Maria Island is as close to heaven as it is possible to get on earth. It is, for a start, the very best place in Tasmania to see the amazing marsupial wildlife and birds during the day and in the evening. It is a magical place - rugged cliffs, beautiful beaches with lines of fairy penguins, mountains you can climb and views right up the east coast of Tassie. The walk is a four day walk for up to 8 and after just a few hours you feel like you have known your fellow walkers for years. The food is incredible, all cooked by young (gorgeous) guides and sleeping in the beach camps, walking up at dawn as the sun filters through the trees above is a truly remarkable experience. Pure bliss.
The museum has interesting displays about the history of the region. The exhibits include the pioneer days, Aboriginal culture, mining and agriculture. There is a shop which has great gifts. Help with tours, where to stay or camp, walking trails, drive routes, birdwatching and local information about what to see in the outback.
Mareeba 1 hour west of Cairns at the start of the outback.
Google map: tinyurl.com/l7cnh7
Breathtaking views, superb food, perfect stopping point for driving the Great Ocean Road. Sleep in your own woodlodge with floor to ceiling windows listening to the sea and watching stars.
A gastro-pub worthy of Islington in the middle of nowhere. The Prairie Hotel has good rooms, great outback food (kangaroo is particularly good) and its own beer. The best thing about the place are the owners and staff though. Sit watching the sunset with them and at 10-ish the mile long coal train will rattle through as well.
Probably the best hotel-experience we have had in Australia. Strongly recommended.
This is a goodie...
A great short drive north of Canberra (20+ mins), down a small road and along another lies this gem. Poachers packs a culinary punch, local wines, cheese, smoked meats and an amazing cafe set in the stunning rural setting of limestone plains and sheep paddocks complete with hens and horses. A total package, book a table, sink a bottle over any one of the platters on offer with a good mate.
Knightsbridge is a small bar tucked away in the suburb of Braddon. It pulls a diverse crowd and is part of a selection of bars in Canberra taking drinking venues to a new boutique level. Previously a bar themed around a morgue, Knightbridge is inviting, intimate and friendly along with having a very decent drinks list.
1/34 Mort Street Braddon, short walk from the city centre.
Google map: tinyurl.com/mhxg6q
Mt Stromlo, reveals numerous trails and technical challenges for those passionate about mountain biking. Positioned so close to the city centre it's an asset no other Australian city can boast, with a passionate community behind it, Mt Stromlo is back after the firestorm, and is packing loads of new challenges, trails and adventures.
Live music - usually Thursdays + Fridays. DJs, electronica and local indie musicans in a relaxed and unpretentious location. Slightly hard to find but this doesn't mean it's exclusive by any means.
219 London Cct Civic
Google map: tinyurl.com/nakzsk
A small and intimate cocktail bar overlooking Garema Place in the City.
A good selection of drinks, music, people and kitsch decor! Jazz on Wednesday nights.
Electric Shadows, a small 2 screen cinema, one blue, one red. It was the home of art house cinema and a lifeline for anything 'Hollywouldn't'.
Recently merged with the Dendy group, the two create a much larger and modern cinema in the refurbished Canberra Centre- the old venue will be missed as was the centre cinema (now a nightclub).
It's a natural progression and a positive one at the very least.
This is a caravan park and recreation reserve where you can pitch a tent. For camping without the hassle and its close to the airport. Relatively inexpensive, within easy reach of the city and Glenelg the most popular tourist spot. They have cabins but who needs them when with your small tent and their fantastic kitchen, shower blocks, tv room, and the sun your set for a comfortable stay. It's right on the beach, surrounded by fencing and the restaurants and hotels of Glenelg, are a ten minute walk away. Great for families and backpackers.
Star Anise is a relaxed fine dining restaurant with chef David Coomer consistently creating exceptional cuisine. Some of it influenced by south-east Asia and all of it outstanding.
The degustation menu is fantastic giving you a little more than a taste of his favourite items on the menu. Ma hor a well known favourite with a slice of pineapple, caramalised duck, seared scallop with a mint, chilli and coriander dressing. Licorice ice cream is another established favourite but if it's not on the menu it's worth a trip back.
The wine list is dominated by Australian wines but there are generally a few international gems as well.
Fabulous food, delicious wine, great staff and buzzy atmosphere make this my favourite restaurant in Brisbane. Go!!! (you will need to book).
No Brisbane visit is complete without a 'late Breakfast'. Swing by the Brekky Creek Hotel to sample its signature steaks, seafood and wide range of beers, including XXXX from the wood which puts its keg-raised little sister to shame....
If rain stops play I wholly recommend the art gallery. It's not so big, so it doesn't take long to get around but it's air conditioned and quiet. There is always a gallery of indigenous art and the other galleries are rotated often. One really exciting exhibition is the Year 12 Perspectives; the state's best (equivalent) A-Level art pieces which are breathtaking.
It's right by Perth train station, quite close to the museum too (gold coin donation for entry there) and on the Northbridge side - so easy to get dinner afterwards!
Google map: tinyurl.com/owslht
This cafe-restaurant also offers wine tastings and sells wine and the terrace overlooks the vineyards and karri forests beyond. It's a good place to stop for a glass of wine if you need to steady your nerves after climbing the Gloucester tree.
The Gloucester Tree is a 61-metre high Karri tree originally used as a bushfire lookout in the 1940s. If you have a head for heights you can now climb up 153 spiralling metal rungs stuck into the tree trunk to a platform at the top with spectacular 360-degree views of the forest.
Three kilometres from the centre of Pemberton in Gloucester National Park, in the southwest of Western Australia.
Google map: tinyurl.com/n3uny7
It's a backpackers' place stuck in a time warp. From the outside it's a throw back from the early twenties but inside its an up-to-date hostel catering for all tastes.
However, I've heard that it's going to be demolished, I hope this isn't true. Nossa is a wonderful little place. An almost idyllic place, kind of Ozzie Bedford Falls. Relax and enjoy.
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