Darwin I’m here

THINGS TO DO IN DARWIN – CITY GUIDE from YTRAVELBLOG.COM

BY CRAIG | OCTOBER 4, 2018 | This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Read our Disclosure.

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Are you looking for tips on things to do in Darwin Australia?

As part of our city guides series, we share with you our insider tips on the best things to do in Darwin, including advice on where to eat, sleep, drink, shop and explore.

Table of Contents

Why Visit Darwin Australia

Darwin literally is a HOT destination. While Aussies in southern parts of Australia are all rugged up on the couch under a blanket in our winter woolies, those in Darwin are basking in the warmth of the sun. It’s the perfect winter getaway.

A vibrant, multicultural and unique destination, Darwin offers a gateway to natural and cultural icons of the Top End, including the Tiwi Islands, Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks, Adelaide River, Mary River, Arnhem Land and the Katherine Region.

Things to Do in Darwin

In Darwin, you can take things as fast or as slow as you like. From bushwalks and suburban markets to being submerged with saltwater crocodiles, it really is your choice in this modern, tropical city.

Famous Darwin Sunsets

A trip on the calm waters enjoying the tropical breeze is a must-do for any visit. Sit back and enjoy fiery-red sunsets while sailing the harbour on a classic pearl lugger, catamaran or seacat, Champagne in hand.

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Or stay on land and head to the Ski Club, Sailing Club, Trailer Boat Club or Mindel Beach for a cold beer to witness one of those iconic sunsets.

Mindil Beach Sunset

Eyeball a Giant Croc

Adelaide River, 70km drive from the city centre, is a perfect habitat for Salties (saltwater crocodiles).

Seeing one of these 4.5m giants jumping from the water right next to your boat is something else. So is swimming in the ‘Cage of Death’ at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin’s CBD.

Or for the faint-hearted, meet Sweetheart – 5 metres long and safely stuffed – at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT.

Barra Fishing on the Mary River or Corroboree Billabong

A metre-long slab of silver (Barramundi) haunts every fisho’s dreams. And in Darwin, dreams come true – on tours, in your own chartered boat and even off the shoreline or jetty.

Barra action is hot in the run-off but can be had all year round.

Indigenous Art

Sculpture, weaving, prints, paintings – all are on show or on sale.

Try the Didgeridoo Hut, showcasing and selling original, authentic Indigenous artwork; the galleries in Parap; the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT or walk the shoreline in the company of a Larrakia guide to see this country through indigenous eyes.

Indigenous Artist – credit tourism NT

War Relics

On 19 February 1942 an unprepared Darwin was devastated by Japanese bombing. Despite 58 further raids, Darwin rose to the challenge, becoming a major forward base for the Pacific Campaign.

Discover WWII stories in the ruins at the East Point Military Museum and the Oil Storage Tunnels.

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park is only an hour’s drive from the city. Crystal-clear waterfalls, swimming holes, four-wheel driving and easy-going bushwalks are just the start.

Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park

Best Neighbourhoods to Explore in Darwin

The Waterfront

Darwin’s newest hang-out is the Waterfront precinct, in the heart of the city.

The wave pool and swimming lagoon are surrounded by chilled-out cafés, bars, shops and restaurants. For a stroll, a drink and a choice of places to eat, the Waterfront makes a relaxed alternative to buzzing Mitchell St.

Mitchell Street

The pumping nocturnal scene round the clock at Mitchell Street’s pubs and bars makes this strip a hot-ticket backpacker destination.

Where to Eat in Darwin

With such close proximity to Indonesia and the rest of South-East Asia it’s no surprise that Darwin’s cuisine has a heavy Asian influence.

Fantastic restaurants are all over Darwin’s waterfront at Stokes Hill Wharf and Cullen Bay.

The Cool Spot Café

With so many awesome activities to do during the day, it’s a good idea to grab a solid breakfast for the day ahead. The Cool Cafe is the local’s choice.

Moorish

As its namesake suggests, Moorish Cafe offers delicious Moroccan, Spanish and Mediterranean-influenced tapas. Enjoy the sangria from a settee piled high with colourful cushions.

SkyCity Darwin Casino

It may not be Vegas but Darwin caters to the risk taker at the SkyCity Casino. Try the Sandbar for a pre-dinner cocktail, il Piatto for Italian fare, or Evoo for a fully-fledged degustation menu.

Stokes Hill Wharf

Head along to Stokes Hill Wharf to enjoy seafood platters that will put most others to shame. This is the place to go to see one of Darwin’s iconic thunderstorms roll in on the horizon.

Hanuman Restaurant

One of the locals’ favourites, Hanuman offers a mixture of Thai, Indian and Nonya cuisine in a relaxed yet sophisticated environment. Grab a table on the deck and marvel at the craftsmanship of the wooden displays on show. The Trumpet Mushrooms can’t be missed.

Yots

Once a secret amongst the locals, Yots is the place to go for the freshest oysters in Darwin. Watch them being freshly shucked on the boardwalk while watching the yachts sail in to dock; one of the prettiest locations in Darwin.

Thailicious

One of the lesser known but top-rated restaurants in Darwin, Thailicious draws influence from its close proximity to Asia to serve world class Thai cuisine. The Drunken Noodles are a hit.

Char Restaurant

Set in the historic Admiralty House, Char Restaurant is known for its steaks but excels in seafood too. Lounge outside under the trees, favoured by Darwin’s corporates on a Friday afternoon, or sit inside and watch the bartender mix up a tropical concoction.

Sweet Tooth

Sweet Tooth is a family owned and operated Greek patisserie in the suburb of Millner, the pastries baked on premises, like the shortbread and Baklava, are worth the visit, and give visitors a little taste of the large Greek community Darwin is home to.

Where to Drink in Darwin

Darwin Railway Sports and Club, or ‘the Rails’

After fire ravaged through this offbeat live music venue in 2009, the Railway re-opened its doors to become host to some of the best live gigs in Darwin.

Originally opened as a club for railway workers, this iconic watering hole has a history as rich as the regulators who frequent its old wooden bar.

credit tourism NT

The Tap

Serving up fishbowl cocktails to share with friends and a giant tree smack bang in the middle of the bar, The Tap is well-loved with the backpacker set which live along the Mitchell Street strip.

Darwin Ski Club

A great example of the locals’ outdoorsy lifestyle, the Ski Club is a Members Club but also welcomes friends to its palm tree-fringed venue. As the sun sinks over the horizon, coloured fairy lights switch on and often a live acoustic guitar keeps the locals coming back every night of the week.

Darwin Ski Club – credit tourism NT

Where to Stay in Darwin

Budget

Melaleuca on Mitchell  Darwin YHA Hostel is the friendly option on popular Mitchell Street in the city’s entertainment precinct.

Mid-Range

Vibe Hotellocated in Darwin’s Waterfront, on the fringe of Darwin CBD and is perfectly positioned to explore Darwin’s newest restaurants, boutique shops and seafront promenade.

High End

Hilton Darwin – excellent location just a few minutes’ walk from downtown in the vibrant Darwin Harbour area, and steps from fantastic shopping, dining and entertainment.

Wilderness Retreats

Ditch the traditional hotel experience and have an exclusive taste of bush luxury in your own safari suite, at either Wildman Wilderness Lodge or Bamurru Plains.

For more places to stay in Darwin choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancellation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.

Darwin Markets

Darwin is a vibrant mix of cultures, and every one of them has a stall at the open air markets.

Mindil Beach Markets, held Thursdays to Sundays from March to November,are the place to go for something tasty to eat, and stunning sunsets. See a vibrant mix of cultures and food from around the world at these open air markets.

Mindil Beach Markets – credit tourism NT

Festivals & Events in Darwin

Darwin Festival

The Darwin Festival takes place every August, providing a feast of local, national and international performances to excite, inspire and entertain, including everything from free outdoor events to theatre, dance, music cabaret, films, workshops and comedy.

Beer Can Regatta

The Beer Can Regatta is a day of hilarity as spectators line the beach and watch these sometimes elaborate and often hopeless boats sink and fall apart in the Darwin Harbour.

The main event being the Battle of Mindil draws the crowds, but the day is filled with amusing events like thong throwing and tug-of-war.

Beer can regatta – credit tourism NT

Tiwi Islands Art Sale and Footy Grand Final

Football is more than a game on the Tiwi Islands. It is a passion some would say stronger than any religion, and the grand final of the local league held in March each year is no better place to witness this craze.

This is also the one day of the year that the art centres hold a sale of their works, and travel to the islands can be done without the usual permit restrictions.

Darwin Cup Carnival

Share in the excitement of Darwin’s premier horse racing calendar with the Darwin Cup Carnival, where the ladies can show off their finery and enjoy a sumptuous luncheon and glass of bubbly on Ladies Day while 19,000 people burst the rails of the unique dirt track Fannie Bay Racecourse track.

Getting Around Darwin

Public Transport

Public buses operate seven days a week, making it easy to get around Darwin on your own. Coach services can take you between regional and urban centres, and there’s a range of guided coach and bus tours if you’re after someone to show you the sites.

A useful tool is the Darwin Public Transport Journey Planner, on the Transport NT website.

Cycling

Or even better: traverse the Northern Territory on two wheels! The Territory is great for cycling with plenty of cycle paths, and tracks and trails in national parks and urban areas.

Finding WiFi in Darwin

Free wireless internet is available in the Smith Street Mall of Darwin. To access, click on the connection labelled City of Darwin to view terms and conditions, accept, and one hour of free wireless is activated and can be repeated every six hours.

Hotels across the city also offer WIFI; costs vary.

Read more: How to stay internet safe and private when using free Wi-Fi

Best Time of Year to Visit Darwin

The peak visitor time to the Top End is during the dry season, from May to September, when a huge array of festivals and events are held due to the predictable 32 degree Celsius climate.

