Travel Itineraries – Australia [Part One]
Hello again it’s Thursday and for the last few weeks Travel Itineraries has been my Thursday segment (despite the fact that it’s simply the most work one needs to write a darned post possible). And today I thought I’d do Australia. This will be an idealised itinerary. I haven’t set out and done a long trip around my own country, however, I have been to plenty of places and feel at least semi-qualified to create an itinerary.
It’s a big country so I’ve split it into two posts. So the map will come next week so as not to spoil the second part of the itinerary. I’ve thought about it and I think this is going to need around three months. So if anyone wants to use it as a guide, and you don’t have such a long time, split it up.
Coming to Australia you need to consider the climate. It will possibly determine the direction you travel as per the time of year. The north can be blisteringly hot and also affected by cyclones and severe weather in the Australian summer. So I advise starting south if you arrive in the summer. Having said that, don’t look at the map and think that therefore Perth and Adelaide are coolish in summer, they both frequently top 40 degrees celcius.
Melbourne is cooler, but can hit forty on the odd occasion. We are still in summer here and we have had two 40+ days this summer thus far. Oh, and remember in the Southern Hemisphere we have our summer from December through to February. Winters are much milder than Europe, Canada and much of the States, even in Melbourne and Tasmania we don’t see snow except for up in the mountains. Brisbane can be very mild in winter, mid-twenties, and north of Brisbane it’s the dry season and usually over 30.
Australia has so much to offer, and if time and money are not object, you could spend a year easily going around the country. So, where to start?
I think that Australia can be divided into the east coast and the rest of the country. So let’s start east, and work across to the grand expanses of the west. So today I am going to talk about Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
Queensland is filled with wildlife, rain forests and much beauty. Catch a flight to Cairns and start there, or Port Douglas which isn’t too far from Cairns. I’m heading to Cairns this July, but haven’t been before, but there’s plenty to see and do, including a scenic railway trip through the rain forest – The Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Of course Queensland is famous for its beaches and warm weather and you’ll have plenty of both on your way south to Brisbane which you should take your time in doing. You have Townsville, the Whitsundays including Hamilton Island (pricey though), Fraser Island, Bundaberg and more on your way south to Brisbane all wonderful places for a bit of sun. Then you hit the Sunshine Coast and Noosa before Brisbane city.
South of Brisbane is the famed Gold Coast, the main city of which is Surfer’s Paradise. There are theme parks if that’s your think, boat trips, and much more. Make your way south to New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia.
You might head a little inland and visit Tamworth, famed for the country music festival held in summer, or New England, a really beautiful area. Coffs Harbour, back on the coast is another beachside town worth a few days. As I write this, I realise that even though train and (mostly) bus will get you to these places, really the best way is to hire a car or campervan.
Inland New South Wales has a few places of interest too. If you have the time, the mining town of Lightning Ridge is famed for its opals and I remember going there as a kid. Places like Dubbo – with its zoo, and Parkes with its radio telescope, as also very interesting. The coast of NSW has plenty of places for sand and surf. Nimbin is famed for its beaches and other things too…
Sydney of course will be a must see and offers stunning views and experiences and will be worth a week at least. Near Sydney are the beautiful Blue Mountains, lots of hiking to be had. Moving south to Victoria, there’s plenty to see and do here in my state. In Sydney well, you have the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, the tower, and the views of harbour from the ferry. To start with.
Down we go south to Victoria. River sports abound on the Murray River that is the border of the two states. Take a boat on the river, or visit the lakes at Yarrawonga. There might even be a steamer on the river if you’re lucky. Some good wine growing regions in the area too.
Mining town of Ballarat is really interesting with Sovereign Hill – set up like a town in the 1850s – is great fun (if a little expensive). The Gippsland region of Victoria is green and verdant and is worth exploring. Bendigo is another gold rush town worth a couple of days.
The Victoria Coast, given the right weather, is beautiful, sandy and again great for swimming and surfing. You don’t have to go far out of Melbourne for some really nice beaches – go a little down the Mornington Peninsula and you’ll find heaps. The area itself is stunningly beautiful.
West of Melbourne you have places like Lorne, famous for its Falls festival, campers and revellers in the summer. The drive westward takes you along the Great Ocean Road and past the ‘Twelve Apostles’ (now not so many) that stick out of the ocean.
Melbourne itself is a great city – it’s my city, so I’m biased, but I am reliably told by locals and visitors alike – best coffee in the world! (don’t drink it myself) We have the gorgeous Yarra River, the best sporting facilities in the world, the best theatre district in Australia, bars, pubs aplenty, river cruises, wonderful botanical gardens, a great museum, an old jail (gaol) open to the public (where the bush ranger Ned Kelly was hanged!) and so so much more.
This post has already been about twice as long as I like to write, so I will leave Tasmania, Northern Territory, South and Western Australia until next week. As you can see – there’s so much to Australia and I’ve left so much out!
Hope this whets your appetite! Take care and May the Journey Never End!