Australia travel - Lonely Planet (2022)

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  • Best Things to Do

    Discover some of the most unique and fulfilling experiences your next destination has to offer.

    (Video) Introducing Australia

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Australia.

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  • See

    Bondi Beach

    Definitively Sydney, Bondi is one of the world’s great beaches. It’s the closest ocean beach to the city centre (8km away), has consistently good (though crowded) waves, and is great for a rough-and-tumble swim (the average water temperature is a considerate 21°C).If the sea’s looking a bit angry, you can always head to the child-friendly saltwater sea baths at either end of the beach, both of which received an upgrade in 2019. Surfers also carve up sandbar breaks at either end of the beach; it’s a good place for learners, too.At the beach’s northern end there’s a grassy spot with coin-operated barbecues, but don't bring alcohol to your picnic – it's banned on the beach. Changing rooms and lockers can be found at Bondi Pavilion. Free beach-friendly wheelchairs (for adults and children) can also be booked through the Bondi Pavilion.If you’re looking for your LGBTQIA+ community, head to near the North Bondi Surf Club where there's an outdoor workout area. This is one of the main hangouts for queer beach-going Sydneysiders.Two surf clubs – Bondi and North Bondi – patrol the beach between sets of red-and-yellow flags, positioned to avoid the worst rips and holes. Thousands of unfortunates have to be rescued from the surf each year. Don’t become a statistic – swim between the flags.Bondi’s lifeguardsBondi Rescue, the hugely popular Australian TV series based at Bondi Beach began in 2006 but the history of Sydney’s Bondi Beach Surf Life Saving club dates back to 1907. The club began when a group of local swimmers met at Bondi’s Royal Hotel to discuss forming a surf life-saving organisation, the first in the world.Surf lifesavers, of lifeguards as they’re also known, deal with everything from swimmers getting into trouble in the sea swell to treating jellyfish stings.Shark attacks at Bondi?Headline grabbing yes, but there has been very few shark attacks at Bondi. The beach is ringed by a shark net protecting it from great white sharks. Although it is not entirely shark-proof, the chance of a large shark entering the area is low, and surfers and lifeguards are on the lookout to keep swimmers safe.The last major incident when the shark alarm was raised in 2019 -- the unmissable signal from lifeguards for everyone to evacuate the water -- turned out to be a false alarm. The shark spotted by two surfers was a harmless baby shark.Hotels near Bondi BeachBondi is blessed with excellent accommodation options in every budget category.Bondi BackpackersBaxley BondiDive HotelQT Bondi

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    Sydney Harbour Bridge

    Sydneysiders love their giant 'coathanger', which opened in 1932. The best way to experience this majestic structure is on foot. Stairs and lifts ascend the bridge from both shores, leading to a footpath on the eastern side (the western side is a bike path).Getting the train to Milsons Point and walking back towards the city offers the more spectacular views. Climb the southeastern pylon to the Pylon Lookout or tackle the arc on the popular if expensive, once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience, the BridgeClimb.Climbing the bridgeThe BridgeClimb experience takes between 1.5 and 3 hours depending on which Climb you choose. A thorough safety briefing as well as special boiler suits, harnesses and a headset are provided. Climbers are given 15 mins to take photos at the top of the climb, but it’s a good hour to climb back down.There’s also a climbing tour with an Aboriginal leader who will teach you more about the land, its First Nations custodians, and meaning behind Aboriginal place names in Sydney like Bennelong point where the Sydney Opera House sits, and original named Tubowgule by the Gadigal people here.For many, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an bucket-list experience that a fear of heights has thwarted. The outfit offers support for those with acrophobia.HistoryThe harbour bridge is a spookily big object – moving around town you’ll catch sight of it in the corner of your eye, sometimes in the most surprising of places. Its enormous dimensions, the arch is 134m high (440 feet) from the top to the water and the span measures 503m (1650 ft). It’s the biggest (although not quite the longest) steel arch bridge in the world.The two halves of chief engineer JJC Bradfield’s mighty arch were built outwards from each shore in what was a huge source of Depression employment. In 1930, after seven years of merciless toil by 1400 workers, the two arches were only centimetres apart when 100km/h winds set them swaying. The coathanger hung tough and the arch was finally bolted together. Extensive load-testing preceded the bridge's opening two years later.Sydney Harbour Bridge factsConstruction began in 1923 and the bridge opened in 1932 -- connecting Sydney city with the northern suburbs.It has four railroad tracks, a multi-lane highway, a pedestrian walkway and a cycleway.The bridge is made of 53,000 tonnes of steel, held together by reportedly six million hand-driven rivets (we’re not sure who’s willing to check that fact!).