Darwin Skyline – credit tourism NT

Best insiders tip for Darwin

Darwin is famous for its lush tropical climate and outdoors adventure activities – but if you’re keen to relax and take in the character of Darwin, go no further than these quirky highlights:

The Darwin Rock Sitters Club

Established in 1974, every Saturday at East Point Reserve Darwin from 6pm (BYO) The Darwin Rock Sitters Club captures the city’s tradition of spinning a few yarns and having a few beers with ‘ya mates’.

Dinah Beach Yacht Club and Viking Funeral

This steamy local haunt for bearded and crusty locals hosts the Viking Funeral every July as a tribute to fallen sailors. It coincides with the moon rising over Frances Bay and culminates in a Viking boat funeral pyre.

Darwin’s Ice Hockey Club

Darwin’s Ice Hockey Club are the world ice hockey champions who defend their title from Darwin’s melted ice – for more information, visit here.

PLAN YOUR TRIP IN DARWIN

We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:

Accommodation in Darwin

  • Booking.com has 700,000+ hotels, apartments and hostels worldwide. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.

Flights to Darwin

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).

Tours in Darwin

Car Rental in Darwin

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

 

Hobart it is

WHAT TO DO IN HOBART, TASMANIA from YTRAVELBLOG.COM

Wondering what to do in Hobart?

We spent 6 days in Hobart, Australia’s second-oldest city, and loved our time there. It’s not the biggest of cities by Australian standards, but there are enough things to do in Hobart to warrant several days visit.

I love walkable cities centered around a harbour with historic neighbourhoods, historic buildings and a good local vibe – Hobart delivers on all fronts.

Throw in fresh seafood, famous markets and being within easy reach of other awesome destinations for day trips, Hobart rocks.

Hobart, Tasmania. Australia

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My favourite area was definitely Salamanca with the historic sandstone buildings converted into restaurants, cafes, bars and specialty shops and opposite the tree-lined park offering shade for the infamous Saturday Salamanca Markets.

Below are our highlights on what to do in Hobart for first-time visitors, as well as where to eat and sleep in Hobart.

WHAT TO DO IN HOBART

  • MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art has been billed as the place that revitalized Hobart and put it on the must-see destination list of Tasmania. The founder describes the MONA museum as a “subversive adult Disneyland.” It’s an interesting and fun art gallery and we like how you’re a part of the experience as you move through it. We wrote about our MONA experience here.
  • Historic Hobart Harbour – Not a large or busy harbour, unless you’re in town early January as this is where the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race ends. But it’s a beautiful harbour to wander and so serene early in the morning on a clear day.
  • Salamanca Markets – the infamous Saturday Salamanca Markets have the reputation as one of Australia’s best markets, and if you can time your trip to take it in. Set in picturesque Salamanca Place, it’s essentially one long street of vendors selling their wares, buskers performing and yummy street food.
Salamanca Markets, Tasmania, Australia
Bustling Salamanca Markets
  • Salamanca Place – Wandering Salamanca Place and Salamanca square with the historic Georgian sandstone warehouses and eating and drinking in the cafes and pubs is a must do.
Salamanca Place, Hobart, Tasmania
Salamanca Place
  • Historical Battery Point – known as one of Hobart’s more prestigious suburbs, it adjoins Salamanca and has a large number of historic houses. We loved wandering this suburb and admire the prestigious homes and the rose gardens. It also has a nice playground for the kids and local cafes to enjoy.
Battery Point, Hobart, Tasmania
Battery Point
  • Female Factory The Cascades Female Factory is the only Australian Convict World Heritage property that shares the female story of transportation. Her story is a two person dramatization of sharing the life of a typical female convict. It gave a fantastic insight into this harsh existence. Make sure you do the heritage walk (guided tour) of the site.
  • Cascade Brewery – Enjoy a visit to Australia’s oldest brewery and sample a great range of beers, and cider, in a lovely terrace setting. Take in the history yourself, take a brewery tour and learn about the brewing process, or take a heritage tour around the 3 acres of gardens which also includes tastings and is suitable for families.
  • Mt. Wellington – Often referred to as ‘the Mountain’ by the residents of Hobart, it rises to 1,271 metres over Hobart’s harbour and the wide Derwent River. If you’re lucky enough to get a clear day, we didn’t, I’ve been told the 21kilometre drive to the summit ends with panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula, with Bushwalking and barbecue and picnic facilities.
Mount Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania
Mt Wellington viewed from Hobart
  • Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – This gallery has recently undergone a huge renovation and celebrates Tasmania’s history, art and culture. A highlight was the Tasmanian Aboriginal Gallery which celebrates Tasmania’s indigenous history and culture.

Day trips from Hobart:

  • Port Arthur Historical Site – one of the most fascinating, moving and interesting places to visit in Tasmania. Port Arthur has a violent and troubled history as a penal colony for some of Australia’s hardened convicts, yet it’s beauty brings this contrasting sense of peace and happiness. Don’t miss the ghost tour. Get there via a public bus from Hobart to Port operated by Tassie Link.
Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia
Port Arthur
  • Bruny Island Cruise – One of our favourite experiences in Tasmania. This award winning wilderness cruise takes you along the rugged coastline of Bruny Island where you can see dramatic cliffs, sea caves, and wildlife life seals, dolphins, seabirds and if you’re timing is right, migrating whales. The Full Day Tour from Hobart includes a scenic bus tour, ferry crossing to Bruny Island, morning tea, 3 hour wilderness cruise and lunch.
Bruny Island Cruise, Tasmania
Bruny Island Cruise
  • Richmond – 25 km north-east of Hobart is the town of Richmond. Step back in time and walk across Australia’s oldest bridge, stroll along the picturesque river, visit galleries, antique shops and have lunch at the Richmond Hotel or Bakery Cafe. Richmond makes for a great place to wander.
Richmond, Tasmania, Australia
Historic Richmond

WHERE TO EAT IN HOBART

  • Daci & Daci Bakers – this place is an institution in Hobart. Expect a line up out the door, especially at lunch time or if a cruise ship is in port. There are trays of gourmet pies, baguettes, pastries, salads and a range of excellent breads.
  • Fish Frenzy – besides the fresh fish and chips, grilled seafood, salads and seafood chowder, a highlight is the location right on Hobart waterfront. Sit outside in the sun and watch the sailboats. Another cool feature is having fish & chips in a cone.
Fish Frenzy, Hobart, Tasmania
Fish Frenzy
  • Machine Laundry Cafe – a popular place with locals and visitors, this funky operating laundrette is a great place for breakfast or lunch, with great coffee and the biggest muffins I have ever seen. And the large alfresco area overlooking Salamanca Square was great for us with kids.

Machine-Laundry-cafe-Hobart-1-710x473

  • Retro Cafe – another nice place for breakfast or lunch with a great location in Salamanca Place. Enjoy a bite to eat on the footpath and watch the world go by.
Retro Cafe, Hobart, Tasmania
Retro Cafe
  • Tasman Quartermasters – our local friend in Hobart recommended this burger restaurant – wine bar – cafe. Try a unique Tassie specialty in the Wallaby burger washed down with a craft brew. Good menu, value for money and gluten free options are a bonus. The setting is relaxed and entertaining as well.
  • Salamanca Markets – saviour some of the food on offer here at the markets
Salamanca markets
Salamanca markets
  • Henry James Art Hotel – go here for fine dining on Hobart’s waterfront. This is Australia’s first dedicated art hotel with the site dating back to 1804.
  • Cargo Bar – is a wood-fired pizza and wine bar. How could you not love having a coconut and honey mojito in a 180 year old sandstone building?

WHERE TO SLEEP IN HOBART

  • YHA Hostel – smack bang in the centre of Hobart with an easy walk to everything in the city and waterfront, the YHA is your best budget option. Clean, comfortable and with a variety of room options. We stayed there in a family room with private ensuite and were very comfortable.
  • Salamanca Inn – excellent mid-level accommodation in a perfect location. Stumble 50m to Salamanca Place and enjoy the markets and everything on offer, and walk to the best Hobart has to offer. This all suite hotel with self-contained apartments was great for us as a family.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO HOBART

Accommodation in Hobart

  • Booking.com has over 150 properties in Hobart including hotels, apartments and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.

Flights to Hobart

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).

Tours in Hobart

Car Rental from Hobart

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

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Looking for tips on what to do in Hobart, Tasmania? We spent 6 days exploring Hobart, here are our suggestions for things to do and where to eat and sleep.

Can you offer tips on what to do in Hobart?Please share in the comments your things to do in Hobart.

 

Perth is for everyone

15 EXCITING THINGS TO DO IN PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA from YTRAVELBLOG.COM

We’ve been telling you how much we loved our six month trip through Western Australia and that you need to head west and not just stick to the east coast of Oz.

And that goes for Perth too, the capital city of WA.

It’s a young city that continues to evolve. The Perth city centre has been revitalised over the years adding more cafes, restaurants and especially the small bar scene, and the monster waterfront development, which looks like a mini-version of Darling Harbour in Sydney, is sure to add a lot to the city.

Perth has an attractive setting on the Swan River and nearby to several stunning beaches that are a lot less crowded than its east coast counterparts, which also adds tremendous appeal.

Throw in the mad AFL sporting culture, which I missed out on seeing a game unfortunately, and cricket at the famed WACA and Perth makes for a great short break, or for a base to have extended travel in Western Australia.

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We didn’t have all that long in the city itself, but I’m sure we’ll be back, and below is our top picks for things to do in Perth with kids.

THINGS TO DO IN PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

1. See the skyline from Kings Park

Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia

Kings Park has a stunning location overlooking the Swan River and offers sweeping views of the Perth city skyline.

The park covers more than 400 hectares and is the largest inner city park in the southern hemisphere, and is even larger than New York’s Central Park.

Walk amongst the treetops on the elevated bridge, wander the pathways, the botanical gardens, the open grassy areas and picnic amongst the gum trees. F0r eats and drinks there’s also a kiosk, the Botanical Cafe and Fraser’s Restaurant.

