RVing was beginning to feel more natural day by day. I was forgetting about hot showers and cool air-conditioning, items that a few weeks ago seemed like a given. I now found great enjoyment in cooking outdoor with other travelers and sightings of marsupial along our drive. The road turned into a new home away from home.
With a bit of experience under our belts David and I continued further South towards Brisbane. This would be the first large city we ventured into with our RV.
While exploring Brisbane (pronounced bris-bin) we were in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, meaning our exploring route consisted of cold drinks. Two areas we did check out; Queen Street and the South Bank Area. Queen Street is a pedestrian street filled with shops and cafes. A nice walk in the heart of Brisbane. South Bank offers great views along the southern side of the city following the river. Take a picnic and enjoy the man-made beach with a great view of the city in the backdrop.
Tip: RVing in large cities can pose a few challenges: be mindful of the clearance of your vehicle and your limited turn radius. To avoid hassle, stay away from car garages with their low ceilings and park out on the edges of the city center. Then take the city public transport in.
stayed at: Brisbane Holiday Park
One of my favorite stops along the coast. This city had a laid back vibe filled with granola families crowding the farmers markets and local coffee shops. I could have filled several days eating the fresh food and lounging on the beach watching surfers catch waves.
Start your day off right by stopping by the farmers market (runs everyday from 8-11am) and grab breakfast. Slowdown to enjoy the street performers who plant themselves in the middle of the market.
Give yourself a few hours to walk around the downtown filled with local surf shops and tourists knick-knack stores. The town has such a laid back vibe you may be inspired to try out a new style while walking the streets.
After your walk, jump back into your RV and head out of town towards The Farm. A restaurant, florist shop, bakery, and a farm all call this place home. Take a guided tour (19 USD) around the farm and meet the famers who care for the land and animals. Learn first hand what goes into sustainable and ethnical farming. After your tour enjoy lunch at Three Blue Ducks and grab dessert to go from the Bread Social. You will feel like a kid again as you take in all the sites and sounds of the farm. We enjoyed our time spent around the macadamia trees and eating freshly fallen nuts.
Stayed at: Byron Holiday Park
The highlight was seeing the Sydney Opera house. I took every opportunity I could to see it from different angles and view points. Here are a few of my recommendations:
Walk around the Circle Quay and enjoy lunch with a view of the Opera House or just underneath it and bask in the shade she provides. This is a perfect opportunity to soak in the energy of people coming and going from the theater. To gain access inside you can either attend one of the shows or take a guided tour. We went with the tour and learned all about the architect and the creative process that went into forming the unique symbol of Sydneys Harbor.
Guided tours depart daily every hour until 5pm and can be reserved online for 28 USD. David and I highly recommend this tour, it is a perfect way to see inside several theaters!
Tip: if you take the opera house tour they offer discount tickets to shows
Harbor Bridge offers another great vantage point. Hiking over this bridge is beautiful and fun way to get an areal view of the Opera House. After crossing the bridge hang a right and enjoy dinner at a local cafe close to the water.
After dinner, stroll through Luna Park (a small amusement park built in 1935) and then take the Harbor City Ferry back to Circle Quay to for a very enjoyable sunset ride.
The ferry is just a few dollars since it is part of Sydney’s public transportation system. These boats are a great way to see more of the Harbor and travel further east (if you want to see more then just the opera house).
Enjoy a beer from some of the oldest pubs in the city at “The Rocks”. Take in the market that runs on the weekends and see a variety of art made by locals. The cobblestone walkways are very inviting and will entice you to journey around them. Take time to piece together the story of how Sydney got its start.
Stayed at: Lane Cove River Tourist Park (outside the city, took the train in)
Melbourne was the last stop in our Australian adventure. This city has been named the most livable city for six years in a row. Take advantage of their great public transportation to start to understand what makes this city so fantastic for tourists and locals. Don’t miss tram 35 that takes you past major city attraction while giving you a brief history of the city. This tram and all others trams within the city circle are free!
This city is full of gems that are tucked in narrow alleyways. To help us discover the local spots we booked a tour with I’m Free walking Tours. If you are wanting to take this tour book we loved ImFree tours. In two hours we had walked around the city and discover hidden pubs and street art that are ever changing and very uniquely Melbourne. If you don’t feel like taking the walking tour make sure to stop by Hosier Lane for street art, Brunswick Street for great bars, and Degrave street for delicious eats.
After the tour head towards little Italy and grab a gelato from Pidapipo Gelateria, a place that takes sweets very seriously. Ever changing flavors are served out of traditional stainless steel pozzetti, you will want to go back again and again.
Queens Victoria Market is a must while in Melbourne. With a bit of everything being sold here you can either get groceries for dinner or purchase your Australian swag to bring back home. We enjoyed a light lunch before walking through the farmers market and getting a dessert to take with us. Hours very depending on the season so make sure to check the hours before you head out.
Tip: check to see what sports are in season, this is a great place to see cricket or rugby
The Aussie open road was good to us. The bumps along the way only made our love for it that much sweeter. Things on the trip wont always go as planned when you’re traveling over 2,000km, but I can say we learned a lot about RVing and cant wait to hit the road in the States.
Australia fun facts
- Australia grew into what it is today when Britain started sending ships of unwanted criminals over beginning in 1788
- Vegimite is a favorite morning spread, pair it with white bread fresh from the toaster – spread on a thin layer (it is very salty)
- Lemingtons is a popular dessert originally made of day old sponge cake covered in chocolate and rolled in coconuts – giving the apprenece of a fresh treat
- A variety of unique meats are eaten in Australia: kangaroo, crocodile, emu, and wallaby
- Australia is the only country that eats both animals on their coat of arms: emus and Kangaroos
- Burger King is called Hungry Jacks
- Australia loves their meat pies – each city claims to have the best one
- Ice-coffee is served with ice-cream (instead of ice) and a healthy amount of whip cream on top
- Entrees are appetizers and mains are entrees
- Funny billboards line the highways to help keep drivers awake. Cities also offer free coffee and treats at reviver stations, in hopes of keeping everyone alert
- Driving at night is frowned upon since kangaroos are nocturnal and hard to see
- While everyone north of the equator is experiencing winter Australia is in their summer
- Because of their relationship to the equator north Australia is much hotter then south Australia
- Outdoor car washes are also spots to take your dog for a bath
- Australia is the first country to use plastic currency bills
- Shoes are not required anywhere, people dine and grocery shop barefoot
- Australias love to abbreviate ex: Queen Victoria Market is called the QVM