  • See

    Royal Botanic Gardens

    Considered one of the finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping in the world, Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens draw over two million visitors a year. Here you'll find plants from around the globe as well as a strong show of unique Australian flora.Mini ecosystems, a herb garden and an indigenous rainforest are all set amid vast, picnic-friendly lawns and black-swan-spotted ponds. From the air, these stunning, 38-hectare gardens suggest a set of giant green lungs in the heart of the city.Events and toursIn summer the gardens play host to Moonlight Cinema, a nightly pop-up cinema where cult classics and new release films are screened under the stars.Open-air theatre performances are another summer highlight from Shakespeare to Wind in the Willows, they’re often child-friendly events.Children and parents will love the excellent, nature-based Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, a whimsical, child-scaled place that invites exploration and water play.The Aboriginal Heritage Walk comes highly recommended. This is a site of cultural significance to the local Kulin Nation (there’s a reason this vast green space was not buried under streets and houses when the British descended). On the tour you’ll learn to identify significant native plants withan Aboriginal guide, and gain some insight in the customs and ongoing connection to country of Australia’s First Nations people.The visitor centre is the departure point for tours but book ahead(see the website for details). Close by, the National Herbarium, established in 1853, contains more than a million dried botanical specimens used for plant-identification purposes.And finally, the 19th-century Melbourne Observatory runs tours of the night sky here.Royal Botanic Gardens cafesThis being Melbourne there are a few excellent cafes in and around the gardens including French-Vietnamese inspired Jardin Tan near entrance F.Cranbourne Botanic GardensFor visitors who can’t get enough, Royal Botanical Gardens has also developed the Australian Garden in the outlying suburb of Cranbourne which boasts 10kms of walking tracks through bushland and Australian landscapes.

    (Video) Melbourne City Guide - Lonely Planet travel video

  • See

    Twelve Apostles

    The most iconic sight and enduring image for most visitors to the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles provide a fitting climax to the journey. Jutting out from the ocean in spectacular fashion, these rocky stacks stand as if they've been abandoned to the waves by the retreating headland. Today only seven Apostles can be seen from a network of viewing platforms connected by timber boardwalks around the clifftops.How to get thereThere’s pedestrian access to the viewing platforms from the car park at the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre – more a kiosk and toilets than an info centre – via a tunnel beneath the Great Ocean Road. It's a 4 hour drive from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road or just a 10-minute drive from Port Campbell if you'd prefer more time to explore the area.Best time to visitThe best time to visit is sunset, not only for optimum photographic opportunities and to beat the tour buses but also to see little penguins returning ashore. Sightings vary, but generally the penguins arrive 20 to 40 minutes after sunset. They can be spotted from about 197ft (60m) away, so you'll need binoculars, which can be borrowed from the Port Campbell Visitor Centre.

  • See

    Whitehaven Beach

    One of of Australia's most photogenic and hyped beaches, Whitehaven is a pristine 4.3 mile-long (7km) stretch of blinding sand (at 98% pure silica, some of the whitest in the world) framed by lush vegetation and a brilliant blue sea. From Hill Inlet at the northern end of the beach, the swirling pattern of dazzling sand through the turquoise and aquamarine water paints a magical picture.How do I get there?Whitehaven beach is just a half-hour catamaran trip away from Hamilton Island. Helicopter and seaplane tours are available for those in search of the perfect aerial shot.Also offering good snorkelling, Whitehaven beach tours are available from nearly all Airlie-based operators.Can I stay overnight on Whitehaven Beach?You can be lulled to sleep by the ocean if you hire a boat and anchor just off the beach. For those who'd prefer dry land, camping optionsare available on the southern side of Whitehaven Beach. Book ahead via a national park camping website to ensure you're not disappointed.

