The Selfish Guide to Australia
Mr. Selfish and I spent 38 days in the Land Down Under. We found Aussie food to be quite fresh and delicious and the wildlife to be abundant and diverse. Nevertheless, the country as a whole was too similar to the States for our tastes. We still highly recommend Tasmania.
Our itinerary was as follows:
- Sydney – 18 days
- Port Douglas/Great Barrier Reef – 4 days
- Tasmania – 7 days
- Adelaide – 2 days
- Kangaroo Island – 2 days
- Melbourne – 5 days
Sydney: Beaches and Great Food
Mr. Selfish and I had high expectations for Sydney. We were generally disappointed since it seemed too similar to “Any City, USA.” Nevertheless, who doesn’t love the view of the Opera House?
We also enjoyed the wonderful beach infrastructure, especially Bondi Beach.
Moreover, the ferry to Manly is well worth the trip. The views from the ferry of Sydney are amazing, and the beaches in Manly are also quite scenic.
Although we had heard that the food in Sydney was very good, we were still surprised at how fresh everything was and the quality of the ingredients. We had many delicious meals in Sydney, including Aussie pies, hamburgers, Malay food, gelato, and brekkie.
After being in Asia so long, Mr. Selfish and I had a serious craving for good beer, and Sydney delivered.
We also took a day trip to the Blue Mountains, which are actually quite blue.
Finally, Mr. Selfish wanted to check another Park Hyatt off of his list of hotels at which to stay. The Sydney Park Hyatt was a beautiful hotel, and we wished that we had spent more than one night there.
Here’s our Google map for Sydney:
The Great Barrier Reef: Not So Great
Mr. Selfish and I also had high expectations for the Great Barrier Reef. There is so much hype to dive there. It is possible that we weren’t there at the right time, but the diving was only okay. The GBR does not rate that high compared to other dives sights we’ve visited.
I did enjoy the Wildlife Habitat at which I held a koala.
On the other hand, I would skip the Mossman Gorge unless you have never, ever seen another gorge before.
Here’s our bare bones Google map for the Port Douglas area:
Tasmania: The Highlight of the Land Down Under
Mr. Selfish and I absolutely adored Tasmania. We spent a week there and wish that we had spent around two weeks instead. It was absolutely stunning and had the best food in Australia.
We rented a car and drove to Launceston, St. Helens (near the Bay of Fires), Swansea (near Wineglass Bay/Freycinet National Park), Port Arthur, and Hobart.
From Launceston, we drove to Narawntapu National Park, which had the most adorable wombats and tons of other critters.
Then, it was off to the east coast of Tasmania. Although the weather in Tasmania was a little rainy initially, the skies opened up and we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise at the Bay of Fires.
The good weather continued at Freycinet National Park although we found Wineglass Bay to be a little overrated.
We then drove down to Port Arthur to see the former penal colony for the hardest of British criminals.
During this drive around Tasmania, we had the freshest and most delicious food. The wine, cheese, berries, and oysters were all fantastic.
Finally, we spent a couple of nights in Hobart, the capital and biggest city in Tasmania. Mr. Selfish and I discovered our favorite museum of all time there – the Museum of Old and New (MONA).
We also had the best breakfast we’ve ever had in Hobart from Machine Laundry Café.
I highly recommend visiting Tasmania if you plan on going to Australia. It was certainly our favorite location there. Here’s our Google map of Tasmania:
Adelaide: Meet and Eat Plus Wineries
Mr. Selfish and I only spent two days in Adelaide. Thanks to our good friends who showed us around, we had a lovely time.
We did the notorious “Meet and Eat” in Adelaide. There are two steps. First, we met the animals at Cleland Wildlife Park.
Second, we ate (some of) those animals at Red Ochre. Mmmmmmmmm. Delicious!
Plus, the wineries near Adelaide are fabulous. There are so many to choose from, so we were glad to have the locals show us the ropes.
Here’s our Google map of Adelaide:
Kangaroo Island: Crazy Pelicans and Seals
From Adelaide, we took a ferry to Kangaroo Island. Although KI was a lot of fun, if I had to recommend only one island in Australia, it would still be Tasmania.
However, Tasmania doesn’t have a daily feeding frenzy with tons of crazy looking pelicans.
Mr. Selfish and I would have enjoyed Flinders Chase National Park more if the weather had cooperated. It was still very pretty, especially the Remarkable Rocks and the Admirals Arch.
Seal Bay was also fun, mostly because it was mating season and all of the males were strutting there stuff.
Here’s our Google map for Kangaroo Island:
Melbourne: The Other City
Mr. Selfish and I spent five days in Melbourne, which we found to have much more character than Sydney. We also heard that people from Sydney derogatorily refer to those in Melbourne as “Mexicans,” which doesn’t make much sense to us.
We also enjoyed shopping at the Queen Victoria Market and cooked some delicious meals.
Here’s our Google map of Melbourne:
[Disclaimer: These are our personal Google maps for Australia. It is possible that not all of the pins are accurate since we did not visit all of them.]