Hello from Australia! Here’s what I’m up to.

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As this post goes live, I will be in Australia for the very first time, camping in Kakadu National Park! With an incredibly busy schedule in the Northern Territory over the next week, the next few posts have been scheduled ahead of time.

My itinerary will be as follows:

Bicentennial Park, Darwin, Australia

Darwin: September 15 and 18-19

I know next to nothing about this tropical city perched on the top of Australia, and I have no idea what to expect. I’ll be jumping into a cage with a crocodile at Crocosaurus Cove, and meeting some of the Best Job in the World contest winners. My lodging? A cool-looking hostel called Chilli’s.

I’m also looking forward to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, filled with tons of food and shopping stalls from around the world.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park/Litchfield National Park: September 16-18

I’m excited to get into the Northern Territory’s famous wilderness! I’ll be doing the 3-Day 4WD Kakadu and Litchfield Tour from Adventure Tours, courtesy of Flight Centre. This 4WD tour will take me to sights like Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, and Jim Jam Falls.

The Ghan, Australia

Alice Springs: September 20

My flight from Darwin to Uluru has a layover in Alice Springs — and why wait out in the airport when you could go into the desert? I’ll be taking a short trip to learn about the animals and plants of the Outback at Alice Springs Desert Park. I want to see a spiky lizard.

Uluru Sunset

Uluru: September 20-23

Uluru is one of the most famous sights in Australia. The quintessential Uluru experience is seeing the rock changing color several times before turning blood-red at both sunrise and sunset — which is why I am doing both. Twice!

For one sunset I’ll be traveling the desert by camel with Uluru Camel Tours before the Sounds of Silence dinner sunset experience; for one sunrise, I’ll be traveling by Harley-Davidson with Uluru Cycles. Eek!

The other sunset and sunrise, I’ll be taking AAT Kings’ Uluru Two-Day Explorer, which takes in the history and culture of the site. I’ll also be stargazing with Outback Sky Journeys. I haven’t stargazed since I was a kid and I’m really looking forward to doing it again.

***A quick note: I won’t be able to share photos live from Uluru National Park because I need to get them approved before sharing them digitally. As soon as I’m cleared, they will be shared — I promise you that.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney: September 23-28

I’ve rented a room in a beautiful apartment near Bronte Beach and will be using it as our base for five days in Sydney.

The big activity I have planned? The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, a terrifying-looking climb over Sydney Harbour. I first saw it on The Amazing Race‘s second season back in 2002 (!) and have dreamed of ever since. It looks equally gorgeous and terrifying, but it’s quite safe. The BridgeClimb staff have kindly invited me to take part in a complimentary climb on the 24th.


Melbourne: September 28-October 5

I’ve got no plans in Melbourne beyond my meetup and taking in the city that everyone seems to fall in love with. I am a cafe nut and I am particularly looking forward to exploring Melbourne’s famous cafe culture. I’m also hoping to get to see some koalas up close — we’ll see if I have time for that.

Have you been to Australia? Have any suggestions for us? Let us know!

Many thanks to Northern Territory Tourism for their generous support of the Northern Territory leg of the SOTM Tour. Our time in Sydney and Melbourne will be enjoyed at our own expense, excluding the Bridge Climb. All opinions, as always, are my own.

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41 thoughts on “Hello from Australia! Here’s what I’m up to.”

  1. You’ll be in Melbourne for one of the biggest days of the year – the AFL Grand FInal! Make sure you get to a pub to watch the game with a big crazy crowd of people – so much fun even if you don’t know anything about the game!

  2. You’ve got a pretty good itinerary set up here! Bummer I won’t be home in Melbourne while you’re here for the meet up!

    A few things off the top of my head:
    In Litchfield there are these honey ants you can eat.
    You’ll probably have to get out of the city if you want to see koalas in Melbourne.
    Don’t bother going to Bondi Beach in Sydney, waste of time.
    Uluru is awesome, but try to see Kata-Tjuta as well. You can climb all up in them and I think it’s almost more interesting than Uluru.

  3. Try to head on over to the Blue Mountains for a day trip. Well worth it.

    Other suggestions I’d have
    – Police and Justice Museum is a highly underrated local museum
    – Have a drink on Level 36 of the Shangri-La
    – Picnic in the Botanic Gardens or alternative Wendy’s Secret Garden
    – Island Bar on Cockatoo Island for a drink in the middle of the harbour with a World Heritage surrounding
    – Go see an event at the Opera House and have a drink beforehand during sunset at Opera Bar
    – Ferry to Watson’s Bay and walk up to the North Head of Sydney Harbour

  4. What you’re coming to Australia and not visiting Queensland? I suggest you get in touch with Tourism Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef is amazing and the Gold Coast is a heap of fun.

