A PACKED "2-MONTH" ITINERARY
10-14. The Outback + Alice Springs
+ Hervey Bay
Airlie Beach + Whitsundays
Brisbane + Moreton Island
Scroll down for full chronological Travel Guides,
or fast-track a destination below:
Quirky, colourful, eclectic city.
Phillip Island penguins.
Great Ocean Road.
Bustling city. Darling Harbour, Opera House, gardens, shopping, bridge climb, ferry to Manly, Blue Mountains.
Bondi-Coogee Coastal walk.
Turquoise sea, surfing, miles of coastline, high-rise buildings, markets, incredible sunsets.
Affluent area, calm, beautiful beaches. Noosa to Noosa Heads harbour jetty walks, water sports.
Trekking Uluru + Kata Tjuta National Park.
Swag camping, dingoes + camels!
The Kangaroo Sanctuary.
Beachfront paradise. Quirky, eclectic, colourful. Markets and boutiques.
Whale watching and lighthouse trail.
Quirky city, South Bank markets, man-made city beach, botanical gardens, Australia Zoo, Moreton Island wildlife & shipwrecks.
Best location for Humpback Whale Watching, harbour and pier walks.
An sand-made island, fresh water lakes, dingoes, shipwrecks, towering forests, driving on the beach.
Wildlife-packed island, koalas, rock wallabies, idyllic bays, hiking lush woodland and driving Barbie-esque topless cars.
Turquoise waters, white soft sand, Whitehaven beach, snorkelling, kayaking and sailing the islands.
Great Barrier Reef, snorkelling at Green Island, Fitzroy Island, Kuranda railway, Daintree rainforest & Cape Tribulation.
Arrival Flight Into Melbourne
Arrive into Melbourne Airport (Virgin Australia flight). UK citizens simply go to the designated kiosk, scan their passport, answer a few questions and receive a ticket (keep this safe). Head to the E-Gate, pop in your ticket and get your photo taken. When finished, take this ticket (you will need this after baggage claim) and walk through.
Just before you leave the airport, purchase a ticket for the SkyBus 'Melbourne City Express' (around £14 each). It took approx. 20 minutes, stopping at Southern Cross train station in Melbourne's city centre. The SkyBus provides an additional 'link' service from here to popular hotels, use the touch screen to see if yours is included.
aria apartments, melbourne
aria apartments, melbourne
✔ Modern, stylish, colourful 'art inspired' apartments.
✔ Fully equipped kitchen, washing + drying facilities.
✔ Free unlimited Wifi.
✔ Daily Housekeeping available.
✔ Automated check-in .+ check-out.
✔ 1 minute walk to Woolworths Metro Southbank.
✔ 15 minute walk to Federation Square.
• Select the 'One-bedroom deluxe apartment'.
CLICK FOR GOOGLE MAP LOCATION!
1. STROLL THE SOUTH BANK & YARRA RIVER
Coupling the natural beauty of the Yarra river, classy high-rise buildings and some (surprisingly large) funky art sculptures - a stroll along South Bank is a must to get your first taste of Melbourne. Start by crossing Sandridge Bridge from the South Bank promenade.
Fun Fact: The River Yarra is named after the aboriginal word 'Yarra', meaning 'ever-flowing'.
Tip: Reached the end of the South Bank? While you're here, head over and lap the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). A worldwide iconic sporting venue with statues of famous rugby and cricket players across the grounds. Melbourne being the sporting capital of the world - it would be rude not to!
Tip: Along the South Bank, find many free drinking fountains. Ps. I don't know why, but the water tastes incredible!
2. THE HEART OF THE CITY
Meander the heart of Melbourne, Federation Square, featuring eclectic modern buildings, quirky eateries and bars. Venturing from here you will find the infamous 'Flinders Street' train station, plus souvenir shops and vintage clothing shops.
Tip: 5-minutes walk from Federation Square is Degraves Street, a narrow cobbled laneway lined with endless eateries and coffee shops. The dining tables are set up right in the middle of the pedestrian road!
The tram lines are free to use in Central Melbourne! Plan the best routes via the Public Transport Victoria's Journey Planner.
In the 1960's, it only cost £10 to immigrate to Australia, earning the nick-name "Ten Pound Poms"!
Melbourne is the first place a Cappuccino machine was used, down Bourke Street in 1928!
Did You Know?
A familiar face flying over Australia's cities! Distinguished by its white / grey colourings and bright red beak. Though a natural diet of insects and fish, the Silver Gull has scavenger in its DNA and will eat any scraps left by us humans!
