Travel heaven might just be down under and you might have to cross the world to get there, but the journey will certainly be worth travelling for! With unique wildlife, a myriad of natural wonders, cosmopolitan metropolises and endless stretches of surf beach, Australia is one of the most fascinating places on earth and it’s not a surprise more and more people are intrigued by its beauty!
Neus, a travel consultant in our Crewkerne branch is one of many to have taken time off to explore this continent’s hidden treasures and has proven that it could be done even if you’re on a budget. As our Australia expert, she created a series of blogs to take you through some of the places she visited.
Australia is an amazing country and I feel I was very lucky to be able to spend a year exploring it! Although it is ‘just’ an island, Australia is actually bigger than Europe, and thus, for those who want to explore the whole country, I would recommend a holiday of at least five weeks.
VICTORIA & SOUTH AUSTRALIA
I started my journey in Melbourne, as that was my base for the year. Melbourne is such a great city - there is a lot to see and do, and their coffees and cakes are delicious! My favourite places were the Queen Victoria Markets, the State Library of Victoria and Degraves Street. Melbourne is well-known for its crazy weather, so no matter what time of the year you visit, always be prepared to experience ‘four seasons in one day’!
Having Melbourne as a base gave me a great chance to explore Victoria. My highlights here were:
- Mornington Peninsula - great for those who enjoy hiking
- Philip Island - recommended for families and those who want to see little penguins
- The coastal neighbourhoods of Melbourne, such as St Kilda and Torquay, which are great for surfing
Public transport is really good in and around Melbourne so it is really easy to visit nearby towns just by hopping on a train. However, the visitor information centre at Federation Square also offers escorted tours to the most popular areas for those who would prefer to go with a group. Federation Square also offers free Wifi.
Around April, my friends and I hired a motor home and drove from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road - definitely worth doing!
The drive took us about six days, which included a detour to visit the Grampians National Park, and we took it slow as we wanted to make the most of the journey. Driving the Great Ocean Road can easily be done in a couple of days, giving you enough time to see the main sights. Tour companies also offer day tours from Melbourne and nearby towns, if you do not wish to hire a car. I do think hiring a car is worth it as it gives you the chance to see the sights at your own pace. However, the road can be dangerous and it is highly recommended to plan your itinerary in advance as hotels get booked up very quickly!
The Twelve Apostles are amazing, but don’t turn around there, follow the coast to Warnambool and enjoy some stunning coastal sights. My favourite was the Bay of Islands, which is a lot less crowded than the Twelve Apostles and much more impressive!
Once we arrived in Adelaide, we spent a night there and then flew to Hobart, Tasmania, in the morning. Most people forget about this island, but I would definitely recommend it to those who are interested in its history, flora and fauna. The first thing to do when arriving into Tasmania is get a National Park entry pass as it will be required pretty much everywhere. Passes can be bought at the tourist information centres. For those interested in history, Port Arthur convict settlement is definitely a must-see, both educational and fun! I loved driving around Tasmania and I do think that it is the best way to see the island as there are some remote places where tours won’t go to. I also believe that camping is the best way to experience it.
My favourite sight in Tasmania was Cradle Mountain, which was absolutely stunning and a perfect location to get the chance to see some local animals. The East Coast of Tasmania is gorgeous. I would recommend stopping in Bruny Island, Freycinet National Park and the Bay of Fires.