  • See

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    Hosier Lane

    Melbourne's most-celebrated laneway for street art, Hosier Lane's cobbled length draws camera-wielding crowdsto its colorful canvas of graffiti, stencils and art installations. The changing subject matter runs from political to countercultural, spiced with irreverent humour.The street art continues along Rutledge Lane, which horseshoesback around to Hosier Lane. As the artworks evolve, with fresh murals continually thrown up overnight (officially most of this is actually illegal), no two visits will be the same.You'll visit Hosier Lane, as well as many other street art-laden lanes nearby including AC/DC Lane, on walking tours of the city centre.Hosier Lane street artMany famous Australian and international artists’ works have been spotted in Hosier Lane since it was first made famous in the global street art scene in the 1990s. The most well-known a Banksy stencil piece, Parachuting Rat from 2003, was mistakenly painted over by city council workers in 2010.Other renowned artists to have graced the lane with their ephemeral works include ABOVE (USA), Shepard Fairey (USA), Invader (France), and D*FACE (GB), as well as local talentssuch as Ha Ha, Prism and Rone.Hosier Lane historyMelbourne's street artists first took their lead from the graffiti scene in New York, with train carriages and railway tracks the focus in the 1980s, before Melbourne's dark and disused city laneways became the new canvas for creatives. Over time stencil art, ‘pasties’ and sculptures complemented tags and piecesspray-painted after hours.Small bars and restaurants began popping up off the main city thoroughfares.Soon the city embraced this newvibrancy and the attention from overseas visitors to Melbourne. Many private and public wallsnow have large-scale murals painted on commissionacross Melbourne. Hosier Lane is just the beginning of your street art odyssey. To learn more about Melbourne’s early underground street art scene, seek out the 2005 documentary RASH.In 2020, ten masked men spray painted Hosier Lane with fire extinguishers filled with brightly colored paint, an act of vandalism according to the police and Lord Mayor. It was unclear if this was a response to the commercialization of Hosier Lane’s street art, or just a boring contribution to its story, but the bluestone cobbled lane was quickly cleaned up and new artworks appearedalmost immediately.Hosier Lane directionsThe lane is directly opposite Federation Square (‘Fed Square’ to locals) off Flinders Street, at the southern end of Melbourne’s main city centre. Fed Square also houses two major cultural hubs: ACMI, the museum of screen culture, and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.Another major landmark to look out for is the 1920s-built Forum theatre, originally a picture palace and now a major live music venue.Hosier Lane bars and restaurantsA Melbourne institution, the Spanish tapas restaurant MoVida sits as the southern end of Hosier Lane. While newcomer Tres a Cinco, a colorful Mexican cantina selling tacos and tequila, replaced the long-standing Misty cocktail bar.

