Bay of Fires is a truly beautiful part of the world. Located on Tasmania’s north-east coast, expect to be greeted with iridescent blue water, white sandy beaches and huge, granite rocks splashed with orange lichen. The juxtaposition between the blue and orange is a magnificent sight to see.
The area is well known for its bird watching and beach activities such as snorkelling and diving, with scenic reefs, corals, and varied sea life. Whilst driving along the roads keep a look out for native Australian animals such as kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons (a real marsupial, found only in Tasmania).
To get to this picturesque destination, we drove to Eddystone Point Lighthouse from Launceston airport. It was a 2.5-hour drive, with a large part of it on a dirt road. Luckily, there were barely any other cars on the road, which is what you can largely expect during your whole trip around Tassie.
Allow for a few hours to wander up and down the coastline here, taking in the beautiful scenery. You never know what you’ll find; we spotted a wobbegong (carpet shark) in the shallow waters!
From Bay of Fires, we needed to make our way to Coles Bay. We stopped off at Binalong Bay, a small coastal town situated at the southern end of the Bay of Fires, just in time to watch the sunset over the ocean. There isn’t much here, but it made for a peaceful stopover on a multi-hour drive.
Melbourne is a hip, vibrant city filled with great culture and delicious food. The city centre is always bustling, and the inner-city neighbourhoods are complete with their own unique charm.
Melbourne has earned its reputation as Australia’s “coolest” city through its many laneways filled with quirky street art, roaring music scene and delicious dining options for all budgets. It’s also regularly been voted the world’s most liveable city, and for good reason!
So, what are the “must-do’s” when visiting this city?
1. Visit Flinders Street Station and Federation Square
The main entrance to Flinders Street Station is a cultural symbol of Melbourne. You will spot this on every tourist brochure or postcard in Melbourne. The building was first opened in 1910 and is listed on the Victorian heritage register.
Across the road from the station is Federation Square. This is another Melbourne icon, most notable during the Australian Open when thousands of people gather to watch the tennis matches on the television. Once you’re at the Square, make sure to visit the Australian Centre of the Moving Image.
2. Go bar hopping
Melbourne has an endless supply of bars to visit, eat and get drunk at. Make the most of your afternoon by bar hopping from bar to bar. My favourite suburb to bar hop in is Fitzroy- home to Naked for Satan, The Everleigh, Bar Liberty and Bad Frankie to name a few. (The amazing view of Melbourne’s cityscape was taken from Naked for Satan).
3. Brunch until you can’t brunch anymore
There’s nothing quite like a brunch queue on a Sunday morning in Melbourne. Picture this, you’re hungover, you’re tired, all you want is some avo toast and a coffee. You’re waiting in line for over 20 minutes, wondering if it will ever be your turn or if you will perish in Melbourne before you even get to eat at one of the famous brunch spots, but then your name is called! Your food is brought, and everything is right in the world once more.
Some of the places I’d happily line up for whilst experiencing the above scenario include: Bentwood and Faraday’s Cage in Fitzroy, Fourth Chapter in Prahran, Top Paddock in Richmond and Higher Ground in the CBD.
4. Check out the amazing street art
Melbourne is very well-known for its incredible street art. The city council actually designated certain areas that allow street artists to do their thing. Due to this, the art is always changing around the city. The most famous spot to see street art is on Hosier Lane. However, I stumbled across a lot of street art whilst wandering around Fitzroy.
6. Visit a market
There are market stalls being held every weekend in Melbourne. If you’re a lover of unique trinkets, fresh produce and supporting local artists then a visit to a market would be the perfect way to spend a morning. A quick Google search will let you know what markets will be on that weekend. I visited Rose Street Market in Fitzroy, which is open every weekend. It’s an indoor and outdoor market filled with handmade goods, complete with a diner and rooftop bar.
7. Admire art at a gallery
Melbourne has so many amazing art galleries to peruse. It is home to Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria, plus an array of smaller galleries such as Niagara Galleries, Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings or Centre for Contemporary Photography. Make sure you visit at least one gallery whilst here! In my personal opinion, Aboriginal art is some of the most beautiful so make sure you go to a gallery that has some on display for a full Australian art experience.
8. Get sporty at the MCG
One of the most important things to know about Melbourne is that it is a sports-obsessed city. The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or as the locals call it “The G”, is Melbourne’s largest sports stadium. The stadium is home to the Melbourne Cricket Club, but also hosts AFL games, and international soccer and rugby games.
To top off your Melbourne experience try to catch a game of cricket or AFL to truly experience Melbourne’s passion for sport.
9. Stroll (or row) along the Yarra River
The Yarra River is the city’s main water feature, situated in the heart of the city. Take a stroll along the Yarra and look back at the beautiful city skyline. I’ve been told that a very “Melbourne thing to do” is to kayak along the Yarra River, so if you’re after a fun, unique activity whilst in Melbourne this could be it.
10. Wander through laneways
One of my favourite things to do in any city is to aimlessly wander through the many laneways and streets, and get lost in the architecture around me. This strongly applies to when I am in Melbourne, as it is a wonderful to way to see what the city has to offer. You’ll find plenty to see, do, buy and eat, and gain a new appreciation of Melbourne.
Canberra is the capital of Australia- designed specifically for that reason. It is home to the Parliament House, many politicians, and a number of renowned museums and galleries.
In my honest opinion, Canberra is a pretty bizarre city. If you go outside come night fall, you could possibly be the only person wandering the streets in the middle of the CBD. It is a very quiet city, seriously lacking a nighttime vibe and food scene. That said, if you’re a fan of art galleries, museums and our nation’s political system then it is an interesting place to visit for a few days.
I had two days in the city and below is the compilation of all the enjoyable things I got up to whilst there. Plus, everything was free!
1. Parliament House
If you’re a political fan you can visit Australia’s parliament. It is open every day, except for Christmas Day, 9am-5pm. The parliament offers the opportunity to sit in on Question Time, see bills being debated and to sit in on committee inquiries if that peaks your interest.
2. The Australian War Memorial
The War Memorial is the national memorial to the members of its armed forces who have died or participated in wars involving Australia. If you are in Canberra I think it is important to visit this site in order to remember and pay your respects to those who lost their lives whilst protecting this country, and to learn about Australia’s involvement in past and present wars.
3. National Gallery of Australia
This is one of Australia’s largest art museums, holding 166,000 art works. There is a beautiful Aboriginal art section, which is a must see during a visit here. There are also special exhibits running all the time from all over the world.
4. National Arboretum Canberra
This is a specific type of botanic garden that is devoted to growing trees for conservation, scientific research and educational purposes. The National Arboretum Canberra features 94 forests of different types of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world. My favourite section was the bonsai section!
5. Lake Burley Griffin
Find the lake, and you have found the centre of Canberra! There are many activities to be enjoyed on or around the lake such as a leisurely stroll or riding a bike, stopping for a picnic on the grass, or rowing, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding.
This is Australia’s biggest flower festival! It is on every year between the middle of September to the middle of October.