AFL Grand Final, Melbourne, Australia

AFL Grand Final

The AFL Grand Final is an annual Australian rules football match, usually held on the final Saturday in September or the first Saturday in October at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The sport may be incomprehensible to outsiders, but it’s nearly impossible to avoid being swept up in the fever of this hallowed event.

Anzac Memorial

Indagare member Molly V.W. recommends checking out the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park. It's an art deco monument that used for commemoration ceremonies on Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and other special occasions.

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Art Gallery of New South Wales

Australia’s most high-profile—and invariably controversial—art prize, the Archibald (awarded annually for best portrait painting), is on view here, and the contemporary-art section on the lower level is brilliant. Chairman of Sothebys Australia, Justin Miller, says he brings out-of-town friends to the gallery to give them “an artistic overview of Australia’s colorful colonial past.” Free admission.

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Australian Open

The first of the four tennis Grand Slam events of the year, the Australian Open kicks off the season in high style. Founded in 1905 and held during two weeks of January each year, tennis superstars volley and lob to claim the first Grand Slam title of the season.

The Rod Laver Arena is the main venue for the open, but it's also a multipurpose arena (located within Melbourne Park).

Street Theatre at Belvoir Street Theatre  , Sydney, Australia ,courtesy Helen Coetzee

Belvoir Street Theatre

This legendary theater – tucked away in a humble Surry Hills back street – boasts alums with some serious chops, including Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and husband-and-wife team Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton. There’s a 330-seater main theater upstairs, where you can catch more mainstream dramatic productions (often reworked classics like Death of a Salesman and Hamlet), while the 88-seat theater downstairs dishes up independent and experimental fare. Book tickets well in advance and witness Australia’s next generation of rising talents treading the boards.

Brett Whiteley Studio

To get a fascinating insight into one of Australia’s most famous artists, drop by the Brett Whiteley Studio, a former T-shirt factory in Surry Hills that the painter—who died in 1992 after a passionate and troubled life—had converted to his workplace and home. His sensibility is uniquely Australian (some of his best works depict the stunning light and vibrancy of Sydney), and his works fetch record prices at auction. Open Saturday and Sunday only.

Aerial Veiw - BridgeClimb Sydney  ,Sydney, Australia

BridgeClimb Sydney

One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions for Aussies and “internationals” alike is a climb on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the largest single arch steel bridge in the world. Locals affectionately refer to it as the coathanger because of its shape, and many consider scaling it a rite of passage for Sydney lovers. While daring teenagers used to climb the bridge for fun, security was beefed up after 9/11, and the only way to ascend the arches now is on an official BridgeClimb. Paul Cave, a Harbour Bridge lover, organized the first official climb for a YPO World Congress in 1989; it was such a thrilling success that he was determined to open the experience to others; and after nine years of persuading civic officials, he launched BridgeClimb. More than two and half million climbers have made the trek, and it has been ranked by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top ten most thrilling experiences along with running with the bulls in Pamplona.

Dozens of climbs are made each day, but it’s best to reserve one in advance. All climbers are given a special bridge suit and safety instruction and are clipped on to a wire. Among the climb options are the BridgeClimb Express, which consists of fourteen people in a group, takes two hours and fifteen minutes and covers the inner arch of the bridge, not the top one, though it does include some time on the summit. The Discovery Climb takes three and a half hours and allows those in a group of fourteen to climb a staircase between the two arches and hear an in-depth history of the bridge. The BridgeClimb, also three and a half hours, is for the most adventurous climbers as it travels along the top arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with 360-degree views all the way up to the summit 134 meters above the harbor. In addition, there are special twilight and sunrise climbs on the first Saturday of every month. Daytime, twilight and night climbs run daily with opening hours adjusting by season.

Note: Climbers must pass an alcohol breath test before the BridgeClimb, so be sure not to have any alcoholic beverage before your climb.

Who Should Go: Those looking for stunning views and a memorable urban adventure.

Who Should Not Go: Children under the age of 8 are not permitted to make the BridgeClimb; nor women who are more than 24 weeks pregnant, people with broken bones, those who are prone to seizures or who have had surgery within the past six months. People who are afraid of heights or have a hard time with stairs should not consider the BridgeClimb.

