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Australia's Big Bright Cities

Discover what makes our state capitals dazzle, writes Annie Gray.

Australia is a country known for its idyllic coastal beaches and vast wilderness landscapes. Yet the big cities Down Under are undeniably iconic too. Whether you are discovering unusual art in Tasmania or relishing Melbourne’s cityscape from a trendy laneway café, Australia’s diverse cities cater to everyone.   

1. Peruse Perth
Travellers exploring Australia’s west coast will discover the photogenic city of Perth, described as a ‘hipster haven’ by The New York Times. Famous for outdoor living encouraged by gorgeous weather, it is a great spot for those who love natural encounters. With plenty of bike trails, marine parks and nature reserves to discover, it is a metropolis surrounded by remarkable flora and fauna. On a city tour see the unmissable Botanical Gardens, Kings Park and Swan River. Wander through Perth’s cultural centre and discover WA’s many cultural heritage stories voiced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in WA Museum Boola Bardip

Elizabeth Quay bridge, Perth, Western Australia

Perth is a stone’s throw away from other adventures such as a trip to the monastic town of New Norcia. Learn about this historic Australian town on a visit to the Museum and Art Gallery and receive offerings from the monastery’s Benedictine monks on our 14 Day Wonders of the South West.  


2. Hobart Havens
Hobart may be Australia’s most southern capital, but it is by no means the last on travellers’ lists. Bursting with hidden gems, Salamanca Market should be your first port of call when visiting Hobart with its bustling outdoor stalls selling fresh produce and authentic Tasmanian goods every Saturday. If you are in Hobart on a Sunday, venture to Farm Gate Market for more fresh food straight from the paddock. If you fancy a little more adventure, take a cruise along the stunning Bruny Island coastline and stop by the free-spirited MONA museum to immerse yourself in out-of-the-ordinary art. 

hobart harbour by night tasmania australia

Tasmania’s vibrant art scene continues with a visit to the Wall in the Wilderness, a 100m-long carved wood wall that presents a history of Tasmania’s Central Highlands in a sculpture. Pitstops to explore Tasmania’s dining scene include a visit to Pigeon Whole Bakers for some baked goods and fresh coffee, Tom McHugo’s for some pub grub and brunch at Sunbear Cafe.  

3. Discover Darwin
Close to awe-inspiring national parks such as Kakadu and with a fascinating history to boot, there is plenty to see in this capital city. Immerse yourself in Indigenous culture with a trip to The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) to learn about Aboriginal art and the region’s maritime history. Alternatively uncover Darwin’s WWII history, when the Japanese raided this city and dropped more bombs than at Pearl Harbour, at the Darwin Aviation Museum. The contrast of this tropical environment from other Australian city centres is what makes this destination so unique.

Low rise apartments overlooking the palm trees fringing the harbour on a sunny day

Take a stroll around Darwin Harbour and George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens to revel in nature. You’ll also find the largest display of Australian reptiles in the world at Crocosaurus Cove, located in the city centre.  

4. Sightseeing in Sydney 
Arriving in Sydney, make a beeline for the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you are staying in Sydney for a day or two, the BridgeClimb offers amazing harbour views. Book ahead though, as tickets for the climb sell fast. If views from the ground are more appealing, take to the water for a cruise around Sydney Harbour. On our 13 Day Treasures of Australia tour, pair the experience of cruising through the harbour with a delicious Welcome Dinner. Speaking of food, another authentic experience to enjoy in Sydney is fish and chips on Bondi Beach. The familiar theme song of Bondi Rescue is bound to come to mind with the view of Australia’s most famous stretch of sand.  

sydney harbour opera house cbd and bridge by day new south wales australia

Sydney is ripe with cultural hotspots too, such as the Sydney Opera House. Step inside this beautiful building and marvel at its architecture. Then, enjoy the sights of Darling Harbour, ending with a glass of wine and a meal in one of its surrounding restaurants. Sydney’s historic Victorian terrace-lined streets in conjunction with its glorious beachside living will entice you to return again.  

5. Enjoy a Moment in Melbourne
The last stop on the 13 Day Treasures of Australia tour is cosmopolitan Melbourne.
A city with a distinctly European style, there is much to discover in hidden laneways and inner-city suburbs. After a coffee in Degraves Street, see the historic Flinders Street Station and learn about Australian football at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Then, discover the multicultural centre of Melbourne, Chinatown, which offers many enjoyable lunch options. Escape the hustle and bustle with a trip to the Mornington Peninsula and take in the tranquillity with a visit to a vineyard amid the lush landscapes of wineries.  

melbourne southbank view from river flinders station victoria australia

With an abundance of activities on offer within Australia’s diverse cities and beyond, there will be an option for every traveller. Join Travelmarvel on an Australian tour in 2021 to experience these big bright cities for yourself.