Visiting Australia! Any recommendations?

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    Aug 13, 2012 5:02 PM GMT
    Hey, guys. We'll be visiting Sydney and Brisbane soon and wondered if anyone can recommend fun stuff to check out there? Anything you think is worth checking out: trendy parts of town, shops, restaurants, bars, sights, events, yoga studios, whatever! We're going to do some of the touristy things, but wanted to hang out with the locals too. Thanks!
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    Aug 13, 2012 7:23 PM GMT
    OK...
    I used to live in Brisbane and visit Sydney few times. About Brisbane... Its amazing, but you have to go around the city. CBD isnt that impressive. You have Lone Pine sanctuary near by, you can hold a koala and feed roos. The place to be and go out lately is West end... lots of small restaurant with local band playing! Of course dont miss the Gold coast, but have a look at the other beaches around (byron bay, flat rock,....)
    The best view (photo stop) are in kangaroo point, on the top of the cliff offering a breathtaking view on the city. Also have a trip to Mout Cootha.
    Further North You have to go to Fraser island, its a MUST. Stop by strabroke island (friendlier, less touristy,...) Stop by UQ , my former university, The campus is great, and its a nice place to meet people. You have to organize a bbq in on of the city park. You have public gaz bbq, ready to use. Very nice on a sunday for a brunch!
    Check if they are any music festival or singer coming.

    Fuck! just realize I miss Australia so much!

    Have fun!
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    Aug 13, 2012 7:31 PM GMT
    Forgot, the other place in Brissie to go out is the Valley: gay clubs, restaurant, clubs...
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    Aug 13, 2012 7:38 PM GMT
    Go to Melbourne!
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    Aug 13, 2012 10:22 PM GMT
    HFM pretty much summed up what to do in Brisbane. It's also pretty cool to check out Southbank, a manmade beach, to hang out if you can't get out of the city. Otherwise, I recommend further down from Surfer's Paradise in the Gold Coast. Surfer's Paradise tend to be full of tourist, and there's a lot quieter beaches down south.

    Try out Siam Samram in West End. Been there many many times and the thai food doesn't disappoint.


    For Sydney, Of course Oxford Street is great for those gay night outs. Outside of that, check out Sydney Harbour, walk the Harbour bridge, take a cruise around the bay. Take the ferry to Taronga Zoo as well - worth a look! Take the ferry and go to Manly Beach, but I recommend Watson's Bay beaches as it's quieter - maybe even take a grub as they make some of the best seafood in the area.

    Bondi Beach is a little bit overrated, but you can visit to get that out of the way. But definitely take the Bondi to Bronte crosswalk - just a nice walk in the afternoon.

    Darling harbour is beautiful, check it out! In terms of shopping, I prefer going to Paddington for that, but the city centre (Westfield area) is pretty good as well.

    Check out Andrew Boy Charlton Pool - since it's getting warmer, it will be a popular hotspots of gay guys. Adjacent to it is the Domain and the Botanic Gardens which is great to check out.

    If you can, get out to the Blue Mountains and take a hike out there. It's so much fun!

    Sydney has a lot to offer for everyone. But if you can, check out Melbourne!! I prefer it more than Sydney! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 14, 2012 12:37 AM GMT
    you can have a look at Newtown; along kings street is a thin, long strip of pretty relaxing bars, cheap restaurants, it's quite busy during weekends and friday nights, with the occasional flux of college students doing pub crawls (sydney uni is situated right next to the place). Newtown is pretty trendy, well for Australian standards anyway. A lot of hipsters there, but it is a nice relaxed area.

    if you're into shopping; pitt street mall in CBD (near the train station, bunch of restaurants around)
    Definitely have a look at Circular Quay (opera house, 'the rocks', sydney Aquarium)
    Bondi Beach- quite a popular beach. It's in the eastern suburban area (the fancy area). A little bit hard to get to but a couple of buses should do it.

    try and stay away from 'the cross'.
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    Aug 14, 2012 1:19 AM GMT
    There's a place there that you can register as a bona fide homosexual
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    Aug 14, 2012 11:45 AM GMT
    Thanks for all the great info, guys! Those are exactly the kinds of ideas I was looking for, so it sounds like we'll be pretty busy every day (and night!).

    Thanks and keep 'em coming!
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    Aug 14, 2012 11:49 AM GMT
    CrispyC saidyou can have a look at Newtown; along kings street is a thin, long strip of pretty relaxing bars, cheap restaurants, it's quite busy during weekends and friday nights, with the occasional flux of college students doing pub crawls (sydney uni is situated right next to the place). Newtown is pretty trendy, well for Australian standards anyway. A lot of hipsters there, but it is a nice relaxed area.

    if you're into shopping; pitt street mall in CBD (near the train station, bunch of restaurants around)
    Definitely have a look at Circular Quay (opera house, 'the rocks', sydney Aquarium)
    Bondi Beach- quite a popular beach. It's in the eastern suburban area (the fancy area). A little bit hard to get to but a couple of buses should do it.

    try and stay away from 'the cross'.


