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Best Outdoor Activities in Sydney – Adventure City Guide

From surfing at Manly Beach to hiking the Blue Mountains. Find out what the best Outdoor Activities in Sydney are with the latest Adventure City Guide.

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Outdoor Activites in Sydney - Spit Bridge

Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Sydney?

As part of our Adventure City Guide series, here are my expert insider tips on the top adventure and outdoor activities to do in Sydney.

Sydney Opera house HDR Sydney Australia

Why visit Sydney for adventure?

Sydney, on the south-east Coast of Australia, is the most populous city in the country. It is also one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia. However, if you want to escape the crazy rat-race, then Sydney is perfect for any adventure travellers. From sailing on the harbour, to hiking along the coast and in the Blue Mountains, there are plenty of outdoor activities in Sydney to keep you busy.

Plus you can fly cheaply to Sydney from New Zealand in just a few short hours.

Outdoor Activities in Sydney

Kayaking on Sydney Harbour

Getting out onto the water in Sydney Harbour is one of the most iconic outdoor activities you can do in the city.

Jumping into a Kayak for a couple of hours and paddling under the Harbour Bridge and around the Sydney Opera House will give you views like no other adventure activity can. Fully guided by experienced kayakers you can paddle for 2 – 4 hours and grab a picnic lunch on the shore as well.

Kayaking on the harbour.

Getting to the start point for Kayaking on Sydney HarbourThere are a variety of Kayaking operators in Sydney but a lot will start and finish in the Rose Bay area. This is central Sydney so any of the city buses can get you where you need to be. You will also need to book in advance as weather can sometimes change the plans of the trip.

Cost of Kayaking on Sydney Harbour

All your safety equipment and kayaks are included in your tours. 2 hour trips start from $70 while longer ones over 4 hours are $105 per person. You will usually need at least 4 of you to book a private trip.

Hiking the Blue Mountain from Sydney

The Blue Mountains are an easy day or weekend trip away from the city. Within just a couple of hours drive of downtown Sydney you can be high up in the majestic Blue Mountains which are world renowned for their hiking and beauty.

From 3 hours to multi-day camping hikes, there are a variety of different routes available with tour guides in the Blue Mountains. Or you can have a crack yourself. Just remember to have everything you might need.

You will be able to discover ancient rock formations, sweeping rainforest views, and waterfalls to cool off in when it gets too hot.

Bridal Veil Falls, Blue Mountains

Getting to the Blue Mountains from Sydney

The Blue Mountains are only a two hire drive away from the CBD. Tours can drop you off and pick you up, or you can drive out there very easily. There are also some bus services to the Blue Mountains.

Cost of Hiking the Blue Mountains from Sydney

If you join a tour then prices range from $150 – $200 for a day of hiking. This will include transportation and lunch. If you make your own way up there then make sure you have all the right equipment and know where you are going.

Make sure you also let someone else know too.

Surfing in Sydney

Manly Beach is only 17 kms from Sydney CBD, but it feels like a world away.

Sydney is a serious surf centre and Manly Beach is also one of the best places to learn to surf in Australia. Manly beach itself has over 6 surf breaks although there are plenty more along the coastline to the north. And while there are plenty of beach breaks for beginners, there are also some serious point breaks over some very shallow reefs for advanced surfers looking for a challenge.

If you are a beginner then there are plenty of surf schools at Manly Beach who will have you riding the waves in just a couple of hours.

Manly Beach Surf

Getting to Manly Beach

You can transfer out to Manly Beach via the ferry. This is one of the best ways as you get to cross Sydney harbour and enjoy the views rather than squeeze through traffic.

There are also Buses which will take you out to Manly Beach from various areas around Sydney CBD.

Cost of surfing at Manly Beach

Free if you have your own equipment. But if you want to rent your gear it’s going to cost about $40 a day for surfboard and wetsuit rental.

Exploring the Coastline on foot

The Coastline around Sydney is spectacular and there are plenty of half-day and day hikes for you to explore the area. One of them is the popular coastline hike through the rugged Sydney Harbour National Park. It’s only 10 km’s in length so shouldn’t take you any longer than 4 hours.

Outdoor Activites in Sydney - Spit Bridge

Outdoor Activites in Sydney – Spit Bridge

If you have already been out to Manly then this is where it starts. Head along the coast past Manly Aquarium to Fairlight Beach. There are some amazing views along this section so bring your camera and take your time.

Entering the Sydney Harbour National Park the path becomes harder as you contend with shifting sand and rocky paths. But the views from Dobroyd Head will make all the sweating worthwhile. Keep an eye out as well for original Aboriginal rock carvings on a ledge to the left of the track near Grotto Point Lighthouse.

