Australia - Brisbane and Sydney areas
Submitted by - Megan Clarey Bursch Travel client
Here were some of my favorites:
Q Deck at Surfer's Paradise
Q Deck(http://www.qdeck.com.au/) in the Q1 building at Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast. This is one of the tallest buildings in the Southern Hemisphere and boasts the world's fastest elevator. Surfer's Paradise has endless beaches in each direction... it's the South Beach of Australia. At first we weren't that excited about going up but were encouraged to check it out. It's totally worth checking out. Cool bar, good music, endless views.
This place is absolutely amazing! Steve Irwin made this into a world class zoo outside of Brisbane. You can pet koalas and kangaroos, see all of Australia's poisonous snakes (there's a frightening number of them), check out wombats, Tasmanian Devils, elephants, tigers, etc. Seriously... you can go hang out with the kangaroos and the koalas. I actually got to pet a joey while it was in it's mom's pouch. They also have a Crocodile Feeding show complete with a swimming python and lots of cool birds. (We actually encountered a 5 foot python while tandem biking in the wild). I can't say enough about how great this zoo was. A must!
I have a new found respect for this sport. We took a lesson and had an absolute blast. It's an adrenaline rush. Learning how to control the kite takes some work but once you are in the water, it's super fun. We didn't make it up on the board during our first lesson but we did manage to do "body dragging" which doesn't sound fun but is a thrill!
Noosa National Park
Gorgeous beaches along side a beautiful cliff. We spent the day on the beach. I learned how to body surf. Easy hike to more beautiful beaches with wild koalas. There's even a gay friendly/nudist beach for the traveler with a sense of adventure:) Fancy shopping area right next to the beach. We saw sea turtles and rays in the water while we were there. There were shark sighting the day before:)
Sydney Opera House & Harbor Bridge
Classic. We walked through the botanical gardens over to the Opera House. There are millions of gigantic fruit bats hanging in the trees in the gardens. The bathrooms in the Opera House were the coolest bathrooms I've ever been in. There is a very hip bar/club called The Argyle at The Rocks by the Harbor Bridge (http://www.theargylerocks.com/). Indoor/outdoor setting in an old prison. This is very close to where they park the cruise ships in the Harbor. Drop the kiddies at Lunar Park across the Bridge and go have a cocktail:) There's a cool outdoor market here on the weekend.
Center Point Tower
Dinner while spinning 360 degrees above Sydney. Not exactly gourmet but the view of the city is spectacular. Cheese-tastic!
Sydney Fish Markets
Mouth-watering spectacle. We *loved* this place. There are a couple of warehouses filled with fish peddlers and stands where you can get the freshest fish you want along with gourmet-anything. Grab a dish and sit on the bay. I am stuffed myself with a piece of Lamington cake which is an Australian dish... sponge cake rolled in chocolate and covered in coconut.
We took the ferry from Sydney over to Manly Wharf. The water is tropical and crystal clear. We snorkeled around and saw huge Grouper, calamari, urchins, and coral. A nice day trip.
Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park
One other cool place is the Natural Bridge. I don't have any pictures because you go at night to see the glow worms. It's a wide open cave with a ton of glowing worms on the roof. There's a water fall that cuts through the rock that's pretty amazing. There are also lots of poisonous spiders - don't touch the walls on the hike down:)
Wild Dolphin Feeding at Tangalooma
Feeding wild dolphins at dusk. We took a ferry out to this resort island for the day. You can spend the day doing all kinds of fun activities. You can snorkel a wreck, go sand dune sledding, etc. There were Blue Bottle jellyfish in the water that day so beach time was brief.
Pineapple Plantation - WORST yet FUNNIEST exhibit ever!!!
Ok - Australians love to make really really really big models and stick a gift shop in/next to them complete with poisonous Australian animals. There is a giant pineapple, giant cow, giant lobster, giant worm, etc... so we went to the Giant Pineapple. OMG it was so funny. Inside the pineapple was an exhibit that hadn't been updated or dusted since 1950. The little people in the exhibit had fallen over (so had the dog). Perhaps they suffocated from all the dust. Funniest thing ever.
Australia's Big Things: