One of the best parts of an exchange is to be able to travel to places that you never thought you would before. In my case, as a Brazilian student living abroad in Canberra, the mid-Semester break was the perfect time to do that. I carefully studied what would be the best places to go within two weeks of non-teaching period, and ended up choosing to visit Sydney, Melbourne and Gold Coast.
The first semester mid-semester break is allocated in that time of the year between the end of summer and beginning of autumn, providing what I consider one of the best temperatures to travel in Australia. I chose to buy a combo of air tickets with multiple stops so that I could go directly from one city to another, but it is also possible to do some of the bus routes, as in the case of Canberra-Sydney or Canberra-Melbourne. Australia has a lot of different Airlines and one good advice to get affordable tickets is by programming your trip in advance and activating flight notices at your desired price range. That way you can stick into your budget and save some money for other parts of your trip, such as attractions.
My first stop was in Sydney. I allocated 5 days to stay there. Considering how it was my second time in the city, it was easier to plan exactly where should I stay and where I should go during this time. One amazing area to find hostels and hotels with a nice price is around King Cross. This lively area of the city has the convenience of being located next to a tram station, supermarkets, bars, cafes, and the best: only a 15 minutes’ walk to the Botanical Gardens. Sydney can be very crowded sometimes – the opposite of Canberra – so it was good to stay in one neighbourhood with more residential buildings and charming shops. There are some activities that you cannot miss out while you are visiting to Sydney, such as the incredible shows at the Opera House, a boat trip from Darling Harbor or Circular Quay, a meeting with Koalas and Kangaroos at the Taronga Zoo, the stunning coast walking between Coogee and Bondi Beach and a breakfast at the amazing Botanical Garden.
My next stop was Melbourne. It was my first time in the city, and I was really excited to get to know the Australian capital of coffee – as true Brazilian lover of this drink. Melbourne it is an incredible vivid city, with a lot of attractions including the National Gallery of Victoria, the NGV Building next to the Federation Square, the incredible Queen Victoria Market, St Kilda Beach and one the coolest suburb I’ve ever visited, Brunswick, with great options of food, thrift stores and colourful spots. Melbourne is also knowing by it great taste for architecture and design, and the city provide a free tram zone that connects some of the main attractions. Another wonderful must go tour while you are in the city is to visit the Great Ocean Road. In my case, I choose to go with one day-long bus tour, and it was definitely one of my favourite places in Australia.
To end the trip, I planned a quieter 4 days’ itinerary for the stay on the Gold Coast, so I could recoup the energies and return relaxed to Canberra. The region is famous for its beautiful beaches, easy style and proximity to nature. Unfortunately, it was a little rainy in the time I was there, but I still managed to enjoy some moments at the beach and in the roller-coaster parks available nearby.
Each of the places that I visited was completely different from each other, and gave me the possibility to learn more about the Australian lifestyle, the country’s natural landscape and culture. I would definitively recommend this this travel itinerary and I cannot wait to travel to other regions of Australia.