The best thing about traveling to a new city is discovering it all your own. Every pair of eyes will see new cityscapes differently; every set of taste buds will experience the local cuisine uniquely; every person will feel different feelings when gazing out at a strange, faraway sunset.
When you travel to any one of these capital cities in Australia, we recommend you try hard to unearth as many layers of it as you can. See more sights. Taste more local food. Experience more nightlife. Explore more beaches and mountains and rivers and oceans nearby.
The deeper you dive the more you find out about yourself and the very culture you’re exploring. You begin to see all the multitudinous sides. The buildings and city centers and countryside that surround become more familiar to you as the days pass. They shed their mysterious veneer. Think of discovering a city as though you’re getting to know someone. Long after the pleasantries have passed, you may even persuade yourself to stay in one of these wondrous cities.
Do you plan to take a locum tenens assignment in Australia? If you do we suspect you’ll be hard-pressed to peel yourself away from this great country once the time has come. Simply put, you’ll fall in love.
Feel free to read part one of our two-part series examining the best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in every single Australian capital city. Then come on back – because it’s time to round off the list for you with part two below.
Best restaurant: Franklin
This consistently top-ranked restaurant hosts its kitchen smack-dab in the middle of the open-floor plan so you’ve got unrestricted views of all the madness and beauty that goes into making your elegant meal. As much as this place is about the ambience, people definitely come wolf-hungry for the food. The menu is rich with local produce, local meats and seafood and local wines and beers. Word of advice, book ahead.
Best bar: Republic Bar
Conveniently enough some of the bars we’ve listed so far double as a restaurant (and vice versa) so if you’re looking to knock out two birds with one stone, then you’re in luck. Republic Bar just so happens to be a pub that serves up fine grub, too. This joint is a favorite among locals for its upscale seafood and BBQ menu, not to mention it has some of the best live music in town seven nights a week.
Best pastime: Salamanca Market
This one was difficult. There are so many great pastimes in Hobart. We had to go with Salamanca Market. Every Saturday since 1972 this stretch of waterfront in Hobart is alive and bustling. The air is filled with ocean breezes, live music and fragrant foods. Plus the Georgian sandstone architecture is quite the sight.
Best restaurant: Cutler & Co.
Thus far we’ve tried to incorporate both fine-dining establishments as well as some more laid-back food joints. Cutler & Co. though falls into the former more so than the latter. Another open-kitchen design, this restaurant serves up the most elegantly prepared dishes you’ve ever seen like the beef short rib with native pepper, parsley and horseradish. They do have a more, relaxed sharing-style lunch menu every Sunday if that’s more your style.
Best bar: Riverland Bar
Known as the iconic waterfront pub of Melbourne, Riverland Bar skirts the Yarra River in the shadow of Princes Bridge. Of course you can hang inside with your brew but why would you do that if you have an entire outside patio (suitably dubbed the “beer garden”) with resplendent views to enjoy your drink of choice?
Best pastime: St Kilda Esplanade
Not far from the city center you’ll find St Kilda Esplanade. This palm-fringed stretch of sand and boardwalk is an eclectic wonderland complete with captivating views of Port Phillip. It’s quite often humming with both locals and tourists alike. You won’t be wanting for more while you’re visiting, either: there are markets, boutiques, restaurants, bars, rollercoasters, you name it. And of course, there’s immaculate coast as far as the eye can see.
Perth, Western Australia
Best restaurant: Alfred’s Kitchen
Alright, back to basics. Welcome to Alfred’s Kitchen, a real burger legend in Perth. This roadside joint has been around since 1946 so you know they’re serving up the real deal. And if you’re vegetarian, no worries, they even prepare a mean lentil burger that the locals say is to die for. For you meat-eaters out there, snag Alfred’s famous, original-recipe pea and ham soup.
Best bar: Frisk Small Bar
Are you looking for a more intimate atmosphere where you can share great drinks with new friends? You’re in luck. Frisk Small Bar offers just that. Though they specialize in gin cocktails they do serve up plenty of other choices.