Kings Park also has several large playgrounds for the kids to enjoy with cafes attached for that essential takeaway coffee whilst they play.

It’s also free, which makes it one of the best things to do in Perth.

2. Catch a sunset at Cottesloe Beach

IMG_8711

Perth’s sunsets are legendary. If you haven’t seen the sun set over the ocean, Western Australia is where it’s at.

Cottesloe is a beach-side suburb about a 15-minute drive from the Perth CBD and is one of the best places to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.

Cottesloe crystal clear waters make it a popular place for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing and a great spot for families to have picnics under shady Norfolk Pines. It’s definitely one of the top things to do in Perth with kids.

3. Take a Walking Tour of Perth

Perth is a city made for walking. It’s flat, has wide streets and footpaths, and one of the best ways to start a visit to any new destination is with a walking tour to get your bearings and insider tips from a knowledgeable local.

I walked Perth with two feet and a heartbeat as we strolled through the city streets and laneways of the CBD learning about the history, culture, heritage, and colourful past of the city and experienced attractions on and off the tourist trail.

They also do a small bar tour every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Book your spot on a walking tour of Perth here. 

4. Take a Swan River Cruise

visit-perth

Make the trip from Perth down to Fremantle via a relaxing cruise on the Swan River. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline, the many sailing boats, and marvel at some of the most expensive real estate in the country – the mining boom has treated Perth well.

Consider a cruise at night when the glittering city lights are reflected on the river.

Book your Swan River cruise here.

5. Day trip to Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island, Perth, Western Australia

Rottnest Island is incredible. Located 18 kilometres off the coast it’s a premier island getaway with over 60 picturesque beaches and bays.

Rotto, as the locals call it, is best explored by bicycle, there are no cars on the island making it a relaxing and enjoyable experience for people of all ages. Other activities on the island include tennis, golf, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and diving.

Take the short ferry trip over. Our favourite beaches are the Basin and Pinky Beach. And get up close to the cute little marsupial the quokka, found only in Western Australia.

Get your combo ferry and bike rental tickets here. 

6. Hit the beaches – in the MORNING!

Scarborough Beach, Perth, Western Australia
Scarborough Beach

Perth has some excellent city beaches such as Scarborough, Cottesloe, City Beach, Trigg, Sorento, and Leighton, but Perth does get a little windy in the afternoons.

By 2pm, the famous Fremantle Doctor breeze has rolled in off the Indian Ocean making your beach day somewhat less pleasant.

So if you’re heading to one of Perth’s beautiful beaches, make it a morning event, unless you’re going late in the afternoon to take in one of the magical sunsets.

7. Explore historic Fremantle

Fremantle, Western Australia

I’m still trying to figure out if the historic seaside port of Fremantle is a suburb of Perth or its own city? Help me out! But I do know it makes for a great day trip.

Freo” is located just 30 minutes from downtown Perth and is dotted with cafes, bars, seafood restaurants and is known as the ‘world’s best-preserved example of a 19th-century port streetscape’ with heritage buildings and a fascinating convict and maritime history.

Grab a coffee on Cappuccino Strip, wander the markets, visit the old prison, and don’t miss the Little Creatures Brewery on the water for delicious wood-fired pizzas and great craft beer.

8. See a performance at Perth Concert Hall

I haven’t been to a performance at the Perth Concert Hall myself, but I’ve been told several times, and have read, that the acoustics are incredible, even better than at the Sydney Opera House.

9. Eat at the Greenhouse

Greenhouse Restaurant, Perth, Western Australia

The Greenhouse, located on St George’s Terrace is one of Perth’s hot restaurants. First of all, it’s a very interesting building architecturally and the concept is about operating better places for people and the whole place is geared toward sustainability.

The exterior of the building is clad in corrugated iron covered by a vertical garden with about 4,000 terracotta pots filled with ivy and strawberry plants.

It has 420 straw bales in its walls and ceiling, a rooftop garden that provides produce for the kitchen and bar, and recycled furniture throughout. The quality of the food is amazing and varied, especially loved the wood fired pizza.

10. Soak up the sunshine

Perth, Western Australia

Perth is the sunny city and enjoys more hours of sunshine than any other city in Australia: 3,000 hours a year and 8.8 hours a day. Average summer temperatures hover around the 30 degree celsius mark.

That’s one reason you’ll see the locals living active lifestyles walking, biking, and enjoying the many parks and beaches. Soak it up

11. Enjoy the pace of life

Perth offers a relaxing and easy going lifestyle surrounded by the Swan River, Kings Park, and endless stretches of gorgeous beaches. Compared to Australia’s other major cities of Sydney and Melbourne, Perth has a lot less people and a slower pace of life.

Although peak hour traffic can be heavy and starts earlier than normal, around 2pm which coincides with the 5pm knock off work time on the east coast of Australia. Something to be aware of.

12. Small Bar scene

Perth has experienced economic and social growth with many new developments and cultural precincts emerging. In particular, the small bar scene and new restaurants.

In the CBD Bars worth considering are Helvetica and laneway gem Andaluz. Join the cool crowd at The Aviary or the vintage feel at Hula Bula. Also in the city is 399 Bar. In the hip neighbourhood of Northbridge there’s Ezra Pound Bar and The Bird Wine Bar.

13. Hillarys Boat Harbour

Hillarys Boat Harbour, Perth, Western Australia

Hillarys is an impressive Boat Harbour development with a lot going on. There’s numerous attractions to keep the kids happy with the swimming beach, water slides, playgrounds, trampolines and mini-golf.

For us parents there’s a range of cafes, shops, restaurants, cycle paths plus all the boating and water activities. Spend an hour or a whole day and watch the sun go down over the ocean.

14. Eat at Duende

Duende is a tapas-style restaurant occupying a corner block in the suburb of Leederville that left a lasting memory in my mouth. And the modern decor brings with it a good vibe along with the nice range of Mediterranean influenced dishes.

Their motto is “everyday for everyone” and they feature an all day breakfast/brunch option till 4pm. Some of Duende’s classics include grilled tapas, bar bites, deli sliced meats, cheeses and desserts, and lots of vegetarian choices.

15. Bike or walk along the Swan River

You’ll see lots of bikers and walkers in Perth, and why not with the climate and scenery on offer year round. The communities of Bassendean, Bayswater and Belmont boasts over 28 kilometres of river foreshore.

Walkers can stroll along the Swan River foreshore and cyclists you can even take your bike on a train as a number of bike rides connect from train stations along the Midland Rail Line.

Where we stayed in Perth

Mantra Hotels in Perth, Western Australia

We stayed in a two bedroom apartment at the Mantra on Hay Street which was conveniently located to the CBD, and the WACA if you’re in town for a cricket match. Just a 10-minute walk and we were at the Hay Street Mall and everything the Perth city centre has to offer.

As a family we prefer to stay in apartments in city centres to have access to a full-kitchen, laundry facilities and separate bedrooms for the kids. And I must say the Mantra was a lovely upgrade from our camper trailer we occupied on our road trip around Australia at the time, just quietly!

The Mantra on Hay has one, two, and three bed apartments plus hotel rooms.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO PERTH

We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:

Accommodation

Flights

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).

Car Rental

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar and has a location at Perth airport

Tours in Perth

15 things to do in Perth, Western Australia

What can you add to this list of things to do in Perth? Please share in the comments below.

 

Adelaide is a beautiful place.

THINGS TO DO IN ADELAIDE – CITY GUIDE from YTRAVELBLOG.COM

City Guide - things to do in Adelaide, South Australia. Where to eat, drink, sleep, shop, explore and much more!
Image: Shutterstock.com

Looking for tips on things to do in Adelaide?

As part of our city guides series, we interviewed Nicole Smith from Bitten by the Travel Bug who is an Adelaide native.

Nicole shares with us her insider tips on the best things to do in Adelaide, plus advice on where to eat, sleep, drink, shop and explore.

Why Visit Adelaide?

Adelaide is often the ‘forgotten’ city of Australia or considered ‘for the old fogies’ because it’s more food and wine country. That said, Adelaide is one of the greenest cities in the world, the most affordable city in Australia, and we have a huge passion for sport and the arts.

Adelaide has the best of everything Australia offers within 20-minutes of the city centre – who wouldn’t love that?

Best of all, there’s minimal traffic problems in Adelaide.

Things to Do in Adelaide
See koala’s and other Australian wildlife at Cleland Wildlife Park

Things to Do in Adelaide

  • Take in a game of cricket at Adelaide Oval – Widely considered the best pitch in the world by players and one of the few places where you can still sit ‘on the hill’ and have a picnic.
  • Spend an evening at Henley Beach – This has to be my favourite area of Adelaide. Beautiful clean beach that not many tourists frequent (they seem to head to dirty Glenelg), wonderful meals, and a great atmosphere in what is turning out to be quite an artsy neighborhood.
  • Take a wine tour – We’re mad about our wine and know that ours is the best in Australia – take that Victoria! I recommend either arranging for a short-stay in one of the wine regions – we have 18 to choose from whether you want to be near the water or close to the city – or doing a Wine tour with a reputable company, such as Groovy Grapes.
  • Enjoy Hahndorf – The oldest Germany community in Australia, Hahndorf hasn’t lost all of it’s old-style architecture or fun, and don’t forget to have a pint at the Hahndorf Inn.
  • Meet the locals at Cleland National Park – If you want to see some of Australia’s native flora and fauna, head to the Adelaide hills and see kangaroos and koalas up close.
  • Explore the River Torrens – The river that runs through the heart of the city is small but there is plenty going on. A hub for festivals, paddle boat for some fun, or take the Popeye river cruise.
  • Eat Haigh’s Chocolate – Whilst there is a shop in Rundle Mall, visit the Haigh’s factory on Greenhill Road to see chocolates being made and taste samples of this South Australian companies chocolate.
Things to Do in Adelaide
Chocolate time at Haigh’s Chocolate factory!
  • Mount Lofty – For a view across Adelaide this is the place to visit. It’s quite a way out so if you’re happy with something a little closer to town visit Windy Point instead.
  • Victor Harbour – Horse drawn carriages, fairy penguins and cute markets are found in this coastal town about two-hours out of Adelaide. Especially popular in summer with locals who own beach-side properties.
  • Kangaroo Island – Made famous by Oprah, Kangaroo Island is a wildlife paradise. Sea-lions, koalas, little penguins and of course a few kangaroos; Kangaroo Island is the perfect place to visit all year round. See a lavender farm, birds of prey display or taste the local produce, there’s plenty to do on this island.

