With Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex heading to Australia this month for Sydney’s Invictus Games, we thought the couple might appreciate a few travel tips. So we scoped their itinerary – which takes in Sydney, Melbourne, Dubbo and Fraser Island – to draw up the lowdown on the best each spot has to offer.
Dear Harry and Meghan,
We know planning the perfect trip can be stressful, so we want to help. We want to make sure you hit all the best spots on your trip Down Under and experience the real Australia. So we’ve compiled a list of the best places to visit along your itinerary. Trust us, we know Australia.
Our list has all the chic spots fit for royalty, as well as those that will get you feeling like a true Aussie. And don’t stress about those crazy crowds, Australia is known for its natural wonders and they’re the perfect escape from it all.
We just want to make sure you’re doing it right, so take a bit of inspiration from our list below and we’ll ensure you make the most of your trip around Oz.
Your pals at Australian Traveller
Stop one: Sydney
Be a typical tourist at Opera bar
Opera Bar is a staple in Sydney for locals and tourists alike, with its uninterrupted view of the stunning harbour and Opera House, and top-notch cocktail menu. Opera Bar is known to attract chic, young couples like yourselves, and with the weather warming up, it’s the perfect place to enjoy good drinks and good company. It’s also known for a delicious raw seafood bar with some of the freshest oysters around. We recommend the rosé spritz and rock oysters for a refreshing afternoon treat.
Sample the freshest produce at the Sydney Fish Market
Sydney is known for great seafood, and where better to experience it than from the market itself? A local favourite for those warm October days is the Sydney Fish Market where you can get out of the CBD and enjoy the best of Sydney’s freshly caught seafood. The market will let you get in with the locals and see a beautiful new side of Sydney. Peruse the endless aisles of local bread, cheese, wine and of course all the glorious catches of the day. Grab some prawns and a bottle of Aussie wine and enjoy a delicious water-side lunch.
Sport your best disguise for the Bondi to Coogee
Sydney is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches, which makes them must-visits when in town. Get a sweeping overview by taking the Bondi to Coogee clifftop walk. This trek shows off the stunning natural beauty Australia has to offer. As a bonus, your visit coincides with annual art exhibition Sculpture by the Sea (18 October–4 November), which sees the Bondi to Tamarama leg of the walk transformed into the world’s biggest outdoor sculpture park. Once you get to Coogee, head to the Coogee Pavilion and enjoy fresh oysters and Mediterranean-inspired dishes on the roof overlooking the water. (You two may want to wear a disguise, as it’s known to get pretty busy around there…)
Go for a dip at Bondi Icebergs
If you’ve heard of Sydney, then you’ve heard of Icebergs. This famous spot sits perfectly cliff-side on Bondi Beach where you can swim in the stunning ocean-side rock pool and enjoy lunch at the dining room above. Between the stunning views and delicious food, there’s a reason it’s so famous, and a famous couple needs a famous spot like this. There’s something for everyone here, but once again, we recommend the fresh seafood: oysters or fish of the day.
Get an iconic selfie at Sydney Opera House
When it comes to experiencing arts around the world, the Opera House is a staple. After all, Sydney just wouldn’t be the same without this stunning piece of architecture. Enjoy a live show in one of the incredibly detailed theatres or on the forecourt in the fresh air with harbour views. Sitting front and centre at the Sydney Symphony is the perfect date night, and getting a backstage tour before the show makes for the ultimate experience.
Appreciate Indigenous art at the Art Gallery of NSW
We know you’ve got plenty of incredible galleries in Europe, but we reckon the Art Gallery of NSW is the perfect place to view the best of Australian and Indigenous art. Experience Australia through the eyes of an artist and learn about the country’s history and culture. Then have lunch at Chiswick at the Gallery and enjoy views of the harbour.
Stop two: Dubbo
Spend the night at Taronga Western Plains Zoo
You can’t go to Dubbo without visiting the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Dubbo’s star attraction is known for its innovative and immersive zoo experience where visitors can not only visit their favourite animals but stay overnight alongside them. You can walk the six-kilometre circuit of the park, hire a bike or even drive your car, getting out at enclosures along the way. We recommend extending the experience with a Zoofari Lodge stay. These ‘glampsites’ overlook the savannah and are a romantic safari getaway that will have you two up close and personal with the animals.
Trek through the glorious Wellington Caves
See the natural phenomena that lie within the Wellington Caves, 60 kilometres south of Dubbo, with treks that take you into another world. Experience some of the most unique rock formations in Australia, including a 15-metre tall stalagmite. This trek might not be the most royal experience, but it’s definitely one-of-a-kind.
Cycle Tracker Riley Cycleway
One of the best ways to see Dubbo is by bicycle along the Tracker Riley Cycleway. The 12.5-kilometre circuit will take you on an exclusive journey along Australian bushland and the stunning Macquarie River foreshore. The trail extends between the central business district and historic Dundullimal Homestead via the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Don’t just see the old standbys while in town, hire a bike and see a new side of Dubbo.
