Booked a vacation to aus, looking for recommendations?

Discussion in 'The Off Topic Room' started by Godslayer, Aug 29, 2018.

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  1. Aug 29, 2018 #1

    Godslayer

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    Just booked a vacation in Australlia, flying into Brisbane, going to be mainly in gold coast, probably go to sydney and toowoomba, need to book one super nice diner, wanted brae or attica but they are in melbourne and I can't convince my sibling to go there.... grumble. Hopefully I'll make it to James shop and play with some honyakis, but other then that anything cool to do, I'll be there for most of February.
     
  2. Aug 29, 2018 #2

    kevpenbanc

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    From Sydney.
    Blue mountains are worth a trip from sydney. Wentworth falls and the 3 sisters.
    Jenolan caves if you want to venture an hour or two further.
    I've been to both recently and enjoyed them.
    Manly and Bondi are obvious. There's a coast walk from Bondi to Coogee, or somewhere like that.
    Take a ferry from circular quay to Watsons Bay. You can walk around south head. Have lunch at Doyle's.
    Maybe a bridge climb.
    A ferry to Luna Park.
    A harbour cruise.
    A ferry to Taronga Zoo.
    Some quick thoughts.

    Why Toowoomba ??
     
  3. Aug 29, 2018 #3

    Moooza

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    Try Aria restaurant for that fine dining tier. It's hard to go wrong here.

    But for something a bit different:
    A lesser known and nicer place that I really like is Buon Ricordo - the truffle egg pasta!
    Lastly, Rockpool in Sydney is outstanding. Doesn't even compare to Melbourne/Perth.

    Also, try to get to Sonoma bakery. Get their signature loaf (miche). Best bread I've ever had.
    Oh and Messina for best ice cream
     
  4. Aug 29, 2018 #4

    Nemo

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    What do you like doing? Beach? Wineries? Wildlife? Bush (nature) walking? Sport? Arts? Shopping? Are there any children coming with you?

    From Sydney, head up to Hunter Valley. Could probably be done as a day trip. Maybe drop in on Mr Tansu.

    The Harbour Bridge walk is fairly popular and you should also go to see the Opera House. Hop on a harbour ferry or go for a harbourcruise.

    To the Sydneysiders- is Tetsuya's still well regarded?

    Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin's place) is an hour or so north of Brissie and it probably worth a visit if you are into wildlife. The Australian Outback Spectacular on the Gold Coast gets good reveiws.

    Shame you are not heading to Melbourne. Quite a different city to Sydney and Brisbane. Canberra has become a pretty well regarded destination recently too (won some award for the best city to visit last year I think).

    Be aware that Feb can get pretty hot here. It's still my favourite time of year though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  5. Aug 29, 2018 #5

    Lazyboy

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    Australian Outback Spectacular is pretty cheesy!

    Currumbin Wildlife sanctuary is on GC if you want to see Oz critters (not as large as StrayaZoo)
    And theme parks on GC too if you're into that .. Wet n wild (if you like some mild adrenaline and swimming in what other people have been in), Movie World, or Dreamworld for more adrenaline (but long queues, like any theme park)

    GC has spectacular beaches (we only lose a couple tourists a year cos they don't swim where the lifeguards can see them)

    Plenty of good dining options on GC too, across most styles.
     
  6. Aug 29, 2018 #6

    Nemo

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    I'll stand corrected om the outback spectacular.

    Dreamworld sometimes has a little more adrenaline than intended
     
  7. Aug 29, 2018 #7

    Grunt173

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    Oh you are so lucky. I missed my chance at going to Australlia for an R&R and a job after I left the service from Vietnam in 68. I had fellow soldier friends that went there to work for RMK afterwords and they liked it so well there,I don't think they ever returned to the States.
     
  8. Aug 29, 2018 #8

    Nemo

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    You are still welcome to visit us!
     
  9. Aug 29, 2018 #9

    Grunt173

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    Oh if only I could.Thank you.
     
  10. Oct 9, 2018 #10

    97knives

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    Be careful with taxi rip offs on vacationers, friend of my wife visited us when we were in Thailand, he took a taxi to his hotel which was only 4km away and got took for $30 + a tip, according to my wife it should have been $3 USD.

