Australia

Cafe Notturno, Lygon Street, Melbourne, Australia  

This café was a great find. We went wandering down Lygon street to experience the Italian sector and came across this gem. We shared a supreme pizza, chicken and mushroom risotto and caesar salad. The food was hearty, flavoursome and good value for money. Not much ambience wise, but it seems very accommodating to families with kids and big groups. My only disappointment was that the caesar was advertised to be served with anchovies but didn’t come with any. Aside from that I was delighted with my Italian meal.

.Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

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Scenic World, Katoomba, Sydney 

Scenic World, Katoomba is a classic tourist activity in the Blue Mountains. I recommend it to visitors because it showcases Australia’s natural and social histories, amongst a beautiful ecological park. The funicular railway is very fun; so steep and not for the faint of heart! The cable ways give you stunning views of the valley and the walkway at the bottom of the forest provides information on the local history and geography of the area.

This activity is, however, rather pricey and the queues can be quite disheartening. The whole experience is very well set up, but you need to figure out your motivation is for being there. If you want to experience natural beauty, then take a walking track from Echo Point. There are other, less expensive and time draining ways to experience the Blue Mountains. I support local businesses, however this feels like are tourist trap. 
.Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Ibis Styles, Kingsgate Hotel, Melbourne 

The Ibis Styles, Kingsgate is a standard accommodation that fills your needs without luxury trimmings. My main issues were that the water in the shower fluctuated between lukewarm and hot during my stay there. (I understand they’re undergoing renovations at the moment as well?) I also had issues with the breakfast service in that my family was accidently double billed,  and thankfully this was painlessly rectified soon after, thanks to the concierge for their understanding. Regardless of these concerns, it was clean, easy to get to from Southern Cross, close to trams along Bourke Street (and perfect for the NYE fireworks which, incidentally, we were there for). Honestly, stock standard accommodation. 

.Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Cake street, St Kilda, Melbourne

Acland Street is famous for it’s strip of cake shops and bakeries. Wandering past all the window displays makes you feel like a little kid again, mouth watering, nose pressed up against the glass. Some of the shops have been here since the 1930s and they’ve got a cult following. I guarantee you’ll find cakes here from your childhood. And they’ll taste perfect.

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia 

The Queen Victoria Markets are a favourite haunt of mine. It’s my always place for gourmet treats. The market stall section boasts a lot of souvenirs and tourist knick-knacks, dresses, leather work,  woodwork and technology. It’s open most days and is absolutely huge. 

That’s not why I go here, though. The gourmet food section, the delicatessen, is phenomenal. Piles of anti-pasto spill over each other boasting morsels from the Mediterranean and spices from the Middle East. The cured meats are perfect for your charcuterie and the cheeses are heavenly. Visiting the coffee grinders is a spiritual experience for me and I’m working my way through their different beans.

There are cafes and eateries about, (I thoroughly recommend the bratwurst stall as a classic market food), however I’d suggest choosing a selection of gourmet treats and taking them to a park. You’ll thank me later.

.Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

The Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia

The Blue Mountains is probably my favourite place to visit, ever. The villages there, like Wentworth Falls, Blackheath, Leura and Katoomba are quaint, with unique oddities with which to amuse yourself. Do your research in each town; there’s more to see than the train station. In Wentworth Falls you’ll find excellent hiking trails, waterfalls and lookouts like Govetts Leap. In Leura you’ll find boutique shops; homewares, cafés, old fashioned lolly shops and The Everglades. In Blackheath there are fantastic antique shops and book stores. Medlow Bath brings you the Hydro Majestic, an art deco hotel overlooking panoramic views of the Megalong Valley. 

Of course, Katoomba can’t be missed for it boasts the shining gem in the crown of the mountains- Echo Point and the Three Sisters. Katoomba is quite touristy, so try the cafés down the end of the main street for a local experience and consider self guiding to the Three Sisters. 

Plan ahead. If you go around March/April and you’ll get the internationally celebrated blues, folk and jazz festival. Go midyear and you’ll get Winter Magic for the winter solstice. 

Just know that the Blue Mountains is so much more than just Katoomba.

.Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.