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Melbourne & Great Ocean Road

Over the last few years, we’ve heard nothing but good things about Melbourne, it’s ultra-hip and trendy cafe culture, the amazing food and good wine, the stylish centre, river front and parks. People fall over themselves to tell you what a great place it is, and travel blogs love to claim that it is the most livable city in the world.

It took us less than a day of being in Melbourne to realise that it wasn’t the Utopia it is made out to be by so many. When Melbourne gets rated the best city in the world to live, that’s probably for the people who get good jobs there who make a LOT more money there than they would elsewhere and therefore can afford the over-priced hipster offerings throughout the city.

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Adelaide & Barossa Valley

A quick morning-flight from Sydney and we were already landing in another of Australia’s big cities, Adelaide. I think in the two hours and 1,000 or so miles from the outskirts of Sydney to the outskirts of Adelaide, you must pass over about twenty houses at most.

It is a bizarre expanse of nothingness Australia, a place where everybody lives in the main urban centres and the huge area in the middle is almost completely empty. We picked up our car from the airport, a brand-new Toyota Corolla, and drove the one-hour trip up in to the Barossa Valley.

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We flew from Gold Coast to Sydney and landed before lunch time ready to head in to the city. A couple of weeks earlier we had booked a hire car for Sydney to use for the five days we’d be here, but soon after we looked in to parking costs and it is horrifically expensive in Sydney, so we cancelled the hire car and decided we’d be using public transport instead 🙂

We treated ourselves to a nice apartment again in Sydney, overlooking the city and the harbour bridge and opera house, except, when we arrived, we found we had been stuck in a back apartment overlooking a building site in a run-down room, we complained, and they upgraded us a two bedroom apartment with the view we had been wanting, so it all worked out great.

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Brisbane, Byron Bay and Gold Coast

We arrived in Brisbane to an apartment on the outskirts of the city centre that we had booked, and we couldn’t believe our luck. The previous night we had stayed in an actual shed, now we were staying in a one-bedroom apartment with a large living and kitchen area, a big outside terrace overlooking the city and mostly free parking outside as it was a weekend. It felt like a dream. It even had a washing machine and tumble dryer, Stac was like a kid on Christmas day.

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Road Trip – Queensland Coast

We set off from cairns and headed south without a real plan of where we were going, all we knew was that we wanted to be in Brisbane in around 8 days time. The first day we drove down the main highway and stopped after an hour in Innisfail, we were just stopping as the weather was nice so we thought we would have a breakfast picnic by the river. This all went great for about the first five minutes, then we noticed a full marching band and street procession turning the corner at the top of the road and heading down towards us, we’ve still no idea what was happening, because we packed our things up and moved on before it arrived.

An hour later we stopped in Mission Beach, after a couple of ‘tourist routes’ which are drives sign-posted by the government to direct tourists on nice drives through scenic areas, rather than just driving the main highway. These are great but usually just involve passing endless sugarcane fields, so I think it might actually be a wind-up by the Queensland government sending you round in circles.

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Cairns & The Great Barrier Reef

We arrived in Cairns on an overnight flight from Bali, it wasn’t exactly what springs to mind when you think of a long-haul overnight flight, no movies and leg room here. The experience of flying overnight (but only four and a half hours) with Jetstar is similar to if you decided to cram yourself in to a box that was just a little bit too small to be able to move in any meaningful way whilst air hostesses walk past regularly, with disgusting unaffordable food, looking like they’d breathe fire if you so much as politely requested the £45 sandwich that was made three weeks ago.

We arrived to cold and rain in Cairns, not exactly what we imagined of the tropical Queensland coast, but the bad weather would only last for the day, we called an Uber, which turned out to be a huge pickup-truck, so exactly what you picture of Queensland, and were soon picking our car up that we would use for the next two and a half weeks over 3,000 km.

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