Tourist : Two Weeks in Australia

Exploring Sydney, Brisbane, and Gold Coast

I visited Australia for a couple of weeks and had the chance to check out all of the major spots I had heard so much about. We were able to spend a few nights each in Brisbane, Sydney (The Rocks was our favorite), and Gold Coast and explore them all pretty well. This was one of the best tourist trips I’ve had abroad in a long time.

First off, can I just say: I’m quite jealous of the plane ticket purchase situation? Online shopping for the ticket was about the same but those prices were just magnificent compared to what we’re used to in the states. (Baggage limitations are a little different, so make sure you actually read over the disclaimers they list about it. Some plane seats came with baggage and some didn’t, so one of my trips I did end up coming out-of-pocket unexpectedly.) I myself was flying from Honolulu, Hawaii and the plane ticket was actually very reasonable. I spent around $500 to get there and back! The non-stop flight there was ten hours, so I had a slew of snacks packed up and ready to go.

GETTING AROUND

The roads were very busy in all of the cities we visited. Streets were smaller than in the U.S. and yes, they do drive on the left. We took lots of Uber rides to get around, and the public transit wasn’t too hard to catch on to. Trains came pretty regularly and bus drivers don’t mind pointing you in the right direction. I brought my favorite sneakers and definitely wore them the most, we walked more than anything. 

THINGS TO DO

We took full advantage of the fact that we were total newbies and did everything we could think of to create our own memories. No one seemed to mind us asking our “tourist” questions at all. There were lots of walk-able things to get into around all four of the service apartments we stayed at. Shops and shows were never in short supply, and every morning we woke up with a list of cool things we wanted to do. My personal favorites:

  • Sydney Opera House (obviously) / Vivid Light Show*
  • Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery Museum of the Arts
  • Hot Air Balloon Excursions
  • Historical River Ride on the Miramar II
  • The Wheel of Brisbane
  • Loan Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket (also had cassowaries and kangaroos)
  • Royal Botanical Garden Walk
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales
  • Bondi Beach Park Grafitti Wall / Bondi Skate Park
  • Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
  • Darling Harbour 
  • Marvel Museum*
  • Gold Coast Boardwalk / Surfers Paradise Beach
 These are listed in no particular order but some of the events are seasonal, marked with an asterisk.

FOOD

Quite literally everything I ate in Australia I found to be delicious. We talked to lots of locals and got insights on best places to go, but they often played down the culinary scene. A couple even joked that Australia had no culinary claim to fame” like most other countries do (like how Italians are so well known for pasta). That may or may not be true, but the food here was great. I think our favorite two places were The House of Crab in Redfern and Mejica in Sydney CBD…but Golden Century Seafood Restaurant in Haymarket was a very, very close second. There was also an adorable little cafe in Surry Hills off of Goulburn Street and Brisbane Street that made this amazing salmon eggs benedict and their hot chocolate was always perfection.

They don’t tip in Australia and it’s awesome. The servers all share the whole restaurant and it was cool to see how well this works out. Everyone working there knows everything on the menu so there’s none of that let me find your waiter” nonsense. Everyone is equally possessive over all of the patrons in their establishment, go figure.

LODGING

We stayed at a multiple different Meriton Serviced Apartments and were treated very well at each. Our first night in Brisbane there was a fire in the apartment directly below us in the middle of the night (I’m talking 2 a.m.) and the whole building had to evacuate. We ran down thirty flights of stairs in our pajamas, but I still would recommend the service at that place! They were super hospitable. We also ended up renting a room in Sydney with a heater that did not work, and ended up being upgraded to a larger room with a much nicer view because of it. All in all, each Meriton treated us like we were special, and that’s really all we wanted after a long day of touristing. The rooms all came fully loaded: mini kitchens, nice big bathrooms, and full laundry areas. Not something we are used to in the states, but the pricing was about the same. 

 

This was one of the most fun trips I’ve been on in a long time. It was nice to be able to learn about another culture and there weren’t any of those typical traveling blunders that tend to pop up. There were beautiful things to look at pretty much everywhere, and we were never at a loss for things to do the whole trip.

 

4 Comments

  1. December 7, 2017 / 6:47 am

    Always wanted to go to Australia. Your photos here are beautiful. Definitely moved up a notch or two.

    • December 7, 2017 / 7:12 am

      Thank you, Erin! It’s a great place to visit that’s not too expensive, check it out if you ever get the chance.

  2. December 7, 2017 / 10:06 am

    Such a great post! Planning for Australia next winter so this was great inspiration 😊

    • December 7, 2017 / 10:21 am

      Please share when you do! I went during their winter time so I am curious what it’s like when it’s a bit warmer out.

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