There’s so much that this vast continent has to offer,
with each city having its own charm and attraction.
AUSTRALIA may be known for its unique wildlife and landscapes but the Merry Ol’ Land of Oz has got much more to offer if you’re craving an urban vacation. The hard part is picking just which city Down Under is going to float your boat. To make your work sourcing a city getaway much easier, I’m providing the Jason Down Under guide to Your Australian Urban Vacation!
Sydney, New South Wales
It seems like everyone and their cousins want to visit this place and, what can I say, it’s uber cool – from surfing in beautiful Bondi Beach to shopping at the Pitt Street Mall, to grabbing dinner at one of the awesome restaurants in Darling Harbour. The question is: Are you cool enough for Sydney?
> Sydney Harbour Bridge: Climbing is a great way to get up this iconic structure! Matt Damon, Teri Hatcher and Will Smith are among the celebrities who have done so.
> Vivid Sydney: This light and art show, held at the end of May, transforms the city into a spectacular sight.
A river runs through it but I can’t guarantee hot blond men ala Brad Pitt will be there; still, it is Australia so there’s a pretty good chance. The meandering Brisbane River really sets the city apart; the relaxed, sub-tropical flair helps, too. Kayak along the river and see the skyline from a totally different perspective. If you don’t want to get in the way of the rivers’ dolphins and bull sharks (seriously, they’re in there), you can bike, run, or walk alongside the waterway to take in the sights.
> Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA): Just when you thought the city was all about the river, Brisbane lets you get artsy at one of the premier art galleries on the continent.
> The Story Bridge: Abseil off it and create your own story.
With a population of about 200,000, Tasmania is nowhere close to giving you a fear of crowds. Hobart has an 18th century feel about it, with many of its hippest hotels and eating spots occupying turn-of-the-century, factory-style buildings. And seafood doesn’t get any fresher than in Hobart, unless you’re in the water, eating it!
> Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), an art gallery like no other. Provocative, shocking and unforgettable, it’s a must-see. Even their toilets are art exhibits; using one of their bathroom stalls literally gave me the shock of a lifetime.
> Cascade Brewery: It claims to be Australia’s oldest beer-manufacturing enterprise, at 175 years old. Go on a tour, taste the beer, or do both at the same time.
Perhaps the most European city in Australia, Melbourne is a collection of quirky lanes with incredible food, great fashion, and so many alfresco cafés it gives Paris a run for its euros. The capital of Victoria has a chilled, cosmopolitan feel to it. This is a city where they’ve got a laneway for everything, be it outdoor eating, coffee or graffiti art.
> Collins Street: Start at the Paris end of this street for luxury brands like Chanel, Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton, then head to Little Collins Street for edgy boutiques that won’t stress your credit cards’ limit.
> The Australian Open. Enjoy the match (held in January), Aussie style, in a beer garden or grab tickets and watch tennis’ biggest stars grunting as they hammer a ball at each other.
Perth, Western Australia
Built on the banks of the Swan River, the capital of Western Australia is known for its blue skies and stunning natural setting. Perth has all the trappings of a metropolis – great food, amazing sights, pristine waterways and the incredible Botanic Gardens at King’s Park.
> The Bell Tower (or the Swan Bell Tower): Ringing bells in a tower doesn’t sound that hard to do until you do it yourself. Learn how to ring these massive bells without causing bodily harm to yourself. Seriously.
> Fremantle Prison, a former maximum-security jail. Each cell has an incredible story attached to it, and maybe even some artwork!
Adelaide, South Australia
In Adelaide, the first place I went to was Montefiore Hill where the statue of Colonel William Light stands; he is perpetually pointing at the wide lanes and lush parks covering much of the city he planned. He looks quite proud, as he should be, as Adelaide has grown into a culturally diverse, relaxed city where most of the attractions are within walking distance of each other.
> The Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery and the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute.
> Adelaide Central Market: It opened over a hundred years ago and has been going strong ever since. This is the place for getting fresh produce, meat and cheeses, and dipping strawberries in fondue.
So there you have it, the tip of the iceberg of figuring out which Australian city to check out. No matter what urban experience you seek, Australia has it – plus a whole lot more.
Go to www.australia.com for more info and you’ll be hanging out in an Aussie city in no time, mate!
Catch the re-run of Jason Down Under on Feb 13 at 11.30pm exclusively on Life Inspired (Astro B.yond Ch728).