  5. Hi Katie! Came across your blog and I must say that I really envy you. I know you probably get thousands of comments like the one you’re about to read, but I hope you take the time to read anyway. I recently left my two jobs, my 5 year relationship and sold 95% of my belongings to move 10,000 miles away to Australia from the U.S. I feel like I was in the exact same shoes you were in a few years back. In a content, mediocre life, and SETTLING. I definitely feel like I made the right choice in taking this leap of faith. Anyway, I’ve started a blog (and a badly put together one at that). The design is terrible, but the content is worth reading in my opinion. my first and last entires, and “Lessons in Life, Love and La Crosse” and “The Hitchhiker” are by far my favorites. There are many others that are good too, but if you take the time to read any, those would be the ones I would recommend. I’ve received tons of good feedback about “The Hitchhiker” in particular. Do you have any tips on how to get my blog out there? I am in the very beginning stages, but am absolutely longing to become a full time travel writer someday and plan to au pair around the world until I can make that happen. Any suggestions you have on how to move forward or get my name out there more would be helpful. So far it’s been mostly family, friends and the occasional stranger reading, but I am dreaming of something much bigger than that of course. Any advice you have would be extremely helpful :). THANK YOU for reading my ridiculously long comment. and thank you for considering giving me advice. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if that’s easier.

  6. FANTASTIC! I’ve only been to Sydney (such a great harbourside city to wander and explore – went during the Biennale and took a free ferry over the former prison island to check out the art there for a day) but keen to do Melbourne and Queensland and Gold Coast one day.

  7. If you have ANY extra time at all, you HAVE to go to Fraser Island. Do a few nights’ trip. Trust me, it’ll be so worth it and you’ll come out of it with plenty of blog material, and a lot of sand in your clothes. A second item I recommend is the Whitsundays. A sailing trip around these islands will be unforgettable and oh-so-photo worthy. These are my top two favorite things from the 6 months I spent in Australia years ago.

    Oh, and lastly… stay away from the goon at all costs. You’ll see…


  8. Uluru is so on my bucket list. I am a bit green with envy that you get two sunrises and two sunsets. Climbing the Sydney Bridge is quite nice, well organized and great safety measures are in place. My hubby has a fear of heights and even he enjoyed it.

  9. That’s an incredible itinerary. The Mindil markets in Darwin are awesome and very unique. In fact, everything about Darwin is very unique, you’ll have a ball.
    I’ll pop the Sydney meet up in my Calendar and hopefully I can get there!

  10. Yay! Glad you’re here! That sounds like a great itinerary. I’m jealous, as I haven’t managed to escape the city since I arrived at the end of July! The Harbour Bridge climb is definitely on my list too. You’d think after all my adventures in NZ I wouldn’t be scared, but it looks worse than a bungy jump in many ways! It certainly isn’t over as quickly! See you next week!

  11. What a great schedule ahead! I unfortunately only spent a week in Australia (and half of that time passed with a hard-to-recover-jet-lag!). But I made a promise to be back soon… I am looking forward to your posts!

  12. Looks like a great trip planned – hopefully Mario enjoys the camping! I just went camping last week and it rained the whole time… fun!?!?! Looking forward to reading about the Harley ride and the two national parks.

  13. The Northern Territory portion of your itinerary sounds like an adventure lover’s dream. Well, I’ll be dreaming about it, at least! I’ll be interested to read about how Mario felt about his first camping trip! My time in Australia was basically all in Sydney and NSW, but it was a blast. I think my favorite thing I did was a coastal cliff walk from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach. It was a perfect way to discover some smaller beaches, too. The Blue Mountains can also be visited as a nice day trip. And Manly Beach is fun. I think the only part of Australia I didn’t enjoy was a week and a half in Canberra. That was a special kind of hell.

  14. Kate! I’m so excited to hear that you’ll be visiting Uluru. I see that you don’t have Kata Tjuta on your list- if you have time you must do the Valley of the Winds walk- It’ll take around 3 hours to complete.

    I live in Yulara so if you want anymore tips or have time to catch-up let me know.


  15. Hi Kate,
    I think that you’ll be in Sydney for Tall Ships Sydney – a big naval celebration culminating with a giant fireworks display on the harbour – should be spectacular, no where else does fireworks like Sydney.
    I stayed at Chili’s in Darwin, cool wasn’t the word that comes to mind, but it’s serviceable.
    Look out for cane toads in the top end.
    It’s a pity you aren’t coming to Tasmania – we have the best food, beer and wine, art and insane adventure tourism experiences.