    We traveled to Malaysia and Vietnam and I used an app but in Bangkok my wife knows how to deal with the taxi drivers there
     
  11. Oct 9, 2018 #11

    Godslayer

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    Does Australia not have Uber?
     
  12. Oct 9, 2018 #12

    97knives

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    Not sure, in Vietnam and Malaysia they didn’t, I used an app called Grab
     
  13. Oct 9, 2018 #13

    97knives

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    They gotta have something
     
  14. Oct 9, 2018 #14

    Godslayer

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    that or lyft, I like the fact that you know what your paying before you even get in the car.
     
  15. Oct 9, 2018 #15

    JayGee

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    The area just south of Brisbane (towards Sydney) - the Northern Rivers - is also very beautiful. In February it can be so hot that getting near the ocean is the best thing to do - and the beaches around there are pretty spectacular - as is the sub-tropical jungle up in the hills. Waterfalls galore. Myocum, brunswick heads etc... Much easier to navigate if you can rent a car.
     
  16. Oct 9, 2018 #16

    Sleep

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    +1

    It's a nice place to live but there's nothing interesting here.
     
  17. Oct 9, 2018 #17

    Godslayer

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    honestly before my sister moved there we were looking at a map of australlia and we both saw that name and started laughing, I have a hobby of visiting places with strange names and my soon to be brother in laws nan lives close to there.
     
  18. Oct 9, 2018 #18

    Nemo

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    Yeah, the major cites have uber and there is another rideshare service. The taxi industry is pretty regulated. I don't think dodgy taxi rides are that common in Aus (although I gotta say, uber is usually a more pleasant experience).
     
  19. Oct 9, 2018 #19

    Nemo

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    We got plenty of names that you might consider unusual. Many are derived from the local aboriginal language's name for the place.

    So, just up the road from me is Wagga Wagga ("place of many crows").

    Just to the East of Sydney's CBD is a place called Woolloomooloo ("place of plenty").

    A suburb of Brisbane is Woolloongabba ("fighting place"). This is actually the location of Brisbane's main cricket ground which is usually just rererred to as "The Gabba" (The Melbourne Cricket Ground is shortened even further to simply "The G").

    There are thousands of similar examples. I think you are gonna have fun.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  20. Oct 9, 2018 #20

    Godslayer

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    I will, i'm beyond excited
     
  21. Oct 9, 2018 #21

    97knives

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    It’s funny... whenever I take a vacation no matter if it’s a weekend getaway or a 2 week trip, I’m always very excited to book, make plans and to get going but once I’m into the trip I’m so ready to get back home and into my own bed, sit on my own toilet, cook in my kitchen, drive my car, watch my tv and take a shower in my shower.

    I’ve been away for 103 days now in Asia, finally going home in 2 days and I was ready to go after 3 or 4 weeks here. Being a 24 hour flight over here it really doesn’t pay to stay for 2 weeks but 3 months+ is almost unbearable
     
  22. Nov 28, 2018 #22

    Cutting_Edge

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    Please share suggests for places to stay, eat, and such. We are going to Oz in 2020.
     
  23. Dec 13, 2018 #23

    kevpenbanc

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    If you are in Sydney, the walk from Coogee to Bondi (or vis versa) is pretty nice, did it on Sunday. There's a few nice little bays and beaches in between. An hour or so walk, we stretched it out with swims at Coogee, Clovelly and Bondi.
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  24. Dec 15, 2018 #24

    Chef Doom

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    Make sure to eat kangaroo meat.
     
  25. Dec 15, 2018 #25

    Godslayer

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    obviously, eating rare aussie foods is literally what I want more then anything, I bought my sister a lodge 12 inch cast iron pan and an immersion circulator for that very reason.
     
  26. Dec 19, 2018 #26

    Luftmensch

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    Hey Godslayer,

    Nemo makes a great point... what do you want to do with your time?

    Australia is the oldest landmass on earth. It has some unique natural beauty. There is a lot to see. But be forewarned: Australia is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to Australia. If you want to see some of her natural wonders, prepare to lose several days to travel.

