When many of us think of that land down under we think of the extraordinary flora and fauna, wonders of nature like Uluru or the Three Sisters and the infamously treacherous land known as the outback. We think of crocs and koalas, of wallabies and kangas, and of course the ubiquitous heat that gets at its hottest when most of the world hunkers down for the winter. But while Australia no doubt has its fair share of natural marvels, it is also home to some of the most fascinating, most diverse and most unabashedly cool cities on the planet.
Join us on a guided tour of some of our favourites. Spoiler Alert…None of them are Sydney.
It will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that uber-cool Melbourne is the first on our list. This hipster’s paradise has everything you could possibly want in a major conurbation. As soon as you hop in the Maxi Cab Melbourne Airport and start driving through the streets you can feel the palpable sense of excitement, enthusiasm, arts and culture that resonate throughout the streets. Victoria’s capital is basically the Australian Brooklyn, with the same lively atmosphere, cool cafes, chic bars, bohemian arts scene, gorgeous boutique shopping and delectable restaurants boasting every cuisine you can imagine. Carlton is the place to go if you love Italian food, and while Chinatown is great for those who love all things Asian, Vietnamese food aficionados will have better luck in Richmond.
Hop across to Queensland and you’ll find a very different but equally gorgeous city to fall in love with. Brisbane has bridge walks to rival Sydney’s at Kangaroo Point, as well as arts and culture to rival Melbourne (including an underground opera house in a reappropriated reservoir). Animal lovers will want to venture just a little further outside the city and take a look at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where visitors can get up close and personal with the beloved marsupials in their natural habitat. On the other hand, lovers of watersports will want to head down to Moreton Bay for all kinds of aquatic activities including scuba diving excursions.
Finally, while the above are fairly well known and well travelled by many outside of Oz, Perth is arguably Australia’s best kept secret. Sure, it sees its fair share of tourism from within Aussie shores, but relatively few outside the country are as drawn to it as they are the better known conurbations like Sydney or Canberra.
Which is a real shame as it has a whole lot to offer, no matter what you’re looking for in a city break. There are picturesque walks along City Beach (which has views to rival the best that Sydney Harbour has to offer). Not to mention the propensity for romantic strolls down by Elizabeth Quay. Take a short boat ride and you’ll alight on Rottnest Island where you’ll find the world’s largest concentration of Quokka, adorable and friendly marsupials that look like a cross between a koala and a capybara.
If you only visit Australia, these 3 quintessential cities offer a host of awesome experiences.