From here you finish up at the westernend of the National Park at Spit Bridge and it’s time to jump a bus back into Manly. Make sure you bring food and water as there aren’t any cafes or shops along the hike.

Getting to the start point

Just head out to Manly Beach via the ferry. This is one of the best ways as you get to cross Sydney harbour and enjoy the views rather than squeeze through traffic.

To come back at the end of the hike catch any of the local buses. Or feel free to hike back into town too.

Cost

Apart from your transport costs it is free to hike along the Sydney Harbour coastal trail.

Best time of the year to visit Sydney for adventure?

Sydney has on average 340 days of sunshine every year. It’s unlikely that you are going to get terrible weather, but it can happen.

As with everywhere in Australia, January – April, which is the southern hemisphere summer, is the most popular time to visit. The weather is warmer and outdoor activities in Sydney can be fully enjoyed. However if you want to go hiking then you may want to consider spring or autumn to keep the temperatures down.

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Finally, the reason I love Sydney for adventure is because…

Sydney is a city that has it all. The CBD is always bustling but it also is only a short drive out to some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. And you have the natural coastline and harbour right on your doorstep. Sydney is definitely perfect for adventure travellers.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. OCDemon

    September 2, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    That’s such a massive harbor that it looks like a million people could be there and it might still feel empty. But I’d be looking for Nemo dumbly. I expect quite a few people would, though.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 2, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      They regularly have that many people there for things like Australia Day and New Years Eve! Haha definitely lots of Nemo hunters too 😉

  2. Kristy of Family Visa

    September 3, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    What I love about Sydney is their delicious food and their hot coffee.

  3. Peter Lee

    September 5, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Lovely post ! The scenario from blue mountains is so beautiful. I have included Sydney in my bucket list. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 6, 2013 at 8:11 AM

      Thanks Peter and hope you visit Sydney for some outdoor adventures soon.

  4. Jason Ryaan

    September 10, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Yes I completely agree that Sydney is one of the most popular cities in Australia as people can do various outdoor activities over there. I have also visited this place once.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 11, 2013 at 4:21 AM

      Not only is Sydney great for it’s outdoor activities but it’s also fantastic for culture and food 😉

  5. Sonali

    September 18, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I’ve done all of the except the dog tour! My favorite tour the last time I was there was actually the Robert Service walk. It was a hike though the woods around the city with frequent stops for poetry.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 20, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      The Robert Service walk sounds great and will have to check it out! Thanks for the tip Sonali.

  6. emi

    September 20, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    this is so great. we can’t wait to visit sydney. let’s collaborate! we are travel bloggers based in san francsico! XOXO

    • Cole Burmester

      September 20, 2013 at 8:55 AM

      If you want to write adventure posts for us then feel free 🙂

  7. Ann Shirley

    September 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Great post! I really love the photographs you included! I have heard so many great things about Manly. I will be visiting Sydney from the US in January. I’m really looking forward to escaping the cold climate of the US to enjoy Australia’s summer! It’s nice hearing that this is a popular time to visit! I love reading your description of Manly. I was aware of their beach, but didn’t know they had an aquarium. Have you ever been to it? Is it nice? I’m definitely considering checking it out!

    The pictures you included of Blue Mountains are also stunning! This is one of the things I have planned for my trip that I am most excited about seeing. You mentioned that some people visit them as part of a tour. I’m going to be taking a Blue Mountain day tour from Sydney. Are you familiar with this tour? I heard they have a wildlife park that I’m really looking forward to seeing. I hope I can be lucky enough to cuddle a koala or something!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 24, 2013 at 5:12 AM

      Hi Ann,
      Thanks for your wonderful comment 🙂
      I actually haven’t been to the museum at Manly but have heard it is good. And I think the idea to go on a tour into the Blue Mountains is fantastic. I haven’t done that particular tour either but I think you will get a lot more out of it than trying to do it yourself! Let me know how it goes 🙂
      Enjoy your travels.
      Cheers,
      Cole

  8. Smith Jack Lean

    October 2, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Thanks Cole Burmester for this post. You gave us lovely ideas for adventure tour for Sydney. Your photography is good. So keep posting.

  9. Abby Ang

    October 9, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    Hello there!

    Thank you very much for sharing this. Nice shot here! Sydney is such a nice place.

