SYDNEY

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Sydney, Australia: The Top Things to See and Do

With its magnificent harbour, beautiful beaches and world famous sights, Sydney is a city that will captivate you from the very first moment you arrive. But spend a little more time here and your love for Sydney will only grow further and further. The capital of New South Wales is one of the most beautiful cities in the world – and it’s positively brimming with things to see and do.

Highlights

Climb the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and take in unrivalled views over the city, or experience the sights in a more leisurely way by taking a cruise along the waterfront. Indulge in a little retail therapy along Oxford Street, before experiencing a memorable concert at the iconic Sydney Opera House. When the show is over, head straight to Darling Harbour and experience its bustling nightlife – and when it’s time to relax and take things easy, what could be better than a lazy afternoon on Bondi Beach?

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Attractions

For a truly exhilarating experience that will live long in your memory, a climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an absolute must. Take in the breath-taking panoramic views from the 134-meter summit and learn all about its history from your experienced tour guide.

Next up, make a visit to the famous Taronga Zoo, which is home to more than 4,000 animals. Here you will find many examples of native Australian wildlife, including numerous rare and endangered animals.

In addition, make sure to set aside some time to explore some of Sydney’s many museums and galleries. The Australian Museum is the oldest in the country and has more than 10 million items in its vast collection, while the Australian National Maritime Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and Powerhouse Museum remain ever popular.

Finally, no visit to Sydney would be complete without visiting the Sydney Opera House. Pose for pictures in front of this famous and iconic structure, before heading inside and enjoying a world-class show. With a huge variety of events throughout the year, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Beaches

Bondi Beach is famous all over the world and is a fantastic place to go surfing, but be sure to also check out some of Sydney’s other stunning sandy stretches. Manly Beach offers amazing views of the Sydney skyline (catch the Manly Ferry from Circular Key), while the beautiful Palm Beach will be instantly recognisable to viewers of the popular soap Home and Away.

Shopping, Restaurants and Nightlife

For a huge choice of famous brands, head to Oxford Street or the popular Westfield shopping mall. In addition, The Rocks is home to a great selection of independent retailers, while the Queen Victoria Building houses many fashionable boutiques.

When it comes to dining and nightlife options, you will be literally spoilt for choice. Dine in style at the 360 Bar and Dining and enjoy spectacular views over the city, or head to Circular Quay, the Rocks or Chinatown for a great choice of world cuisines.

For those looking to experience the vibrant Sydney nightlife, Kings Cross, Oxford Street and Darling Harbour contains some of the city’s hottest nightspots.
Article by Dan Flower.

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MELBOURNE

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Melbourne, Australia: What to See and Do

Australia’s sporting and cultural capital is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that will delight and surprise in equal measure. Explore the bustling city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods to uncover world-class museums and art galleries, acclaimed restaurants and diverse shopping districts – or soak up the atmosphere and excitement of Melbourne’s many sporting events.

Highlights

Head straight to Federation Square in the heart of the city, where you’ll find a plethora of museums, galleries, bars and restaurants in what has become the city’s natural cultural centre. ‘Fed Square’ hosts more than 2,000 events throughout the year – including a diverse range of festivals, markets, exhibitions, film screenings and much more.

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From here, take a walk on foot and explore the maze of laneways and arcades in the inner city. Here you’ll find hidden gems at every turn – from quirky boutiques and galleries, to acclaimed restaurants, cool bars, cosy cafes and eye-catching street art.

When you’ve finished wandering, hop onto the free City Circle Tram and take a trip past many of the city’s most famous attractions while listening to the guided audio commentary.

Get off the tram near Southbank and walk along the waterfront until you reach Eureka Tower, where you can take a trip up to the Eureka Skydeck on the 88th floor (the highest in the Southern Hemisphere) and take in the spectacular panoramic views over central Melbourne, Albert Park Lake, Port Philip Bay and the Dandenong Ranges.

Museums and Galleries

Learn all about Australia’s immigration history at the Immigration Museum on Flinders Street, or head to the Melbourne Museum and discover a vast array of exciting exhibitions showcasing Australian social history, culture, science, the environment and much more. In addition, be sure to visit the National Sports Museum, where you can take a trip through the ages of Australia’s rich sporting history and see a wide range of fascinating memorabilia.

