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Despite popular belief, we are not bucket list people. Though we have places we want to visit in the world, we tend to travel more spontaneously based on timing and opportunity.
Spontaneity led us to our two month South Africa vacation of a lifetime as well as our Montreal sojourn. Plus, we find the bucket list concept to be somewhat depressing. We’d rather relax and enjoy our travel destinations than obsessing about what we didn’t see.
With that being said, we really want to travel around Australia during an extended visit. Considering that Australia is the world’s biggest island and the sixth largest country, taking an Australia road trip seems to be the best way to explore the land down under – there’s just so much to experience with or without an Austalia bucket list.
Australia Road Trip Plan
We’ll need to see as much as possible during our trip to Australia since we don’t know how many more times our travels will take us down under to Oz. We had fun having our own car during our culinary road trip through Western Ireland and we plan to do the same when we travel in Australia.
Of course, we could rent a car, but given the length of the trip we are planning, that could come to a hefty amount. Instead, we would probably consider buying a used car and then reselling it before leaving the country.
This way, we can have our own car for a short period and recover most of the money at the end of the trip. Beyond that, we have a preliminary plan in our heads as to where and what we want to go and do.
Where We Want to Go in Australia
Let’s face it – Australia is too big to experience in one road trip. With that in mind, we will focus on the country’s east coast for our first visit.
This is the part of Australia with the biggest cities (except for Perth) as well as many of the natural wonders and famous Australian landmarks that we want to see in person. We’ll have to save Perth for when we do a Western Australia road trip.
Melbourne is at the top of our east coast Austalia road trip wish list based on its eclectic, international food scene and dynamic coffee culture. Considering Melbourne’s role in third wave coffee, a visit to Melbourne is at the top of our wish list.
If the stars align when we plan our Australia trip itinerary, we will be in Australia in February to experience the annual White Night cultural extravaganza. As a bonus, February is in the heart of the Australian summer so we won’t have to pack coats and gloves.
How could we not include Sydney when we’re driving around Australia? This world-class city is home to the iconic Sydney Opera House as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach. Plus, the Sydney restaurant scene is rumored to rival Melbourne.
Sydney may not be the capital of Australia, but it’s the country’s most vital city in terms of finance and tourism. Speaking of the Australian capital, perhaps we’ll pop over to Canberra to check out the capital city’s top attractions.
Great Barrier Reef
Although we’re not adventure travelers, we plan to visit the Great Barrier Reef when we’re driving in Australia. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is so epic that astronauts can see it all the way from outer space.
This is where we’ll push our personal boundaries by snorkeling and diving among colorful fish and jagged coral. We can’t wait to drive along the coastal highway and take photos of the gorgeous landscape at Rex Lookout.
Maybe we’ll even take a crocodile cruise while munching on locally sourced macadamia nuts! Hey, it could happen.
The Gold Coast
We’ll need to relax at some point in our Australia road trip, and that’s where the Gold Coast fits into our Australia road trip plan.
Just south of Brisbane, the Gold Coast is famous for its miles of sandy beaches, though we have it on good authority that we’ll be able to find outstanding coffee here as well. Byron Bay has our name all over it, and that’s where we’ll likely park ourselves for at least a few days when we visit the Gold Coast.
What We Want to Do in Australia
Though driving will be an integral part of our road trip around Australia, we plan to spend much of our time dining too. Yes, we plan to eat and drink our way across Australia’s eastern coast. When we do, these are our top priorities:
Eat Local Food
Not surprisingly, we want to eat a variety of local food during our Australia road trip. Sure, we’ll gobble down some Vegemite on toast as well as our share of Tim Tam biscuits, but we also want to try more exotic dishes like pan-fried barramundi and grilled kangaroo.
If we play our cards right, we’ll score reservations at Brae in Birregurra and Quay in Sydney, both ranked in the top 100 restaurants in the world. Most of all, we want to eat global cuisines like Thai and Greek that are so popular in Australia’s multi-cultural environment.
Drink Third Wave Coffee Coffee
As bonafide coffee connoisseurs, we cannot wait to drink third world coffee in Melbourne, the movement’s epicenter. We’ve previously enjoyed some of the world’s best coffee in Amsterdam, Cape Town, Berlin, Bucharest, Budapest, Chiang Mai, Dublin, Hamburg, Lisbon, Paris and Vilnius, but Melbourne is the missing link in our coffee journey due to its immersive coffee culture and drinks like piccolo lattes, cappuccinos and flat whites.
Our only concern is that we’ll like Melbourne so much that we won’t want to leave the caffeinated city… ever.
Taste Australian Wine
After drinking some of the world’s best wine in Stellenbosch, we can’t wait to taste Australian wine at the source. Though we won’t be able to visit all 60 designated wine regions during our epic road trip, we’ll do our best to drink as much Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc as humanly possible (though not while we’re driving).
The Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Yarra Valley are all on our radar as potential road trip stops, but we’ll likely add more wine stops along the way.
Hit the Beaches
At some point during the road trip, we’ll have to stop at Australia’s famed beaches for some much-needed rest and relaxation. We’ll surely need a break from the country’s wonderful food, coffee and wine.
Who are we kidding? We’ll eat and drink at the beach too. As dedicated food travelers, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.