Best Neighborhoods to Explore in Adelaide

Hahndorf

Wander the main street and enjoy a proper German stout at the Hahndorf Inn, enjoy the leather or wood-craft stores, eat some lebkuchen (that is, gingerbread) or other traditional German cakes at the bakery, and enjoy the atmosphere.

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If you have time I highly recommend you walk or take the bus one stop out-of-town to the Beerenberg Farm. The jams and condiments made by Beerenberg can be found around Australia and internationally, and if it’s strawberry season you can pick your own berries to enjoy.

Glenelg

Connected to the city by Adelaide’s trams (and the historic carriages on the weekends), Glenelg is Adelaide’s busiest beach. Personally, I’d choose to visit Henley Beach if you want to escape the crowds and have clean sands, but you can’t go past the restaurants, bars, shopping and nightlife in Glenelg.

Henley Beach

Glenelg’s cleaner and quieter cousin, Henley Beach has white sands, volleyball courts, and quality restaurants and cafes – alongside the local fish&chip and yiros/souvlaki stores.

Henley Beach is quite an artsy places with plenty of galleries along Seaview Road popping up and a weekend organic market.

Rundle Street East

In the city centre, but if you’re looking for boutique stores, a range of pubs and plenty of great places to eat then Rundle Street East is your place to go.

Be sure to check out the laneways as there are more galleries, more restaurants and more shops than just on the main road!

Where to Eat in Adelaide

Restaurants

  • Lenzerheide – celebrating Adelaide’s abundant fresh food and Swiss/Austrian cuisine, the Lenzerheide has taken home a slew of awards, including ‘Best European Restaurant’. Located 10 minutes out of the city the restaurant is easy to get to by public transport or car.
  • I highly recommend the potato & leek soup and the chateaubriant (roasted beef tenderloin) at this somewhat pricey, but worth it, restaurant.
  • Alphutte – comparable to the Lenzerheide (they were once sister restaurants), Alphutte brings German and Austrian cuisine to Adelaide. Centrally located on the corner of Pultney St and Wakefield St, the prices are quite expensive by Adelaide-standards.
  • Estia – If you took my advice and headed to Henley Beach then Estia is the restaurant I’d recommend you dine at. Greek cuisine in Henley Square, tapas or single servings, a laid-back family atmosphere, and the sounds of the beach in the background – do I need to say more?
  • I recommend the Tis Skaras Arnaki (marinated grilled chicken) and loukoumathes (honey puffs) for dessert.
  • Spats – blink and you’ll miss it; Spats on King William Road, Hyde Park is fast becoming the locals favourite dinner and late night café and restaurant. Serving Eastern European food, I wasn’t blown away by it but for the prices it’s worth a visit. My tip would be to eat elsewhere and come for drinks and dessert.
  • GoodLife Pizza – Hutt Street has plenty of choices but I go for cheap and cheerful Good Life pizza any day of the week. Wood oven fired organic pizza which not only is healthy but tasty – perfecto.
  • Dumpling King – A student favourite in China town. Cheap, cheerful, and tasty Chinese food on a budget. The dumplings aren’t standout but when you’re paying AU$6 for a plate of 15, I’m not complaining. Top picks are the pork dumplings and the silver thread loaf.
  • Joy Discovery Vegetarian Cafe – A really simple Vegetarian restaurant just off of Rundle Street East on Bent Street (next to American Apparel). Highly recommend one of their curries and some samosas!
Things to Do in Adelaide
Welcome to chocolate heaven at the Chocolate Bean Cafe

Cafes

  • Chocolate Bean – have you ever wanted to try chocolate soup? Well this is the place to do it. Located on Union Street, just off of Rundle Street East, they serve great sandwiches and chocolate everything! They’re also vegan and vegetarian friendly.
  • Cibo Espresso – Alright, I’m not much for chains but in Adelaide Cibo does coffee best. Located through the city and metropolitan area and expanding rapidly into Queensland and other Australian states, their coffee knocks all of the competition out of the water.

Grab a late night Mexican feast at Zambreros

Late Eats

  • Vilis Pies & Bakery – Vili’s is an Australian icon and it started business in Adelaide. Forget fast food if your hungry at night, Vili’s Café’ which is just outside the city on Manchester St, Mile End is the place to go for a meat pie and frog cake. It’s not just the pies and cakes we love, the owner – Vili Milisits – is an icon around Adelaide who doesn’t let it get to his head by participating in on air pranks (he has his own rap!) and most days you’ll find him manning the fryer in the café.
  • Zambreros – gourmet Mexican food. I’m talking close to foot-long burritos burritos made in front of you. There are two great things about Zambreros: 1. they’re open late. 2. They can serve beer and tequila!

Where to Drink in Adelaide

  • Cooper’s Brewery – Located in Mile End, the brewery offers tours of the enormous factory that makes SA’s favourite beer.
  • The Duke (of York) – Cheap pizzas throughout the week, a beer garden out the back and DJ + dance floor upstairs Thursday til Sunday makes it the perfect place to hang and have a good time.
  • Zhivago – One of Adelaide’s newest and perhaps most edgy club, Zhivago is one of the hottest places to be and perfect for the inner hipster.
  • The Austral – if you want a pub, a real pub, with a pub atmosphere, the Austral on Rundle Street East is the place that you need to go. Three areas, a few video games, seating out the front and a bar – what more do you need?
Things to Do in Adelaide
The Austral – a great pub on Rundle Street East
  • Boho Bar – risqué and circus themed, Boho bar on the bottom of Unley Road is a feast for all of your senses. Come for a meal, drink, or one of their Halloween extravaganzas.

Where to Stay in Adelaide

If you’re looking for a central location that’s budget friendly my top choice would be Adelaide Central YHA. Located in Light Square it’s a two blocks to Rundle Mall – Adelaide’s main shopping strip and there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby.

If you’re after luxury in Adelaide then you can’t go past the Intercontinental Adelaide. On North Terrace, you are a stone throw away from Adelaide’s main sights – the Torrens River, Rundle Mall, the museums, and even Adelaide Zoo!

If you are wanting a beachside getaway be sure to enquire about Oaks Liberty Towers and Oaks Plaza Pier at Glenelg. One is on the water and Marina whilst the other is one street back. Offering larger apartment-style rooms it is a great choice for families looking to stretch out and relax.

If boutique is more your style then I’ve heard good things about the Clarion Hotel Soho. Slick, sexy and modern, the Clarion Hotel Soho is perfect boutique hotel for a couple’s getaway.

For more places to stay in Adelaide choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancelation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.

Best Markets and Shopping in Adelaide

My personal favourite type of shopping is through little boutiques and King William Road, Hyde Park and Rundle Street East take the cake for choices. King William Road can be a little higher priced but check out Wild Child for a great range, though sizes do run small.

Rundle Street has big name bands like Australian designer Lisa Ho and Zimmerman to favourite miss gladys sym choon and alternative chain, Dangerfield. There are also some quirky boutiques in the backstreets including Mid-West Traders.

Things to Do in Adelaide
Go shopping at Miss Gladys Sym Choon on Rundle Street East

Adelaide love their markets, but the one closest to our heart has to be Adelaide’s Central Market. Open Monday to Saturday the restaurant is home to fresh produce from across the state, an array of boutique stalls, as well as a camera store and second-hand book seller. If you want a quick, cheap, fresh bite then this is the place to go.

Adelaide also has a Farmers Market at the Wayville Showgrounds. Farmers from across the state come every Sunday to sell their produce and cut out the middle man, meaning you get great tasting produce and get to support farmers from around the state. There’s everything from fruit & veg to baked goods, bottled cordials and small goods.

If fashion and design are more your style then the Gillies Street Market, which happens twice a month, will be a winner with you. Find your inner vintage goddess amongst live music and food stalls.

Taste cordials and lots more at the Adelaide Farmers Market at Wayville Showgrounds

Events and Festivals in Adelaide

January we play host to the Tour Down Under. Forgiving all the locals who will done lycra and think they are the next Cadel Williams, Adelaide puts on a good show. Think outdoor parties by the Torrens River, a big parade welcoming the athletes, 7-days of intense racing through the best areas of South Australia, and of course – street parties, the chance for many of the neighborhoods that riders will start/finish in to host a party and celebrate what’s best in that area.

For four weeks during February and March Australia’s largest arts event, the Adelaide Fringe Festival comes to town. Similar to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide opens its doors to artists from around the world to share their art forms – cabaret, comedy, circus, dance, film, theatre, puppetry, music, visual art and design.

Things to Do in Adelaide
Adelaide Fringe Festival is a flurry of dance, cabaret, circus and comedy – favourite show has to go to ‘Hans’

The Clipsal 500 is the beginning of a busy March. V8 supercars turn the cities East into a race track. It’s not just the V8 Supercars that will take to the track as the GT championship is back in 2013, as well as playing host to the Dunlop racing series.

WOMADelaide, the dance, music and arts festival is held mid-March. A unique music experience runs over four days in the cities Botanic Park and show cases performances and workshops by the best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs.
WOMADelaide also has a very cool ‘Taste the World’ cooking program and environmental discussion forum, and supports a number of charitable causes. Best of for families, all kids 12 and under get free entry into the festival!