If you’re an art lover, you’ll find an amazing range of galleries dotted around the city, including the National Gallery of Victoria, the Gertrude Contemporary (located in a vast converted warehouse) and the Heide Museum of Modern Art. In addition, be sure to pay a visit to the State Library of Victoria, which showcases a wide range of Australian paintings, sculptures, ceramics and photography.

Sports

Watch an exciting cricket or football match at Melbourne Cricket Ground, or plan your visit to coincide with the Melbourne Cup horse race (November), or the Australian Open tennis tournament (January), where you can watch the world’s best players battle it out for Grand Slam glory.

 Shopping

Shop for world famous brands in the Melbourne Central Mall, or explore the many gems located in and around the historic laneways and arcades. For the best in boutique shopping, Gertrude Street is an absolute must-visit – or check out the flagship department stores on Bourke Street. You’ll also find many bustling markets that are just bursting with hand-made goods and irresistible bargains.

Restaurants and Nightlife

When evening falls, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat, with the city offering an amazing choice of everything from exquisite fine dining to world cuisines and cheap eats. Head straight to the Central Business District for a great choice of eateries, or make for one of the chic surrounding neighbourhoods like Fitzroy, Carlton and Richmond. If you’re looking for the best nightlife in Melbourne, King Street is the place to be.

Whatever you’re into, Melbourne is a city that will draw you back again and again!
Article by Dan Flower.

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THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD. A SPECTACULAR COASTAL DRIVE

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A Memorable Journey Along the Great Ocean Road

Stretching more than 240 kilometres along Australia’s picturesque south east coast, the Great Ocean Road is surely one of the most beautiful coastal drives to be found anywhere in the world. As you travel beside the wild and windswept Southern Ocean, your journey will take you through remote rainforest and pretty coastal towns, and past spectacular waterfalls, secluded beaches, rugged limestone cliffs and magnificent rock stacks. This is one journey you’ll never forget!

Explore The Otways

In the Otways National Park you will find some of Australia’s best and most remote rainforest scenery, with ancient forests, enchanting valleys and kilometre after kilometre of rugged coastline. There are many beautiful beaches to discover, plus an abundance of plant life and wildlife. Be sure to explore the spectacular mountains of the Otway Ranges – or head into the valleys and take in the beauty of the park’s many impressive waterfalls, including the famous three cascades of the Triplet Falls.

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Visit Cape Otway

Visit Cape Otway, the most southerly point in the region, where you’ll find stunning scenery and an array of amazing beaches, including the picture-postcard Johanna Beach and Blanket Bay. Be sure to visit Cape Otway Lightstation and the Cape Otway Centre for Conservation, which provides visitors with a fantastic opportunity to see local native wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and a diverse range of birds.

Walk the Great Ocean Walk

 The famous Great Ocean Walk begins at Apollo Bay and weaves along the dramatic coastline to the 12 Apostles, taking you past secluded beaches, dramatic cliffs and truly breathtaking coastal scenery. Complete the whole 100km walk over a number of days (there are many campsites, B&Bs and hotels along the way), or sample a shorter section of the walk and enjoy a picnic at one of the many picturesque spots.

See the 12 Apostles

 No trip along the Great Ocean Road would be complete without seeing the magnificent rock stacks of the Twelve Apostles, which were formed over millions of years by the erosion of limestone cliffs and now stand proudly in the sea adrift from the shore. At up to 40+ metres high, they are an instantly recognizable feature of the coastline.

Visit the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village

 Located in the coastal city of Warrnambool, the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village is must-visit attraction that offers visitors the chance to learn all about the history of the so-called Shipwreck Coast and experience what life may have been like for the first European settlers in Australia. The centre houses a fascinating village and museum, as well as hosting Sound and Light Show Experiences that tell the unique story of Australia’s maritime history.

 Visit Split Point Lighthouse

Located in Aireys Inlet, the Split Point Lighthouse will be instantly recognisable to viewers of the popular TV series “Round the Twist.” Take a tour of this working lighthouse and take in the stunning 360-degree coastal views, while learning all about its history from your guide. Before you go, stop for a bite to eat at Willow’s Tea House, then burn off those calories by taking a walk along the picturesque coastal path. Article by Dan Flower.

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