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Special thanks to Simon Menaker, Sarah Shugar, Amelia Kain, Jon Basset and Jack Crawford-Brown for the recommendations and photos.

There is truly no place like "The Land Down Under." From the the open expanse of the Outback, to Queensland's tropical paradise, Australia is a bucket-list destination for any traveler. Explore the cosmopolitan hub of Melbourne, hang ten at Byron Bay, or take your trekking to the next level in Western Australia's Kimberly region. Who knows,  down under might just become your permanent home. 

Great Barrier Reef

Boomer Beach

Crockery Bay


Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays


Boomer Beach

Blowhole Beach/Elevators


Things to Do

Day trip to Blowhole Beach: Known by the locals as Elevators, it won't show up on the maps, but head to Port Elliot Holiday Park, walk the trail past Crockery Bay, and you'll find it. You can sit in the natural pools as the water goes in and out!

Go cliff jumping at Second Valley, in the Fleurieu Peninsula. Heights range from 19 to 15 feet! Make sure to wear shoes on a hot day so you don't burn your feet. There's also a small beach and jetty for fishing. 

Head to Boomer Beach for massive waves and a beautiful surf beach. If you get lucky, you can also spot dolphins! 


Things to Do

Enjoy live music and hang out at Magnums.

Bicentennial Walkway: There is no better way to enjoy Airlie Beach than exploring gorgeous ocean views. Check out the walkway through parks along the water. 

Bike to shipwreck: A little bit of exercise in this awesome town won't steer you wrong. Bike to the shipwreck at low tide and take a walk out to scope it out. 

If time allows, book a liveaboard through the Whitsundays or to the outer Great Barrier Reef. Listed below are some reputable companies. Book ahead of time if possible:

Wings Whitsunday Adventures: Advanced Eco-certified tour operator.

Whitsundays Dive Centre: Reliable diving academy right on the water. They'll show you the ropes and get you up to speed!

Places to Eat

Fish D'vine & The Rum BarCasual vibe with locally sourced seafood. Couldn't be fresher if you caught the meal yourself.

La MarinaTraditional Italian food with stunning views of the bay.

La Tabella TrattoriaAnother quality Italian spot with a diverse wine selection.


Fish d'vine: Fresh seafood with the vastest rum selection in town. Make sure to ask for specialty cocktails.

Places to Drink

Magnums: Live music and great drinks. Check online for events.

Beaches Bar & Grill:  Stellar energy with a laid back vibe. Also, serves delicious food.

Denman Cellars Beer Cafe: Great for ordering bar food and catching live music. 

Places to Stay

Magnums Backpackers: Very relaxed hostel on Main Street. Has a surprisingly good restaurant and bar on-site.

Second Valley Cliffs

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays


Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

St Kilda Beach, Melbourne


Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane 


Melbourne River Walk, Melbourne

Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Melbourne Cricket Grounds, Melbourne 

Melbourne Rive Walk, Melbourne



Things to Do

Explore West End: Popular suburb that's home to tons of clothing shops, bars, and restaurants. 

South Bank Markets: Whether you want to find local cuisine or cool souvenirs, these markets have it all.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary: Ever dreamed of holding a baby koala? This is your chance! Lone Pine is known for rehabilitation of Koalas and gives you a first-hand experience learning about the indigenous animals of Australia.

Places to Stay

Airbnb in Downtown: The prices on rooms are usually fair. Different areas will have different going rates, so check to see how close you want to be to the action.


Bunk Brisbane: Centrally located, this hostel has comfortable rooms and is home to a popular bar. Lots of foot traffic and backpackers from across the globe!

City Backpackers HQ: Close to shopping, nightlife, and restaurants 


Uber is easiest unless you're up for a lengthy walk.


Things to Do

Block Arcade: Wander through this arcade with its magnificent French Renaissance style architecture filled with tea rooms and boutiques. The beautiful Royal Arcade and Cathedral Arcade are also worth a visit.

Federation Square: Popular hub buzzing with people. This is a hub for arts, culture and public events.

Degraves St: Numerous bars, shops, cafes and restaurants - feels like a little piece of Europe in Melbourne.  Order a latte and enjoy the bustling street!

Eureka SkyDeck: The fastest elevator in the Southern Hemisphere, it shoots you up 285 meters to see wall to wall 360-degree views of Melbourne.

Queen Victoria Market: Variety of shopping and food, it is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere.

Hosier Lane Street Art: Declared a “graffiti tolerance zone” by the city council, this street boasts countless graffiti masterpieces and the murals are ever-changing.  Don't miss the AC/DC zone! 