  • See

    Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

    A spectacular mix of sandstone, Australian bushland and tranquil water vistas, this 14,928-hectare park forms Sydney’s northern boundary. It’s located 20 to 30km from the city centre and accessible by public transport, making a spectacular day trip from the city.It is a popular place to visit for its wilderness, its Aboriginal heritage, as well as activities such as walking, cycling, and kayaking. In winter add whale-watching to the reasons to visit.The park takes in over 100km of coastline along the southern edge of Broken Bay, where it heads into the Hawkesbury River. There are two unconnected principal sections, Bobbin Head and the West Head area. The Barrenjoey headland at Palm Beach is also part of the park and the site of an historic lighthouse.The second national park in Australia, Ku-ring-gai was created in 1894. Its name comes from its original inhabitants, the Guringai people, who were all but wiped out just after colonization through violence at the hands of settlers and the devastating introduction of smallpox. It’s well worth reading Kate Grenville’s The Secret River for an engrossing but harrowing telling of this story.Remnants of pre-colonial Aboriginal life are visible today thanks to the preservation of more than 800 sites, including rock paintings, middens and cave art.WalksElevated park sections offer glorious water views over Cowan Creek, Broken Bay and Pittwater. For information about walking trails, stop at the Bobbin Head Information Centre, operated by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. There are a marina, picnic areas, a cafe and a boardwalk leading through mangroves at Bobbin Head.WaterfallsUpper Gledhill Falls is a fairly easily accessible waterfall inside the park, and a popular ‘secret’ wild swimming spot for competent swimmers.Further downstream along McCarrs Creek there’s a series of cascades including another swimming spot known as Duck Hole or Duck Pond with a large sandy bank on one side.CampingThe Basin Campground is a remote camping spot accessed by ferry with basic facilities: a shower block, toilets, picnic tables and drinking water. Campers need to be well-prepared and self-sufficient. Sites are pre-booked via the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service websitePicnic areasThere are multiple picnic areas in the park, with toilets and drinking water taps; some also have BBQ areas.Entry feeAs with all Australian national parks there are entry fees for vehicles, and per person per day. More information can be found on the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service website on current fees and how to pay.How to get to Ku-ring-gai Chase National ParkAccess to the park is by the Palm Beach water taxi or by car via McCarrs Creek Rd (off Mona Vale Rd, Terrey Hills) for West Head; or via Bobbin Head Rd (North Turramurra) or Ku-ring-gai Chase Rd (Mount Colah) for Bobbin Head.AccommodationAs well as camping and a YHA at Pittwater and Collaroy, accommodation options includes houseboats on the Hawkesbury River and a Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park in nearby Narrabeen.

  • See

    Shrine of Remembrance

    One of Melbourne's icons, the Shrine of Remembrance is a commanding memorial to Victorians who have served in war and peacekeeping, especially those killed in WWI.The shrine draws thousands to its annual Anzac Day dawn service (on 25 April), while the Remembrance Day service at 11am on 11 November commemorates the signing of the 1918 Armistice, marking the formal end to WWI. At this precise moment a shaft of light shines through an opening in the ceiling, passing over the Stone of Remembrance and illuminating the word ‘love’; on all other days this effect is demonstrated using artificial lighting on the hour.Shrine of Remembrance eternal flameWith its cenotaph and eternal flame (lit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954), the forecourt was built as a memorial to those who died in WWII. There are several other memorials surrounding the shrine. Below the shrine, a stunningly conceived architectural space houses the Galleries of Remembrance, a museum dedicated to telling the story of Australians at war via its 800-plus historical artefacts and artworks.HistoryBuilt between 1928 and 1934, much of it with Depression-relief, or ‘susso’ (sustenance) labour. Its stoic, classical design is partly based on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world.The shrine's upper balcony affords epic panoramic views of Melbourne's skyline and all the way up tram-studded Swanston Street. This unobstructed view isn't coincidental; planning regulations continue to restrict any building that would encroach on the view of the shrine from Swanston Street as far back as Lonsdale Street.Planning your visitDownload the free Shrine of Remembrance app for a self-guided tour, or consider joining the guided tours daily (free for Australian and New Zealand veterans and defence force personnel).Kids can choose from four activity cards and learn about the Shrine, armed with an 'explorer kit'. Borrowed from the visitor centre, it features a periscope, a magnifying glass, a kaleidoscope and more.The complex is under 24-hour police guard; during opening hours the police are required to wear uniforms resembling those worn by WWI light-horsemen.