    Agree with pretty much everything here - although the Oxford Street part of Darlinghurst is very gay and very fun on the weekends too..

    Surrey hills has some great restaurants and is worth a visit too.

    What time of year will you be coming?
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    Aug 14, 2012 11:50 AM GMT
    Melbourne is where it's all happenin'
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    Aug 14, 2012 11:56 AM GMT
    Thanks, sc69. We'll be there in a couple of weeks, so do you think it will start getting warmer by then?
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    Aug 14, 2012 12:05 PM GMT
    Sydney has an awesome gay nightlife - Arq, Nevermind, Midnight Shift and Stonewall to name a few, all walking distance on Oxford St. Make sure you check all of them out. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 14, 2012 12:16 PM GMT
    relaxshh saidThanks, sc69. We'll be there in a couple of weeks, so do you think it will start getting warmer by then?


    It should be by then. Here at the moment it's already getting warmer during the day. The night is still a bit cold but by a couple of weeks it'll be better. Just in case bring some warmer stuff though.

    also, maybe have a nice dinner along/near darling harbour, then go for a walk along the area, it's nice seeing the city's light reflecting in the water. If i had a boyfriend i'd like to do that.
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    Aug 14, 2012 12:32 PM GMT
    Brisbane is a hole haha it's only good for fishing and starting families. If you're gonna go to Queensland visit the Gold Coast which is a 45 minute drive from Brissie
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    Aug 14, 2012 12:49 PM GMT
    Seriously recommend that you check out Melbourne- its a pretty amazing city.
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    Aug 14, 2012 12:54 PM GMT
    Hey OP hope you really enjoy the holiday.
    Just thought it was funny that I've lived in Sydney my entire life and wasn't able to give much of an answer so I thought it was good to read just so that I knew too haha.

    Though the 'village' isn't really my scene, it's good to know so that I can at least say something about Sydney.

    Melbourne is freaking awesome, went there for 2 days and shopped for 14 hours! $800 after, I seriously had bought enough stuff to replace my wardrobe!
    If you are into theme parks, then Gold Coast is the way to go!

    From what people have said, Melbourne and Sydney seem to have the best night life.
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    Aug 14, 2012 12:56 PM GMT
    Don't forget to get a Budgy Smuggler while there.
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    Aug 14, 2012 12:58 PM GMT
    beneful1 saidThere's a place there that you can register as a bona fide homosexual

    Yeah, but they only allow for 1 at a time, and the position's taken. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Aug 14, 2012 1:05 PM GMT
    Go to central Australia when you can!

    it's amazing.
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    Aug 14, 2012 1:48 PM GMT
    Brisbane cops a lot of flak because it used to be a big country town (and sometimes still feels that way despite the skyscrapers).

    The CBD has Queen Street for shopping, with City Hall around the corner (currently closed to repair the building from concrete cancer). If you go to the end of Albert Street, you'll find the Botanic Gardens and Qld Parliament House. The inner suburbs surrounding the CBD are the most interesting in terms of restaurants, pubs, bars, live music etc. These include:

    Fortitude Valley: the main entertainment district and gay area centred around Brunswick St, Ann St and Wickham St. The main gay bar is The Wickham, gay club is The Beat, and The Sportmans Hotel ('Sporties') is in the next suburb, Spring Hill.

    New Farm: Large park which is great for picnics, also has the Powerhouse which is a venue for exhibitions, concerts, live music. There's a restaurant and bar as well. Methyr Village has the New Farm Deli.

    West End: a bit more multicultural due to the Greek, Lebanese and other immigrant communities' influence. This quarter has a high student population as well as alternative/progressive people. Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Greek, Indian, Peruvian, Italian, Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants all within a stone's throw of each other. Main areas are on Melbourne, Boundary and Hardgrave Streets, with Saturday markets in Davies Park. The University of Queensland is directly across the river from here and you can get there on the ferry, called the CityCat, which will also give you the best tour of the CBD.

    Southbank: The main tourist attraction (and hence, pricey). As well as the artificial beach, there are also weekend markets, cinemas, restaurants, a bouganvillea walk, river quay, maritime museum, and also a beautiful carved Nepalese pagoda. Opposite the parklands is the cultural centre with the Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, State Library and Museum.

    Kangaroo Point: as well as the Storey Bridge and associated hotel, there are the cliffs were you can do rock climbing, or you can walk along the top and get great views of the city.

