Get pleasure from Australia’s Gold Coast with a highway journey
There’s one thing extremely romantic about setting off on a highway journey in a far-flung vacation spot. Until, in fact, you enter the unsuitable deal with into the sat nav. My wild journey alongside Australia’s Pacific Coast hadn’t fairly bought off to the beginning that I’d hoped for when my husband and I spent the primary 45 minutes heading within the unsuitable path.
However even this irritating detour couldn’t dent our first-day pleasure – in any case, we had lastly made it to a rustic that had lengthy been on the high of our bucket lists, and over the course of two weeks we have been enterprise a visit of a lifetime.
The Pacific Coast route is known for good motive – it takes in among the most placing landscapes in Queensland and New South Wales, with rolling inexperienced hills, nationwide parks and windswept surf seashores alongside the best way.
We started our journey in Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, a vibrant metropolis with buzzing eating places and bars, a seaside and luxurious parkland, and a implausible cultural precinct. It’s price staying a day or two if time permits, earlier than heading for the Pacific Freeway.
Halcyon Home, within the sleepy coastal village of Cabarita
We employed a automotive, a sleek 4×4 (from HolidayAutos.com), for our journey and drove south to the Gold Coast. This virtually unbroken 70km stretch as soon as had a brash and cheesy status, however has now undergone one thing of a revamp, its world-renowned seashores higher recognized for five-star inns and complex eating places than seedy casinos and nightclubs. And since internet hosting the Commonwealth Video games final month – when the area’s panorama was beamed throughout TV screens the world over – it’s turn out to be a brand new vacation sizzling spot. So it’s price placing down roots to discover.
Our base was Halcyon Home, within the sleepy coastal village of Cabarita – equidistant (round 40 minutes) from the Gold Coast and well-known bohemian seaside city Byron Bay.
A former 60s surfers’ motel, set on a country stretch of coast, Halcyon Home has been reworked right into a five-star lodge and spa with Instagram-worthy interiors. A blue and white Mediterranean-style color scheme runs all through – from the acclaimed connoisseur restaurant, Paper Daisy, to the pool with its blue and white candy-striped loungers, to its 21 individually styled visitor rooms.
The texture is whimsical and quirky, with clashing prints and materials, antiques and particular person art work.
Three Sisters rock is within the Blue Mountains
One afternoon, we took a few the lodge’s restored classic bicycles alongside the tree-canopied cycle path to close by Kingscliff, passing coastal mansions (and a good few bush turkeys) and ending up in town’s sweeping white-sand bay.
The lodge handily offers a full itinerary of native points of interest, so that you’re by no means caught for inspiration. And with the Gold Coast’s subtropical hinterland – boasting 100,000 hectares of world heritage-listed rainforests – simply over an hour away, there’s lots to do for those who’re not the recline-on-the-beach sort.
In case you are, Byron Bay ought to undoubtedly be in your hit record. Identified for its wonderful surf and hippie vibe, in addition to its implausible procuring, eating places and bars, you would simply spend a few days right here.
One in all our highlights was taking the scenic stroll up via the Cape Byron Headland Reserve to Cape Byron Lighthouse (about an hour from city), positioned on Australia’s most easterly level, the place we loved the views over Byron and neighbouring Tallow Seashore.
Our itinerary pushed us onwards, however as we drove additional south the surroundings proved no much less spectacular, with coastal cities Woolgoolga, Nambucca Heads and Port Macquarie providing extra lovely seashores and native wildlife reminiscent of wallabies and dolphins.
We then headed inland, via lush forests and hills to the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest winemaking area. Essentially the most idyllic spot is occupied by the hilltop Audrey Wilkinson vineyard, and we pulled up and loved the panoramic outlook over the vineyards, earlier than stocking up on bottles to take dwelling. Ebook a room at one of many many inns within the space if time permits, to get pleasure from wine tasting aplenty.
For us, it was onwards to Sydney – our last vacation spot – only a two-hour drive away, the place we checked into the five-star Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay. The lodge is among the metropolis’s swankiest, in its most trendy neighbourhood (oft nicknamed “Double Pay”), and the rooftop pool with its harbour outlook is a superb place to catch some rays with a cocktail in hand.
First, although, it was time to discover. There’s an excessive amount of to do on this vibrant metropolis in only a few days, however place to start out is with the cliff-top coastal stroll from Bondi Seashore to Coogee, which takes round two hours, previous Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly seashores, and Gordons Bay.
The beginning of the route begins proper subsequent to Bondi Icebergs Membership, with its rock pool constructed into the ocean; the surf crashes over the aspect as swimmers navigate their manner via the salty water. It’s one thing of a Sydney establishment and prices simply $7 for informal entry, whereas the adjoining bar and restaurant is a superb spot for lunch earlier than setting off on the stroll.
For one thing extra strenuous, the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb is an unforgettable thrill. Navigating our manner up via the bridge’s construction, we loved panoramic views throughout the skyline and past. It’s one thing each customer to Sydney ought to do at the very least as soon as.
Our journey was virtually at an finish and we completed on a excessive, with a browsing lesson on Bondi Seashore. It took two hours for our trainer, Michaela, to get us standing up on our boards, however wading via the waves, with the solar shining, we couldn’t have been happier.
Australia has loads of points of interest, however its pure magnificence actually is its crowning glory. We by no means uninterested in these beautiful sun-kissed seaside views.
1 Keep a number of days to discover the Gold Coast’s pure magnificence – from its rainforests to its dramatic surf seashores and vibrant native wildlife.
2 Calm down at boutique lodge Halcyon Home, proper on Cabarita Seashore, and take pleasure in a remedy on the newly renovated spa.
three Spend a day at Byron Bay. When the solar units, get pleasure from the very best tapas on the town at St. Elmo, on Fletcher Road.
four Head to Newcastle, Australia’s second-oldest metropolis, which has a thriving music and humanities scene and nice surf at Merewether Seashore.
5 Go wine-tasting, and benefit from the surroundings, within the Hunter Valley.
6 Hike within the scenic Blue Mountains, simply an hour outdoors of Sydney.
7 Begin your Sydney expertise in fashion, with excessive tea within the Stillery Cocktail Lounge, at Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay (round £38pp).
eight Pattern a well-known Australian flat white espresso on the open-air Opera Bar, proper beside the Royal Opera Home.
9 Lower your expenses on Sydney’s high points of interest with a Sydney Move (from £57 for adults, thesydneypass.com), which incorporates the Royal Opera Home tour, Sea Life Aquarium and lots of extra.
10 Take a dip within the dramatic ocean pool at Icebergs, overlooking Bondi Seashore, earlier than a cliff-top coastal stroll to Coogee.
Method to go Return flights with Singapore Airways (singaporeair.com, 020 8961 6993) from London to Brisbane begin from £750, and from London to Sydney from £760.
Costs are legitimate till Might 31, 2018, topic to availability. Blackout dates apply.
Automotive rent with HolidayAutos.com from Brisbane airport begins at £9 per day, primarily based on a two-week journey.
Halcyon Home, a Small Luxurious Lodge (slh.com/halcyon), has rooms from $600 (roughly £329) per evening, together with breakfast, and rooms at Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay begin from $233.24 (roughly £128).
Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb (bridgeclimb.com) prices from $303 (roughly £164.50) and a one-off browsing lesson (letsgosurfing.com.au) on Bondi Seashore and Maroubra Seashore prices $95 (roughly £51.50) for adults.
Begin your journey the simple manner, with Heathrow Meet & Greet Parking, with costs from £99 for per week, when booked at the very least 24 hours upfront (Heathrow.com/parking).