Our Big Australia Trip Part 1: Melbourne and Sydney highlights

My present to Jonathan for his 30th birthday was a trip to Nashville to the country music festival. Plus a somewhat spontaneous day in Chicago! Who could trump that, right? Well, when it came to my 30th birthday, it’s safe to say Jonathan blew my trip out of the water! A whole month in Australia, starting in Melbourne, then on to Sydney, the Sunshine Coast and Noosa Heads, inland to stay at a farm near Ravensbourne near Toowoomba (love the original indigenous names, they’re so beautiful and sound straight out of a Roald Dahl book!), then on to Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay, and our last stop in Perth (and Rottnest island!) before a direct flight back to London. Phew!

He had actually booked it long before I got pregnant ( the trip coincided with my last couple months of pregnancy), but we decided to go for it anyway – even though flying was a little uncomfortable!

Without boring you with too much detail (a whole month in Australia is a lot to cover!), I’ll break down a few of the highlights…

Our first stop: Melbourne. 


We booked an Airbnb near Melbourne’s infamous restaurant district ‘Little Italy’ on Lygon street, plus it was just a short walk from the Queen Victoria Market where we grabbed fresh fruit smoothies and breakfast first thing in the mornings. 

It’s worth getting up early to visit the food market! And to browse some of the crazier stuff up for sale… Kangaroo skin, anyone??

We explored the city by bus and by foot, and did a little history tour at the Old Melbourne Gaol (pronounced Jail) which was fascinating!

Local friends showed us around St Kilda where we had lunch on the beach (worth hopping in an Uber if you have time)…

… and then on to the Moonlit Sanctuary to see koalas, kangaroos and wombats! 

The animals there seemed very happy and very well looked after with loads of space to roam, plus they’d happily come and say hi when bribed with their favourite snacks!

Melbourne was a great city break, but after four days we felt ready to move on to our next stop: Sydney.

We checked in to the Ultimo hotel in Chinatown.

The Ultimo hotel has an astrology theme and even our do-not-disturb signs were personalised to our star signs.

The hotel even offers sight-seeing recommendations based on star sign, teehee!

A few Sydney highlights:

-> Sundowners outside the Royal Opera House – with fresh oysters for $1 and live music too!


-> Walking through the city centre, visiting the Queen Victoria Building and walking around Darling Harbour.


-> We also took the boat over to Manly where we had drinks on the beach…


Followed by several more Aperol Spritzes at Pilu Baretto in Freshwater, and amazing Mexican food in Manly. We had to run to catch the last ferry back, and only made it by a second!

Approaching Sydney by boat at night was also beautiful, as the Opera House was all lit up.

Another highlight of our visit was doing a guided tour of Sydney, as we got shown around all the beautiful harbours, suburbs and views we wouldn’t have otherwise seen! Our tour finished at Bondi Beach where we spent the rest of the afternoon – though it was very busy!

Having spent a week in cities, doing history tours and sightseeing, we felt ready for a week of beaching along the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast!