Ko Phi Phi Don

Ko Phi Phi Don is the central island in a collection of islands known as the Phi Phis. This island has become a tourist haven in recent years, drawing an astounding number of visitors for its size. While the island is somewhat of a tourist overload, you can put up with it due to the absolutely stunning scenery. Views from this island are almost unreal, with clear blue, bathwater warm water, white sand beaches and palm covered hills. Sadly for me I only had one day on the island and poorly allocated my time, spending almost the entire day getting a tattoo done, traditionally with a stick and poke needle. It was a unique experience that I cherish and would not trade, but it did however prevent my from seeing much of the island. As such, my review of Ko Phi Phi Don is limited to the town center, a tattoo parlor and the central beach. Despite that, the beach on the island alone was worth the trip and I spent several hours there relaxing and swimming. sssss

 

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Coffs Harbour

 

Coffs Harbour is a fantastic hidden gem on the East Coast of Australia. The town is located between Brisbane and Sydney and is well worth the stop if you are making the journey. My family would come here every year for a holiday, just to get away and relax. Coffs isn’t an overly large city, but has a lot to offer. The town is situated between the beach and the mountains, providing some great scenery. You will find mangrove forests on one side and banana farms on the other, covering the hills. The town is home to some great wildlife and if you look you will be able to find bearded dragons throughout the city. The sea is home to plenty of dolphins and whales and the nearby island, Muttonbird Island will let you see muttonbirds in great numbers if visited at the right time of year. The town is famous for its Big Banana, which is a banana farm that literally has a giant banana built out the front, attached to a banana café and banana gift shop and museum. If you get a chance, the food there is pretty fantastic. The Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens is worth a visit if you have time, you will get a chance to see some crazy tropical plants and walk through a mangrove forest.

Mangrove Forests

The coastline and river inlets in Coffs Harbour are a unique biosphere. Mangroves themselves are highly unusual trees, growing in salt water with their roots protruding from the water and soil upward to allow them to breathe. The root areas of these trees create a unique ecosystem themselves. Mangrove forests are home to a plethora of mammal, reptile, amphibious and insect species.

Muttonbird Island

Muttonbird Island is a small island just off the coast of Coffs Harbour, so close in fact, that the city has constructed a walkway to the island itself. You can simply walk from the beachfront, all the way to the island. The view from the top of the island looking back at the coastline is fantastic and worth the walk. On the way there and back you will pass the marina and see some very nice boats.

 

BANANAS! The Big Banana

The Big Banana, much like other BIG THINGS in Australia is a famous tourist icon. The building and facilities around it represent the importance of banana farming to the region. The hills surrounding the facility are covered in banana trees. The hills above the city make a nice drive and provide a view of the city below, as well as allowing you to pass through banana farms on the journey. If you happen to visit the café on site, it has fantastic banana based desserts that I highly recommend trying.

Perth/Freemantle

Perth is the capital and only sizable city in Western Australia. The city experiences a relatively moderate climate compared to many of the East Coast cities in Australia. Surrounded by beaches and rivers, the city has some fantastic scenery surrounding it, despite the fact that there are only one or two real hills in the entire city. When walking down the main street you will find several British historical buildings and a historical district with themed stores and eateries. The park and walkway above the city are absolutely beautiful and gives a fantastic view of the city. If you have some free time, make sure to do a pub crawl around the city as there are some fantastic pubs, making some excellent craft brews. Freemantle is regarded as a sperate city but essentially connects with Perth forming one larger city. Freemantle is a more historic district of Perth and definitely worth the visit. The Freemantle market is a great place to get some foreign food and buy nicknacks. I was only in Perth for a few days staying with family and the one thing that I can tell you after going on a day long pub crawl with my cousin is the city has some fantastic bars and pubs. Those located down by the waterfront are in my opinion the best and give you a fantastic place to drink beer in the sun while looking across the water.

Fremantle Prison

Freemantle Prison tour is an absolutely fantastic experience that I would highly recommend if you have time. The tour takes you through the old prison complex, left just as it was at its time of closing. It gives you a great idea of what prison in Australia was once like. You are able to view common areas, cells, the yard and the hanging station amongst other places. The hanging room is quite daunting as the last person hanged in Australia died there in 1967.

http://fremantleprison.com.au/

 

Art Gallery of Western Australia

The Art Gallery of Western Australia is quite interesting due to its heavier Aboriginal art influence. While being a smaller gallery, you will be able to see some fantastic bush art and Aboriginal pieces.

http://www.artgallery.wa.gov.au/