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  • Writer's pictureCelina

Ranking - my road trip at a glance: top and flop places

After my impressive two month road trip through Australia I would like to draw a conclusion and present you my top destinations. I have created a ranking, where you can see what I liked and what not.

1. Cairns / Daintree Rainforest / Kuranda

My first place is definitely the region around Cairns, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, Kuranda and Cape Tribulation: waterfalls, clear blue lakes, sunlight shimmering through the trees, tropical vegetation and exotic wildlife. It was an impressive experience to stay overnight in the middle of the rainforest, where the next smaller town is 2 hours away, so completely isolated from civilization.

While it’s just 15 miles away from Cairns, Kuranda feels like another world away. The most memorable way to get there is by the Kuranda Scenic Railway or you can go by bus, and once you arrive in the city in the tropical rainforest of the Atherton Tableland, it will feel refreshingly cooler and less humid than sea-level Cairns.

2. Whitsundays

Think you have to go to the Maldives for a slice of paradise? Australia’s got its very own paradise ready and waiting in the Whitsundays. This collection of 74 islands is located right next to the northeast coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. The white colour of the sand and the incredible blues in the water make this a truly unique destination that is constantly sighted in almost every ‘best beach in the world list’. I recommend to go snorkeling as well. I saw turtles, coral reefs and different kinds of fish.

3. Magnetic Island

What I loved most about Magnetic Island was the peace and quiet there. I had the beach almost to myself. The nature is mostly untouched and with a bit of luck you can see koalas on the hiking trails through the woods.

4. Fraser Island

Fraser Island was my last stop of the roadtrip and therefore the perfect ending: driving over the sand and along the beach as well as the nature on Fraser are unbelievable. My favourite was Lake McKenzie with turquoise warm fresh water.

5. Sydney

Sydney is the largest city in Australia – filled with beautiful beaches, fun activities and good food. It’s a rather pretty city too, with architecturally beautiful buildings and sparkling harbours.

And then there are the beaches: I liked Bondi with its Iceberg pools. You should also do the coastal walk to see the other beaches.

6. Great Ocean Road

There’s much happening along the coast, including ample swimming and surfing spots, dining options, gorgeous waterfalls, picturesque limestone stacks (like the Twelve Apostles) and plenty of spots to stop and eat some fish and chips on the beach. It's quite fun to drive along and stop wherever you want.

7. Grampians National Park

Not too well known is the Grampians National Park, which is located south west of the Great Ocean Road. You should definitely visit this park because of the wonderful views and the impressive waterfalls. You also have the chance to see many kangaroos.

8. Coober Pedy

In the middle of the Australian Outback, there's a town where hills rise from the sand and big red signs warn people of "unmarked holes." Entire bedrooms, bookstores, churches, and bars are installed in the carved underground walls of Coober Pedy. It was a unique experience to stay overnight in the underground hostel, which I was glad about, as I could not handle 50 degrees outside temperature.

9. Melbourne

I love it’s european feel. Melbourne is full of secrets to discover and has secured its spot of the most liveable city in the world the seventh time in a row.

10. Alice Springs / Outback

Surrounded by red dirt and hauntingly beautiful mountain ranges you'll find Alice Springs, a city of arts and events, known to locals as simply "Alice" – is the beating heart of Australia's Red Centre. It's a great base for exploring the natural wonders of the Northern Territory's outback. And the region is completely different to the coast - also in regards to the people.

11. Byron Bay

The city impressed me especially because of the hippie vibes, but some places are crowded with tourists.

12. Brisbane

High on my list of places to visit is Southbank, the home of performing arts and Queensland culture as well as the Fortitude Valley and the Eat Street. It's also a gateway city to the popular Gold Coast beaches and other natural attractions.

13. Gold Coast / Surfers Paradise

The Gold Coast's star attraction is its beaches, including the world-renowned stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise. High-rise buildings meet the ocean here.

14. Adelaide

Adelaide, the country’s fifth largest city, has become an increasingly popular destination in recent years. Located on a plain between rolling hills and the Gulf St. Vincent, and bordered by many of Australia’s famous wine regions, you’ll find lots to do while you’re here, like shopping, restaurants, parks or museums.

15. Townsville

Townsville is an absolute must on any North Queensland itinerary. You can wander the strand and easy access the beautiful Magnetic Island with a ferry.

16. Agnes waters

If you like a quiet little town with direct access to the beach, this is the place to be. It is also a popular surf and camping spot.

17. Darwin

The tropical city of Darwin hugs the coastline of the Northern Territory and has long been the most international of Australia’s major cities. As well as markets, crocodiles and cruises, you'll find strong Aboriginal cultures here, as evidenced by the array of languages spoken in the streets and the vibrant Aboriginal art that fills the city's galleries and museums.

18. Newcastle

Newcastle is a bigger city, which is perfect to live in. With its English character and the beautiful city structure it impressed me.

19. Bundaberg

It is famous for its rum distillery and in my opinion it fulfils all the clichés of a typical Australian town.

20. Mission Beach

Mission Beach is a place with few houses and a very quiet atmosphere. For a few days off and doing nothing, it is just the right thing.

21. Hervey Bay

It is a typical coastal town. When I was there, I stayed a bit out of town, so I was happy to stay there for just one night.

22. Canberra

Even though Canberra is the capital of Australia, it is not one of my top destinations. There are interesting cultural institutions such as the parliament and the national museum, but the city seemed a bit extinct.

23. Port Macquarie

Port Macquerie could not really impress me either. I think it was mainly due to the weather, as it rained almost all the time and we had some strange experiences, which you can read in the according post.

24. Rockhampton

My least favorite place was Rockhampton. I stayed in a slightly shabby hostel and had to walk about 25min to the city centre in 45 degrees heat. However, there was not much to do in the city and it seemed to be a bit behind the times.

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Feb 17, 2020

You can swap it with place 23 😉😂


Feb 17, 2020

Can’t agree with place 12....

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