  • See

    Melbourne Cricket Ground

    With a capacity of 100,000 people, the "G" is one of the world’s great sporting venues, hosting cricket in summer and AFL (Australian Football League, Aussie rules or "footy") in winter – for many Australians it's hallowed ground.HistoryThough the MCG has undergone numerous renovations and expansions during its lifetime, the original cricket ground dates back to1853. It hosted its first game of Aussie Rules football in 1858, and in 1877 it was the venue for the first test cricket match between Australia and England. Since then, the ground has served asthe central stadium for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and played host totwo Cricket World Cups, as well asthe 2006 Commonwealth Games. It was also used as an army barracks during WWII. Despite this venerable history, the oldest parts of the current structure are the light towers, dating from the 1980s.A number of historical sporting items, including the hand-written notes defining the rules of Australian Rules Football, are on display at the Australian Sports Museum, located within the bowels of the stadium.There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Aboriginal Australians played a form of football called " marngrook" prior to European settlement. A scar tree near the MCG, from which bark was removed to make canoes, serves as a reminder that Melbourne’s cricketfans were not the first to gather at this site – some Indigenous Australians like to call it the Melbourne Corroboree Ground. Marngrook is remembered in the name of a trophy awarded to the winner of an annual AFL match.How to tourMelbourne Cricket GroundMake it to a game if you can (tickets for matches are available via the official stadium website); otherwise, there are non-match-day tours that take you through the stands, media and coaches’ areas, changingrooms and members' lounges.Discounts are available if you get a combined Australian Sports Museumand tour ticket.If you're in the area and after a quick taste of a live AFL game, sometimes it's possible to wander in free of charge at three-quarter time (around 1½ hours after starting time) to see the last 30 minutes of the action.

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Can tourists travel to Australia right now? ›

Australia's border is open.

What is the best month to visit Australia? ›

September to November & March to May are best time to visit Australia. Most of the tourists opt for these months to visit Australia. The weather during these seasons is neither too hot nor too cold that makes it perfect to have a walk around Australia.

How many days are enough for Australia? ›

If you've got a week to 10 days

For a more immersive Australian experience, six to 10 days is often enough to get a good taste of what Australia has to offer (though we're sure you'll leave wanting more). With this amount of time, your best bet is to pick a coast – either the east or the west.

Are there still Covid restrictions in Australia? ›

Public spaces and services. Social distancing restrictions and other local measures are still in place across Australia with a number of variations.

Is PCR required for Australia? ›

must undertake a PCR test or RAT if you develop COVID-19 symptoms within 7 days of arriving in Australia. must comply with all COVID Safe settings in place, such as wearing masks when required.

What is the cheapest month to fly to Australia? ›

The cheapest airfare tends to be during the low season, which runs from May 1 through the first week in June, and again from about the third week in July through the third week in September.

Is traveling to Australia expensive? ›

Average worldwide flight costs to Australia (from all airports) are between $1,112 and $2,134 per person for economy flights and $3,492 to $6,701 for first class. Depending on activities, we recommend budgeting $42 to $86 per person per day for transportation and enjoying local restaurants.

What is the best month to travel to Australia and New Zealand? ›

By the time you reach New Zealand in late October to early November, the days will be getting longer and becoming increasingly warmer. If you want to see Australia's Top End at its finest, go between May and September, but bear in mind that you'll have less daylight in New Zealand at this time of year.

Is it worth going to Australia for 2 weeks? ›

In two weeks, you can explore an average of four regions in Australia. The most efficient trips fly you in and out of major cities—like Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide—ensuring you can piggyback with free days and city tours in each location.

How much money do I need to travel Australia? ›

How much money will you need for your trip to Australia? You should plan to spend around AU$192 ($126) per day on your vacation in Australia, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.

What is the best way to travel around Australia? ›

The best (and cheapest) way to experience Australia is to hire or buy a campervan and take a road trip. That way you can set your own itinerary, be spontaneous, take the road less travelled, and stop where you want for as long as you want.

Can a UK citizen travel to Australia now? ›

All visa holders can travel to Australia, regardless of vaccination status. You should check if proof of COVID-19 vaccination status requirements are different for any transit countries you will pass through on the way to Australia, or if your airline has additional requirements.

Will the Australian borders open in 2022? ›

The Australian Government has announced that from 18 April 2022, a number of changes to Australia's international border arrangements will take effect.

Can I travel to Australia from UK unvaccinated? ›

Travelling to Australia

You can travel to Australia without needing to provide proof of vaccination. If you are a visa holder who is not vaccinated, you no longer need an individual travel exemption to enter Australia.

Has Australia closed its borders? ›

Australia has closed its borders because of COVID-19. The only people who can travel here are Australian citizens and residents, their immediate family members and some travellers from New Zealand. There are strict quarantine rules and this may be at your own cost.


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