Australia from a Sydney Base

When travelling around Australia you will find that you’ll often come back to Sydney. So finding the cheapest flights to Sydney is a good place to begin your Australia booking experience.

Wander around the city itself for a day or two. Perhaps do the Bondi to Coogee walk that starts at Bondi beach which, contrary to visions of athletic Aussies bounding down endless sand in paradise, is actually a pretty standard beach with a large graffitied concrete wall at the back, fish and chip shops and thus seagulls. At times it can feel like a beach in England. Anyway, the walk goes over the cliffs and passes a rather wonderful graveyard. You’ll also want to check out the Opera House, which will take about half an hour to an hour before heading to one of the ice-cream shops nearby.

Also noteworthy is Chinatown. It’s exciting as they often are, and the food markets are vast. One of the amazing things about Australia, and to some extent New Zealand, is that its proximity to Asia means is has quite a few Asian residents and this means that Asian cuisine has become embedded in Australian culture. It isn’t unusual to see Aussie toddlers munching on sushi.

From Sydney there are three directions you can go East, North or West. To the West you have Melbourne and Adelaide (most people skip Canberra, including the Australians) and the Great Ocean Road. To the North the trains open up Alice Springs and Darwin to you. And to the East, Brisbane and Cairns and the East Coast.

Melbourne is known for being a good base to do wine tours from; you can also drive the Great Ocean Road, which along the way has the Twelve Apostles in Victoria. The Twelve Apostles were actually only nine when they were named. They are a collection of limestone stacks. In recent years, one fell over so there are now eight.

Past Melbourne you have Adelaide. Adelaide is one of the more charming of the Australian cities. It also has a fantastic museum and art gallery: the former has a life-sized replica of a giant squid in it which descends through all the floors of the museum; the latter has lots of brilliant modern art inside.

To the North by Indian Pacific and Ghan trains you can reach Alice Springs from where you can take a tour of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the national park. Further North still, you can see crocodiles in Darwin. To the East of Sydney, you’ve Brisbane and Cairns and all the beach towns in between. Brisbane is a great city. There’s a river which runs through it where you’ll see pretty boats and mangrove trees and the West End is bohemian with nightlife to suit. The Queenslander houses are majestic, although do get snakes underneath them in the summer. (Aussies are weirdly nonchalant about this.) Cairns acts as a jetty for the Great Barrier Reef. There are numerous diving schools to choose from here and if diving is too much for you, you can go out just to snorkel.

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