No, I'm not lost, just busy.
Sydney's well worth a visit, not just because I live there and we
could meet up ! The harbour's lovely, the theatre , music, museums
etc. and shopping are good, and you can explore beaches or mountains.
Perhaps stay in Manly and cross to the city by ferry.
Melbourne I've only been to twice, once recently, and it seems to
revolve around cafe society - lots and lots (and lots) of little
eateries at all prices, with outdoor tables open from breakfast time
on. Again, good theatre etc.
Brisbane pretends it's cosmopolitan, but isn't very. Wonderful
wonderful gardens at Roma Street worth seeing even if you don't know a
blind thing about plants.
Surfers Paradise is the tourist area on the Queensland Coast - it has
a tendency towards tacky kitsch, which I rather enjoy. If you're
anywhere near there, do the day trip up Tambourine Mountain, for views
and craft shops.
Off the Queensland coast are various tropical island resorts, which
are just that, tourist resorts. Swim, snorkel, eat, be entertained.
Cairns surprised me by really being cosmopolitan in feel, though it's
a small city - lots of European travellers, mostly young, come to see
the Barrier Reef, good shops, good eateries, nice selection of tourist
things to do. Visit the Atherton tablelands and about halfway there
there's a genuine Swiss restaurant. A couple of interesting aboriginal
tourist dance troupes, and a treetop cableway through and above the
Many people find a visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the "Red Centre" a
highlight of their visits - I've never been there.
The Snowy Mountains are a magnet for skiers in winter (June, July,
August), but charming and much more relaxed to visit in summer when
you can often rent a chalet at a fraction of its winter price.
Tasmania - the little island state off the bottom of the mainland -
can now be reached by overnight car ferry from Melbourne or Sydney,
and considers itself very English. Charming villages and B&Bs to stay
Canberra's the capital city, compact, very planned, excellent Art
Gallery, lots of fancy government architecture.
Wherever you go on the tourist circuit you will hear more than you
ever wanted to know about the ecology and the environment. This is in
stark contrast to the attitudes in any little country town that hasn't
yet been "gentrified", where people cheerfully ignore all rules about
keeping dogs on leashes etc. as not applying to them.
A lot will depend on how much time you have. There's lots of
accommodation of all qualities and all prices. NEVER, ever pay rack
rate at any hotel. There is always a discount except at very cheap
places and during huge events like the World Cup (even then I scored
a small discount at a Holiday Inn - just not the big one I usually
get.) I'd probably only advance book essential dates, like the first
couple of days, and the ones before departure, and otherwise
freewheel. Sites such as :
will give you lots of choices.
Top end accommodation is world standard (and Aussie chefs are now
first rate, though there's a current fashion for drawing on your plate
with the sauce. All Australian service is "cheerful and friendly"
rather than "discreet", and at the bottom end of the market it's
positively chummy. Top end now give you sensible late checkout times,
middle end will give you them if you ask unless the timing really
matters, bottom end still think everyone wants breakfast before 8am
and want you out by 10 am. As long as the solitary maid is still three
doors away (she usually is) the trick is to open your door at five to
ten and be seen to be loading your car.
Other than that remember that "old" means mostly mid-Victorian.
My favourite place ? It tends to be anywhere I haven't see yet. But I
like Bowral in the Southern Highlands, and it's a good base from which
Ignore probonopublico (this time, anyway), Australia's a good place to
visit and to live - most of the time. As for the cricket, Laksman's
been brillaint, but Australia's won the last two matches (best series