    Paddington/Milton: More restaurants and clubs around the old police Barracks and Caxton Street as well as up along Given Tce. Suncorp Stadium here if you want to see a football or rugby match.

    Wooloongabba: the cricket stadium is here, and in winter it's used for AFL. Directly opposite are some great restaurants, one of which is Bistro Bistrot.

    The Gap and Brisbane Forest: You can take a bus or otherwise drive out to the end of Waterworks Road to go bushwalking or gentle hiking around Enoggera Reservoir. Other outdoorsy places to see include Lone Park Sanctuary (for koalas), North Stradbroke Island (take the train to end of Cleveland line and a bus will take you to the ferry), the Glasshouse Mountains (especially Maleny), Samford Valley, Sunshine Coast around Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba. You could also take the Shorncliffe train to Sandgate - this was where Brisbaners used to go when they went to the 'seaside' in the days before the Gold Coast was even a few shacks down in Burleigh Heads. There's a jetty here, plus good fish and chip places.

    Of course, there's the Gold Coast further down, which is a long sprawling strip of towers. The main beach is Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, but you may find Burleigh Heads more relaxing and local. You can then head around to Kirra Beach and Snapper Rocks.

    That's about the most comprehensive guide I can give you off the top of my head ^^ Brisbane isn't Sydney or Melbourne, but hopefully you'll discover its own laid-back subtropical charm icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 14, 2012 1:52 PM GMT
    Also have to add that the Brisbane Festival is on from September 8 if you are here for it ^^

    http://www.brisbanefestival.com.au/
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    Aug 15, 2012 11:22 AM GMT
    Thanks, kangourou, you're better than a guide book!
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    Aug 15, 2012 12:01 PM GMT
    Brisbane will certainly be getting a little warmer every day now, Sydney seems to have had some storms in the last week or so - you never quite know what weather they will have.

    An evening walk by the Opera house on circular quay - you have a view of the Harbour bridge as well as standing on the steps of one of the world's iconic buildings..
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    Aug 15, 2012 2:57 PM GMT
    The End bar in West End is my favourite bar in Brissy. It has max capacity of 60 and is always lively and warm. Black bear lodge is a good place to drink too (Fortitude Valley) and RG's is a good place to people watch.
    West End as a whole is a great suburb for coffee shops and small bars as most surrounding suburbs of the city are like Paddington, Milton and Bardon (which has the Mt Cootha lookout). I think Westie is the most welcoming suburb too.
    New farm's James street and around Tenerife's Wool sheds are great high end shopping and bar destinations and Emporium in Fortitude Valley is really swank too.

    If you want to take a long break, the City Cat ferry from end to end takes about an hour and a half is great just as the sun sets.

    Other recommendations:

    New Farm: Brisbane Powerhouse. Has theatre, bar, dining, music, visual arts exhibitions, Palace Cinema plays a lot of indie films

    Fortitude Valley: IMA art gallery, The shops on Winn Lane and Ann St, Brunswick st is the centre of the majority of weekend nightlife, the Saturday markets are pretty rubbish now but improving (finally replaced the music manager, now it's more original local music like it used to be)

    Southbank: QPAC Performing arts centre, 2 Art Galleries (QAG & GoMA), The Edge (digital arts hub), lots of fine dining, Bodyline Spa & Sauna (usually older clientele, Wet in Bowen Hills is apparently much better)

    The City: Edward St shops, Metro Arts, Superwhatnot bar (hidden in a alleyway), Suitcase Rummage market (first Sunday of every month)

    West End: Archive food/bar, Lock n load dining/bar, Box Vintage second hand clothing, Bent books and Avid Bookshop, Twilight markets (Saturday nights)
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    Aug 15, 2012 3:15 PM GMT
    I was in Sydney earlier this year. I went to bodymindlife yoga in Surry Hills (http://www.bodymindlife.com/SurryHills#About). It's a great yoga studio.

    I highly recommend the Bridge Climb if you're not afraid of heights and you have the time. I did the express climb, which is the shortest of the options time-wise, and it took about two hours. It's a little pricey but worth it.

    The guided tour of the Sydney Opera House is definitely worth your time and money.

    And I'd take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef if you can swing it. Everyone I met in Sydney said it's the one thing you absolutely must do when you visit Australia. And they were right -- it's stunning, more than you can imagine. It's about a 3.5 hour flight from Sydney to Cairns. I stayed in Port Douglas, which is about 1.5 hours from Cairns by bus. There are a few gay resort options in Port Douglas, but I didn't stay at any of them. I took the Synergy II boat tour, which is a snorkeling tour (so no scuba cert required). It takes a maximum of 12 people per tour, which I preferred to the other boats that took 30+ people.