Richard Harbourne 02 May 2009
May 2009 was my second visit to the Land of Oz

In this trip we visited Sydney, Brisbane, The Whitsunday islands (see other journal), the Gold Coast and Melbourne. It was all packed into 3 weeks. We flew with Qantas on the brand new super jumbo airbus A380. Anyone travelling to Australia I always recommend and check availability as it makes a huge different on the journey and doesn't always add much to the cost. It is much more comfortable with more leg room and more choice of entertainment.

Sydney is one of my most favourite cities, so much to see and do. One of my many highlights was to visit Manley which you travel to by boat from Sydney Harbour. Manley has the best beaches in Sydney and from there you can travel up to Palm Beach where they film the famous Home & Away. You could even try some surfing. Bondi beach is also a must visit which is close to Sydney, you can easily get there by bus. This is very touristy and can be quite busy but still well worth the visit. There is also some great coastal walks in that area.

We also visited Sydney Zoo and the sea life centre near the harbour. I would recommend the Sydney harbour bridge climb. You could also go to the top of the Sydney tower which has stunning views of Sydney and the Sydney Opera House. We stayed at the Marriott Hotel which was a good 4 star centrally located. Sydney is great for shopping.

We visited Brisbane which was just a 2 hour flight from Sydney. This is a good base if you want to visit Australia Zoo which was set up by Steve Irwin. It's located around an hour away by train. It was a good day out and lots of interaction with the keepers and animals, they also have a crocodile show. You can also visit the Gold Coast from Brisbane as it is only around 2 hours away by train. We stayed in Surfers Paradise for 3 nights which again has amazing beaches and lots of things to do. It attracts all ages but does have quite a young image with the surfing and vibrant nightlife.

We visited Melbourne right at the end of our stay, the last 3 nights and then flew home from there. Melbourne I think is very much like London and I personally wouldn't go back purely to visit that one city. But the others I would. On the plus side it was very good shopping and plenty of choice of trips etc. One of the highlights was the tram tour which is a hop on hop off stopping off at all the main attractions the city has to offer.

The first time we visited Australia in 2007 we flew Emirates business class. Emirates are a fantastic airline whether you are travelling in economy or business. I have travelled economy with Emirates several times.

We visited Sydney,Brisbane,Cairns,Palm Cove and Port Douglas. After visiting Sydney and Brisbane we took a 3 hour flight to Queensland and stayed 1 night in Cairns. Cairns is a very small city but a good base if you are looking to see the Great Barrier Reef. A lot of the tours and diving can be booked here. Whilst staying in Cairns we took a trip on the Kuranda scenic railway. The train ride takes you up to the mountain and then you travel back by cable car, all 7 miles of it above the forest. The views and ride was stunning and I highly recommend this tour.

We stayed 3 nights in Palm Cove which is only an hour away by bus before our next trip up to Port Douglas. There is lots to do and see along the way with various different trips on offer. We took a day trip to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree forest which included a boat trip along the river which was home to many crocodiles. We saw lots of wildlife.

Australia is a country that has so much to offer. I would recommend a stopover in at least one of the directions if not both. My recommendations would be either Hong Kong,Bangkok,Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.