Friday, 24 November 2017

A Two-Week Travel Guide For Australia.

I like to think I'm a bit of an expert on Australia; I first visited when I was seven years old, and then spent a few weeks almost every year here (with two years living in Perth and going to high school there at age 16/17), before I eventually moved back in October 2016. I also spend almost eight hours a day embedded in the Tourism Australia website due to my day job, so am at the point now where I can comfortably provide a full 'ultimate' guide to spending two-weeks in Australia. And no, you don't need an entire month to visit - you really can see a lot within just two weeks! 




I've partnered with Flight Centre for this post, who I'm super proud to partner with, as my parents and I have actually always booked our trips to Australia with them. For as long as I can remember, the family visit to the Flight Centre in Guildford signaled the next holiday to Australia, and even as an adult I still email Karen every time I need flights to see if they can beat the online price (most of the time they can). They've just revamped their Australia holidays page, so it's now even easier to plan your trip to Australia! Hopefully this blog post will help you even more and show you that Australia can actually be really easily done in just two weeks :)

So where to start? I'm going to give you two different itineraries, depending on whether you're desperate to see Uluru as I know that's a biggie for some people, but not so much others. If you're not completely set on visiting Uluru (Ayers Rock), then spend the time in Perth instead as the West Coast of Australia is completely different from the East, and it's actually really interesting to see the difference! Also Western Australia is absolutely beautiful, much less touristy, and they have the best beaches and sunsets over the ocean!

Australia Itinerary #1 - 14 Days: West & East


Five Days in Perth


As a lot of you know, I'm completely biased towards Perth as it truly is my second home and somewhere I've loved for many years. It's a very livable city, but most of the tourist attractions are outside of the city. I'd recommend staying two or three nights in Perth (take a look at my 48 Hour Guide to Perth here) with one of those days being on Rottnest Island, and then head down south to the Margaret River and Busselton area for a night or two to experience the Karri forests and the amazing wine region. 

Top Things To See/Do

- Have breakfast at Bib & Tucker at Leighton Beach
- Go to Cottesloe Beach and have a late lunch at il Lido 
- Have dinner at Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle
- Spend a day on Rottnest Island (and get a pie from the bakery!)
- If you have time head out to the hills and swim at Serpentine Falls
- Roadtrip down south and go wine tasting in Margaret River
- See the famous wooden jetty at Busselton
- Go to Hamlin Bay to see the giant stingrays 
- Watch the sunset from Sugarloaf Rock 


Two Days in Sydney


From Perth fly across to Sydney, it's a 4 hour flight so I recommend flying with Virgin Australia so you have a comfy flight. One or two days is enough to get a real flavour of Sydney as a city, like most Aussie cities there isn't a huge amount to do in the city as most of the really beautiful sights are outside of the CBD area. I'm planning on doing a city guide to Sydney soon as despite living here for over a year I still haven't done one! 

Top Things To See/Do

- Stay at Shangri-La in the City, or QT Bondi
- Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, finishing with a seafood lunch at Coogee Pavilion
- Get the ferry from the city to Taronga Zoo or Manly 
- Have a drink at Opera Bar
- Go for drinks at The Beresford Hotel and Big Poppa's if you're in town on a Thurs, Fri, or Sat.




Three Days in Cairns

I went to Cairns back in September and absolutely loved my weekend there! It was a weekend of bliss and relaxing, and it showed me how easy it is to travel up and down the East Coast utilizing the cheap airfares that come up every so often. I flew up from Sydney on the Saturday and then flew back Monday evening, and I managed to do an incredible Great Barrier Reef day trip, a half-day trip to the magical Fitzroy Island, and dined on epic seafood at Dundee's restaurant. It's absolutely doable in two or three days, depending on how much you want to see the Daintree Rainforest.

Top Things To See/Do

- Stay at the Shangri-La in Cairns
- Do a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Passions of Paradise
- Head to Fitzroy Island (where the first photo in this post was taken) for a half-day or day trip
- Have dinner at Dundee's restaurant (also their brunch is amaze too)
- Dine at Ochre restaurant for crocodile and kangaroo dishes
- Do a day trip up to the Daintree Rainforest


Four Days in Melbourne & Great Ocean Road

I've been to Melbourne twice this year and find it's a really lovely city for shopping, and relaxing with amazing food and drink. They also have some absolutely epic rooftop bars and clubs, and because they don't have lockout laws like Sydney, you don't have to worry about where you go and what time you go. The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's most famous roadtrips, and is a breathtaking drive full of magical scenery and Koala's in their natural habitat!