If contemporary and traditional isn’t the beat to your drum I highly recommend checking out the Future Music Festival. A one-day festival from noon til 10pm, Future Music Festival showcases the best of up & coming or the summers top performers. This year features big name performers like The Prodigy, Bloc Party, Dizzee Rascal, Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Fun, The Temper Trap and Psy – and that’s not even half the line up!

Adelaide is also home to the Schutzenfest in January – the cities equivalent to a German beer fest; the Adelaide Festival , an arts festival which runs alongside the Fringe Festival in March, and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June. There’s also the Adelaide Fashion Festival in October for the fashionistas among us!

Getting Around Adelaide

If you’re in the city centre it’s pretty easy to walk around between the main sites or take the free connector bus.

If you’re heading to Glenelg, from one side of the city to the other, King William Road, or the Entertainment Centre, I recommend you take the tram. It’s one route so easy to get on or off, and if you’re travelling through the city its free!

I’d recommend visitors use buses to get around but to make your own decision check out the Adelaide Metro website or visit the Adelaide Metro store on the corner of Currie Street and King William Street in the city to plan your journeys.

Finding WiFi in Adelaide

Adelaide isn’t the most WiFi friendly city. I’d say that all hotels and hostels will have WiFi, and many cafes will but it won’t be the best quality.

If you’re having connection problems I’d check out China Town and Grote Street as there is quite a few Internet cafes, otherwise check out Internodes Hot Spot locations for cafes that offer free WiFi.

Best Time of Year to Visit Adelaide

Little tip from a local – visit between January and March. Not only will you get the best weather but this is when Adelaide really shines and proves that it can compete with Melbourne and Sydney.

Things to Do in Adelaide
Henley Beach is stunning in the summer time!

Getting There and Away?

Adelaide is a big city and serviced by all Australian airlines (Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar), including many regional ones.

Getting from the airport to the city is easy. It’s about AU$15-20 for a taxi or there are airport JetBusservices from the city and many surrounding suburbs.

If you prefer the scenic route, Adelaide is the heart of many of the overland train journeys offered by Great Southern Rail. Take the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin, via. Alice Springs; The Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth, via Adelaide; the Overland from Melbourne to Adelaide; or the Southern Spirit from Adelaide to Brisbane, via. Melbourne.

Trains get into the station at Mile End, and though only minutes from the city I recommend you take a taxi or catch a public bus from Richmond Road.

If you prefer taking the bus then they arrive at the Adelaide Central Bus Station. Two choices of operators are Greyhound Australia and Firefly.

Best insiders tip for Adelaide

If you want a view of the city, a great place for a picnic or somewhere to go ice blocking (yes, you sit on a rug on a huge piece of ice and hurtle down a hill!) then I recommend visiting Light’s Point.

Things to Do in Adelaide
Enjoy the view over Adelaide from Light’s Point
Things to Do in Adelaide
Take a walk along the River Torrens or find a quiet spot for a picnic

 I love Adelaide because

Adelaide has the beaches people travel to Sydney for, the arts & culture of Melbourne, plenty of great food, but the laid back attitude of a small city/country town, which makes Adelaide a brilliant blend of everything I want in a city.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ADELAIDE

We always start our travel research with these trusted websites listed below:

Accommodation in Adelaide

  • Booking.com has over 150 properties in Adelaide including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.

Flights to Adelaide

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best flight deal, they send you to book directly through the airline or agent (no middlemen) or extra fees.

Tours in Adelaide

Car Rental in Adelaide

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar and Thrifty. Amend or cancel your booking online easily.

BIO – Nicole Smith is an Adelaide born girl behind travel blog, Bitten by the Travel Bugwhere she documents her solo journey around the world in search of adventure, culture and just a little bit of luxury. When she’s not writing on the blog you can find her on in 140-characters-or-less Twitter or on Facebook.

Melbourne is a beautiful place.

WHAT TO DO IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA from YTRAVELBLOG.COM

Travel tips - What to do in Melbourne, Australia
Image: Shutterstock.com

Looking for tips on what to do in Melbourne?

As part of our city guides series, we interviewed Steve Davidson who has lived in Melbourne for almost 12 years.

Steve shares with us his insider knowledge on things to do in Melbourne for those looking for the best places to eat, sleep, drink, shop and explore.

Why visit Melbourne?

There really is something for everyone here, no matter what your budget or tastes are.

The streets are very easy to navigate, and the city’s laneways offer a shopping and dining experience like no other city in Australia. The inner suburbs also offer an array of shopping and dining experiences, especially along shopping strips like Chapel and Fitzroy Streets and Sydney and Bridge Roads.

Also, it is a well known fact among Australians that we have the best coffee in the country.

What to Do in Melbourne

A personal favourite is St Kilda Pier at dusk, when the fairy penguins come in and bring smiles to everyone who sees them. Why go to Phillip Island for the penguin parade when there is a free one right in the city?

For shopping, I love the city laneways, especially between Flinders, Elizabeth, Bourke and Swanston Streets. Little Collins Street is also very good for relieving you of some of your cash.

Eureka Tower is a must see for anyone in the city. It offers stunning views from the highest observation deck in the southern hemisphere, at 297 metres/88 floors.

If you’re here during the AFL (Australian Football League) season, you must check out a game. The atmosphere in the massive MCG is unlike anything else in this country.

Best Neighbourhoods to Explore in Melbourne

The city centre is actually pretty good. I also like St Kilda for the outdoor dining and bars, many with bay views. Brunswick is great if you want to experience a bit of the Middle East, with small markets, affordable restaurants with delicious food.

I like Fitzroy for the cafes and restaurants, not to mention all of the boutique shops, many catering for a hip crowd. Richmond and Prahran are also alright, but a little more expensive than the others. They are quite popular with the locals though.

Where to Eat in Melbourne

For budget, I would recommend any beer garden on a Sunday afternoon offering a free BBQ – these are quite widespread over the summer months.

Lucky Coq (Chapel Street, Prahran) and Bimbo Deluxe (Fitzroy) offer very cheap pizzas, and I am a huge fan.

Don Dons on Swanston Street, near Melbourne Central, offers very affordable and tasty Japanese fare – and lightning fast service.

For stylish, I’d recommend Eureka 89 and Vue De Monde – mainly because I love a good view from high above the city.

For stylish yet casual, I’d recommend anywhere on Little Collins Street from Swanston Street, up to Spring Street. Terra Rosa is a personal favourite of mine along this strip.

Where to Drink in Melbourne

In the city, you’ve got Red Hummingbird,  The Workshop,  Rooftop Bar,  Cookie and many others.

For pubs, my personal favourites are along Sydney Road – The Penny Black,  The Retreat and the Cornish Arms Hotel.

There are also many along the river in Southbank – walk along and pick one – they are all great, though if you like cocktails, Left Bank (next to Freshwater Place) has the best espresso martinis I’ve ever had…

Best Place for a Sunday Session in Melbourne

Definitely any of the suburban bars and pubs mentioned above. I personally love The Penny Blackbecause they also offer a Sunday roast for those wishing to enjoy a nice, traditional Sunday meal.

I’ve never been disappointed with the food, drink, or atmosphere there on a Sunday. And, it’s good all year round, with outdoor heating and protection from the elements in winter.

I also like checking out the bars along Chapel Street – many offer discounted meals with each drinks purchase. The people are relaxed and happy on a Sunday. I’ve only good things to say about my Sunday sessions.

Best Area for a Night on the Town in Melbourne

This very much depends on your preferences. There is so much diversity.

Bimbo Deluxe has always been a place where I’ve had great nights – with an outdoor beer garden on the rooftop, dance floor, dining area and lots of comfy couches. This one is for the younger people who like to dance to music other than what’s on the radio.

If you like hip-hop, Bond Lounge in the city is the place to be. There are also many great options in St Kilda, the city, Fitzroy and along Chapel Street. There truly is something for everyone.

Where to stay in Melbourne?

For places to stay in Melbourne choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancelation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.

Getting Around Melbourne

The city is laid out on a very easy to navigate grid. The public transport system will get you to anywhere you may need to go, despite the odd cancellation.

what to do in Melbourne
Federation Square

If you’re heading to St Kilda, get the 96 tram – it runs express along an old train line, and will save you quite a bit of time.

Markets & Shopping in Melbourne

The Queen Victoria Markets, despite it’s reputation, does not really offer anything for the average tourist, in my opinion (other than to say you’ve been there). I do my meat and fruit shopping there though, so it may be handy if you’re staying in a serviced apartment and wanting to save a lot of money on the essentials.

Rose Street Markets, in Fitzroy, are known as The Artist’s Market. It is small compared to other markets, but I really like the range of clothing, accessories and art available there. They also sell some pretty nice coffee!

As above, there are many shopping areas to choose from – this really is the shopping capital of Australia, with something for everyone.

There are also other markets at St Kilda on a Sunday, as well as the ones at the Arts Centre. Chadstone in the suburbs is worth a visit if you like massive shopping centres. It may be a little tricky to get to via public transport though.

Events & Festivals in Melbourne

There are heaps. The Comedy Festival, through April, is fantastic for seeing world famous (and up and coming) comedians live.

The Moomba Festival (on the Labour Day long weekend in March) offers a carnival experience right in the city, with a highlight for me being the annual parade down Swanston Street, and the Birdman Rally. The latter just has to be seen to be believed.

Spring Horse Racing Carnival in early November is what I consider to be the unofficial start of summer, with a whole week of horse racing at Flemington, the highlight being the Melbourne Cup. I highly recommend everyone to go and experience this once in their lives.

We also have the Grand Prix and the Australian Tennis Open…there is something big on pretty much all year round.

Favorite Side Trip from Melbourne

Daylesford to the north is a beautiful country town, just over an hours drive away. There is great food and the Sunday markets are also worth the trip, along with the nearby Chocolate Mill.

This is an excellent place to visit any time of the year, though it is generally a little colder than Melbourne most of the time.

