No trip to this wonderful city is complete without a trip to its famous Fish Market - a real foodie's paradise. It is the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and auctions over 100 species daily. You can have a guided tour or you can take a course at the Seafood School. Best of all, you can eat delicious, freshly landed seafood on the quayside, but watch out - you may have to share your meal with the locals - cheeky pelicans that come right up to the table in the hope of a free lunch.
From the Spit Bridge you have the choice of paddling around to Balmoral Beach, or into Middle Harbour, a less well known and visited part of Sydney Harbour. Just dodge the yachts, though.
Catch the bus to Manly and get off at the Spit Bridge.
+61 (0) 2 9960 4389
Just two minutes from the poseurs of Bondi, behind a front so unassuming you will walk past it the first time, is this gem which calls itself a ‘bookstore café’. As to its dual identity, it is really a bookshop first, and you take your spiced chai latte to find a perch amongst the piled tomes. Photos and prints of favourite authors fill any remaining wall space. The owners put on events and sell antiquarian as well as cheap second hand. It is so deliciously unexpected it is worth the hunt. You can reward yourself with a hunk of cake when you find it.
I've just got back from Australia and if anyone is looking for a five-star riding holiday down under I can highly recommend Equathon Bush and Beach Tour based in Noosa, Queensland.
I spend three days riding with them and both the horses and the guides were first class.
The first morning I was woken at dawn to the sound of wild parrots being fed before tucking into eggs benedict, cooked to perfection by the B&B owner.
The horses - stunning Australian stock horses - were already saddled up and ready to go when I reached the stable. Myself and the other guest were led by the owners Alex (a triple Olympian no less) and Rebecca through the Noosa Trail Network, which is something to envy when compared to our bridle paths. But the high point was riding on the beaches at Noosa - the soft sand went on forever.
After a full days riding the evenings were spent in fantastic restaurants enjoying the fresh produce of Queenland. I highly recommend the Thais on the main street in Noosa.
The ride is well designed and any level of rider can enjoy it. The horses were the fittest horses I've ridden and so forward going I could just go with the flow - no work involved.
Equathon have lots of itineraries to choose from, so if you'd like to sample some real ozzy horsemanship combined with great hospitably this is a great choice.
The main reason people visit Airlie Beach is as a gateway to the remarkable Whitsunday Islands. The port at Airlie Beach offers every conceivable way to see the islands and allows even novice sailors the chance to sail around. The Whitsunday Islands are characterised by turquoise blue waters, lush islands and sandy beaches. The most popular and scenic beaches in the Whitsundays is Whitehaven beach which offers powdery sand and crystal clear blue waters.
This place really is a fantastic find though I spent only one night there (sadly). The guesthouse (and restaurant) is set in the rolling hills outside Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road with superb views over the surrounding countryside. The room I had was decorated in a warm, comfortable and charming country style without any hint of chintz. The house has typical Australian wide verandahs all around and rooms open directly on to this. The food is something else - beautifully cooked from fresh ingredients grown two minutes' walk away in their own organic gardens. Everything they can't grow themselves is sourced locally.
This salt water pool has been built into the Bondi cliffs overlooking Bondi Beach. The pool was created to service local life guards wanting to maintain their fitness during the winter months. You can swim in the open air pool while taking in the amazing views of Bondi beach and afterwards head upstairs to relax in the fabulous restaurant.
Three days into a six day impromptu 'savannah adventure' from Cairns to Darwin, this purple watering hole offered the perfect halfway home. If you're headed west, Normanton is the last town of any real size before the wilds of the Carpentaria really take hold and the town's got an authentic outback feel - the main street boasts a scale model of a 28-foot long saltwater crocodile named Krys, said to be the largest one ever shot and the "big barramundi", one of Australia's 'big things', looms over the other side of the road.
Knowing that aboriginal 'dry' communities are all that await you for provision top-ups on the dirt road to Borroloola, the Purple Pub is a sanctuary of ice cold schooners and pots. Locals will likely be necking the XXXX, and it's not the kind of place you could order a G&T without getting some funny looks, but you can't go far wrong with a Bundy & Coke or - my personal recommendation - a Tooheys Extra Dry stubby (even if it is brewed in Sydney).
Cnr Brown & Landsborough Streets
Phone: 0061 747 451 324
Fax: 0061 747 451 626
Google map: tinyurl.com/y99woxs
The tiny town of Parachilna (population 7) is little more than its pub - the Prairie Hotel. Look at a map and there is just a road and a railway line. It's outback Australia all right, 66 km from the nearest “town”. The pub is a great eating place as well as a good place for a beer. In the bar there is a fridge full of locally produced and very interesting icecreams. Walk through the back to the eating area where the walls are covered with aboriginal paintings – it’s like eating in an art gallery. It’s not grand but it is very authentic and friendly. The menu is famous for its Flinders feral food based on local, aboriginal bush tucker. This includes kangaroo, emu, yabbie (a kind of crayfish), quandongs (sometimes known as native peach and possibly the oldest known fruit on earth), native limes and bush tomatoes. When we were there in September we couldn’t resist the “Feral Food Platter” – kangaroo steak, camel sausage and emu “fillet mignon” with gravy and chips! It should have been mashed potato but we were late in the day and settled for chips. The red wine was good, too. For dessert we settled on the quandong crumble pie with vanilla bean icecream – amazing! Standing under the veranda as the sun sets, stubbie in hand, has much to recommend it – not least when the 3km long trains pass just across the road. The area is worth exploring – the red plains and mountains of the Flinders might already be familiar as the very remoteness of this area makes it popular with filmmakers, eg, The Rabbit Proof Fence”. There is great walking in the area. Explore Brachina Gorge and the history of earth seems to unfold before your eyes. The land is ancient and the stories many.
