Almost inevitably, Sydney and Melbourne tend to be regarded as the trendiest cities in Australia, although Perth, Brisbane and even Canberra have areas that rank right up there too. Here are some of the coolest places to see and be seen in these great towns:
Sydney: The New South Wales capital abounds with suburbs that ooze chic Ã¢ÂÂ some of them so cool you almost need a pass to enter! Darlinghurst and Darlington, for example, or Chippendale and Camperdown. Try Potts Point, one of the latest hangouts, or impossibly rich and glossy Surry [eds: correct] Hills Ã¢ÂÂ THE place to live if you can afford it, and if you can't you probably can't afford to shop there either!
Melbourne: for many years in the shadow of its sleek competitor Sydney, Melbourne has successfully reinvented itself and shaken off its dowdy image. It started with the South Bank complex alongside the Yarra River, but now even the uncool can go there. So the 'in crowd' moved on, favouring St Kilda again after a 50-year absence and transforming the strip of jazz and blues clubs. The music is still there, but now you can eat, drink and be cool as well. Melbourne also offers Collingwood, formerly gritty and working class, now smart and hip. Or try Fitzroy near the centre, or West Melbourne, almost a complete new town taking shape in the corridor leading to the southwest.
Brisbane:The place to be was, is and probably always will be Fortitude Valley. It's a kind of Greenwich Village Down Under.
Perth: You can find everything in self-contained, remote yet funky Perth, and much of it is in Northbridge. This formerly rough neighbourhood just outside the CBD has been transformed in recent years with pedestrianised streets lined with hip cafes and restaurants. On many corners there are world-class nightspots and the entertainment goes all night. But there is still that 'edge' to Northbridge that many trendy visitors like to savour. Highgate is another seriously cool area, while just a dozen kilometres away is ever-trendy, yet laid-back, Fremantle.
Canberra: despite its staid Ã¢ÂÂ even 'boring' image with many people, parts of the federal capital are as hip as anywhere. Canberra City itself, the real downtown, is consummate cool, while Braddon draws the 'in crowd' too. The latter offers a fascinating mix of handicraft and art shops, cafes with home-made food, and high fashion led by top Australian designers.