Australia Day 2019

Saturday 26th January is Australia Day, a day to celebrate all things Aussie. As some of the Bain and Gray team were lucky enough to spend time Down Under over the Christmas break, we thought we’d get the low down from them of the places to go and hidden gems they discovered on the East Coast.

Sydney

The Chinese Garden of Friendship – this hidden gem is in the lively Darling Harbour part of the city. Get the ferry to Barangaroo and soak up the atmosphere as you stroll past the boats and the bars. It’s about a 15 minute walk to the Garden and $6 entry. The Garden is an oasis of serenity, full of Bonsai trees, bamboo, symbolic rocks, waterfalls and lakes. Tag onto a tour if you can to understand the meaning and history behind the garden as well as the philosophy and harmony behind the design of the traditional Chinese garden. Enjoy a green tea in the shaded café or head to nearby Chinatown for food.

Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk – just over 6 miles of path that hugs the coastline and provides breathtaking views. This should definitely be on the bucketlist for any Sydney visitor. Along the way, discover ancient Aboriginal rock engravings. If you do the walk at a leisurely pace, stopping to admire the views, block off five hours. Cool off after the hike with a swim from Manly beach or a well-deserved drink in one of the bars along the front.

Bondi – the area you’ll find most Brit expats. With a long stretch of beach and a buzzing, relaxed vibe, it’s really worth a visit. Spend the day relaxing on the beach or walk the Bondi – Coogee coastal path. Don’t forget to check out the famous Bondi Icebergs for the envy inducing Instagram post!

Watson’s Bay Beach Club – the ferry takes you almost to the door and it’s hard to miss with the striking blue and white umbrellas. Enjoy a leisurely lunch of wine and oysters or, if you’re there on a day like New Year’s Day, get into the party spirit as the place really livens up.

Olympic Swimming pool at Milson’s Point – this was a real gem! It offers incredible views of Sydney’s icons as it sits right under the Harbour Bridge and looks over to the Opera House. It’s also a real suntrap so a great spot to top up the tan. Cool off with some laps in the Olympic length pool.

Noosa

Upmarket Noosa is a gorgeous area on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane. A popular spot for families and backpackers alike, it offers stunning scenery, great restaurants and lots to do!

Café Le Monde – at the far end of Hastings Street, this was a great stop off for lunch. Pints of delicious Stone & Wood Pacific Ale and filling poke bowls were a welcome break from the heat of the midday sun in this cool, laid-back venue.

Noosa National Park – you could spend days exploring the National Park as there are plenty of walks to choose from. If you have limited time, the coastal path is stunning. The route will take you all the way to Sunshine Beach, the round trip totalling about 6 miles, but heading to Hell’s Gates just over half way is a great compromise for those with limited time. Lucky people might see dolphins along the way and watching the surfers bobbing in the water, waiting to catch waves is wonderfully hypnotic.

Laguna Lookout – in the middle of the National Park, the lookout provided incredible panoramic views across the woods, the bays and towards the Glasshouse Mountains in the distance. Drive if you have a car, otherwise it’s a bit of an uphill walk but definitely worth it for the rewarding views at the top. Head for sunset but get there early to get a good spot!

Riding on the North Shore – there are three companies that will take riders of all abilities out along the deserted and wild beaches of Noosa North Shore, a complete contrast to Noosa’s main beach. Try Equathon as they’ve been there the longest but book in advance. It’s well worth the cost to hack out through the bush and canter along the empty beach. Adding to the wildness of the experience, sea eagles sore overhead. Be open to getting a bit wet, the horses are very happy to take you for a swim too!

Whitsundays

A must-go destination for anyone spending time on the East Coast, this archipelago is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and one of the best ways to see it is to book a couple of nights on a boat, giving you the opportunity to explore some of the 74 islands. Sailing Whitsundays has plenty of different options to choose from, whether you want the full-on party boat experience or are looking for something a little more lowkey.

Airlie Beach is where the boats leave from and return to so it’s likely you will need to spend some time there. It’s a backpackers paradise, full of cheap bars, clubs and hostels. If you have limited time on your trip, don’t spend any longer than you need to here.

Where ever you go and whatever you do, you will have an incredible time in this beautiful country – just don’t forget the sunscreen!