Best pastime: Rottnest Island
Okay, this one is a bit outside of town (12 miles off the coast, or about a 90-minute ferry ride) but we’re sure you’ll forgive us for not listing a best pastime directly in Perth once you step foot on this island – especially after you lay your eyes on a quokka. These tiny marsupials can be found throughout the island. Now on top of spying on these adorable creatures you can also explore coral reefs and shipwrecks, relax on one of over 60 beaches or just walk around with your camera for an entire day and take pictures of sublime ocean scenery.
Sydney, New South Wales
Best restaurant: Bennelong Restaurant
If you’re in Sydney you’re probably going to want to splurge a bit. (It might very well be Australia’s most iconic capital city.) There’s no better restaurant to do that at than Bennelong. Located right inside the Sydney Opera House, it’s been deemed the grandest of restaurants in the city. Where else can you marvel at one-of-a-kind architecture while having your taste buds blown away by crab ravioli? Nowhere, that’s where.
Best bar: The Lobo Plantation
Again, you’re in Sydney, you’re going to want to head to the best of the best. So head to The Lobo Plantation, a fine establishment that won Bar of the Year in 2015 by Time Out Magazine. Grab a local beer or your favorite cocktail and sprawl out with your friends in one of their mammoth-sized booths.
Best pastime: Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
We would’ve chosen a tour of the Sydney Opera House but since you’ll already be eating inside the architectural wonder with our restaurant recommendation we thought we’d give you the next best thing, a 360-degree view of the city with the BridgeClimb. That’s right, book one of these tours and you’ll be up close and personal with this modern marvel. Don’t worry, a guide will be with you the whole way and all safety measures are taken.
Well that concludes our tour of Australia’s capital cities. Don’t forget to comment below with some of your favorite spots. All that’s left to do now is see what current physician jobs are available in Australia by clicking the big orange button below.
Locums for a Small World Blog
Over the years we’ve written rather extensively about all the top locales to visit in Australia. In doing so we’ve almost run out of adjectives to accurately describe this wonderful country. Every adjective from awe-inspiring to zestful has leapt from our keyboards. Don’t worry though we haven’t run out of things to say yet. And fortunately we haven’t run out of locations to talk about, either.
It’s time to dive a little deeper, don’t you think? Instead of the broad strokes we’re used to. We’re going to give you a complete list of the best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in every last Australian capital. This way if you find yourself in any one of these cities with no idea as to what to do then just jump on our trusty blog and you’re all set. Oh and for those of you who’ve been to these cities and don’t agree with our finds please feel free to write your favorite places in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you think.
Adelaide, South Australia
Best restaurant: Orana (Aboriginal word for “welcome”)
If you want a real taste of Australia with a spotlight on not just local but native, too, then Orana is where you should go. It’s quite the unique experience – small and intimate where the focus is on the food and all the wine pairings that go with.
Best bar: The Collins Bar
Instead of picking a hip, new bar (as there are a ton in Adelaide to choose from) we opted for an established, tried-and-true favorite called The Collins Bar. This is a specialty cocktail joint with a modern, relaxed atmosphere. Grab a babysitter then head to this bar for some exemplary cocktails and great conversation.
Best pastime: Adelaide Hills
This was a tough one. It was a choice between a beach destination and tramping through winery-coated hills. We decided to head for the hills. The Adelaide Hills has it all (except for a beach). Pick some fresh fruit straight from the bush, tree or vine. Sample some local wines. Stroll through the hills unencumbered. Watch kangaroos hop around. IT'S GOT EVERYTHING.
Best restaurant: Stokehouse Brisbane
Almost as brilliant as Stokehouse Brisbane’s menu is its riverside location. It has an open design with big windows so you feel as though you’re right in the mix of nature. You can sit on the deck too if you want. You can even catch a glimpse of the city from your seat. So snag a Mediterranean dish and let the ambient city life wash over you. Be warned, this place fills up fast so book in advance.
