City getaway guide: the best things to do and places to visit

Planning a city getaway but don’t know where to begin? We’ve put together a guide of the best things to do, most popular places to visit, best restaurants and dining precincts and the top places to stay in Australia’s capital cities, so you’ll be heading towards those bright city lights in no time.

Bright city  lights during Vivid Sydney

Credit: Destination NSW

Things to do in Melbourne:
Top things to do in Melbourne:  Catch an AFL game or live gig at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) or grab tickets to one of the many Melbourne festivals popping up throughout the year.
Top things to see in Melbourne:  Discover the labyrinth of arcades and famous Melbourne laneways with quirky shops, great coffee and colourful street art or visit the bustling Queen Victoria Market, a Melbourne hot-spot.
Best restaurants in Melbourne:

  • Bistro Bakini - rustic Italian fare with an exposed kitchen, live pasta station and tastefully selected Australian and Italian wines.
  • Boundary Line Bar & Kitchen - the perfect place for a pre-game drink or casual family dinner.
  • Alibi Kitchen & Bar - serving up a delicious buffet breakfast as well as an a la carte lunch and dinner menu.
  • Home Kitchen & Bar - seasonal produce, warm service and cool cocktails.
  • The Terrace Café and Bar - from lighter snacks to full dinners, this popular restaurant is ideally located at the edge of Carlton Gardens.

Melbourne hotels: Click here for the latest Melbourne accommodation specials.

ACDC Lane,  Melbourne

Things to do in Sydney:
Top things to do in Sydney:  Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge to admire the stunning views or catch a Big Bash match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Top things to see in Sydney:  The Sydney Opera House is an absolute must-see. Head to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens for the best views of this worldwide icon.
Best restaurants in Sydney:

  • Memento Lounge & Bistro - an urban space in the heart of the CBD featuring modern cuisine and an extensive wine list.
  • Cascades - enjoy a delicious breakfast in a contemporary setting close to Darling Harbour and other central Sydney attractions.

Sydney hotels:  Click here for the latest Sydney accommodation specials.

BridgeClimb  Sydney

Credit: BridgeClimb Sydney

Things to do in Brisbane:
Top things to do in Brisbane:  A beach in the middle of a city? Brisbane’s got it. Cool off at Streets Beach in South Bank – patrolled year round by lifeguards and free to use by the public.
Top things to see in Brisbane:  Watch the sun rise over the city from Mount Coot-tha. Wake up early and drive to this Instagrammable hotspot for spectacular views of Brisbane city.
Top Brisbane restaurants:

  • Stone Restaurant and Bar - ideally located in the heart of South Bank, this is the perfect place to head before or after a show at QPAC or after a busy day exploring the city.
  • Kennigo Social House - situated in a historical Queenslander, you’ll enjoy fresh local ingredients at this award-winning restaurant.
  • 127 Bar & Bistro - a funky café serving up contemporary Australian fare as well as a ‘Grab & Go’ menu for those on the run.
  • Cook & Co - choose from a delicious continental or full buffet breakfast to start your day.
  • O Bar & Restaurant - breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks, this dining hot-spot is conveniently situated close to major attractions.

Brisbane accommodation:  Click here for the latest Brisbane hotel specials.

Streets Beach,  South Bank Brisbane

Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Top things to do in Adelaide:  Pat a giant panda at Adelaide Zoo or venture into the Adelaide Hills or Barossa Valley for some wine tasting.

Top things to see in Adelaide:  Adelaide Botanic Garden is ideally located in the heart of the city, yet feels worlds away. Take a free guided walk to discover the hidden treasures of the gardens.

Top Adelaide restaurants:

  • Sq Restaurant and Lounge - an Adelaide favourite, this urban restaurant features gourmet food with a European vibe.
  • Rundle Mall – stroll through this popular precinct for a selection of restaurants, cafes and bars.

Adelaide accommodation:  Click here for the latest Adelaide hotel specials.

Rundle Mall,  Adelaide

Credit: Copyright SATC

Things to do in Darwin:
Top things to do in Darwin:  Experience the “Cage of Death” at Crocosaurus Cove, where you’ll be lowered into crocodile infested waters, or head to Crocodylus Park for a slightly less terrifying croc-encounter.

Top things to see in Darwin:  As the sun sets on the horizon, head to Mindil Beach for the sunset markets, with over 300 stalls, live entertainment, movies and more (April to October; Thursday and Sunday evenings).

Top Darwin restaurants:

  • Telegraph Eating House & Bar - the perfect place for a family-friendly lunch or romantic dinner with seasonal dishes and local produce showcasing the best of Australian cuisine.
  • Table Forty Three - enjoy buffet breakfast, lunch specials and delicious dinners in a relaxed, tropical atmosphere.  

Darwin accommodation:  Click here for the latest Darwin hotel specials.

Crocodiles in  Darwin

Things to do in Perth:

Top things to do in Perth:  Fill up your glass in the Swan Valley, just 25 minutes from Perth. Visit wineries, breweries, galleries, cafes and more in this picturesque Western Australian region.
Top things to see in Perth:  With panoramic city and Swan River views, Kings Park and the Perth Botanic Gardens is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, picnic or some casual bird watching.
Top Perth restaurants:

  • Cornerstone Bar & Kitchen - award-winning wines and extensive menu makes for a great meeting spot with friends and family in the heart of the city.
  • Society Bar & Kitchen - enjoy sundowners and canapés on the terrace or a fill up before a busy day with buffet breakfast in a relaxed and cosy environment.

Perth accommodation:  Click here for the latest Perth hotel specials.

Kings Park and  Botanical Garden, Perth

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Things to do in Canberra:

Top things to do in Canberra:  National attractions are aplenty! Visit the Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, National Gallery of Australia, Royal Australian Mint and more!
Top things to see in Canberra:  The centrepiece of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin is the ideal place for water lovers. Walk or bike along the shoreline, kayak or sail on the water or simply relax in the park with a good book.
Top Canberra restaurants:

  • Podilato - a fresh take on traditional Greek cuisine, the menu here is designed for sharing and won’t disappoint.
  • Stock Kitchen & Bar - great coffee, friendly service and home-style cooking are central to this ideally located restaurant.

Canberra accommodation:  Click here for the latest Canberra hotel specials.

Canberra  Parliament

Things to do in Hobart:
Top things to do in Hobart:  MONA (or the Museum of Old and New Art) is by far one of the top Hobart attractions. Unique, fun and interesting, this is not your standard museum. Check out the very cool exhibits or visit during the MOFO festival in January, when things really heat up.
Top things to see in Hobart:  Drive up to the top of Mt Wellington through the rainforest for panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island and beyond. Explore walking tracks, discover unique flora and fauna and breathe in the crisp, clean air.
Top Hobart restaurants:

  • Restaurant Collins - this is the place to find fresh Tasmanian cuisine. Enjoy an all-day dining menu in a relaxed setting.
  • Elizabeth Street – head to this popular North Hobart district for a variety of cuisines and a decent selection of restaurants, bars and patisseries.
  • Hobart waterfront – seafood is the name of the game here. Choose from plenty of places to eat or grab some fish and chips and watch the yachts roll in.

Hobart accommodation:  Click here for the latest Hobart hotel specials.

Hobart, Tasmania

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