  16. Hi Kate,

    love your adventures!

    I live in Melbourne and if you’re coming down this way you should drive down the coastline of the great ocean road. You should spot some koalas and in the wild which is a bit more exciting than seeing them at a zoo.

    Just make sure you get off the main tourists tracks.

    Can’t wait to read more about your trip!


  17. I can’t believe you’re not visiting Perth and the South West region! You’re really missing out. We’re from Perth but spent our honeymoon in Margaret River. It has some of the best wineries in the world, as well as the best beaches and the best hikes in the bush. Can’t really go wrong.

    But I guess if Tourism Australia is organising your trip they must’ve decided there’s already enough tourists there – the region pretty much sells itself.

  18. How was Darwin? The problem with the north part is the humidity! I have a friend there and he will get marry next year and have to pay him a visit and the encounter with the hot air will be…damn!

  19. after spending a month in oz in april/may, this is making me sooo jealous. kiss all of melbourne for me, will you? and if you’re looking for a walking tour of the city, check out hidden secrets! they do a cafe culture tour and the guides are amazing.

  20. Hey! Not sure if you will have time but there is a beach town a few short hours away from Sydney called Yamba. It was our favourite stop in all of Oz. the beaches are empty and were some of the most beautiful we have ever stepped foot on- and we’ve been to quite a few beaches along the way!

    Have fun!

  21. Wow, this looks like a stellar trip! Uluru, the way you described the changing of the colors, sounds like a phenomenal sight to behold. Timelapse anyone? 😛 I’ve never been to Oz, but I’ll be following along your trip for good places when I finally get to go!

  22. Hi there!

    If you have trouble getting to Melbourne its because of the AFL football grand final, Melbourne will be absolutely crazy on Sat 28th. For wildlife, obviously check out Melbourne’s 3 zoos (all good)
    Melbourne, Healesville (Aussie animals) and Werribee (big buggers like lions etc.)
    For cafes, check city laneways, then Carlton, Fairfield, Brunswick St, Prahan Chapel St,\Greville St St Kilda, Williamstown and Bridge Road.

    if anybody is looking for an unknown holiday destination, check us out at http://www.sloveniaforyou.com you will love it and its fairly cheap too! 🙂

  23. Hi Kate I hope you have time to read this before you get to Melbourne! Melbourne is an amazing place full of art, shopping & cafe culture. I head there at least once a year to soak it all in & for good shopping trips.

    Anyway some of my best tips for your itinerary are: Saturday the AFL grand final is on so if you can score one of 95,000 tickets for the game I’d go to that for a crazy Australian scene, we take it more seriously than any other game. If not all pubs will be playing it on their big screens with a crowd of crazy fans.

    Get to the crown casino one night and watch the fire show on the banks of south bank. I’m not a gambler but just love walking through this huge complex it’s beautiful. The restaurants here can be pricey along the river but inside there is a cheap food court.

    The queen Victoria markets is huge with good atmosphere and souvenirs and is cool to walk around, its closed Monday & Wednesday with varying hours.

    Lygon st is my favourite place to eat as it is literally all Italian restaurants for as far as the eye can see.

    Brunswick st is one of my absolute favourite places in Melbourne, it reminds me of a scene from Harry potter and has some of the funkiest bars and coffee places, and great opshopping!

    You could literally spend days on end exploring and getting lost in all the crazy lane ways in the centre of the city which is a must, again very Harry potter like. Degraves st is one of the most famous for cafes.

    Get down to St Kilda beach on a nice sunny day if you get any for a lovely different area to explore & to see the iconic Luna park.

    To see koalas you’d have to travel an hour out of the city to Healvesville Sanctuary for all Australian wildlife as the zoo is more animals of the world & no koalas. Or you could try Taronga zoo in Sydney but not sure on the koala factor there. I’ve never been to any as I live in the Adelaide hills surrounded by these animals.

    There’s great art gallery’s and museums to explore for free activities of course aswell.

    Bridge road is the best for cheap factory outlet shopping & cafes if you want clothes.

    Elizabeth street is the main city centre shopping area for big name brands so not boutiques like the rest of Melbourne but still good to check out aswell as the famous Chapel street which has great cafes and high end shopping.

    Hope this helps and you get to read it, this is just my essential must dos of Melbourne but it is a special place you can just walk around finding cool spots around every corner, have a great time!

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