When it comes to attractions in the Melbourne CBD, there's none quite as immersive as exploring Melbourne's laneways. Walking tours in Melbourne are a fantastic way of seeing the city and if you undertake a guided tour your visit to Melbourne's laneways will be steeped with history, fantastic architecture and you'll find out a few interesting facts even locals don't know about their own city.
The laneways of Melbourne are prolific... there's well over 700 of them and they all have their own unique charm. In addition to the laneways, Melbourne arcades display some of the best victorian era architecture and are a fantastic place to wander through and do a spot of shopping.
Wanting to get the most of our laneway experience, we joined one of the Melbourne Laneway Tours organised by Freedom Road Travel, and we weren't disappointed!
Often visited in a loop from Alice Springs, alongside Uluru and Kata Tjuta, King's Canyon is one of Australia's most spectacular natural landmarks. Unlike the cavernous swimming holes found in places such as Karinjini National Park in the Pilbara, King's Canyon is a site best explored by foot and air.
Located in the Watarrka National Park, it is easily accessibly with a 2WD and can be explored independently or with a group. We did the 'rim walk' which is the most popular and spectacular option. At a grade 4 walk, you will need to be fit, as your first challenge is a steep climb known locally as 'heart attack hill'. Don't worry, we lived to tell the tale and even had a 70 year old woman in our group who powered ahead of many of us younger folk.
Unlike most countries in the world, Aussies drive on the left. Unlike the UK, which is full of tricky round abouts, most large intersections in Australia operate using a traffic light system, which can make it a little less confusing.
When driving in Australia, you do need to ensure that you are correctly licensed and that you are aware of the road rules. Some basic rules are you need to stay under 0.05 blood alcohol, 0.00 if you are a new driver and on P plates (the first 3 years of driving) and to be aware of the speed limit. There are a lot of police and road traffic cameras on Australian roads, so don't be alarmed if you are pulled over for a random breath test. Speeding fines are issued for any speed over 3kmh (1.9mph) over the marked speed limit, so it is essential that you don't speed, or it can add up very quickly!
Australia has great roads and freeways that connect its cities and there are many interesting places to stop on the way. On popular routes (don't expect it in the outback!) you'll regularly find rest stops with petrol and take away stops to refuel your car and yourself. There are also many interesting towns to visit along the way, giving you an 'authentic' Australian experience.
Located around 1 hour east of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is Victoria's premiere cool climate wine region. Best known for its sparkling wine, chardonnay, shiraz and pinot noir, the Yarra Valley has long been a popular day trip for Melburnians and visitors alike.
With over 160 wineries and 300 vineyards, there is no shortage of choice and many wineries offer fantastic food to boot. Whilst there are many smaller vineyards in the valley, you'll certainly recognise the name Moët, with Moët & Chandon's 'Domain Chandon' winery being one of the most popular places to stop.
Like many of us who do not explore our local area nearly enough, I am guilty of growing up on the outskirts of the Yarra Valley, and even having a sister who lives in the Valley, but not going on a wine tasting day. When we were invited on a day trip with Wine Bus Winery tours, we jumped at the opportunity to better explore the Valley's wine culture and we weren't disappointed.
The Most Liveable City in the World
Whilst the results of this survey are geared towards living in a city, surely being liveable also makes it visitable. With a big focus on free and cost effective events, Melbourne comes alive over the summer months and buzzes with positive vibes. Summer runs from December to February in Australia, with the warm weather continuing well into March.
As a multicultural city, we love welcoming new people from around the world and you will find that locals are friendly and willing to help you or have a chat. Daylight savings means that there's plenty of daylight to enjoy and the outdoor lifestyle is perfect for the warm weather.
If that's not convincing enough, we've put together a compelling list of reasons that you need to visit Melbourne in the summer.
5 Reasons Summer in Melbourne is Unmissable
Darwin is the northern most capital city of Australia and is situated in the Northern Territory. It is a gateway to areas of interest such as Kakadu and Litchfield National parks as well as Arnhem Land.
It is most easily reached by air and is both a domestic and international port. Alternatively you can drive, catch an interstate bus or take The Ghan from Adelaide or Alice Springs.
I'll let you in on a little secret. Most Australian's don't holiday here (they don't know what they're missing out on!), favouring Asia or the East Coast, so tourism wise its relatively quiet and bordering on remote if you head out to the right parts of the national parks. Sounds perfect huh?!
It is a little unusual for an Australian to go on a tour of Australia. So much so the tour guide suspected I may have been there to secretly review him! Due to its remote nature, Central Australia is a little harder to visit on your own as you need a lot of equipment and to know what you are doing. That in mind, I jumped on the tour bus and took to the road. Our first stop was. Around 5 hours north of Adelaide, it was my first taste of rural Australia and whet my appetite for the Outback that lay ahead.
Being a camping trip, we settled into the the Wilpena Pound Resort where we had a campsite for our group. It was then that everyone realised what camping in the outback really entails! Sleeping in swags (small rollaway beds) on an empty patch of land, with a small shelter for cooking and respite from the sun. This was certainly no glamping holiday, but we would certainly see the 'real' Australia.
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