Regular followers of my Instagram will know that I recently returned home from two fantastic weeks in Australia. A work trip for 'Mr. W' and a chance for me to join him and keep him company....well, it would have been rude not to don't you think?!
I have been fortunate to visit a number of times before, and each time I discover more and it is hard not to absolutely fall in love with this amazing destination, with its beautiful weather and amazing lifestyle! I personally love Europe and I would miss the seasons, but I can also so appreciate why so many emigrate out here!
After that incredibly long flight, which went surprisingly quickly with plenty of films and sleep, our first stop was beautiful Brisbane.
Starting the first day with the worst jet lag, a walk in the gorgeous Botanical gardens seemed a good idea in an attempt to energise and feel vaguely normal. Having left England post Christmas in the rain, it was a shock to be walking around in 37 degrees and humidity!
A combination of the jet lag, and spending time with our hosts out there, led to a lack of photo taking, so sadly I am unable to share more shots of this great city, and our amazing trip the next day up the coast to Noosa. A great experience and such beautiful scenery!
Next we took a flight to Sydney, where temperatures were thankfully cooler, after we had just missed their 47 degree heatwave the previous weekend!
We stayed at the fabulous The Establishment Hotel , conveniently located behind circular quay in George Street in the CBD. A very cool warehouse conversion, with an eclectic, industrial design concept.
Huge bedrooms and bathrooms with many thoughtful touches. This one picture does not do it justice! Part of the Merivale group, who own a number of fabulous restaurants around Sydney. I would highly recommend staying here!
Breakfasts here especially were the best!
I just had to photograph these two so I could be reminded of the ingredients for when I returned home. Above is avocado, burrata, tomato and chilli with coriander. Below is the most delicious omlet with snow crab, chilli, roasted sweetcorn, coriander and lime. Perfect healthy and very satisfying breakfasts for a days of exploring and walking miles!
A favourite shopping destination of mine in the CBD is the Royal Victoria Arcade.
Beautiful Australian brands not seen here at home and plenty of lovely coffee stops!
As well as enjoying all the usual iconic landmarks, I always like to explore less obvious areas, away from the usual tourist trail.
On my last trip to Sydney, I discovered beautiful Balmain Beach, an easy 20 minute cab ride from Circular Quay. A lovely small sandy beach in the suburb of Mosman, popular with families, I was keen in particular to return to one of my favourite low key and stylish cafés The Boathouse.
...and healthy café style food and great coffee. This converted former boat house is a relaxed and super cool find!
Sadly they were SO busy the day we visited, that we couldn't get a table, but I just had to share one or two photos. Do visit if you get the chance!
However, our disappointment turned out to be the opportunity to discover another fantastic find across the road, with The Public Dining Room
A beautiful light and contemporary restaurant overlooking the ocean, that served the best seafood. No photos of the interiors this time, but had to snap these super fresh and delicious dishes....
Ocean trout sashimi...
Prawns with polenta and gherkins ....
Seared scallops with a wasabi, cauliflower puré...
As avid foodies, we loved this lunch and again would so highly recommend a visit! To be honest, I think it would be very hard to find a bad meal in Sydney. I could probably write an entire long blog post alone, on fantastic restaurants we visited.
The food scene generally in Australia is second to none!
Walking off lunch and enjoying the beautiful sunshine at Balmain beach...a perfect Saturday afternoon.
A visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens is an absolute must when visiting Sydney. Opened in 1816, the garden is the oldest scientific institution in Australia and one of the most important historic botanical institutions in the world. Adjacent to the CBD and the Sydney Opera House, it spreads out over 74 acres.
With the weekend to ourselves and no work meetings, we were keen to explore a new area not visited before this trip and decided to head out to beautiful iconic Bondi beach!
A surfer's and swimmer's dream....
We had been recommended the stunning 7km coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee....
Wow! We could see why!
Taking in stunning views of beaches, cliffs, bays and rock pools.
Passing the famous Waverley Cemetery...
Plenty of spots along the two hour route to stop and cool off from the 37 degree heat that day and the reward of a great lunch at Coogee Pavilion
Sad to leave Sydney after five fantastic days but excited to move on to our third and final stop of Melbourne. I love this city, and there is definitely more of an English/european feel to it.
Before heading in to the city, we drove the two hours out from the airport along the beautiful Mornington Peninsular to Portsea, where we joined dear friends at their fabulous beachside home. Oh to wake to this beautiful view each morning!
They kindly took us to lunch at the beautiful Pt. Leo Estate winery....
Along with 50 acres of vines in the most glorious setting, a fantastic restaurant housed in a stunning architect designed building, and delicious wines, it is also surrounded by a beautiful sculpture park.
We wished we had had more time to explore this beautiful area, renowned for its stunning coastline, vineyards and wonderful local food. The city was next on our agenda, but we hope to return!
We arrived in Melbourne to a serious heatwave... 47 degrees is quite a challenge!
With great shopping and fantastic coffee shops to explore, I wasn't going to let the heat get to me though!
Melbourne is well known for its hive of bustling 'Laneways'. With lovely boutiques, restaurants, bars and cafés.
A favourite was the beautiful Block Arcade, built in 1891.
The Hopetoun Tea Rooms originates from that time and today finds visitors queuing outside to enjoy its historic surroundings and of course, delicious tea and cakes.
The prettiest florist 'Pollen' in Little Collins Street is another must visit.
Finally, the highlight of our trip to Melbourne had to be being taken to The Melbourne Open!
Djokovic v Monofils
The perfect end to an amazing trip!
Do any of you have any great Australian must sees and recommendations? I would love to hear!