Three weeks in Australia
Now that you have had the benefit of advice from DC area CHers, can you help me out? For a 3 week study abroad in January to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Fraser Island, Agnes Waters, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra , where would you suggest college kids try?
Firstly, tell them to watch the Oprah Downunder shows due to screen there very soon - she's just left Sydney after taping a couple of shows here and by all reports had a ball!
My kids who are at college would probably put in order - Cairns, Airlie Beach/Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Noosa Heads, Brisbane & Gold Coast in that order heading north to south in Queensland.
This is a very well-worn path and there are young people and backpackers galore in all of those spots - a word of caution however January is in the middle of the wet and cyclone(hurricane) season in north Queensland so the weather is very changeable!
Cairns - rainforest meets reef
Airlie/Whitsunday - access Barrier Reef & party town
Fraser Island - pristine sand island wilderness - not tobe missed
Noosa - Boutique beach resort & great surf
Brisbane - rest stop for tourists - urbane capital city
Gold Coast - think Fort Lauderdale with great beaches and theme parks and vibrant nightlife
Sydney - one of the world's great cities
Melbourne - great restaurant/cafe/coffee culture - ready access to wine areas - Yarra Valley, Geelong and Mornington Penninsular
Did you want specific advice recommendations?
with hot mustard to wake you up! Yes, QVM is a must do in Melbourne. A coffee place has to be done, so de Clieu would get some food as well, but a coffee temple shows how serious we are about coffee. Boreks a few doors down from the bratwurst is good as well.
you should probably see Lygon Street in all its cheesy glory, but only eat at DOC or Carlton Espresso
we're also quite good at uncompromising Asian - Asian with minimal adjustment for western tastes - the cbd is probably a bit too expensive unless you go to the top end of Swanston Street near RMIT or to Springvale or Victoria Street. I like Noodle Kingdom on Exhibition, a pocket of excellence/
Hi from Noosa! Canadian backpacker here, moving down the East Coast. Been getting very fat and happy in Australia. My two cents: Think about what DC doesn't do well and see if Aussie can do it better. For instance, I'm from Toronto so although tasty some food isn't a "new" thing for me here and I don't hunt for it. We really blow at hand-pulled noodles so I got very excited when I found a great place in Sydney that does it (Chinese Noodle Restaurant). Sydney's murtabak from Mamak are also very different from Toronto's, Malaysian food is much better here (makes sense, given the geography. The Japanese food here is also better. I also hankered and hunted for local treats - kind of ignored suggestions from foodies (not from this board - Debbie Ann and Hayes steered me very well!) after awhile because I realized that they were mostly recommending pricey yet delicious food. For instance, in Melbourne I really enjoyed the fish and chips at Port Melbourne and Lentils As Anything at the Abbotsford Convent because of the atmosphere that went along with it. Fish and chips were very nicely made and I tried potato cake, which most wouldn't find exciting but that's not something that they make in Toronto. Lentils as Anything attracted people from all walks of life and had live music on Sunday. Lovely. In Richmond, I also tried a very nice kangaroo salad at The Aviary. Very nice, clean, and made exaclty how I wanted it so I could really taste the kangaroo (I kept passing up roo in burger form before then). Chat Thai was also great, but omg broke the bank. Queen Victoria's Wednesday night markets. Prahan Market was another treat.
Sydney? Well I mentioned that I tried Chinese Noodle House and Mamak. I also really enjoyed Cafe Ish's Soft Shell Crab Omlette. Oh my goodness. Priciest breakfast ever ($24) but de-lish!
As for Fraser Island - Hervey Bay (the common launching point for Fraser) has little cute shops you can pop by and have a nice meal but nothing that really blew me away. What I nerdily enjoyed was Nana's Bulk Food store because I picked up random snack-y items that are different than what I get at home. AND...my food nerd-ness compelled me to find fruit and produce in supermarkets here. I really enjoyed trying all the different mangoes and different varieties of bananas.
Native Aussie treats that you can pick up in markets and cook on your own to save cash include mud crab (it will stink up the hostel though) and fish fillets. Yabbies, bugs, and seafood seafood seafood...all delicious. Oysters from seafood markets!