The Palace Hotel is in outback New South Wales. It's a truly unique pitstop for a number of reasons.
Film buffs will enjoy the fact that it was a location for 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert'.
Architecture fans will love the iconic 19th century heritage hotel with original retro interiors and murals.
Photography junkies will find plenty to shoot here.
Oh, and above all else it has a great bar and verandah for enjoying a cool beer after a hot days traveling.
A rough and ready bar with good beer and good wholesome food where everyone REALLY likes a drink. The locals were very friendly with a great sense of humour. The smokers area outside has a sign that says "Lepers" on it. The main entrance to the bar has a life-size ceramic guide-dog for collecting coin contributions which is wearing dark glasses and a beret. The bar has a large sign behind it which says "Beer - helping ugly people have sex since ... " A guy with almost no teeth but a beaming smile (who could barely speak) was positioned in front of the sign by his mates as a prime example for us to take his picture. I wanted to attach it as I think you would enjoy it as it gives a good flavour of how much fun this bar is.
Finally, in the offsales/carry out shop we watched an old man buy two bottles of whiskey ("What's the strongest you've got?") one for him and one for his dog; and then empty one over his dog ("Get's rid of the ticks!") The whole experience was wonderful. On the second occasion that we visited the Cow Bay Hotel a cassowary walked through the car park - amazing.
Lot 458 / Baileys Creek Rd | Cow Bay, Cape Tribulation 4873, Australia
Google map: tinyurl.com/yk5fnep
If you are ever in Alice Springs, make sure you visit Bojangles Saloon. This is a brilliant outback pub with fantastic food. Where else could you eat Emu sausage, crocodile rissoles or kangeroo steaks? The size of the portions are amazing, make sure you go hungry! The atmosphere is buzzing. If you just pop in for a drink, don't let the ancient coffin put you off - just open the door for a handful of peanuts! Thoroughly recommended for a fun evening.
80 Todd Street
Wedged between the end of the scenic 4WD Bloomfield Track and Cooktown, sits the Lion's Den Hotel. An oasis to travellers in Australia seeking the path less travelled.
Wake up to the raucous, undisciplined laughter of Kookaburras and share the outback with an assortment of other Australian fauna.
The atmospheric bar serves excellent meals and good beer and is the ideal place to rejuvenate after crossing the Bloomfiend track. Exchange tips with other travellers before continuing your journey up into Cooktown and the untouched and unspoilt Cape York Peninsula.
Rooms are very basic but clean and comfortable. Showers and toilets are shared.
The Prairie Hotel is a fabulous outback pub. In fact it is an all singing all dancing outback event these days. Wikipedia says that Parachilna, where you will find the Prairie Hotel, 'was once a town' and the highlight of an evening there is watching the train roll through town. That gives you a flavour of the place.
I have not been there for a while but I have heard it has gone from strength to strength. I first came across it on a trip to Wilpena pound and before the hotel was doing any real advertising let alone had a website. We stumbled across it and after a few days of hiking and camping it was an oasis of hospitality and sexy bikers. I have very fond memories and I think even a photo or two of tearing off on the back of a Harley down a long straight stretch of outback road with my hair streaming in the wind. The days of my youth! I had the t-shirt for many years to bring me fond reminders as I was working out on the treadmill in city centre London.
Corner of High Street and West Terrace, Parachilna, South Australia 5730
Google map: tinyurl.com/y976jn6
Ph: (8) 86484844
There is a station in Parachilna whether the train stops there or not I dont know. I believe the famous Khan runs through.
While travelling around Australia last year, we stumbled upon Bojangles in Alice Springs and had a truly memorable evening. The pub is eccentrically decorated with bits of the old Ghan train line incorporated in the bar itself, a live eight-foot long python curls around a motorbike (its ok it’s in a glass cage!) and the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly guards the door.
There’s a great selection of Australian beers and Territory tucker, including ribs, steak, emu, kangaroo, camel and Barramundi.
But the best thing about Bojangles is its live webcast. There are cameras through out the pub that stream live to the web. Friends from anywhere in the world can view the pub on-line A quick text to my brother in the UK and we were soon waving manically every time the camera pointed at our table. Generous friends can order you a round of drinks by text or email. The famous two litre Darwin Stubby was a popular request. The highlight of my evening was the DJ dedicated a song to us from my brother. It was so nice to have contact from home when I couldn’t have been further from it.
For a real taste of the Australian outback, head to this remote 100-year-old pub on the Darling River in Tilpa (town pop. of 9). This is where the locals gather and there are plenty of characters keen to tell tales of the great flooding in 1956 when the town was isolated for five months, or the past fortunes they made (and since lost) in nearby opal mining towns. Its history is on the walls, with hundreds of messages and jokes from those who have stopped by over the years. You can leave a message with a donation that goes towards the Flying Doctor Service which these Outback-dwellers depend on.
A classic Aussie pub in the classic Queenslander style. The Kin Kin pub has not only survived floods, the locals wouldn't stop boozing til their seats floated away. The last floods, in 2009, forced changes and the pub, actually called the Country Life Hotel, now has a facelift and a barn for live gigs. The food is odd but the stubbies are cold. The dirt road to Kin Kin evokes Deliverance but the locals are friendly. There is no dress code. In fact dresses rarely make an appearance at the bar. In short, truly fair dinkum mate.
Visit Heritage Lodge in Queensland! Here is an easy spot to see lots of rare birds and mammals daily. If you love the outdoors you can not afford to skip this!
P.M.B. 14 Mossman 4873
Telephone +61 7 4098 9138
Anyone who visits the eastern coast of Australia, should definetly check out the remote village called Nimbin. It is breathtakingly beautiful, undeveloped, and quite the experience to behold. Do it.
It's about an hour or so from Byron Bay.
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