Best Time of Year to Visit Melbourne

Autumn to early winter. The weather is at it’s sunniest at this time of year, and there is generally a lack of weather extremes that occasionally hit in summer and winter.

Having said that, the weather is no where near as bad as other Australians would have you believe. I love this city all year round.

Getting from Airport to CBD

There really are only a couple of options for those without a car.

The Sky-Bus offers a regular shuttle service 24/7 direct to Southern Cross Station in the city. They also offer a hotel drop off and pick up service – ask for details at the counter.

A taxi to the city costs around $50-$60, depending on what time of day you’re travelling. I am generally very happy to stick with the Sky-Bus, unless I have returned from a long day at work interstate.

Best insiders tip for travel to Melbourne

Hmm…this is a tricky one. Definitely check out the city’s laneways for some shopping bargains, along with Smith Street, Collingwood for some decent factory outlets.

Avoid the DFO outlets and Docklands’ Harbour Town. In my observation, the items on “sale” there are more expensive than the major city department stores, although the rare occasional bargain may be found.

You Can’t Visit Melbourne Without …

A map. There are several “City Ambassadors” – wearing their distinctive red outfits, on many of the main intersections in the city.

The locals are also only too happy to recommend things to see and do, and give you directions on how to get there. This city is very easy to navigate.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO MELBOURNE

We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights, and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:

Accommodation in Melbourne

  • Booking.com has over 500 properties in Melbourne including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.

Flights to Melbourne

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, you book directly through the airline or agent (no extra fees).

Car Rental in Melbourne

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar and Thrifty.

BIO – Steve Davidson moved down to Melbourne from tropical Queensland almost 12 years ago. He first visited Melbourne in the winter time (deliberately) to see if it was as miserable as everyone says it is. He ended up falling in love with the city. You can follow Steve on twitter and connect with him on facebook.

Sydney is a beautiful place.

THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY – CITY GUIDE from YTRAVELBLOG.COM

City Gudie - Things to do in Sydney, Australia. Where to eat, drink, sleep, shop, explore and much more!

Are you looking for tips on things to do in Sydney?

As part of our city guides series, we share with you our insider tips on the best things to do in Sydney, including advice on where to eat, sleep, drink, shop and explore.

Why visit Sydney?

If you are going to visit Australia then you can’t miss Sydney. Besides being Australia’s largest city, there are many reasons why it’s also the most visited.

It has the stunning harbour side location, the iconic beaches, excellent restaurants, fantastic cafes and pubs, world heritage sites, terrific shopping, incredible festivals, a multicultural population, and good year round weather.

Don’t just use Sydney as a gateway to Oz, with so much to see and experience give yourself a week. Trust me, Sydney won’t let you down.

THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY

Free Walking Tour

Why not start your visit to Sydney with a free walking tour with a knowledgeable local guide? Rain, hail or shine the guys from I’m Free Walking Tours walk everyday at 10.30am and 2.30pm.

The 3 hour easy walking tours will show you the sights and give you your bearings so you can then go it alone

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Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is a stunning coastal walk with plenty of coves and beaches to visit along the way for a swim or a drink and a bite to eat. The walk starts behind Bondi Iceburgs and usually takes us 2 hours with the kids. Catch the train from Central to Bondi Junction, then a bus to Bondi Beach.

things to do in sydney

Ferry to Manly from Circular Quay

A great and cheap way to experience Sydney Harbour with stunning views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Can also make for a great day trip. Walk down the Manly corso, spend a few hours at Manly beach, eat an ice cream or grab a cold beer at Manly Wharf Hotel.

The Royal Botanic Gardens

You can’t beat the serenity and harbour views from the Botanical Gardens. A great free way to spend a few hours in Sydney. Walk from the Opera House to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for one of the best vantage points in Sydney. Take a picnic lunch, a blanket and a bottle of wine.

things to do in sydney
Royal Botanic Gardens

Learn to Surf at Bondi Beach

You can’t get any more Australian then learning to surf at Bondi, Sydney’s iconic beach. Bondi is perfect for any beginner as the beach faces south so you are protected and the surf is not so wild. Let’s Go Surfing is the only learn to surf company in Bondi.

things to do in sydney

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Climbing one of the most famous bridges in the world is a once in a lifetime experience. Take either a dawn, day, twilight, or night climb and take in the breathtaking views. Visit BridgeClimb.com.

Walk Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

A much cheaper option (FREE) is to simply walk across the Harbour Bridge and take in the same panoramic views on a lower level. OR, visit the Pylon Lookout for just $11 and get fantastic views plus 3 levels of exhibits and learn about the history of the Bridge.

Walk through Hyde Park

Hyde Park is Australia’s oldest park and the city’s central open green space. The park contains St Mary’s cathedral plus numerous monuments and statues, and the central pathway through the park is an impressive fig lined road.

things to do in sydney

Sydney Tower

Sydney Tower is Sydney’s tallest free-standing structure at 309 m above the CBD. It has an observation deck, and for an unforgettable Sydney experience consider the Sky Walk 268 metres above the city streets looking through a glass floor.

Sunset Cruise on the Harbour

How about taking a small private cruise of Sydney Harbour. Each sail has a maximum of 12 people, helping you to feel like you are more on a sailing day out with friends than a tour. Visit SeaSydneyCruises.com.au and cruise like a local.

Things to do in Sydney
Sunset Cruise

Razorhurst Bar Tour

The Razorhurst Bar Tour is a tour of some of Sydney’s infamous small bars in Darlinghurst. This now trendy neighbourhood used to be full of illegal shenanigans: bootlegging, laneway gambling, buzzing brothels, drugs, and bloody razor gang fights.

Walking Tour

Two feet and a heart beat offers small guided tours introducing visitors to the sights, sounds and tales of the city’s interesting history, culture and heritage in a fun, relaxed and informative way.

Tall Ship Cruise on the Harbour

Need a slower pace? Tour Sydney Harbour on a replica of a timber tall ship whilst eating fresh oysters, barbecued prawns, crab rolls, and sipping on a glass of champagne. Visit SydneyTallShips.com.au

things to do in sydney

Art Gallery of NSW

The Art Gallery of NSW is one of Australia’s leading art museums with five levels of art with extensive collections of Australian, Aboriginal, European, Asian and contemporary art. Located adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Taronga Zoo

The World Class Taronga Zoo is situated on Sydney Harbour in a natural bushland setting with spectacular views out over the Harbour. With a wide variety of animals from around the world, shows, keeper talks, and animal encounters all day makes it a great family outing.

things to do in sydney

Kayak Middle Harbour

I’ve known Sydney Harbour all my life, but experiencing her on a kayak Caz discovered a different side: quiet, calm, and natural. The Middle Harbour Eco Tour with Sydney Harbour Kayaks is a unique Sydney experience.

things to do in sydneyHit the Beaches

Sydney’s beaches are famous and free to enjoy (besides the parking fees). From the Northern Beaches to the Eastern Suburbs you have many great beaches to explore. Our favourites include: Palm Beach, Freshwater, Dee Why, Manly, Queenscliff, Balmoral, Bronte, Clovelly, Coogee, and you must visit Bondi once.

things to do in sydney
Bronte Beach

Helicopter Flight

Why not take to the skies in a helicopter flight and get an amazing view of Sydney’s beaches, coves, harbour precinct, and city skyline.

things to do in sydney

Walk Around Sydney

The Sydney CBD is very walkable. I often like to walk down George or Pitt streets from Central station to Circular Quay to feel the beat of the city. Then wander around Circular, Quay, The Rocks District, and The Botanical Gardens.

BEST NEIGHBORHOODS IN SYDNEY

Circular Quay

Wander and take photographs of Sydney’s famous landmarks, The Harbour Bridge, Opera House, and enter the Royal Botanical Gardens. A busy transport hub with outdoor cafes and restaurants lining the harbour.

The Rocks District

An historic area of Sydney near Circular Quay, and possibly my favourite part of Sydney. There’s a story around every corner when you walk the cobblestoned streets and explore the Rocks. Browse the weekend markets or go on a pub crawl at some of Sydney’s oldest pubs.

Surry Hills

A top inner-city neighbourhood and one of Sydney’s most artistically-vibrant with old terrace homes. A great mix of cafes, restaurants, wine bars and pubs serving a wide variety of cooking styles and cultures. Wander Crown Street, Bourke street and Cleveland streets.

things to do in sydney

Paddington

Fashionable neighbourhood for boutique shopping on and around Oxford street, and the famous Paddington markets held on Saturdays. Also known for art galleries, cafes, restaurants and rows of pretty Victorian terraces.

Darlinghurst

Interesting by day and night. The main drag Oxford street plays host to the internationally famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mard Gras. Darlinghurst is great for dining out, small bars, and fashion boutiques,

Manly

One of Sydney’s premier seaside suburbs for all the family. Wander the palm tree-lined corso, then hit the promenade on the beach. There’s sheltered swimming in an ocean pool, an aquarium, great fish and chips, ice cream shops, pubs, and a sophisticated dining scene.

Darling Harbour

A lively harbourside precinct just a 10-minute walk from the CBD. Waterside restaurants, cafes, nightlife, a large kids playground, and also plays host to the IMAX theatre, the Convention Centre, and the Aquarium,

things to do in sydney

Newtown

Alternative and colourful inner-west neighbourhood. Wander King street for great coffee, over 140 restaurants offering ethnic cuisines, funky bars, beer gardens and interesting people watching.

