Few questions elicit quite the response Down Under as this one – which is better, Sydney or Melbourne?
No Sydneysider would even entertain the idea that Melbourne might have anything at all to offer besides the latest hipster joke, while Melburnians tend to think they’re, well, just a cut above the Sydney scene.
But visitors needn’t get embroiled in which city is best – both make for great city breaks, with fantastic restaurants, beaches nearby, culture aplenty and a variety of day trips on the doorstep.
I weighed in on the great debate recently for Rough Guides. So, which do you think I picked?
I’ve been visiting Perth for many years and, yes, it did used to live up to its Dullsville name.
But not any more. On my most recent visit to Perth I found a hip city shaking off its early-to-bed past and emerging as a city break destination to rival any other in Australia.
My article for Rough Guides introduces the new Perth, one of hip bars, cool restaurants and luxury hotels.
You can also find out more about Perth here.
With A level results now out it’s time to decide – what next?
If you’re planning on the next big thing to be a big trip, the Sunday Times has you covered.
Check out today’s paper for gap year guides to Southeast Asia, the USA, South America India and Australia. I wrote the guide to Australia, recommending my favourite party hotspots, the best places to chill out and of course, what not to miss.
You can also read these gap year guides on the Sunday Times website.
On August 1st 2016 for the first time people were allowed to swim with the world’s largest migration of humpback whales, off the coast of Western Australia.
I joined the very first group to head out from Sal Salis near Exmouth, with Murray on his boat Wave Rider. But finding a whale that was moving slowly enough, without a calf, and in the right place, turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined.
We swam with whalesharks, watched humpbacks breaching and diving just a few metres from the boat and soaked up the ‘winter’ sunshine (25 degrees) – but there was no humpback whale swim before lunch.
Fortunately in the afternoon our luck changed and finally, after much trial and error, we shared the water with a humpback whale. It was incredible.
Read more about my experience in my article for The Times.
Photo courtesy of Jana of Soul and Sea Photography.
Sydney or Melbourne? The debate forever rages but for some of us, there is no contest – Sydney is bolder, bigger, better (sorry Melbourne).
Sydney is the sort of city that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and demands you have a good time: it’s all beaches and brunches, surfing and sunshine. It is also the sort of city you can’t only visit once, you’ll be hooked for the moment you see that iconic harbour.
It does take some knowledge to hit the highlights though, so I was delighted to be asked to write a guide for first timers for Sunday Times Travel magazine. Read my beginners’ guide to Sydney and find out why it trumps Melbourne every time.
People say that Western Australia is the “real” Australia – and it’s certainly the state I’ve fallen most in love with.
So I was delighted to work with Tourism Western Australia on a project for High 50, putting together a series of articles introducing this fantastic destination’s adventures and vast landscapes to their readers.
Read my articles on the links below.
A thirst for adventure: five top WA adventures
48 hours in Perth
A foodie guide to Margaret River
Marine encounters: from whale sharks to manta rays
Five top treks: from flying across the Kimberley to cycling the Munda Biddi
Itineraries for the perfect trip: 4 days, 7 days and 14 days
A year-round destination: when to visit WA
Although I write the Rough Guide chapter on Western Australia I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the state’s much smaller sibling in the west, Victoria. And not just because Melbourne is a fantastic city, with a vibrant culture and great food scene, but also because the landscapes and wildlife there are so beguiling.
I’ve spent plenty of time travelling around Victoria and never fail to be captivated by the towering rock stacks of the Twelve Apostles, or the dripping rainforests of the Otways. I still delight in spotting a koala up a gum tree or watching my husband trying to fend off crimson rosellas as he chucks another steak on the barbie. And I never grow tired of the Grampians, an epic landscape of granite mountains where you can even sit in the Jaws of Death.
The Times recently published a whole supplement on this wonderful state and I was able to share my experiences in two separate articles, one on the state’s great outdoors, the other on taking a chilled out tour around Melbourne and its surroundings. The whole supplement is available outside the Times’ pay wall here.