about We are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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how to plan a trip to australia online
This is a lengthy list of all the online resources I have used to plan our trip to Australia.  You should know one thing, though: I have an illness that involves keeping my fingers and eyes glued to my computer screen while planning a trip.  In the advanced stages of this disease, I write 15 page long lists of every restaurant I want to try in a particular city.  For those of you who suffer as I do, I look forward to reading your comments on sites that I have missed and should visit.  For the rest of you, I hope that this list will help you plan your trip to the land down under.  But, please do not feel pity for my condition.  I actually enjoy my disease.

Online Guidebooks:

  • Frommer's Australia : Frommers posts their entire guidebooks, including maps, suggested itineraries, restaurants, and hotels, on the Internet.  Their hard-copy guidebooks tend to be fairly bulky so having access to all of their information online helps me plan my itinerary on the road or off and for free!  One of my favorite Internet travel resources.
  • Let's Go Australia : The Let's Go Internet guides include helpful information but I use that resource less frequently because of their cumbersome website navigation.
  • Fodor's : While I rarely use their editor-driven content, Fodor's Travel Talk Forums are my favorite message board forums because the members are friendly, knowledgeable, and always willing to help plan a trip.
  • Lonely Planet : I don't use Lonely Planet's online guidebook very much because their editor-written website lacks the restaurant and accomodation suggestions, itineraries, and maps that their hard-copy guidebooks provide.  However, the Thorn Tree forum is a useful resource for backpackers and their wonderful new BlogSherpa program culls relevant information on a particular location from selected bloggers.
  • Traveldudes is an online guidebook with tips written by individual travelers.  They recently posted a number of tips for Alice Springs including Great and Crazy Events in that area.

Location-Specific Guides and Blogs:

  • The Sydney Wiki Travel page is comprehensive and lists over 20 festivals held in Sydney throughout the year, locations to avoid due to crime, neighborhoods of Sydney, and much more.
  • The Sydney Visitor's Page provides self-guided walking tours and maps and lists events to promote aboriginal culture in Sydney.
  • Visit New South Wales provides full-color free downloadable brochures about Sydney and other New South Wales areas.  These guides are in pdf format so they take a while to download and are like the typical free guides found in a hotel room, geared toward a short-stay traveler with a mid-level budget.  They provide short descriptions of the various neighborhoods in Sydney, descriptions of potential day trips, and include a comprehensive list of tours (including things like the Sydney Cricket Ground Tour Experience and the Chocolate Espresso Walking Tour).
  • Gridskipper provides a list of tourist traps to avoid in Sydney.  This site should counteract the tourist-driven Visit New South Wales brochures.
  • The Blue Mountains website has great interactive maps of the area.

Whitsundays :

  • Eric Lindsay's site is unfortunately a bit outdated but provides first-person insights on how to travel to the Whitsundays and what to see within the Whitsundays.
  • Tripadvisor members forum : The active Tripadvisor members forum on the Whitsundays provides advice primarily on sailing in the Whitsundays and some sailing cruise operators frequent the forum.

Cairns/Port Douglas/Great Barrier Reef:

  • The Port Douglas-Daintree tourism site provides a comprehensive list of all the accomodations in that area.
  • Does anyone have suggestions for a website that reviews dive boat operators?  It would be nice to have that information.
Alice Springs/Uluru:
  • The Alice includes such critical information on the Alice Springs area as hotel accomodations and alcohol restrictions.
Adelaide/Great Ocean Road/Melbourne:
  • The Great Ocean Road website organizes all of the sites, events, accomodations, and restaurants into one easily-navigable site and the South Australia website has some good information about Melbourne and Adelaide.
  • Keith at the Velvet Escape and Gary at Everything Everywhere describe their trips across the Great Ocean Road with pictures.
  • I found an incredible site several months ago that had gorgeous clear maps of different driving routes through Southern Australia and I can't find the site anymore.  Garrhh.  If anyone knows the site, send me a comment or a twitter message.  Thanks!

Why haven't I included more regions in Australia? These are the places we are planning on traveling.  I know that there are amazing resources for other spots in Oz; for example, there is a wonderful blog about the Australian Outback that nearly convinced us that we should head up there despite the November heat.  If you know about other online resources for Western Australia, the Outback, etc., we would appreciate it if you would drop a note in the comments.


  • Tripadvisor : Unlike some countries, Australia reviews tend to be recent and fairly up to date for hotels, hostels, and apartments.
  • Hostelworld : Hostelworld reviews tend to be hit or miss.  In the larger cities, like Sydney, I've seen recent reviews.  Travelers tend not to post for smaller towns.


  • Grab Your Fork : Helen meticulously photographs and describes the food at hundreds of Sydney restaurants.  With good reason, one of the most popular and comprehensive food blogs about Australia.
  • Not Quite Nigella : Lorraine photographs both the delicious food she cooks and eats in restaurants around Sydney.  Even if you aren't planning on going to Sydney, you should check out her food photography.
  • Fig and Cherry : Christie beautifully photographs the food she cooks and eats in Sydney and around the world.  Right now, she is living it up in Spain.
  • Chocolatesuze : Susan's blog focuses on the lovely pastries and desserts she finds in Sydney.
  • Tummy Rumbles : Two bloggers find the best restaurants in Melbourne.
  • ??? I am still looking for some great food resources for Adelaide, Cairns, Port Douglas, and the Alice Springs area.

Because I rely on Google searches to make my resources list, I know that there are many sites (especially blogs) that I have missed; please leave a comment if you know about a great site or blog that provides information about traveling in Australia.  Thanks!