Hey everyone. Anastasia and I did a mammoth tour of Australia last month.
We did Sydney to Australia stopping off at Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Byron Bay and finally Brisbane.
This is just going to be a download of notes and some brief historical points. Really this will only be of interest who is interested in making this journey.
It’s more informational than an entertaining, m’kay. The YouTube vid can be found at the bottom of the blog.
Day 1 Arrival in Sydney
Royal Opera House took ages to make. Change of government meant that what was supposed to cost 18 million ended up costing 120 million.
There is a magic hole in Sydney harbour that goes down to a depth of 45 metres. It is the worlds largest natural harbour.
To give you an idea on the price of Real Estate, a 1/2 bed apartment sold for 4 Million ASD last month. (Currently writing this May 2019).
Some of the most beautiful buildings are Brutalist buildings. The Series brutalist building was social housing project.
It was bought out in 2016. Unsure of what it will become yet. Probably be demolished and turned into luxury villas.
WHERE TO STAY IN SYDNEY?
We stayed in the Russell Hotel. 1087 four nights Aussie dollars. Can’t recommend this place sadly due to the noise levels.
The observation deck at Sky Tower is amazing. 26 dollars. 1504 steps or 40 seconds in the lift.
Got early at 9am and had the place to ourselves.
300 metres tall, tallest building in Sydney.
Buy a package 60 Aussie dollars for 3 events. This will get you in the Sky Tower, Aquarium, and Wildlife Park in Darling Bay. I recommend all three places very highly.
Then museum of modern art was free. I can’t tell you I enjoyed this, but each to their own when it comes to Art.
The pylon museum 15 bucks. Really cool. Best views of the city, and some great historical images of the Sydney Harbour bridge.
7.40 dollars for single ferry trip to Tangaroo zoo. Wharf 4 every 30 mins.
Zoo tickets 40 bucks each.
Then ferry to Rose bay, Catalina restaurant, recommend the tooth fish and the Octopus bruschetta.
We only had one entree one main and glass sauvignon blanc, expect to pay over 100 USD. No need to book for lunch.
Walk 45 mins from Rose Bay to Bondi Beach.
Tips for Bondi Beach
No fibre glass surf boards on Bondi Beach.
Opal cards only are allowed on buses out there. You can buy them from newsagents. Minimum fare 10 USD. Cannot use not contactless. Fucking backwards because a single fare costs 4 dollars.
We bought a child card for half price and blagged it
When leaving Sydney hire a Hertz car. To get to the Hertz centre catch the train from Circular Quay to Wolli Creek. 10 dollars for 2 people. Get the Green line, T8 known as the airport line.
The Hertz Centre is a 20 minute walk from Wolli Creek Station.
Stopped off at the Featherdale Zoo, had picture taken with Archer, the fussiest koala in the land. Adult tickets cost 32 Australian Dollars.
We met a crocodile called Nooka. Nooka is a permanent guest at Featherdale Zoo because he ate a dog.
They’ve tried putting him in with other female crocodiles but he just kills them. Nooka is not interested in mating, just killing.
The drive to Newcastle
From Featherdale Zoo we drove to Newcastle, which took 2 hours. Stayed in Noah’s by the Beach. There the camera broke so the photos from here will be from the mobile.
People surf at six thirty. The cafe on the beach opens at 6am. The other cafe opens at 6.30 and has no interest in serving folk at 6.25.
From Newcastle we drove down to Port Macquarie, stopping off at Billabong zoo. This zoo will charge 35 bucks on entrance, and you don’t have to pay extra to pat a Koala on it’s ass.
Along the coastline you might catch a glimpse of the dolphins hunting.
Walked along the breakers. Not much to say about that, but it’s an enjoyable walk.
Koala Hospital was good. It’s free but it would be good to leave a donation or even sponsor a Koala for 60 AUD.
Some interesting facts about how the Europeans starting deforestation in South Australia causing decline in numbers.
They were hunted for their fur until in the mid-1930’s when they became a protected species.
Where to stay in Port Macquarrie?
We stayed Flynn’s on Surf Beach Villas. 84 GBP a night. I can recommend this place. You’re very close to the Sandbox which is the best place to have lunch/brekkie.
Next stop was Byron Bay. It’s 250 steps all the way up the coastal walk to reach the Lighthouse. It’s no longer a working lighthouse, it was extinguished back in the 80’s.
