From caravanning and backpacking, biking and sailing, or simply run-of-the-mill family road trips, there is a myriad of ways to discover Australia, which is why I’ve always loved travelling cross-country here myself. But one thing that I’ve learnt during all my travels is that urban exploring can be very different to travelling in the bush. So for my next trek across the island continent, I think I might like to play the game a little differently and go ‘city-hopping’ instead, staying in serviced apartments across Australia’s major cities and taking my time to revisit the best gems that each city had to offer on my last trip. Feel free to plan your itineraries alongside my own using this, my definitive list of must-see places and must-do activities in Australia’s biggest city centres!
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
You know how much I love being in beautiful places, especially places with a lot of rich history, lots to see and learn. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne was one of these places for me. This garden in the heart of Melbourne was home to a menagerie of different plants from all corners of the globe, from central Africa to South America and everything in between. The fantastic thing about Melbourne as a city is that it has a very unique climate to Australia’s other major cities. It’s a bit subtropical in the warmer months, but generally, the state of Victoria receives a lot more rainfall than other parts of Australia. And the city’s really utilised that rainfall well, especially so in the case of the RBG. The gardens are also deceptively huge, being split over two different sites, and so it took me a good couple of days to fully explore!
Sydney Harbour, Sydney
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens is also worth a visit or two, but the main difference between Sydney and Melbourne is where Melbourne’s a lot more built up, Sydney’s urban style is definitely more integrated with the natural world. This is what makes Sydney’s harbour one of the most stunningly beautiful city environments in the world. In fact, Sydney Harbour is so picturesque that if your back’s to the city’s skyline, you kind of forget that you’re actually in Australia’s largest and most populated city! From Manly to Bondi and Bronte Beach, there are just far too many beautiful places to visit, but you can see it all from Sydney Harbour itself. I’d recommend taking a ferry across the water or maybe even a guided seaplane so that you’ll be able to take in all that this glorious waterfront has to offer.
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart
Moving away from the east coast now, we’re headed to the sleepy little isle of Tasmania, home to many abundant forests, glorious hiking trails, and the land of Tasmanian Devils, which is most definitely Australia’s best marsupial. The city of Hobart actually has quite a lot to offer that mainland Australia really doesn’t, and that includes hiking and biking trails that actually run the length of the city, across the river and through a variety of different terrain. North of Hobart and right by one of these trails (the Intercity Cycleway), is the Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA. This place is well worth a visit. The building is a work of art in itself, with the bulk of it being a literal subterranean cave with walls of ancient rock! Not to mention that both floors of this masterpiece of a structure are stocked with the most impressive collection of modern art that the world has to offer, you’d be crazy not to take a day or two at MONA as part of your Australian getaway. It is the epitome of unmissable.
Australia is a land with a lot to see and do year-round, and of course, it’s not just limited to these three cities. Be sure to check out my other articles to hear all about what the Gold Coast has to offer too!