Perth, Australia

Perth is the capital of Western Australia. There is now a direct flight from London to Perth! I definitely needed more time to see all of Western Australia but here is what I did cover and would recommend

  1. King’s Park and Botanic Garden for stunning views and walks that can take you all the way to the famous lone standing blue boat house.
  2. Day trip to the Pinnacles desert and Lancelin for sand boarding, passing by Swan Valley where you can try wine, honey, coffee and chocolates. Here is the tour I used which included a BBQ at the Pinnacles desert for dinner while we were star gazing.
  3. Day trip to Rottnest Island for the adorable Quokka’s who are super friendly and will smile for your camera. Be sure to rent a bike to explore the whole island (approx 22km), a much more comfortable option than the bus that does a loop.
  4. Fly or drive for ages to Esperance which is known for its pink lake, however it is no longer pink! There is still a pink lake on an island off the coast of Esperance which you can fly over via helicopter for $300+. Or you can stay on the mainland and enjoy Cape Le Grand National park which is the only beach in the world to have kangaroos roaming around and Australia’s version of Stone henge. You can also complete the short Great Ocean Drive with magnificent beaches, stand under a windmill and see the ‘pink lake’. Here is the tour company I used in Esperance as I didn’t rent a car.
  5. Visit Fremantle from Perth city centre, for their weekend market, do a prison tour and enjoy sunset by the rainbow sea containers.

Great Ocean Road and Grampians

I’d like to share my itinerary for this famous road trip to make your life easier!

Tip: It tends to be gloomy in the morning with really blue skies 12pm onwards, so keep this in mind for your photos.

Day 1:

Pick up car from Melbourne Airport, drive to the Great Ocean Road putting in Torquay as you first stop. The Great Ocean Road is a permanent memorial to those who lost their lives whilst fighting WW1. From here, head to Bell’s beach known for its surfing -> Anglesea -> Memorial Arch -> Lorne -> Eskirne Falls > Teddy’s Lookout -> Apollo Bay for lunch and grab takeaway dinner here -> Otway National Park for Cape Otway light station (this is a paid activity and closes at 5pm with last entry being 430pm. If you miss this, you can still do a free walk on the side to see the lighthouse from a distance). Check in to 12 Apostles Inn and drive to Gibson Steps and the 12 Apostles for sunset.

This sounds like a lot in one day but keep in mind it’s all about the drive and view points so nothing took up too much time other than the lighthouse walk. Of course we took the first flight that got us into Melbourne ASAP.

Day 2:

Continue along the Great Ocean Road and ensure plenty of time to stop at the lookouts along the way. There are short walks at Loch and Gorge -> Bay of Islands -> Logans Beach viewing platform for whale watching (May-Oct is best) -> Warrnambool for lunch and cheesy factory-> Tower Hill State Game Reserve for multiple walk options -> Port Fairy for Griffith Island lighthouse (nice gentle walk) -> Stay the night in Warrnambool Redwood Manor Motel Apartments.

 

Day 3:

Drive to the Grampians! First stop Dunkeld where you will find The Old Bakery known for its croissants (opens 9am) -> Boroka Lookout especially stunning at sunset if you wanted to do the drive here the night before instead (90m from carpark, best view) -> Reeds lookout (100m from carpark) -> The Balconies (Easy 2km return walk) starting from the Reeds lookout carpark -> Mackenzie Falls 2km return to the base of the falls (there are also other short walks to other falls from here) -> Beehive falls which is almost the highest point of the Grampians National Park (there wasn’t any water when we went, seasonal, 2.8km return therefore not worth doing) -> Pinnacle Lookout (2.1km climbing rocks too, best hike, starting from Sundial Carpark). Stay at Halls Gap, The Grampians Motel and eat at The Views Bar and Restaurant. Food around this area is pricy because there isn’t much choice. Halls Gap is the base for the Grampians. Sunset is best from The Balconies and Reeds Lookout if you want to catch this.

We initially thought we needed to split all these across two days but it is absolutely doable to see and hike everything in the one day as long as you stay the night because you will need the rest!

 

Day 4

Grampians to Ballarat exploring the town known for Gold. From the information centre in the city centre, pick up a free walking tour guide so you can read up on the historic buildings you will see everywhere you walk. Definitely visit Sovereign Hill and the gold museum. Drive back to the airport to return the car and fly home.