    -Abby

  10. Vinson

    October 22, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Sydney is a city with lot of Activities to do there. Tourists are often found performing some great enjoyable activities in Sydney, as you mentioned above. Always a big fun to visit Sydney

  11. Patricia Lopez

    April 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Australia has been a hands down favorite adventure spot for me. I am yet to explore Sydney to its full capacity though..:)

  12. Travel to Indochina

    July 8, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    Look amazing, hope to visit these beautiful places soon.

  13. Courtney Jones

    July 19, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    Great photos! Happy to say I’ve crossed off all the activities you’ve recommended (and agree with the recommendations – great list!)

    I love Sydney because there’s literally always something to do – winter doesn’t mean hibernating, as there’s plenty of outdoor activities to take in even when the temperature drops!

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Adventure Travel

Skin-Care Rules to Always Follow When You Travel

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With the holiday season nearly upon us, most of us are hit with a bout of wanderlust. Traveling will take us to different places, and these places likely have completely different climates from what we are used to. Nobody wants to have a skin breakout or any other type of skin problem during vacation. To prevent this problem, this article will give you Skin-care rules to always follow when you travel.

Every time you step on a plane, your skin is exposed to a whole different condition. You are plagued by stale, dry, circulated air that can do wonders to your skin (in a bad way, of course). And that is just your flight. Your actual vacation can be a nightmare for your skin. From weird hotel products to bad sunscreen, to stress from forgetting stuff at home or from family members and a host of other problems.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your skin looking great despite the challenges of travel.

  1. Drink Water…a lot of water

Staying hydrated is extremely important. Being hydrated inside and outside is one of the most important skin routine tips at all times, even when you are not on vacation.

The switch from a hot to a cold climate or from a hot to cold climate can cause skin dryness and irritation among other things. Even the air on the plane is dry and can sap all the moisture from your skin. Therefore, make sure your drink a lot of water. That would keep you hydrated inside.

For your skin, you should liberally apply moisturizers to keep your skin looking radiant and beautiful.

  1. Use Sunscreen

Next to staying hydrated, sun protection is one of the most important routine for your skin type.  While travelling, you should be extra diligent about your sunscreen.

It might sound strange, but you should apply sunscreen even while on the plane. Why? Because you are in a metal container 10,000 feet close to the sun. In fact, you are likely to get a sunburn while in a plane than on the ground. You might want to close the shades, but others might want of view. Hence take precautions and apply the sunscreen.

When you are travelling, it can be easy to forget to use sunscreen, or you might run out of sunscreen. You can go the extra mile by setting a reminder on your phone either to use sunscreen or buying a new one before the current one runs out.

  1. Use Minimal Makeup

During your vacation, leave out heavy foundations and other heavy makeup products. If you are traveling to a location with extreme weather, your makeup will wear off fairly easily. This not only leaves you looking silly, but the heavy makeup can clog the pores of your skin and result in breakouts.

If you choose to use makeup at all, use breathable makeup. Preferably it should be water-resistant and offer protection from hot climates.

  1. Take your facial cleanser and moisturizer along with you

To keep your face looking great even in extreme climates, your facial cleanser and moisturizer are very important. The daily cleanser helps to clean impurities on your face, while the moisturizer will feed your skin with the important nutrients required to keep it healthy during the duration of your trip.

  1. Use trusted products

Trying out new products is fun, but you should be very careful doing this while on vacation. The change in climate is enough stress on your skin. If you add new products to your skin, you might be increasing the stress on it. Invariably, this might lead to skin breakout and other issues.

Therefore, stick to what your skin is familiar with. When you go back home, you can try out new products. To make it easier to keep using your familiar products, you can buy travel-sized versions of your moisturizer, lotion, cleanser and other stuff.

  1. Have a medical emergency kit

This should contain smoothening calamine, aloe vera potion and other things that can be used in case of skin emergencies.

To enjoy your trip, no matter where that might be, follow these skin-care rules. Your skin will thank you for it!

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Adventure Travel

Scottsdale – Come for the Sights, Stay for the Experience

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Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the most popular destinations in the Grand Canyon State. Known for its resorts, natural trails, and association with nightlife, the city has become a must visit for anyone who wants to experience contemporary life in a former desert.

Scottsdale is very famous for its modern hospitality and geographical sights. Keeping this in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that finding a Scottsdale nightclub is on the minds of many tourists who pay the city a visit – even those who do so to explore one of its mountainous ranges.

If you are planning to head down to the Copper State anytime soon and enjoy life, then Scottsdale may prove to be a great summer destination.

To help you understand what the city would have to offer in terms of recreation, here are some of the top Scottsdale vacation and dining options that make the West’s Most Western Town, a must visit.