WHERE TO EAT IN SYDNEY

With a multicultural population, and a great harbour and beachside setting, there are many places to eat in Sydney for all taste buds and atmospheres. Some of our favourites:

  • Chinatown – Looking for cheap eats in Sydney then Chinatown is hard to beat. Stroll down Dixon street, see where the locals are dining, and take your pick. For super cheap hit the food courts.
things to do in sydney
$7 Laksa
  • Ms G’s Restaurant – Located in Potts Point, the fusion of Asian cuisine are out of this world. Order small tapas style dishes or larger main meals. And Ms G’s kooky cocktails are very famous.
  • Cafe Sydney – Right in the heart of Circular Quay with sensational views of Sydney Harbour from the roof top location. Yummy food, great cocktails and an outdoor terrace. A bit pricey, but as they say you pay for what you get.
  • Sea Bay Chinese  – Cheap and non-descript but full of happy eaters and huge meals. Located in the CBD on Pitt street. Don’t miss the vegetarian dumplings, home-made noodles, and the pancakes!
  • Australian Heritage Hotel – Famous for it’s Kangaroo, emu, and crocodile pizzas. Want to try real Aussie tucker? This pub in the Rocks District is where it’s at.
things to do in sydney
Kangaroo pizza
  • El Loco Mexican Cantina – How about tasty $5 tacos! A great little authentic Mexican cantina attached to the Excelsior Pub in Surry Hills serving delicious tacos and Margaritas in a relaxed setting.
  • Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore – Surry Hills location with a great breakfast and a place to sipp coffee whilst browsing the book shelves.
  • Bondi Iceburgs Bistro – For breakfast, lunch or dinner and have a beer overlooking Sydney’s most famous beach. Even OPRAH dined here (in the upstairs restaurant) but get the same views for a fraction of the price.

Things to Do in Sydney

  • North Bondi RSL – This bistro is another cheap option if you’ve made the trek to Bondi. Sit inside or outside on the deck and enjoy one of the best views in Bondi.
  • Sake Restaurant & Bar – contemporary Japanese food set within a designer space in the historic Argyle Precinct at The Rocks. Try the steamed prawn dumplings and a sashimi tasting plate.

things to do in sydney

  • Thanon Khaosan Thai Restaurant – Need authentic Thai food? This popular lunch and dinner destination has a layed back atmosphere in a great location on Pitt street near Central station.
  • BaBa Laksa House – Underneath the Grace Hotel on King Street. Open lunch time only and Monday-Friday. Great, cheap and BIG servings of Asian food. And of course awesome Laksa!
  • Harry’s Cafe De Wheels – Harry’s is an Australian icon serving pies, pasties and hot dogs to celebrities, tourists and locals. Their Pie and Peas is a particular favourite. Locations include Woolloomooloo and Haymarket.

things to do in sydney

WHERE TO DRINK IN SYDNEY

For Beer

The Rocks District has our favourite pubs in Sydney:

  • Harts Pub – great hand crafted beers.
  • The Observer Hotel – Listen to live music while downing pints of Guinness and Kilkenny.
 things to do in sydney
Caz enjoying a pint at the Observatory Hotel
  • The Glenmore – awesome roof top terrace with views over Sydney Harbour.
  • Australian Heritage Hotel – oldest continuously licensed pub in Sydney with a good selection of Aussie beers,

things to do in sydney

Surry Hills is also has excellent pubs. Two of our fave are:

  • The Clock Hotel – huge pub with a great balcony overlooking Crown Street.
  • Forresters – cold beer, good pizzas, easy walk from Central Station.

Other pubs we like around Sydney:

  • Newport Arms – home to Australia’s largest waterfront beer garden.
  • The Clovelly Hotel – one of the eastern suburbs most stylish pubs.
  • Lord Dudley – popular English style pub
  • Manly Wharf Hotel – seaside pub with views into Sydney Harbour.

For Coffee

Some of the best coffee in Sydney can be found at:

  • Single Origin – Open Monday-Friday, 60-64 Reservoir Street Surry Hills
  • Mecca Espresso – Open Monday-Friday on 67 King Street, CBD
  • Hole in the Wall – yep, this place has no name, but if you walk down George street towards the Harbour, turn left onto King St at the Apple Store, then it’s literally across the street (next to Louis Vitton Building).
  • Campos Newtown – 193 Missenden Road, Newtown

WHERE TO STAY IN SYDNEY

We have researched and compiled a list of places to stay in Sydney here. 

Budget accommodation in Sydney:

For hostels you can’t beat the two YHA properties:

  • Sydney Harbour YHA  – Top location in The Rocks District, built over the remnants of an archeological dig of white Australia’s first settlement, awesome roof top terrace, modern and great for solo, couples, and family travellers.
  • Sydney Central YHA – Terrific location with walking distance to Central Station , Chinatown, Darling Harbour, CBD, Surry Hills, and. Newtown. Large, spacious and modern. Also great for solo, couples, and families.
  • Wake Up! – Another top choice next to Central Station. Clean, modern, cool vibe, street cafe, side bar, one of the best hostels in Sydney.
  • Travelodge – Don’t want to stay in a hostel? Try the Travelodge instead which is located in a great neighbourhood near Surry Hills and within walking distance to Central Train Station, CBD, Circular Quay and more.
things to do in sydney
Amazing roof top views from Sydney Harbour YHA The Rocks

Mid-Level accommodation in Sydney:

  • Vibe Hotel CBD – in the heart of the city, walk to Central Station, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Chinatown, Circular Quay, Sydney Tower, Hyde Park, The Rocks. Chic and modern.
  • Cambridge Hotel – conveniently located near CBD in the top neighbourhood of Surry Hills.
  • Mercure Sydney – short walk to Central Station and a range of eateries for those on a budget.
things to do in sydney
Vibe Hotel North Sydney

High-End accommodation in Sydney:

  • Park Hyatt Sydney – contemporary luxury with an un-rivalled Sydney Harbour location.
  • Shangri-La – luxury in the Rocks District.
  • QT Sydney – a designer boutique hotel in the centre of the Sydney CBD.
  • Hilton – great location on famous George street with award winning restaurants and bars.

Camping in Sydney

For a unique Sydney experience, consider camping on Cockatoo Island, a heritage listed island in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Not a camper? The island also boasts houses and apartments.

things to do in sydney

For more places to stay in Sydney choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancellation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.

BEST MARKETS AND SHOPPING IN SYDNEY

Markets in Sydney:

  • Paddington Markets – Open Saturday’s with 150 unique stalls offering creative fashion and accessories.
  • Bondi Markets – Open Sunday’s offering original designer clothing, hand made jewellery, arts, crafts, retro furniture, vintage clothes and more.
  • The Rocks Markets – Saturday’s and Sunday’s offering fashion, arts & crafts, jewellery, music & books, health & beauty, souvenirs.
  • Paddy’s Markets – Huge market near Chinatown selling fruit & vegetables, clothing, CDs, flowers, sunglasses, jewellery, tourist souvenirs, and much more.
  • Sydney Fish Market – authentic working fish market. Catch the metro light rail from Central.
things to do in sydney
The Rocks Markets

Shopping Precincts:

  • Queen Victoria Building – Located on George street. The place to go for the finest fashion boutiques, jewellery and homeware, plus cafes and restaurants.
  • Pitt Street Mall – Described as ‘Sydney’s Fashion Centre” boasting retail giants and specialty stores in the heart of the CBD.
  • Westfields – Over seven levels of famous departments stores, Australian designers, and world class dining located on Pitt Street Mall.

Shopping Streets:

Darlinghurst’s Oxford Street is probably Sydney’s most famous shopping street offering designer brands including Australian designers, funky boutiques, retro, vintage, dancewear, gift stores, and people watching.

Paddington, or “Paddo” to the locals, is another suburb offering designer brands and sophistication on the Paddington designer strip.

Newtown’s King Street offers unique and quirky stores, retro and vintage fashion, music and books, furniture and homeware, collectables.

EVENTS & FESTIVALS IN SYDNEY

Sydney puts on some of the best festivals and events anywhere in the world. Highlights include:

New Years Eve – Is there a better setting and fireworks display in the world? I think not.

Sydney Mardi Gras – One of the largest LGBT pride parade and festivals in the world. The highlight of the Festival is the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade which is an eye-catching demonstration of LGBTQI pride as thousands of people make their way down Oxford and Flinders St on colourful floats.

Vivid Sydney – month long after dark festival where Sydney is transformed into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas.

The Sydney Festival – Every January a festival of music, theatre, dance, visual arts and installations, talks, free & family events.

Carols in the Domain – Australia’s largest free Christmas concert where 100,000 people enjoying singing of the carols and a musical variety show.

GETTING AROUND SYDNEY

Walking in Sydney

The CBD is very walkable and for the most part flat. From Central Station to Circular Quay down George or Pitt streets should take approximately 30-40 minutes.

Free Bus Shuttle

A free CBD shuttle (route 555) runs every 10 minutes on a loop from Central Station to Circular Quay via Elizabeth and George Streets.

Hop-On-Hop-Off-Bus Tour

The Sydney Explorer offers commentary tours of the CBD and to Bondi at 34 different stops including all the major Sydney attractions.

City Rail Trains

The City Circle loop will take you around the CBD area with stops at Central, Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, St James and Museum.

Bondi Beach – take the eastern suburbs line to Bondi Junction then connect with buses to Bondi Beach.

My Multi Passes – unlimited travel on all government trains, buses and ferries for just $21 per day or $60 per week.

Family Funday Sunday – Travelling with a family? Every Sunday for $2.50 per person you get unlimited travel on all trains, buses, ferries and light rail.

Getting to Sydney Airport

Airport Link – trains run directly from Central Station to the airport $15.90 one way (approx 12 minutes).

Airport Connect – a Door To Door shuttle services to and from Sydney Domestic and International Airport and to and from the Sydney CBD

Sometimes we find Uber is cheaper to get to and from Sydney Airport, especially if there a few of you. You can use the code ql3dc to grab a free ride.

FINDING FREE WIFI IN SYDNEY

More and more free wireless Wi-Fi hotspots are being installed all over in Sydney (and about time!!), in cafes, restaurants, food courts and hotels.

Free wireless internet is also available at:

Also, Urban Spoon  is a good resource to search cafe and restaurant listings offering free wireless internet.