Darwin, Australia

Darwin is the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory and a former frontier outpost. It’s also a gateway to massive Kakadu National Park. I would recommend joining a tour to cover the Northern Territory, I joined a Topdeck tour allowing me to make friends, not have to worry about plans and especially driving on endless roads (lots of dead kangaroos along the way, you may also spot snakes and crocodiles as I did). Here is what we got up to:

  1. Mindil Beach and markets, be sure to go during sunset!20180506_181135
  2. Crocosaurus Cove on Mitchell Street (main street with the mall, hostels, restaurants, Coles and pubs). Up-close wildlife exhibits with reptiles, turtles & a saltwater crocodile in a viewing cage. You can also pay more for the ‘cage of death’, an unclose encounter with crocodiles! Or enjoy a free photoshoot with various reptiles, and a paid photoshoot with baby crocodiles.
  3. Darwin Waterfront, wave pool and open air cinema with more fancy restaurants along the waterfront.
  4. Litchfield National Park: Wangi Falls, Termite Mounds, Florence Falls, Buley Rock holes.
  5. Katherine: Edith Falls, Katherine Gorge boat tour and Katherine Hot Springs.
  6. Kakadu National Park: Aboriginal rock art at Anbangbang, Yellow Water Billabong Boat Tour and Sunset at Ubirr (best one in my opinion).

Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide is South Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal capital. Its ring of parkland on the River Torrens is home to renowned museums such as the Art Gallery of South Australia, displaying expansive collections including noted Indigenous art, and the South Australian Museum, devoted to natural history. Below is my list of things you can do/visit in Adelaide or from Adelaide:

  1. Central Market: Opened in 1869, this gourmet haunt has 80+ vendors selling organic fruit, premium meats & more.
  2. Rundle Street for shopping
  3. Handley Street for the pubs, clubs and bars
  4. Adelaide Oval, world famous cricket ground
  5. Stroll along River Torrens or grab a free bike and cycle around the river. You will pass Adelaide festival centre, Convention Centre, Torrens River Weir, Torrens Bridge, Golf course, Light statue, Adelaide Oval and St Peter’s Cathedral.
  6. Norther Terrace for the art gallery, State Library, Museum, Migration Museum, Adelaide University, War Memorials, Parliament House and Botanic Gardens.
  7. Adelaide Zoo
  8. Adelaide Hills (vineyards)
  9. Mount Lofty view point (you can hike there too)20180521_102944
  10. Port Noarlunga
  11. Barossa Valley and Handorf
  12. Melba Chocolate Factory: Melba’s Chocolate Factory is a ‘working’ tourism factory in a heritage listed complex 40 minutes from Adelaide, South Australia; in the picturesque township of Woodside in the Adelaide Hills. https://www.melbaschocolates.com.au
  13. Berenberg Jam farm and the world’s largest rocking horse: Beerenberg Farm is an Australian producer of jams, condiments, sauces and dressings, located in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.
  14. Horseshoe Bay sunrise
  15. Maslins Nude Beach
  16. Glenelg (direct train from the city centre) – you can spot Dolphins here too.
  17. Victor Harbour where you can also camel ride
  18. Cleland Conservation Park where you can hold a koala or feed a wombat
  19. Day trip to Kangaroo Island with a tour so you will cover: Seal Bay, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (Koala Walk), Flinders Chase National Park, Remarkable Rocks, Cape du Couedic Lighthouse and Admirals Arch. This day will start around 6:30am and you won’t be back in your Adelaide accommodation till 10:30pm!
  20. Boomer Beach good for body surfing
  21. Flinders Ranges: The Flinders Ranges are the largest mountain range in South Australia, which starts about 200 km north of Adelaide. The discontinuous ranges stretch for over 430 km from Port Pirie to Lake Callabonna.
  22. Port Lincoln: a city on the Eyre Peninsula, in South Australia. It’s known for its fishing industry and seafood. Axel Stenross Maritime Museum details historic seafaring, with old vessels and a blacksmith’s shop. Nearby, mostly surrounded by water, rugged Lincoln National Park is home to rare flora and fauna. At the edge of the city, Winter Hill Lookout has views of Port Lincoln, plus surrounding islands and coves.
  23. Lake Torrens: Lake Torrens is a normally ephemeral salt lake in central South Australia. After extreme rainfall events, the lake can flow out through the Pirie-Torrens Corridor to the Spencer Gulf.
  24. Lake Eyre: officially known as Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre, contains the lowest natural point in Australia, at approximately 15 m below sea level, and, on the rare occasions that it fills, is the largest lake in Australia covering 9,500 km²