3. HOSIER LANE STREET ART
Lose yourself in the vibrant street art dotted all across the city. The best street art 'destination spot' is Hosier Lane. Get positively dizzy looking around at the overload of colour, characters, typography and symbols. There is no blank wall space spared, so be sure to also look up!
Fun Fact: The City of Melbourne commissions local and international artists to create large artistic street art pieces to maintain the vibrant, urban culture of the city.
Tip: Though also recommended by others, Union Lane is more 'tagging' graffiti, instead of art pieces.
4. VICTORIA STATE LIBRARY
Whether to escape a patch of rain, to seek some peace and quiet or simply due to curiosity - the Victoria State Library is worth a browse. Entrance is free. Head to 'The Dome' on 3F. Oversee people learning, socialising or even playing chess on the rich timber tables in this traditional, elegantly designed space.
Fun Fact: Victoria State Library is Australia's oldest public library, and is actually one of the first free libraries!
Fun Fact: 'The Dome' on the 3F is also known as 'La Trobe Reading Room'!
5. SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE
Cross the Yarra River to head towards the impressive Shrine of Remembrance - a national landmark built to honour individuals of war. Approach up a long sandy track lined with heartfelt memorial plaques and poppies. Free to enter, the Shrine offers tales of war history, a spot for quiet reflection and provides beautiful cityscape views of Melbourne.
Fun Fact: The Shrine of Remembrance is located right next to Melbourne's Botanical Gardens!
6. EUREKA SKYDECK
Want to witness Melbourne's cityscape from above? Look no further than the Eureka Skydeck - The tallest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere! For just $23 adult ticket, circle the 360 views in awe, spy on people below with powerful telescopes or even post a letter in 'Australia's highest postbox'! Ideally arrive 1 hr before sunset to 3 views for the price of 1 - daytime, dusk and night!
Fun Fact: The skydeck can sway 30cm each way, dependant on the direction of the wind!
Fun Fact: They have an annual 'Eureka Stair Climb' competition - involving 1642 stairs!
There is free WiFi called 'VicFreeWifi', which is attainable throughout the majority of central Melbourne.
Looking to send a postcard home? The main postal service for Australia is called 'Australia Post'.
Typical Aussie slang includes: 'Cheap Eats', 'Bucks', 'Holy cow', 'Blokes and Sheilas' and 'Right-O!'
7. PENGUINS OF PHILLIP ISLAND
Venture out to Phillip Islands Summerlands for the 'Penguin Parade', your best chance to see the world's smallest wild penguin - 'The Little Penguin'. Witness firsthand small groups of penguins scurry from the sea back up to their beach burrows as the darkness draws in, a natural ritual done everyday for thousands of years to avoid being spotted by predators. No photography of any kind is permitted to not disturb the penguins.
We booked the 'Penguins, Kangaroo and Koalas' tour (LastMinuteDayTours.com), receiving discount for (quite literally) booking last minute.
Tip: The 'Penguins, Kangaroo and Koalas' tour will now visit Koala Conservation Centre instead of Maru Animal Park (as of April 2020).
Fun Fact: The Summerlands used to be a bustling residential area. Over time, the Government brought all of the houses back to demolish and give the land back to wildlife. Look closely to spot old driveways and road signs randomly still in tact!
Fun Fact: All spending in the visitor centre goes back to the penguins. E.g. 1x general admission buys 1x penguin nesting box, 1x cafe meal buys 2kg of pilchards to feed sick and injured penguins.
The world's only 'navy and white' penguin, The Little Penguin has an average lifespan of 7 years - the oldest on Phillip Island being 24! There are around 32,000 living near the Summerlands. Nest building begins late Winter, and usually 2 eggs are laid.
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
A marsupial mammal belonging to the 'Macropod' family meaning 'Big Foot' - larger hind legs than their arms. Their herbivorous diet ranges from grasses to plants, preferring to eat young green shoots!
8. THE DOCKLANDS
Rested against a yacht lined harbour, The Docklands is an eclectic destination space for many organised pop-up events & festivals (see planned events here). We visited during the 'firelight festival', hosting exciting performances including fire eaters, live music and entrancing light installations.
Tip: Reach 'The Docklands' and back via the free tram loop route (Tram 86 from Elizabeth Street / Bourke Street to Waterfront City / Docklands). Check the Journey Planner for live timetable.
9. THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
A jam-packed 12-hour day driving and stopping off along the infamously scenic 'Great Ocean Road' from Melbourne all the way through to Port Campbell. From quaint towns, lush National Parks, jaw-dropping coves and the rugged landscapes of the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, this trip is not one to be missed. Plenty of wildlife to spot, including wild kangaroos and cockatoos at Anglesea and a resident wild koala at Apollo Bay!
We booked the 'Great Ocean Road Explorer' tour (LastMinuteDayTours.com).
Fun Fact: There was apparently only ever '9' Apostles, however 12 sounded better. It was once also nick-named the 'Sow and Piglets'.
Fun Fact: You drive through the beautiful town of Lorne. Lorne holds an annual 'Lorne Pier to Pub' swim, started by two friends competing with loser 'shouting drinks'. This tradition now brings 000,000's people to town every year.
Did You Know?
There is a lot of rock erosion on the Great Ocean Road. The council has introduced a 3-year project to add steel mesh to cliff faces to avoid more landslides.
There is a face carved into one of the rocks, made by the women workers as a practical joke for ships coming in.
The Great Ocean Road was originally created to make jobs for returning WW1 serviceman and women.
Australia's most famous fluffy icon - The Koala! Koalas have a specific diet of toxic eucalyptus leaves, with a tough digestive system allowing them to eat them safely. This however takes up an awful lot of energy - causing koalas to sleep for 18/20 hours a day!
THE OUTBACK + ALICE SPRINGS
Fly Melbourne - Alice Springs
Qantas Airlines Flight
Melbourne (MEL) - Alice Springs (ASP)
Approx. 3 hour flight
Tip: Qantas always run out of food options 2/3 way up the plane. If you want to get first choice or food, don't choose a seat near the back!
✔ Budget friendly accommodation.
✔ Shared kitchen, washing + drying facilities.
✔ Shared toilets + shower facilities.
✔ Free Wifi.
✔ 5-10 minute walk to Alice Springs centre.
• Select the 'Double-Room with shared bathroom' if you want one of the few private rooms. Remaining
accommodation are shared mixed dormitories.
10. WALK AROUND ULURU (AYERS ROCK)
We booked the WayOutBack '3 Day Cockatoo Dreaming' tour, early pick up from Alice Springs Accommodation. Day One, you will wander in awe around and up close to Uluru; Australias infamous red icon and sacred Aboriginal site. The trek is relatively flat, and takes approx 2 1/2 hours to complete a full circuit. There are also some shaded seating / drinking water points to refill.
Day One also includes visiting the 'Centre of the Centre' Erldunda Roadhouse (+ Emu Park), collecting firewood, watching sunset over Uluru at Ewing Lookout, snuggling in your swags next to a campfire and falling asleep under millions of stars, the Milky Way and distant howls of dingoes. Look out for shooting stars on a clear night, they are everywhere!
Tip: Be sure to buy a fly-net hat from Alice Springs before you head to Uluru! The amount of flies are on a apocalyptic level, you will be very aggravated without one!
Fun Fact: Uluru is made up of sandstone, a substance full of iron. The iron rusts, which outwardly gives Uluru its rich red and scaly texture!
Fun Fact: There are certain areas around Uluru where you are not permitted to take photographs, as they contain parts of sacred Aboriginal stories which must not be shared other than by word of mouth.
Did You Know?
Prior to the British arriving to Australia in 1788, the Indigenous map used to show Australia split into 250 different 'areas' - aka counties.
Yulara is the closest town to Uluru National Park. it has approximately 900 residents, and has just 1 shop and 1 pub.
The 'Anangu' are the Aboriginal people who call Central Australia home. They tell teachings of 'Tjukurpa' (sounded Chuck-a-ba), explaining the relationship between people, plants, animals and the land. It is their law. They believe ancestral beings came up from living underground an carved the Earth's landscape as we know it through their interactions with one another.
11. KATA TJUTA NATIONAL PARK
Day Two: Waking up at the crack of dawn, head to a popular lookout to witness the sun rising above the land next to Uluru. It truly is the most spectacular site. Next up, hoist on your hiking boots for the Kata Tjuta NOP Circuit Walk, winding through the Valley of the Winds and reaching the breathtaking Karingana lookout. There is a choice of the full 7.4km or a shorter 4km walk.
As part of the WayOutBack '3 Day Cockatoo Dreaming' tour.