BEST TIME TO VISIT SYDNEY

Sydney is a destination you can enjoy all-year-round. There’s always something going on and it doesn’t get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter with rainfall spread throughout the year.

But, if I had to suggest a BEST time it would be summer time for sure. Being a harbour and beaches city the summer is the best time to experience all that Sydney has to offer.

Why not do something different and experience a summer Christmas and Boxing day? Plus, in the summer you have three other huge events: New Years Eve, the Sydney Festival and Australia Day.

things to do in sydney
Bondi Beach

GETTING THERE AND AWAY

Sydney is Australia’s biggest city, and the gateway to the country with all major airlines running services.

From North America you have many options including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Emirates, and all the major US airlines.

From Asia consider Jetstar, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and budget carriers like Air Asia, and Scoot.

BEST INSIDERS TIP FOR SYDNEY

Unbelievably it took me 36 years to visit this place, but the Royal National Park, Australia’s oldest and the world’s second oldest National Park behind Yellowstone, is a hidden gem.

Located within an hours drive south of the Sydney CBD, the park’s diversity is in its coastal cliffs surrounded by sandy beaches and mountainous sandstone ridges with deep river valleys.

It offers great coastal and bush walks, picnic spots, camping, cycling, swimming, and drives. If your timing is right consider a full moon walk.

Brisbane, a wonderful place.

WHAT TO DO IN BRISBANE from YTRAVELBLOG.COM

Looking for tips on what to do in Brisbane?

As part of our city guides series, we interviewed Annabel Candy who lives in Noosa just a two hour drive north of Brisbane. Annabel shares with us her insider Brisbane travel tips and knowledge on what to do in Brisbane for those looking for the best places to see, eat, stay, drink, and explore.

What to Do in Brisbane?

Despite many people skipping Brisbane on their visits to Australia because Sydney seems to steal all the attention there’s lots to see and do in Brisbane.

It’s worth spending some time here and enjoying it rather than just using Brisbane as a stopping point on the way to the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Noosa or Byron Bay.

My favourite things to see and do in Brisbane:

  • Go to the lookout at the top of Mount Coot-tha. There are regular buses to the summit or to the planetarium at the base if you’d like to walk to the top through the botanical gardens. Go at sunset for fantastic 360-degree views over Brisbane to the coast. There’s a restaurant and a cafe at the summit, both of which are over-priced for the food they serve, but are still a good place to hang out for a drink with top views.
  • Take a ferry on the Brisbane River. There are plenty of boat tours of Brisbane and CityCat ferries to help you get around but my tip is the free Cityhopper. It just launched on 1 July and links various Brisbane hot spots, including Eagle Street and the South Bank, along the inner city stretch of the Brisbane River and runs from 6am until midnight.
  • Promenade along the Southbank. Brisbane has long river walks on both sides of the river but the Southbank is particularly vibrant. There are free pools for the summer months. You’ll also enjoy playgrounds for the kids, markets, and street performers to entertain you. The sparkling Brisbane River sets everything off beautifully and there’s a huge range of cafes and restaurants.
  • Hang out in Fortitude Valley with the hip young people, boutique shops and myriad restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
  • If you’re into seeing and cuddling Australian animals and can’t make it to Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast then Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary will deliver the goods.
  • South Bank Museums – Do visit the Queensland Muesum, Brisbane’s (free) State Museum where you can learn about Queensland’s history, geography, and native people from the hands on displays and beautiful exhibits.
  • The Sciencenter next door to Queensland Museum is great if you have kids. There’s a charge for entry but it’s worth it so allow plenty of time as the kids will want to stay and play all day.
  • The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) across the street will give you great insights into life in Queesland including works by Queensland-born or Queensland-based artists and a colourful collection of indigenous art.
  • Next door to GOMA the State Library of Queensland is a relaxing place to hang out, research your travel options and tap into the free wifi.
brisbane wheel
Brisbane’s Southbank and Museum District

Best Neighborhoods to Explore in Brisbane

  • Fortitude Valley, known to locals as the Valley, is one of the most fun areas to hang out in within central Brisbane and is home to Brisbane’s Chinatown.
  • New Farm is one of Brisbane’s most cosmopolitan suburbs, and contains many of the cities trendiest bars and restaurants. Thanks to its proximity to the city and riverside location, it is also becoming one of Brisbane’s most prestigious suburbs.
  • Brisbane CBD and Queen Street Mall to stock up on essentials before you head off to rural Australia.
  • The Southbank, with its lovely location by the Brisbane River, has something for everyone, from endless dining options to free swimming in the man-made lagoons
  • Kangaroo Point is a green area with spectacular views of Brisbane city centre and impressive structures including Story Bridge and natural sandstone cliffs, both of which you can climb on tours.
Story Bridge which adventurers can climb on a guided tour
Story Bridge which adventurers can climb on a guided tour

Where to Eat in Brisbane

Brisbane’s foodie scene is taking off with endless great cafes and restaurants to choose from.

For the best assortment of international restaurants, including a dizzying array of Asian restaurants in Chinatown, head to the Fortitude Valley area and try:

MY LATEST VIDEOS

  • Wagaya – Set on a first floor over Brunswick Street this huge, busy Japanese restaurant has several booths as well as private rooms and traditional Japanese style rooms. With touchscreen ordering and a vast choice of dishes this is a cheap and cheerful place to eat that’s got something for everyone.
  • Ortiga – With a street level tapas bar and a stylish ground floor dining room Ortiga brings the best Spanish cuisine to the Brisbane dining scene. It’s not cheap but it is a great choice for a splurge meal or special occasion.
  • Freestyletout – Located on Ann Street, this is the spot to go if you’re searching for great desserts. They serve meals too but they’re best known for their sweet treats.
  • Shlix – For delicious homemade Italian ice-cream at a price that won’t break the bank. Order a cone or cup, grab a seat on the street and watch the world go by.
  • Grill’d – For gourmet burgers including beef, chicken and lamb along with three rather fine vegetarian options.
brisbane wagaya
The Candy family hit Wagaya Restaurant in Fortitude Valley and the kids loved the touchscreen ordering.

Where to Drink in Brisbane

For a quiet drink and an extensive wine list including wines from the nearby Granite Belt head to Bar Barossa on Queen Street just a block back from the river.

Best Nightlife in Brisbane

There are bars and night clubs galore in Fortitude Valley. Sadly my bar hopping days are over but a little bird told me that these are the hip and happening spots you should check out.

  • Sky Room on Wickham Street for cocktails.
  • Alhambra Lounge on McLachlan St where you can shake your booty to the live music.
  • Emporium at the Emporium Hotel on Ann Street if you want to go upmarket and get dressed up.
  • Cloudland which is THE place to see and be seen in Brisbane.

Where to Stay in Brisbane

Wellington has plenty of great hotels and hostels for the budget traveler including Chill Backpackers and Banana Benders Backpackers.

For luxury check out the Sofitel in the CBD or the Treasury Hotel and Casino.

If you’re traveling with friends or family booking an apartment at Mantra on the Quay is a great deal. Many of the apartments have spectacular river views and they’re all right on the river and within easy walking distance of Fortitude Valley.

For more places to stay in Brisbane choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancellation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.

Markets and Shopping in Brisbane

Queen Street Mall is Brisbane’s most popular shopping area with boutiques, chain stores and department stores to suit every budget. The Southbank markets on Friday evenings and weekends are fun. The Powerhouse Farmers Markets in New Farm are open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month

brisbane southbank market
Brisbane’s Southbank Market

Finding Wifi Friendly places in Brisbane

I always find Australia a bit slow when it comes to free wifi but you can usually sniff it out somewhere. Free wifi is offered at all McDonalds locations and many cafes as well as at the South Bank Museums and the library.

Events & Festivals in Brisbane

The big one is the Brisbane River festival in September when you can catch a flotilla of boats crusing down the river as well as a fireworks display. There are plenty of other events including film festivals, arts festivals, and fashion events throughout the year. Just look out for the free local press which you can usually find in your hostel or hotel.

Getting Around Brisbane

Walks along the river make it fun to walk around. If the distances are too far or you’re in a hurry there are buses and river ferries as well as services like Greyhound buses to get you out of the city to your next destination.

Favorite Side Trip from Brisbane

Well, I’m a bit biased towards Noosa and the Sunshine Coast where I live. If you head up there you’ll find miles of beautiful white sand beaches with ocean swimming possible all year round. For beach lovers who want to stay closer to Brisbane try Moreton Bay and Bribie Island. The Granite Belt is a well known wine growing area with heaps of vineyards and wine tastings as well as Girraween National Park which is gorgeous.

Best Time of Year to Visit Brisbane

Anytime except the summer school holidays in January when it’s super hot and the entire Southbank is crawling with people.

Getting There and Away?

Qantas has international flights from the big transport hubs like Auckland, Los Angeles, Singapore and there are plenty of domestic flights to other big cities round Australia. You can also get here by train or bus and driving round the city is quite easy too if you have your own wheels.

Best insiders tip for travel to Brisbane

Make sure you get out on the river, either on a paid cruise or on the free Cityhopper.

I love Brisbane because …

It’s got a fabulous sub-tropical climate so it never gets that cold, plus it’s got all the glitz and glamour of a big city yet it’s easy to get around and the people are friendly.

what to do in brisbane
Brisbane River

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO BRISBANE

We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:

Accommodation in Brisbane

  • Booking.com has over 250 properties in Brisbane including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.

Flights to Brisbane

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).

Tours in Brisbane

Car Rental in Brisbane

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

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Insiders Guide - What to do in Brisbane. Where to eat, drink, sleep, shop, explore and much more!
Image: Shutterstock.com

BIO – Annabel Candy is a freelance writer and web designer. Born in England, she’s traveled to over 40 countries, lived in eight of them and has both British and Kiwi passports. But don’t hold that against her. Annabel now lives in Noosa, Australia where she writes her travel blog, shares blogging tips and spends far too much time on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.