The beauty of traveling the world is that you can try on the things you are most curious about or the things that bring you joy. For many people, this means adventure trips, diving as deep or climbing as many mountains as possible. For us, it means eating my way around the world, exploring new horizons, reaching the un-accessible on foot and of course enjoying each other’s companionship.
Things to do in Melbourne and Sydney
Our trip to Australia began on a good note as the weather was favorable and it is always a pleasure when upon reaching you realize that what you have packed will come in handy. We arrive in Melbourne on a pleasant March day and surprisingly with no jet lag owing to our enthusiasm of setting foot in such a beautiful country.
We found Melbourne city to be more relaxed than Sydney. There are more cafes, restaurants, and fewer clubs. Melbourne is the place where you can relax by the river, walk through the huge gardens of the city, explore Melbourne through your taste buds as Melbourne being the food capital of Australia, jam out at amazing rock concerts, and party in St. Kilda, our favorite nightlife spot. No doubt Melbourne has a well deserved reputation as the country’s hip city and that’s why people prefer it over Sydney.
So our day began with me and my husband venturing out in the city of Melbourne with our MYKIs with us. For all those wondering what the hell this MYKI is all about, it’s a card which can be recharged and bought at all stations and convenience stores. So recharge it with a mere $10 and you are good to go. One can travel in buses, trams and trains with this magical card by just swapping on and off (very similar to our desi version of Delhi Metro card). I guess $10 works for around 2 days.
The wonderful part about the city of Melbourne is its hustle bustle, beautiful monuments and wonderful travel guides. I would like to mention here that for any newcomer, one can visit the travel guides at FEDERATION SQUARE. It’s a hot spot always bustling with activities. We were fortunate enough to visit one of the days of the CULTURAL DIVERSITY WEEK over there.
Melbourne city offers a lot of sightseeing like:
- Eureka Deck (step up on the 88th floor of this building and catch Melbourne at a glimpse): Totally worth the $18.
- The Graffiti Street with mind-blowing graffiti from artists on the walls: Worth a watch.
- Swenson Street and Bourke Street for a good shopping experience. But being an Indian I didn’t find anything interesting as everything AND YES EVERYTHING was made in China.
- Crown Casino (free entry) and play as long as you like to your pocket’s delight… On a serious note it is one of the biggest casinos of Australia.
- The Shrine of Remembrance — for all those who like historical places.
- The Melbourne Cricket Ground — A delightful experience for all cricket lovers. The tour guide will take you from the ground to the dressing rooms and to the dinner areas giving you trivia about the entire place.
What I found most appealing were the parks and streets which have been perfectly maintained by the authorities. Hats off to the citizens as well for following all the rules and regulations. It was a delight to be a part of that perfectly planned city.
The best part about the entire trip was THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD. The magical road trip where you can see the sparkling ocean on one side and the huge mountains on the other. Completely takes your breath away. But WAIT!! There’s more to it. The final destination worth seeing is the 12 Apostles. Don’t miss out the helicopter ride which is absolutely mind-blowing. I can’t recollect any names but I am sure many movies have been shot there.
Australia also takes you back in the 1800s with a tour of its city of BALLARAT. Take a tour of the gold mines (underground ones) which they have tried to keep as real as possible. This small but enchanting town takes you back to the times when Australia was a slave to the Britishers. You can even dress up as one of them and get yourself clicked to save the memories forever. You can even dig some gold and get lucky!! A nice tourist attraction, one must definitely keep a day for the same.
Coming back to the city, if you are a fashion freak, don’t forget to visit the CHADSTONE MALL. They have all the latest trends and stores. One can just spend an entire day just walking through the huge mall but make sure you don’t bankrupt yourself.
For Indians who want to eat only Indian food there, visit FLORA the restaurant. The paper dosa was a delight to the eyes and the stomach.
We were lucky enough to visit Sydney as well. Known for its famed opera house and harbor, Sydney also boasts an incredible bridge, great parks, delicious food, lots of free stuff to do, and amazing surfing. Whether you go to Manly Beach or hang out with everyone else in Bondi, Sydney is a place to relax in the sun and enjoy the water. Darling Harbor has a number of good restaurants, great entrainment venues, and the Chinese Garden is quite relaxing. For a night out on the town with colorful locals, there’s nothing like King’s Cross too.
Our stay in the Hotel Park Regis on Park Street was great as it was in the heart of the city.
I HIGHLY recommend the free Walking tour which one of the companies offer in Sydney. They take you through the streets and parks and significant spots of Sydney while you also burn those calories (walking off course). Best part is that they are free. You can just tip in the end!!
Darling Harbor and Sea life Aquarium (especially for kids) is something not to be missed. Just a walk through it is very refreshing to the mind and soul.
Opera house is a magnificent sight and right opposite is the Sydney Bridge. We however didn’t find the time to go up on the bridge (although our tour guide told us it was quite expensive as well).
Oh yes, how can I forget the World’s largest 3D movie experience at the IMAX…. Wonderful is a very small word to explain it. Watch it to live it.
Lastly, Bondi Beach was a good change as well. After all the Baywatch series was shot there.
All in all if you can get to stay at Park Street then you can cover the major parts of Sydney walking itself.
Tips for your next Australia trip:
- Always carry a jacket with you because the weather is HIGHLY unpredictable. It might be sunny in the morning but within an hour it might start raining.
- Don’t hesitate to carry your I-pads or smart phones as Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere.
- Try to use local transport. Travel by buses/trams/trains as its very convenient.
- All kinds of cuisines are available. Melbourne is full of hungry jacks and subways and MacDonald’s. Just grab a hamburger and you are good to go for the next couple of hours.
- Don’t forget to bring your Sun glasses (very important). They call them SUNNIES there. Although you will find a lot of shops selling them at cheaper rates everywhere.
- Camera (my husband became obsessed with panoramic views so make sure you carry a good one as there are loads to click).
- Sports shoes are essential too. Don’t carry any new shoe wear as you might get shoe bites considering you need to walk a lot there.
- Sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Beach wear. You can’t resist taking a dip.
One thing we really missed out was cycling there on the roads with those head gears. Actually they need a credit card and you can rent a bike for a week or so. Unfortunately we didn’t have one so we missed out on that. So make sure you carry yours.
Southern China Airlines: It takes you from New Delhi to Ghangzou (China) and then a connecting flight from Ghangzou to Melbourne. Very comfortable and we didn’t experience any jet lag as such. Good on-board food as well. Cost was around Rs. 95,000 for two people for return economy class.
Australia… Been there? Done That? What all other things to do in Melbourne and Sydney come to your mind when you think of it?