Editors' Picks

Bronte to Bondi Walk

Bush walks are a favorite Australian pastime and even in the city, there are some great coastal hikes, including the famous coastal walk that now runs from Ben Bruckler Point and runs all the way to Coogee. The most dramatic stretch of this is North Bronte to South Bondi, which covers 1.5 kilometers and takes about forty minutes to walk. You pass some of the city’s great sweeping beaches, stunning views and pretty parkland, which is what makes this such a lovely walk. While it is possible to walk in either direction, it is most fun to end up at Bondi with a reservation for lunch at Iceberg’s or Sean’s Panorama.

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Day Trips: Beach and Bush

Indagare can arrange for a variety of day trips from Sydney, including jaunts to the northern beaches by seaplane or yacht, food and wine treks to the Hunter Valley or eco wildlife tours in the Blue Mountains to see kangaroos in the wild, even a day spent helping out in a wildlife recovery center. Contact our Bookings Team for details.

Editors' Picks
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Eureka Skydeck

Eureka Tower is a 975 foot-tall gold-plated skyscraper by the Yarra River. On the 88th floor, the Eureka Skydeck, the highest public observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere, offers dizzying views of the city and its neighborhoods. Daredevils will enjoy the Edge Experience, a glass-floored box that suspends visitors over 980 feet above the city.

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Fitzroy Gardens

Situated on the fringes of the city center, these 150-year-old-plus gardens feature gorgeous indigenous specimens, such as flame trees, Moreton Bay figs and spotted gums. Visitors can also spy a number of curiosities, like explorer Captain James Cook’s cottage (shipped over from England in 1934) and the Fairies Tree, the stump of a 300-year-old red gum in which whimsical pictures are carved.

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Healesville Sanctuary

Australia is home to some of the most iconic and unique wildlife on the planet, and while some species can be spotted in the wild, the Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria is where you can see them all. Read Indagare's Review.
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Heide Museum of Modern Art

One gallery worth getting out of town for is Heide, the former home of art patrons John and Sunday Reed, who helped nurture the careers of Australian artists, such as Albert Tucker and Sidney Nolan. Having outgrown their original space, a new “gallery to be lived in” was commissioned in 1964—the modernist structure is a pristine example of midcentury design, and the changing exhibitions offer unique insight into a significant period in Australian art. The beautiful grounds play host to sculpture exhibitions.

Editors' Picks

Hit the Markets

Many of Australia’s best-known designers, like Sass & Bide, got a start selling their wares at the local weekend markets, and these ad hoc retail institutions are still worth scouring for both up-and-coming labels and vintage pieces.
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Indagare Tours: Behind-the-Scenes at Paspaley Pearls

Upon special request, travelers can head behind the scenes at Australia’s largest and oldest pearling company, Paspaley Pearls. Exploring Paspaley’s esteemed workshop allows visitors to learn about the patience and meticulousness required to harvest pearls and the pristine environmental conditions necessary for their production. With a pearl expert, guests will have the opportunity to study the pearl grading process and see some of the most coveted South Sea pearl strands first hand. Contact Indagare’s Bookings Team to learn more. Reservations are subject to availability.

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Indagare Tours: Melbourne Laneways

The sprawling, maze-like alleyways of the Central Business District contrast with the otherwise grid-like CBD and boast an assortment of cafes, shops and galleries
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Indagare Tours: Mosman Underground War Tunnels

History buffs will love exploring the underground war tunnels that make up Sydney’s Middle Head Fortifications in the suburbs of Mosman. With a WWII veteran as guide, this tour allows visitors to discover Sydney’s network of military barracks and batteries that were built on the shoreline in the 1870s. Originally used to defend the harbor against enemy invasion, these underground fortresses were later modified for use during the Second World War. (Australia was a part of the Allied Forces and lost nearly 30,000 soldiers during the war.) Experiencing them with an Aussie veteran is an exciting way to gain an understanding of the military history of the region.

Indagare Tours: The Great Ocean Road

The quintessential Australian road trip route, Great Ocean Road was built by veterans after World War I as a scenic link between the coastal towns of Torquay and Warrnambool.
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Indagare Tours: The Mornington Peninsula

Just south of the city, the Mornington Peninsula, a beautiful countryside retreat, is often compared to the Hamptons.