Top Things To See/Do

- Stay at Sheraton Melbourne (super trendy hotel, not like normal Sheraton's)
- Get breakfast/brunch from OmNom at the Adelphi Hotel
- Take the old number 35 tram that goes around the city (it's free!)
- Grab a coffee from one of Melbourne's famous cafes
- Lunch at Movida Next Door
- See the street art on Hozier Lane
- Walk past Flinders Street train station (currently being renovated so there's lots of scaffolding up)
- See the Dior exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria
- Go shopping on Bourke Street and see the most beautiful H&M, EVER
- Have a bar crawl around the rooftop bars
- Dinner at Chin Chin
- Spend two days driving the Great Ocean Road 
- Stop off at Bells Beach and keep an eye out for Kangaroos
- Visit Erskine Waterfalls
- Stop off and see the Twelve Apostles 
- Keep an eye out for Koalas!





Australia Itinerary #2 - 14 Days: East & Red Centre


Two Days in Sydney


With this itinerary, you can fly into Sydney (a longer flight than Perth from the UK, and slightly more expensive too, but a better option for you Americans coming from the West Coast of the USA). See and do the same things I recommended above ;)



Six Days Roadtripping To Uluru


Fly from Sydney to Alice Springs airport, and then hire an RV and roadtrip to Uluru! You can't get to Uluru any other way (apart from by helicopter), so I'm afraid you're gonna have to suck it up and drive. It's a fair ole way so stop off at some epic natural wonders on the way. And remember, always carry PLENTY of food and water (aka, dozens of huge litre bottles) when you're roadtripping in Australia, and always fill up with fuel whenever you see a fuel stop. 


Things To See/Do

- Hire an RV and roadtrip the Northern Territory
- Stop off at Kings Canyon
- Stop off at Glen Helen Gorge
- Stop off at Standley Chasm
- See Uluru! (and please be respectful and don't climb it)
- See The Olgas (aka, Kata Tjuta)


Two Days in Cairns


From Alice Springs fly over to Cairns. Stick to the above 'Things To See/Do' list, but I'd recommend choosing either the Fitzroy Island day trip (pictured below) or the Daintree Rainforest day trip, depending on whether you prefer ocean and beautiful beaches, or rainforest and crocodiles. 



Four Days in Melbourne & Great Ocean Road


Fly from Cairns down the Melbourne, and follow the 'Things To See/Do' list above :)



Things To Remember

Seasons


The seasons in Australia are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere. So when it's summer in the UK and USA, it's winter in Australia...and then of course during your winter it's our summer.

However, in Queensland it's even more confusing, as they only have two seasons; wet and dry, because it's a tropical region. The summer months in Queensland are when the box jellyfish are in the ocean, but you can still swim safely - just wear a stinger suit that the boat company will offer you when you do your Great Barrier Reef day trip. 

The Weather


The weather in Australia during the summer months can be incredibly hot. The East Coast is very humid, while the West Coast has a much dryer heat. In Melbourne you can easily get four seasons in one day, so be prepared for rain as well as heat, and Sydney also typically have quite wet summers. Perth is dry most of the year, and is VERY hot in summer (up into the high 30s and 40s). Winter across Australia is much colder than people think (we get snow up in the mountains near Melbourne), so if you visit during winter bring a coat and boots and be prepared.


Wildlife


Australia is famous for its wildlife; both cuddly and deadly. If you see any wildlife at all, DO NOT approach it, and do not touch it. They are wild creatures, they're not there for you to poke and take selfies with (althuough the Quokka's on Rottnest love a selfie). This is especially important for any ocean-life such as turtles, stingrays, and fish, and any snakes and spiders. Also, drop bears. They're evil koalas that will jump on you and gash your throat open.

Currency & Money


In Australia we have the Australian Dollar (AUD). Australia is typically quite expensive, especially food and drink (but it's all incredibly fresh and high quality). Always carry some cash on you just in case.

Australian shops and cafes etc accept most major credit cards, however a lot of them don't accept AMEX. So always bring a Visa or Mastercard as well as an American Express card. Also 'contactless' is called 'paypass' in Australia.

Australian banks typically charge you a $2 fee to withdraw your own money (yes, even if you bank with that ATM's bank), so just be careful of the high fees and try not to withdraw too much cash.

Public Transport


Public transport is different in every state and city. In Perth you'll need a Smartrider card, in Melbourne you'll need a Myki, and in Sydney you'll need an Opal card. You need all of these cards to ride on the public transport in each city. In Cairns Ubers are so cheap and Cairns is so small that you may as well just get an uber everywhere (or walk)! 


Have you ever visited Australia? What's your favourite place in Aus?

Read my other Australia travel guides:




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*This post is a collaboration with Flight Centre, all views, Australia-love, and itineraries are my own
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