In January 2015 I headed off to Australia for 5 weeks with my cousin Rebecca. We had done lots of research beforehand to make sure we could fit in everything we wanted to do, and I feel like we definitely made the most of our 5 weeks! We left the UK on 7th January and left Australia for South East Asia on 9th Feb.
Melbourne, Jan 9th to 15th
This was the first stop on our trip and we were excited to arrive and start our three months of travel. We stayed at the YHA Central which was a great location. The first day we headed across to Peter Pans Travel Agency to book a few trips for our time in Australia and then attempted to get over our jetlag and not much else. Whilst in Melbourne we explored the city, went on a Great Ocean Road Trip and visited Philip Island (both of these we booked through Wildlife Tours). We visited the Eureka Sky Deck, wandered round St Kilda and looked round Queen Victoria Market. It was a lovely few days and a great start to our trip.
Cairns, Jan 14th to 19th
Due to the tours we had booked for the rest of our East Coast trip we ended up flying to Cairns and staying in Cairns for 6 nights. For us, I definitely think this was too long, especially when the weather wasn't amazing. We stayed at Dreamtime Hostel which was really nice and chilled. We had some great trips, the Uncle Brian's tour was amazing and we had our first snorkelling trip on the barrier reef on the Ocean Freedom which I would really recommend (although I ended up with a very sunburnt back!)
Magnetic Island, Jan 20th to 21st
As suggested by the agent at Peter Pans, we headed to Magentic Island to stay at the Base hostel for a couple of nights. We took the Greyhound from Cairns as we had booked a hop on, hop off pass from Cairns to Sydney. The hostel was fun, despite the very basic rooms and they had activities every night. The next day we went to Bungalow Bay Koala Village where we met all sorts of animals and held koalas (something that had been on my bucket list).
Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, Jan 22nd to 26th
Our next stop was Airlie Beach ready for our Whitsundays boat trip. We stayed at Backpackers by the Bay which wasn't too long a walk from the main town. We spent the days prior the Whitsundays trip looking round the town and laying in hammocks. We hadn't known much about the Atlantic Clipper before we booked it, but it had been highly recommended and we had a great time. It was a great trip and we met some lovely people, but I think next time I would look for a trip that meant we got to spend less time on the boat and more time actually on the whitsundays! (We only got to spend a few hours!).
Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island, Jan 27th to 30th
This was definitely one of my favourite places of the whole trip. We stayed at Dingo's Hostel and went on the Dingo's 4WD tag along tour. We were with an amazing group of people in our car and visited some amazing places on Fraser. We cooked our dinner all together and had some great nights, we stayed at the K'Gari camp in tents and headed out to the beach on the second which was really good. I would highly recommend our particular tour!
Brisbane, Jan 31st to Feb 1st
We had only got a few days in Brisbane (basically the theme for our last few stops) but we tried our best to make the most of it. We stayed at the YHA Brisbane. I met up with family friends on the first day, then on the second day we went to Australia Zoo which was actually a great zoo. We had been quite careful with what animal places to visit and because of the Steve Irwin history we felt like this would be a good choice. For a weekend it was very quiet and we were able to see everything easily in a day. On our final day we looked round the city and ended up having afternoon tea in a tea room which was very nice!
Surfers Paradise, Feb 2nd
We only had a day in surfers. We stayed at Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort. We didn't get to go to any of the theme parks, but we visited the beach and wandered around the shops. We went out for dinner that night after having not eaten out for ages!
Byron Bay, Feb 3rd to 5th
We had a surf lesson booked and were really looking forward to relaxing in Byron. It was really different to other places we had visited in Australia and somewhere that I loved! We stayed at Cape Byron YHA where we made friends with some lovely people who came and watched the most amazing sunrise I have ever seen at Cape Byron with us (after a 45 minute walk in the dark!). The surf lesson was great and after a few attempts I managed to stand on my board!
Sydney, Feb 6th to 9th
Our last stop, and my absolute favourite place in Australia! We didn't have long there but managed to fit in lots in our few days. We stayed at Big Hostel which we found a great location and a good price for Sydney. On the first day we explored and met up with some of the friends I had made whilst living in Florida which was great! We walked across Harbour bridge and wandered round Luna Park and got dinner at a really cute restaurant. The following day we headed to the Blue Mountains. We decided to plan our own day and take the train instead of taking a tour which gave us much more freedom. The Blue Mountains were so beautiful! We went to Manly the following day to visit Rebecca's friend which was really nice. Sydney was amazing, it is definitely somewhere I would love to return to!
Greyhound Hop on, Hop Off Cairns to Sydney: £213
Melbourne to Cairns Flight: £108.44
Day Trips and Tours: £971.69 (Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, Great Barrier Reef, Uncle Brian's, Magnetic Island, Fraser Island, Whitsundays, Australia Zoo, Surf Lesson, Koala Village, Blue Mountains Trip inc. Scenic World)
Food, Shopping and general Spending: £392.96
Days spent in Australia: 33 days
Average per day: £62.35