Enjoy a little downtime in the Botanic gardens
The Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden offers an oasis in the heart of the city – the perfect way to learn about native Australian flora and enjoy a little downtime during your long trip. This garden is the perfect stop for a picnic or stroll with native Australian flora set in a picturesque Japanese landscape. If you’re looking to get out of the city completely, the Burrendong Botanic Garden and Arboretum is the place to go. Just one hour south-east of the Dubbo CBD, this garden and arboretum was established in 1964 and thus is home to beautiful old native trees. You’ll feel like you’re in rural NSW bushland.
Enjoy the best cheese and wine at Red Earth Estate Vineyard
Just outside of Dubbo’s CBD and next to the city zoo, enjoy locally crafted wine and cheese in a romantic vineyard atmosphere. The estate has been crafting fine wines since 2001 and is considered the focal point of winemaking in the Dubbo region. The vineyard now offers visitors the chance to sip on chilled – perfect for warm October afternoons.
Stop three: Melbourne
See an AFL game at the MCG
Perhaps one of the most traditional Aussie experiences you can get, Australian sport is the perfect way to experience the country. Rug up, grab a hot jam doughnut and a beer, and settle into the most iconic Melbourne sporting arena. Yell like a bastard, heckle the umpires and experience Melbourne like a local. You’ll feel like a true Aussie.
Take a day trip to the Yarra Valley
Picture rolling green hills, swaying vineyards and old farmhouses, only an hour’s drive from the CBD. Cellar doors of the region’s famous wineries are open every weekend, and the winery restaurants are becoming some of the most sought-after dining destinations out of Melbourne. If you want to get the best of Melbourne’s food and wine with the best of Australian countryside, we recommend visiting Maddens Rise, TarraWarra Estate and Rochford Wines.
Drink a cocktail at a hidden bar
Melbourne is known for its unique and intriguing gastronomic experiences, and there’s no better way to experience the food and drink scene than to dive into the most eccentric spots. Some of the best are hidden behind secret doors or down the end of alleyways, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see them straight away. These spots are designed to take you into another world – you may even feel like you’re back in London. Consider the multi award-winning Black Pearl, where levels are split between a comfy lounge space and serious dining; Beneath Driver Lane, a chic-meets-edgy hideaway found in a basement at the end of an alley; or Eau De Vie, a 1920s-style speakeasy with an entire room dedicated to whisky.
Check out the street art
Melbourne is considered one of the street art capitals of the world, so don’t miss out on viewing some of the best local art, hidden in plain sight. There’s no shortage of unique murals seen when strolling around the city, with each street telling its own story. If you’re not sure where to look, hop on a Melbourne street art tour.
Drink world-renowned coffee
If you’re going to be royal, you’re sure to need coffee to get you through the day. Well you’re in luck, because Australia is known for incredible coffee roasters, with some of the absolute best located in Melbourne. Melbourne streets are overflowing with artisan coffee shops, so it would be silly not to give one a try when in town. Enjoy a cosy coffee shop or industrial cafe. We recommend Seven Seeds for coffee with a side of brunch, and Wide Open Road for your warehouse fix.
Get close to the wildlife in St. Kilda
Stroll down the iconic St. Kilda boardwalk at sunset and you’ll spot an adorable colony of fairy penguins. In the evenings, you can see the penguins swim and waddle back to their nests among the rocks year round. Enjoy these amazing animals and watch the sunset over the water in this most romantic spot of spots away from the city centre.
Stop four: Fraser Island
Go Humpback Spotting
Come face to face with the giants of the sea from Hervey Bay, the only genuine stopover for the whales while on one of the longest mammal migration journeys on the planet. From the months of July to November you can sail out to meet these majestic creatures like nowhere else in the world. This is definitely the spot to have a once-in-a-lifetime marine experience.
Swim in the stunning Lake McKenzie
Why come all the way Down Under if you can’t don’t go for a swim in our stunningly clear waters? This natural freshwater lake is many locals’ favourite spot on the island, in the Great Sandy National Park. The huge lake has perfectly crystal clear waters that reflect the blue sky above. It’s the best spot to enjoy a swim and the surrounding island scenery.
Take a scenic flight
The Royal Family may have The Queen’s Helicopter Flight, but we bet you’ve never seen a view like this. Experience Fraser Island from above with a private scenic flight over the island. This unique flight uses 75 Mile Beach as an airstrip to send you up to incredible views of the island. This is a truly unforgettable experience
Gaze at our incredible coloured sands
England isn’t known for its great deserts or rock formations, but Fraser Island is home to some of the most incredible coloured sand formations that are unique to the area and amazing to see. The sand rock formations have bands of orange and gold that can be seen along the coastline and more prominently at popular sites the Pinnacles, Red Canyon and the Cathedrals.
Drive 75 Mile Beach
This extensive and stunning 75-mile beach (120 kilometres) is perfect for a long drive, and even comes with all the typical road fixings – road signs, police speed cameras, the whole lot. It’s a truly unique experience driving along this open beach with the stunningly clear water running alongside you.