We’ve all heard about the river cruises, done the Wheel of Brisbane and seen the sights of Southbank. When it comes to Melbourne we’ve been around the cafes, stalked the galleries and eaten ourselves sick. But what you haven’t heard of could potentially top the lot. Here is a guide to the more hidden gems of Brisbane and Melbourne for the curious, the adventurous and the more discerning traveller.
Moreton Island is just a 75-minute (35km) boat cruise from Brisbane’s harbour. Listed on the Heritage Register, it is a virtually untouched destination with over 98 percent of the 20-square kilometre area being National Park. With its crystal clear water, white sand beaches and little-to-no crowds, it’s the closest thing to paradise. If you’re going to book flights to Brisbane, this site Expedia.com.au has great options. Including an island getaway at the same time can be easy and affordable; check out additional flight options at Discover Australia.
The amazing team at Monty’s chocolates look to bring happiness to people’s lives through the distribution of chocolaty treats. As well as having their own brand of goodies, Monty’s source the finest chocolate from all around the world, including the likes of the Pralus, Menakao and Coppeneur brands, and house them in three different retails stores across Brisbane. Perk up with a tea or coffee and sample the day away in one of their stores, located in Paddington, Spring Hill and the Brisbane CBD.
Beenleigh Historical Village
Offering a little glimpse of Aussie history, Beenleigh Historical Village features memorabilia from Australia’s pioneering settlers. It consists of 20 heritage buildings, constructed as early as 1860, which are equipped with treasures and trinkets from that period of history. You can take a self-guided tour with the help of an MP3 player or join a regular group tour. It provides fascinating insight as to how simple life used to be.
For a fun-filled family experience that stays close to nature, spend a day exploring the Berrinba Wetlands; made up of 80 acres of native bushland and over 430,000 native plants. There are barbecues, various picnic areas and over 8kms of walking tracks to entertain the kids.
South Brisbane Heritage Trail
Take a self-guided stroll through one of Brisbane’s most important historical areas. Here, you can wander your way through sites that hosted some of the most significant historical events including the “Pearl” ferry disaster of 1896 and Brisbane’s “coming of age” World Expo in 1988. You can download a map online before going.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road stretches 243kms from Torquay to Warrnambool. The drive offers views of Victoria’s most breathtaking scenery, including lush national parks and gorgeous coastlines. Marvel at the 12 Apostles, the series of epic limestone stacks coming out of the sea around the Port Campbell area. If you’re a surfer, you can’t miss Australia’s largest surf museum in Torquay.
Just a short car ride away from Melbourne CBD is the iconic town of Daylesford, which contains the highest concentration of natural mineral springs in Aussie. Spend the day relaxing at the springs, wandering the historic village, or unwinding at one of the many spa-retreats. It makes a great couples’ day out!
If you plan to travel to Melbourne, and can sneak in an extra day or two, make some time to visit the beautiful area of Gippsland. An outdoor adventurer’s paradise, the area is packed with remote beaches, unpopulated lakes (great for fishing), miles of bike tracks and an excellent walking track through an alpine forest. Finish off your experience with some of the region’s best wine.
If you’re looking for a nice (and inexpensive) outdoor activity to entertain the kids, the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden is a great place to go. Spend your day exploring the multitude of different gardens and areas including the Wetland Area and the Plant Tunnel. In the summer there’s even water-feature fun to be had! Special events run on a regular basis — check the website for more information.
Bridge Road is one of Melbourne’s best shopping streets for bargain hunters. Consisting of a collection of factory outlets, it is home to all things fashion, food and beauty. With everything from formal wear to big brand names there for the taking, this strip is guaranteed to deliver on the fashion front!