Best bar: The Laneway
It’s difficult to choose a proper bar for everyone to enjoy. All sorts of people have all sorts of different tastes in scenery and ambience. Though we think all will be pleased with The Laneway. It’s cemented itself as one of the best bars in all of Brisbane for its welcoming yet stylistic atmosphere and its bountiful selection of boutique beers and finely crafted cocktails. Not to mention it has a firm focus on being both green and local in its never-ending pursuit of spirits, wines, beers and cocktail ingredients.
Best pastime: North Stradbroke Island (AKA "Straddie")
When it comes to pastimes we tend to opt for the outdoors, especially in a place like Brisbane. We don’t want to discriminate too much; occasionally we do offer insight into top museums, art galleries, historic buildings, etc. But for the most part the outdoors is where it’s at and it’s always ripe for exploring.
Head to North Stradbroke Island via a short ferry ride from Brisbane. You’ll be met with sublime views. Either relax or customize your own tour: everything from 4WD treks to sandboarding is available.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Best restaurant: Eighty Six
A retreat from the fine-dining, small-plate atmosphere, Eighty Six could be coined a hipster eatery. But we’d be remiss if we did such a disservice to such a radiant restaurant. It can be a bit noisy in here but that’s because the diners are having a helluva flavor experience and can’t do anything but shout about it. The menu is richly unique, the plates are meant to be shared, and a blackboard shows you what’s been eighty-sixed (nixed) from the menu as they slowly run out.
Best bar: 54 Benjamin
There are a lot of great bars in Canberra. That’s because the capital is a hip place to be. But we had to decide on one. And 54 Benjamin was our choice. It is newer than most bars in town but we picked it for very sound reasons. They have a penchant for creating high-end cocktails that hit your taste buds just right. And it’s a place where pretty much everyone can feel welcome.
Best pastime: National Gallery of Australia
Remember when we said we tend to opt for the outdoors? Well this time in Canberra we’re staying inside. That’s not because Canberra is lacking in things to do outdoors, no. It’s because when you’re in the capital city of Australia you’re going to want to visit the National Gallery of Australia. It hosts contemporary, Australian, Indigenous and Asian artwork among others. Don’t stop here, either. Canberra is home to many great art galleries. Get out in the city and explore.
Darwin, Northern Territory
Best restaurant: Hanuman
Ask a Darwin local about a few of their favorite restaurants and they’ll most certainly throw Hanuman in the mix. That’s because it’s a community staple. It’s been said that the chef and restaurateur Jimmy Shu put Darwin on the map when it comes to great dining. The menu combines Thai, Indian and Nonya flavors to give diners an unforgettable tasting experience. Try the fresh and local barramundi for a real treat.
Best bar: The Darwin Ski Club
This one’s a bit of a cheat as it’s kind of a restaurant, too. It also doubles as the home of the Northern Territory Water Ski Association. But all are welcome.
While we say go ahead, order a delicious bucket of prawns straight from the Arafura Sea and dig in. We also say come here after a long day to watch the spectacular sunset as you sip on a local brew.
Best pastime: Darwin Harbour
Darwin is a great jumping-off point for adventurers of all kinds. You’ve got Kakadu National Park, Mary River National Park and Litchfield National Park all nearby. Plus Darwin Harbour is right out your front door.
Magnificent landscapes rich with wondrous flora and fauna surround this Northern Territory capital. It’s extremely difficult to choose just one experience for our list. But since we have to choose we’re going with a pleasant nature cruise around Darwin Harbour. It’s a fantastic primer to get you excited about all the other outdoor adventures you can have in this part of Australia.
Stay tuned for our next installment where you’ll find out about all the best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in the rest of the capital cities across Australia: Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Again, feel free to comment below if you’ve been to any of these places, or if you have any places you’d recommend yourself. In the meantime, find out what physician opportunities are available in Australia right now by clicking the orange button below.
Topics: Adelaide, South Australia, Brisbane, Queensland, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, Best Restaurants in Australia, Best Bars in Australia, Best Pastimes in Australia