Recently I had the privilege of traveling with two of my best friends to eight different cities in Australia. As we three Texans traveled around, we did everything from conquering the touristy traps to discovering small towns and areas that no tourist would ever consider visiting. While there were places we wanted to stay forever, there were also areas that we wish we had skipped. Thus, here is a list of the dos and don’ts in the land down under.
Cairns, an adorable small town with perfect weather, was the perfect place to begin our journey. Do take the gondola over the rainforest, but don’t stay for a full day. While the excursion was fun, there wasn’t much to do once we reached the top. Do take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel, but be warned: the boat we were on was not the most welcoming to people with weak sea legs. I put my head down on the table to listen to music while a good third of the boat lost their lunch. At first we were flattered that the hot boat staff took such an interest in “Team Texas,” as they deemed us, but in hindsight, I think they were taking bets on which one of us would be sick first. Also, for the daredevils, I highly recommend skydiving over Cairns- it’s absolutely breathtaking. (If you’re scared of heights, just do it, you won’t regret it.)
To be honest, had we not been visiting a friend, the stop would not have been worth it. The city itself is great for residents but is not ideal for tourists. If you do make the trip, you must go to the Eat Street Markets, which consists of rows and rows of cheap but delicious food (and entertainment!)
Do Gold Coast:
It was simply beautiful- a place I definitely want to return in the summer. The beaches truly were paradise. Halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast there is a wildlife sanctuary where you can CUDDLE KOALAS. Can you think of anything cuter?! A definite must-see.
The bridge climb was absolutely incredible (and it didn’t hurt that our guide was a young, attractive Australian guy – although, he kept walking by at the most awkward parts of our conversation) We also went to the zoo, wax museum, and aquarium.
Fun facts for any Australians in Sydney:
1. The hottest guy works at the aquarium in the touch-pool zone.
2. There is this magical restaurant that only hires gorgeous Italian men. Yes, I took a photo with one of the waiters.
We went for two days, and that was two days too long. We wanted to see the capital of Australia, but honestly- there isn’t much to see there. I still had a lovely time with my friends, but it was a very uneventful stop.
Don’t Wagga Wagga:
When most of the Australians we talked to heard that we were going to Wagga Wagga, they all replied the same thing: “Why?” Well, we were going to visit friends, and we had a great time doing so. For a typical tourist, though, this stop would probably not be on your radar and wouldn’t need to be. We had a great time with our lovely hosts and bought some amazing merchandise that said “Wagga Wagga”- a great conversation starter.
Melbourne was a really neat place with a cool market for shopping and tons of laneways for food. You’d walk down a busy street and head down a random side street only to be bombarded by different restaurants offering discounts if you eat there. It was a great way to get a few free cocktails, wink-wink.
I had a great time in Perth visiting friends and walking through their beautiful park, but it’s not the best place for tourists…yet. There is a lot of construction going on, so it should be great soon!
Unfortunately, after four weeks of shenanigans, it was time to head back home. After an awful 15 hour flight, which consisted of an aggressive woman kicking my seat with such force that I could no longer recline, we arrived back in the States.
While I’d love to share all of the anecdotes from the trip, there are far too many to type here, and this post is already quite long. Obviously there’s quite a bit that I’ve left out. If you want to hear about dancing in the street, riding an emu, a hot wombat caretaker, or an “I <3 Kebabs” tattoo, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Photo credit: Kittsie Klaes