Fun Fact: Kata Tjuta is also known as 'The Olgas', translating to 'Many Heads' in aboriginal describing its 36 natural dome structures.
Fun Fact: Kata Tjuta is (almost still) a 'men's area only' for The Anangu. It is used for an initiation space for young boys to become men.
The Dingo, Australia's largest land predator, was introduced to Australia approx. 3000-4000 years ago. A medium-sized canine with either a light tan to reddish ginger coat. Dingoes typically breed only once a year to an average of 5 puppies.
12. KINGS CANYON
Day Three: At sunrise, begin the hike up to the jaw-dropping Kings Canyon 'Watarrka' National Park! Take a moment to take in the sheer beauty of the harsh rock faces dropping into the chasm revealing nestled lush palm tree oases as you circuit the 6km round trip. You will visit the Amphithreate, Lost City and the tranquil Garden of Eden'.
As part of the WayOutBack '3 Day Cockatoo Dreaming' tour.
Fun Fact: The first part of the trail is nicknamed 'Heart Attack Hill' - and there is even a defibrillator at the top!
Tip: Whilst walking the rim of the Canyon, be sure not to go too close to the edge, many people have fallen off and even died!
13. EXPLORE ALICE SPRINGS
Alice Springs is a small desert-like town that needs to be seen to be believed. With the exception of a small shopping mall, hotels and bars, Alice Springs on the most part seems to have delightfully frozen in time. A quaint high-street with a selection gift shops and bars. The distant squawking of crows coupled with bordering red landscape really gives a desert-like feel. To see all of Australia's main reptiles (with the chance to get up close in their 3x daily talks), visit The Reptile Centre. View the rugged red landscape of Alice Springs from the top of Anzac Hill.
Fun Fact: The 'Todd River' that runs through Alice Springs almost always completely dry, until they receive mass amounts of rain water!
Fun Fact: Keep your eyes peeled for 'The Ghan', a famous and luxurious train than drives through Alice Springs once a week (at varying times!) on its route from Adelaide - Darwin. An experience apparently many Australians dream of doing.
Fun Fact: If you arrive on 1st July, it is Australia's territory day. Alice Springs is the only place allowed to set off fireworks, so expect a beautiful display (plus a small community fair, food stalls and live performances!)
The 'Thorny Devil'
An incredible creature endemic to Australia, the Thorny Devil is a slow-moving, ant-eating reptile, which can grow up to 21cm long! They commonly live in dry-sand terrains, in and amongst the grasses.
14. THE KANGAROO SANCTUARY
An absolute must-do is a Guided Sunset Tour at The Kangaroo Sanctuary. Be guided round the famous sanctuary by the owner, Chris "Brolga" Barnes, himself. Stroll the sanctuary in awe as the magical sunset hues cast themselves over a sea of hopping kangaroos, happily bounding up to you to say hello (and for a horse-food treat!). You will even get the chance to cradle their orphaned baby joeys as you wander round. This really is a sanctuary, and it is not one to be missed! This tour only operates Tuesday - Friday, and sells out very quickly.
Fun Fact: The Kangaroo Sanctuary was featured in a BBC UK Documentary, 'Kangaroo Dundee' back in 2013!
Fun Fact: Chris "Brolga" Barnes built a 2km wire frence over 2 1/2 years to enclose the 60 acre sanctuary land!
Fun Fact: The Sanctuary on average receives 350 kangaroos a year, and released approx. 300. The permanent kangaroo residents are those that cannot be released due to injury, or for the simple fact they love human company too much!
The Red Kangaroo
Found in Australia's deserts and open grasslands, the Red Kangaroo is the world's largest marsupial and can either have red' or 'blue' coloured fur. They can live over 20+ lives in the wild and live in groups called 'mobs'!
The 'Galah' Bird
Keep your eyes peeled in Alice Springs skies for a flash of pink - It could be a Galah, a grey and pink cockatoo! These beautiful birds don a excessively bright pink breast and face and are very vocal! They have a lifespan of approx. 50 years. Tip: The tree just outside The Kangaroo Sanctuary is normally full of Galahs, be sure to spot them on your tour!
Fly Alice Springs - Sydney
Qantas Airlines Flight
Alice Springs (ASP) - Sydney (SYD)
Approx. 3 hour flight
Tip: A shuttle bus back to Alice Springs airport was $17 (2019). The airport itself is very small!
Tip: Qantas only do direct Alice Springs to Sydney flights (no-stops) on Fridays. All other days will be indirect flights.