The last tour is 3.40pm. It’s also Australia’s most easterly point and people have been known to spot orcas and dolphins from the lookout.
Bats in Byron Bay
We booked into Atlantic Byron Bay. 144 GBP. A bit more expensive but there was access to an outside campfire. They had free laundry facilities. Overall very spacious, worth the extra dollar.
At 5.30pm the bats descend. They flock to the nearby forest. The best restaurant we found was a place called Targa, 2 minute walk from hotel.
Over the road we had breakfast at Bayleaf before driving down to the National Park.
Is George Paragon Jinxed?
At the centre you can park by an abandoned villa that belongs to George Paragon. He owns George Paragon Seafood restaurants.
He tried making that villa into a restaurant several times. Each time it’s failed. The property has been deserted for 3 years.
The locals say its jinxed because the property was built on an aboriginal burial ground.
Skypoint is a must see
Skypoint is worth the visit. You have 2 hours free parking in the car park below if you visit the Skypoint observation deck. In total we paid 70 AUD for two salads and drinks, inc tickets.
Now on to Brisbane
From there we drove on to Brisbane and ate at The Stokehouse. This was recommended to us by a friend who lived there and was probably the best restaurant of the whole trip.
120 AUD for kangaroo carpaccio, dumplings, barramundi fish and chocolate and cherry desert.
Breakfast at mall, sadly the worst we had so far. First time we felt like we had tourist food. I won’t name the restaurant, but I’d recommend having breakfast outside the mall as this is quite touristy and commercial.
NEXT: we took the Croc express to the Australia Zoo.
On the way to Australia Zoo
If you’re lucky you’ll get Chris the driver who will give you the complete history of the Zoo and surrounding parts of Brisbane.
Australia Zoo started as Beta reptile park. In 1988 it adopted the name Australia Zoo, owned by Steve Irwin, and his family.
Steve Irwin was aged 8 when his parents started the zoo. The Zoo and the surrounding areas which are owned by Irwin covers 108 acres.
It was at the Zoo where Steve met Terry, she was a tourist at the Zoo. They wed. Together they made the Crocodile Hunter series which reached over 500 million people around the world.
Steve died 2006. His children continue his legacy.
The main show of the day is the Wildlife Warriors show which starts at 12 at the Crocoseum.
It was designed by Steve.
Tips for the Crocoseum. Don’t have lunch after the show. The outdoor theatre can host 2-2500 people, and 90 percent float to the adjacent food court.
Avoid that time of day. Have an early lunch, or later lunch, 1.45pm. Best advice is to do what we did which is eat lunch at same time as the crocodile show.
Where to start at Australia Zoo?
They will advise you to visit the Africa centre first and work your way back to the entrance throughout the course of the day. Not bad advice. There is a lot of ground to cover.
There is an information booth at the admission desk at the entrance if you have any questions. We found there to be plenty of staff on hand to help throughout the Zoo.
You can have 1 on 1 animal encounters. There is an extra cost, cheapest 29 bucks, 300 most expensive. Tigers and cheetahs are the biggest fares.
Don’t book on the day, try and book beforehand online if you want one-on-one encounters.
The WiFi was patchy in places around the Zoo but overall decent.
The road leading to the Zoo was renamed in 2007 Steve Irwin way in honour of his death. Previously it was called Glasshouse Mountain way.
James Cook, founder of Australia, called them Glasshouse Mountain which are old volcanoes. Chris will tell you a story about the Indigenous people that worshipped the mountains.
By the way did you know James Cook was eaten? I mean WIKI that dude, what a death he had.
OK I’m slightly bored typing this all out. Let’s end this thing with some SNAKE TALK.
Australia and their Snakes
3000 Australians are bitten every year. However, there are only 2-3 deaths a year from snakebite. The one to look out for is the Eastern Brown Snake, otherwise known as the Common Brown Snake.
If you don’t get medical attention within two hours of being bitten by this fella, you’re a goner. First aid won’t save you, but it will double your survival time.
That gives you four hours to get to a centre. Most people live within 2-4 hour medical centre so that’s why the survival rate of snake bite is quite high.
70 percent of snakes in Australia are venomous.
If you found this useful then check out the other travel articles on my site for holiday inspiration. Or don’t. Up to you.