from the middle of Melbourne
Parkville, VIC 3052
Perhaps best known as the location for the TV soap "Home and Away", Palm Beach, an hour and a half's bus ride from the city centre offers stunningly beautiful scenery. Pastel yellow soft sand, surrounded by high cliff tops and the deep blue Tasman Sea.
Hour-and-a-half bus ride from the bus station outside Sydney Central Station.
A traditional local Aussie pub - and with 24-hour opening you'll never need to leave! Forget the over-priced touristy restaurants at Darling Harbour and head to the 'PBH' for a $6 special, hours of fun on the video dukebox and plenty of well-priced alcohol! Prepare for sticky carpets though - this place is authentic!
Nearest metro station: Star City
A simple pleasure. A 'chair' in the sandstone at the end of the Domain peninsula on the harbour. It was carved out by convicts for the Governor's wife in the early 19th century since she enjoyed the spot. Here she would sit enjoying the view (or wondering why she didn't marry that guy who got a job in Paris...). A shady resting place with extraordinary views. Take a load off.
Follow the path along Farm Cove east of the Opera House.
Sign in as a guest - you have to live more than 7 miles - and then profit from one of the best views (and cheap prices) in this fashionable swimming club. The attached restaurant is very good but not so cheap.
South end of Bondi Beach
Not as well known as the Margaret River region for it's wines, but the Swan Valley is far more accessible - just 30 mins from Central Perth.
There's numerous wineries, most of which do tastings and some of the bigger ones (e. Lamonts, Sandalfords) have great restaurants looking out over the vines.
There's also breweries, chocolate factories and numerous other places of interest on the easy to follow loop around the valley.
30 mins N East of Perth
Melbourne’s best view is undoubtedly to be found 90 minutes outside the city at Phillip Island. Every evening at sunset, visitors are witness to the ’penguin parade,’ when the world’s smallest penguins emerge from the sea and cross the beach to their sandy-burrow beds.
OK, so it is set in Melbourne, but watching and enjoying this film is the quickest way to any Australian's heart. Learn the lines and you'll practically be an honorary Australian. Classic Aussie humour, it's a genuinely funny, moving and sharply accurate depiction of the nation's suburban essence.
As in olden days, you can sit outside in the park and read and listen to the orators in the forecourt or inside, where the reading room takes you back to early last century. Quaint and quiet and a great place to while away a few hours. I recommend the tour to discover the history and facilities offered by the institution.
328 Swanston Street, Melbourne,
corner of Swanston and La Trobe Streets;
The Portsea Hotel (aka the Portsea pub) has one of the best outlooks of any pub in the world. It’s a favourite of those who live in Portsea, as well as those visiting. Drives to the Mornington Peninsula end at the pub, motorcyclists arrange their rides to end at the pub. The views are awesome, and the food and service are very good. Eat in the restaurant or outside in the beer garden. They also offer accommodation.
3749 Point Nepean Rd (Nepean Hwy), Portsea. It’s on the right-hand (beach) side as you enter Portsea.
tel: (03) 59842213
Having lived here for a year, you need to be aware that buying clothes, books, shoes and food at supermarkets is more expensive than the UK and customer service in supermarkets and banks is shocking. Australia does a good job in giving the impression it's cheap - trust me, it's not.
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