    "Australian" food can be so many things... it could be indigenous bush tucker... food prepared with native flora or fauna (kangaroo, emu, crocodile, barramundi)... or pre-contemporary stereotypes (damper, ANZAC biscuits, lamingtons, pavlova). Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world - so "Australian" food is similarly culturally diverse. To me, this is what makes Australia's food culture special. Australia must be close to the top (if not at the top) of a small list of countries who have a wide range of decent Asian and Mediterranean food. If you aren't chasing fine-dining, most of these options are good 'stick to your ribs' meals that can be had at fair prices.

    Drinks: Australia has a serious tea and coffee culture. Most blocks in Sydney & Melbourne CBD will have an independent cafe (or several) capable of making decent espresso coffee. Australian wine is good, though it may not seem exotic as it is heavily exported. Don't equate the stereotype of Australians drinking beer until they chunder with Australian beer being good. The big labels are not terrible nor are they fantastic. Plenty of good import beers will be available and the trend towards craft beers has also provided some good options.

    A last note on food at the shops and restaurants... by global standards it is relatively expensive. Travellers will likely be amused and annoyed by the price locals are willing to pay.
     
  27. Dec 19, 2018 #27

    Nemo

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    Some good points on food. Didn't know that we were were paying too much for good food though . At least tipping is optional (FWIW I usually tip 10% if the service is great, nothing if it is poor).

    Also some good points on the hugeness of the country. Especially in the remote red centre one gets a strange feeling of total isolation, as though you are the only human fo a hundred kms around. It's quite eerie.

    There are some cafe chains here but ptobably the majority of cafes are independent and the majority will make a pretty decent brew. Many have a pretty cool vibe. Some of the chains make OK coffee at some of their cafes but as a bit of a coffee snob, they are a poor second option for me.

    Most cheap Aussie wine is drinkable (without having to screw up your face). There are some very good wines in the 20-40 AUD bracket. There is some pretty nice premium stuff and quite a bit of super premuim around (not always at ridiculous prices). Happy to walk you through where to go if this intersts you. If wine interests you, it would be worth having a look at winecompanion.com.au. I think you can get access to the reviews online for a reasonable price.

    Cheap mass produced Aussie beer is awful. Don't do it. There are a lot of mini and micro brewries around that make some very nice beer for not too much more cost (and many are large enough to be available in bottle shops/ liquor outlets). There is plenty of imported beer available (from EU, UK and USA, amongst others), but there are many local options of similar quality.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  28. Dec 21, 2018 #28

    Luftmensch

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    Interesting point on tipping...

    Australia has a high minimum wage that nominally reflects a living wage - although this along with access to decent welfare is being eroded, but that is a topic for another place. Tipping in Australia is simple: it is (comparatively) barely ever done.

    In the past, when physical cash had a greater role in the services sector, it was common to pay with a note and tip the change to prevent buggering about with coins. This custom is less common now that the digital economy allows consumers to pay the exact amount. But technology also allows vendors to 'encourage' a tip at settlement. If you pay by card, the reader will often pop up with an optional tip screen. If you had a fantastic experience as Nemo says, 10% is a good guide. This pretty much exclusive to restaurants (you do not need to tip bar staff, hair dresses, hotel staff etc...).

    While it is easy to get the 'mechanics' right, there is a more subtle relationship that is easy to miss. In Australia the service sector is not working for tips. It sounds trivial to say out loud but it is important to recognise as it changes the customer-staff dynamic. Compared to America service, is balanced slightly towards a customer-pull than a staff-push. It is not obsequious in the way that it is in America. Customers are given space (a British relic). Don't confuse this with staff being aloof. Civil discourse is the best route to good service - a 'tip' is not a tool to be used as a carrot or blackmail. That observation over dramatises a subtly. Again, it is all fairly simple and common sense applies. Service is generally good but with fewer interruptions.

    Since we're at it... prices in Australia are easier to navigate than a lot of America. Across Australia, the price on the label (or menu) is the price you will pay at the cash register. That said... on public holidays and weekends, restaurants may add a surcharge. Similarly, vendors may add a few percent for using a card. So check for fine print on the menu - by law, these extra charges must be advertised.
     

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