South Bank: Gorgeous urban neighborhood. Explore the many restaurants, bars, cafés, shops and events.

St. Kilda Beach: Beautiful beach to relax at in the summer time.  Lined with fantastic bars and restaurants that offer amazing views.

St Kilda Esplanade Market: Take a stroll by the water, grab brunch, and head to this market filled with handmade jewelry and art; every Sunday from 10am-4pm.

Melbourne Cricket Grounds:Look up the schedule. It's worth going to a game if they are playing.

National Gallery of Victoria: An impressive permanent collection of art and a constant rotation of spectacular exhibitions.

Royal Botanic Gardens: Go for a run around the Tan or walk through the lush garden and discover over 8,500 plant species.

Day Trips/ Road Trips Leaving Melbourne

Great Ocean Road: Easily drivable in one day or take your time and begin at the surf town of Torquay to end at Portland. Make sure to see Lorne, Apollo Bay, and the 12 Apostles along the way. Bring your camping gear or stay in Airbnb’s.

Grampians National Park: Lots of trails to choose from and only three hours from the city, this is the perfect nature getaway. I recommend the Pinnacle walk and lookout.

Mornington Peninsula: Hot Springs, wineries, lavender farms, hiking, Cape Schanck lighthouse, and more. The Mornington Peninsula is the ultimate location to relax and get outdoors.

Phillip Island: Watch the penguin parade at sunset as the world’s smallest penguin waddle across the beach after a day’s fishing to the safety of their sand dune burrows.

Wilsons Promontory National Park: Secluded beaches, abundant wildlife, and granite mountains. Climb Mount Oberon for stunning views.

Yarra Valley: Rolling green hills and gorgeous vineyards, the Yarra Valley offers an abundance of activities, choose from walking trails, hot air ballooning, vineyards, art galleries, markets, and more. Or book a winery tour that leaves from the CBD and have a chauffeur take you from one winery to the next, so you don’t have to worry about appointing a designated driver.

Places to Eat

Chin Chin Restaurant: Asian fusion. Everything is delicious.

Curtin House: Cookie restaurant and rooftop bar.

Higher Ground: Hottest place for brunch with incredible coffee and exquisite interior.

Little Italy: This pocket of town has a variety of Italian restaurants, you can't go wrong with any to be honest.

Maccaroni Osteria Italiana: Incredible, upscale Italian.

Matcha Mylkbar: Plant-based, insta-worthy menu.

Mr Miyagi: Funky, eclectic Japanese food with a buzzing atmosphere.

The Cornish Arms: The ultimate pub food, for vegans and non-vegans alike.

Places to Drink

Arbory Bar: Melbourne’s longest outdoor bar, 120 meters, situated along the Yarra River in Southbank. In the warmer months, board Arbory Afloat, a floating bar on a giant pontoon.

Cookie: A classic in Melbourne, sit on the buzzing rooftop bar and soak up the sun.

The Mill House: cocktail bar located in the famous Flinders Lane.

Fitzroy: Posh neighborhood with tons of interesting bars. Fitzroy is known for its street art, music scene and culture. Brunswick Street is one of Melbourne's major nightlife strips. 

Naked for Satan: Order an espresso martini at the expansive rooftop bar, located in the hip Fitzroy neighborhood.

Places to Stay

Airbnb in FIDI: This district of town will put you in a central location, and the rooms offer decently-priced stays. 


United Backpackers: Relaxed hostel with events planned throughout the week by hostel staff. Super accommodating staff. 


Public Transit in Melbourne is a dream. You can get almost anywhere in the CBD by a free/very cheap trolley or tram ride.

Uber is also quick and easy.


Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Bondi Icebergs, Sydney

Sydney Harbor, Sydney

Lone Pine Koala Center


Things to Do

Beaches: Plenty of options for beaches. Great for taking in some rays or taking on some surf. Newcastle (Newy) Beach, Nobby’s Beach, and Mereweather Beach are all stunning.


Explore Darby Street: Where you’ll find heaps of great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques.

The Bogey Hole: A local favourite. The Bogey Hole is a heritage-listed sea bath carved into the edge of the cliffs on the coast of Newy. An easy walk from Newy Beach.

Places to Eat

Casa De Loco: Mexican food and delicious cocktails. Olé!

Criniti’s: Delicious gourmet pizzas. What more could you want?


Three Monkeys: Best brunch in town. Cannot go wrong with this amazing breakfast food and drinks in a great atmosphere.

Places to Drink

Customs: Student night is Wednesday and the place gets busy. Enjoy their patio near the water during the time as well.


King Street Hotel: Where you’ll find EDM/House music, and occasionally a great live set.


Things to Do

Bondi Beach walk to Coogee Beach: Bondi Beach is known as one of the most frequented in Australia and should not be missed. This 6km paved walk goes along the coast line and starts at the Bondi Iceberg pools which really cool. Expect amazing views.

Circular Quay: Famous harbor, central to many of the popular sites.

Harbor Bridge: A must-see when in Sydney. If you are feeling very adventurous you can climb it, but be wary of the hefty price tag.

Ferry to Manly beach: One of the most pristine beaches in Sydney. Take a full day here, there are plenty of  restaurants and bars right along the beach.

Museum of Contemporary Art: The weather is often unpredictable so seek shelter from the rain, enjoy free entry to the MCA while viewing modern art.

Royal Botanic Gardens: Walk to Mrs. Macquaries Point for an amazing view of the Harbor Bridge and Opera House.

Surf: Grab your board or rent one, there's plenty of surf schools that will get any shoebie their first pit. 

The Rocks: Weekend marketplace with live music and variety of food vendors. 

Vive Cooking School class: A fun deviation from the typical tourist itinerary.

Day Trip

Blue Mountains: Reconnect with nature just two hours west of Sydney.


Hunter Valley is the Napa Valley of the area and only about 2 hours from Sydney. There are an abundance of tours available and on nicer days, there are bike tours available as well. Makes for an awesome day trip. 

Places to Eat

Bodhi: by St Mary's Cathedral in the heart of the city and nestled under ancient Moreton Bay fig trees, this tranquil oasis offers the best Asian cuisine.

Cali Press: Nothing beats the heat after a surf sesh like a refreshing cold pressed juice and colorful acai bowl.

Cuppa Flower: Trendy cafe serving a delectable menu of snacks.

Concrete Jungle Cafe: Awesome experience. Everything was extremely tasty and they have impeccable service.

The Grounds: Coffee and unique dishes served in an old factory.

Speedos Cafe: Sea views and relaxed vibe. Great option if you want authentic Australian cuisine.

Places to Drink

Hotel Bondi: Head here when the lockout laws leave you stumped on where to go, open till 4 am. Features an expansive beer garden and several indoor bars.

The Bucket List: this vibrant, nautical themed bar is located right on Bondi Beach and is the perfect place to order a passionfruit mojito and watch surfers.

Zephyr: Rooftop bar in Darling Harbor with exquisite cocktails that feature fresh garnishes and unique flavor combinations.

Newtown: Area with tons of bars and clubs. King Street has many restaurants and is a great shopping strip as well. 

Bank Hotel: in the hip Newtown neighborhood, this three-story bar is the perfect places to grab cheap beers and socialize or dance the night away.

Places to Stay

Airbnb: Anywhere in the Central Business District will have easy accessibility to all the best activities in Sydney. 




All three options here are safe bets when it comes to housing. Each has great location, clean facilities, reasonable prices, and is bustling with backpackers from across the world! Try: Mad Monkey Backpackers on Broadway, Bounce Sydney, or Wake Up! Sydney Central.


Public transport: The trains and buses are easy to navigate and go most places.


Or just walk. Most things in the CBD and around the Circular Quay are close enough.

Mornington Peninsula National Park

Coogee Coastal Walk

Harbor Bridge

Mornington Peninsula National Park



Things to Do

Beers at Beach Hotel bar: Fantastic sunset spot. Check their schedule for happy hour deals and times.

Shopping on Jonson, Lawson and Fletcher Streets: Tons of unique, high-quality clothing boutiques.

Scuba dive: Check out diving at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve. It's one of the top dive sites in Australia.

Surf: Byron Bay is known around the world as one of the top surf destinations. Whether you are a pro searching for the best waves or a beginner looking to take lessons, Byron is a great place for anyone looking to catch some waves on the east coast. 

Hike up the main hill on the beach at sunrise or sunset.

Places to Eat

Treehouse on Belongil: Causal, healthy, filling.

St. Elmo Dining Room and BarSpanish tapas dishes with fresh and local ingredients.

Railway Friendly BarPub food in an eclectic atmosphere. Has live music throughout the week.

Places to Drink

Balcony Bar & Oyster Co: Perfect for drinks or a casual brunch. Has a fun atmosphere and great balcony seating.

Miss Margarita: A wonderful mix of traditional Hispanic vibes with Byron's beach culture. A must-visit.

The Bolt Hole: Whiskey, cocktails, and craft beer. What more could you want?

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