Indagare Tours: The Rocks Historical Walking Tour

Sydney is fabulous for boating, swimming, shopping and dining but those interested in history should consider layering another dimension into their visit with a walking tour of the historic Rocks district. It was here that acted as the capital of Sydney, when it was established as a British penal colony in 1788. With a private guide, visitors can explore the convict settlements (or more accurately, slums) whose foundations were uncovered in the dig and learn about the gangs, strumpets and government officials who inhabited the area and formed its economic and cultural base. The complex evolution of the Rocks area, the detrimental effect of its settlement on the aboriginals and its significance as a global trading port in the 20th century are integral and fascinating elements of Sydney’s history. As you wind through narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets and explore archeological dig sites that have been preserved and repurposed, your Indagare guide will paint a picture of the social forces and colorful personalities that contributed to the character of the city. Contact Indagare’s Bookings Team to learn more.

Editors' Picks

Let’s Go Surfing

Since most Australians live near or on the coast, it is no surprise that surfing is a national obsession, and there is no better place to give it a try than on one of Sydney’s most famous beaches, Bondi. Let’s Go Surfing is the only officially licensed surf school operating at Bondi. Founded by two Bondi natives and avid surfers (one of the founders competed in the Women’s Surf Titles), the company offers group and private lessons daily. Classes range from Girls Only and Boogie Board to private lessons for families and advance surf coaching with internationally recognized coaches. They will also supply private surf guides for those who want to explore beyond Bondi or just rent out wet suits and boards.

Tip: Make a reservation for lunch at one of Bondi’s legendary watering holes, Iceberg’s or Sean’s Panorama, for before or after your surf lesson.

Editors' Picks
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Luna Park

New York City’s Coney Island Park was recreated in Melbourne in 1912 and has been an iconic spot since. Read Indagare's review.

Luna Park

This 1930s amusement park on the edge of the harbor was totally refurbished in 2004 but still feels like an old-fashioned carnival with vintage rides and quaint thrills. The setting in the shadow of the Harbour Bridge and with views of sailboats and the Opera House makes it a memorable trip down memory lane and fun for kids of all ages. You can take a ferry to and from the park from Circular Quay.

Tip: Make a reservation at adjacent Aqua for lunch or dinner before or after a visit for a delicious, grown-up dining experience or its more casual outpost Ripples.

Manly Surf School

One of Australia’s top surfing schools was founded at Manly Beach and still bases its operation here even though it now has outposts in Palm Beach, Collaroy Beach and Long Reef Beach. Founded by Matt Grainger and professional surfer Damien Warr, the school offers classes every day as well as trains current Australian champions such as Laura Enever. There are group classes for all levels as well as private lessons and stand-up paddle options. Group lessons from $50 for children and $70 for adults and private lessons from $70 for children for one hour and $85 for adults for an hour. Boards and wetsuits are included.



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Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Launched in 1987 by Barry Humphries (of Dame Edna fame) and Peter Cook, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival hosts local and international comedy stars at venues throughout the city. One of the three largest comedy festivals in the world (the other two being Edinburgh’s Fringe and Montreal’s Just for Laughs), the festival basically takes over the city for several weeks in March and April with a large program of stand-up, cabaret, theatre, street performance and visual arts.

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Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)

The museum, which sits majestically along the western promenade of Circular Quay (the landing place for the First Fleet) occupies some of Sydney’s prime real estate. In 2012, the landmark underwent a $52 million head-to-toe revamp: now doubled in size, there are three additional galleries showcasing artworks from Australian and international artists, as well as a new rooftop sculpture terrace with views over Circular Quay. Known for provocative and well-curated exhibits, the museum draws upon its impressive permanent collection, which includes a comprehensive selection of Aboriginal paintings. Free admission (excluding some special exhibits).

Editors' Picks
Jet Boat at Oz Jet Boat  , Sydney, Australia

Oz Jet Boat

A great way to get a quick intro to the city and its layout as well as a sense of the Aussie’s sense of fun is to hop on one of the tourist speedboats that run regularly from Circular Quay. You can sign up in advance online for a half-hour ride or show up on the wharf. Each boat takes about a dozen people for a spirited joy ride around the harbor. The captains will point out a few of the major sites but mostly they focus on tricks like spins and fishtails, which are guaranteed to get you wet and to get kids whooped up. The outfitters hand out full-length ponchos before you board the boats, but you will still get splashed in the face. Rides generally operate every hour on the hour between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Editors' Picks


Indagare employees walking up stiars

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