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale is perhaps the most popular destination in the city. With its unique lineup of culturally rich events, this colorful area has a vibe that defines old West meeting its modern counterpart to a T.

While Scottsdale remains famous for its modern nightlife, club scene, and luxurious resorts, Old Town Scottsdale brings about the old Western charm for tourists to experience firsthand. Old architecture, preserving museums, and cultural activities are just a few of the many things that you could experience at this destination.

With an array of fine dining restaurants that prove to be the best in the state, you could grab a bite in luxury after roaming around in the sun.

And if you feel a bit more adventurous, then you could do that exploration while riding on a Segway instead of using your good old feet. With plenty of Segway tours being conducted each day, you will easily be able to find something that suits your schedule.

Taliesin West

As the winter home to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West boasts of an unmatched architectural design.

Now a museum, the destination doesn’t only showcase the building in all of its glory, but also offers insights into Wright’s work and his mind through detailed tours of the facility.

It is due to these reasons that Taliesin West ranks as one of the topmost destinations to visit in Scottsdale among many professional guides.

Since the building or its experience cannot be replicated elsewhere, it remains a must visit for whenever you are in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Want to visit the biggest shopping mall in Arizona? You would find it to be located in the heart of Scottsdale.

With around 2 million square feet of shopping space, the Scottsdale Fashion Square is one of the biggest malls in the whole country. Made up of high end, luxury retail locations, it is literally the one stop shop for upscale items that you may not find elsewhere in the city. With that, the mall holds plenty of fine dining locations as well. What more could you want from a shopping destination, really?

Due to its modern inventory and access to high fashion, the Scottsdale Fashion Square could be a must visit before you hit the popular nightclub scene of the city. Whether you are finding some club wear or just want to spruce up your existing outfit with some Loboutins, this mall would provide you with plenty of choices and fun to boot.

Scottsdale Has Something for Everyone

Depending upon your personal preference, Scottsdale has plenty to offer.  Whether you want to indulge in the city’s party scene or just explore its natural history, you would find that the destination has something for everyone.

So the next time that you are about to visit the Wild West, don’t forget to put Scottsdale at the top of your list. You won’t be disappointed with what you get to work with.

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Adventure Travel

5 Fun Adventure Activities in Vietnam

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A stunning country with glorious scenery and an amazing culture, Vietnam offers many attractions for the modern tourist. It would be easy to spend a holiday in Vietnam just sightseeing and immersing yourself in the culture – which thanks to a heavy French influence, is different to its South Eastern Asian neighbours – but why pass up on some of the fun adventure activities in Vietnam?

Sandboarding

Also called sand surfing, sandboarding is an extreme sport, exactly like snowboarding, but on sand dunes instead of snow. Regularly named among the best sandboarding destinations in the world, are the Mue Ne Dunes. A series of red dunes around the resort town of the same name, sandboarding has not yet hit the professional heights here but is more of a fun cultural experience. Women in cone hats rent out boards to everyone from kids to saffron-robed Buddhist monks.

Mue Nie is also home to the magical Fairy Stream. This small shallow river winds through moon-like rock formations and is fun to walk through. You can watch the fish as you walk up to two kms in the water or you might try your hand at fishing. You’ll need some basic tackle including rod and reels. Check out these great options for beginners.

Take on Mount Fansipan

Nicknamed “the Roof of Indochina”, Fanispan at 3,143 metres is the highest mountain in the region. Located in Sapa, a town in the Lao Cai province in Northern Vietnam, the mountain can be conquered via two main climbing routes, one categorised as 2D1N, the other a longer 3D2N route. Both climbs require a guide. For those who prefer an easier way to the summit, the Fanispan cable car takes just 15 minutes to achieve what climbers do in 2-3 days, travelling on cables high above primitive forests.

Ride a Motorbike from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi

One of the enduring images of Vietnam is the streets of Ho Chi Minh crowded with motorbikes, but motorbikes are also popular outside the cities and Vietnam has become known for some amazing motorbike routes. One of the favourite journeys is from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. There are various routes to cover the distance of more than 2,000 kms, all taking you through gorgeous scenery and fascinating towns and villages.

Marble Mountain Rappelling Tour with Temple and Cave Exploration

You might think that abseiling down a vertical rock face is for experienced adrenalin junkies but not so on a rappelling tour in the Marble Mountains in Vietnam. Located just north of the popular resort city of Hoi An, the Marble Mountains are known locally as the “Five Elements Mountains”. Tours start in the city and once in the mountains, all equipment and instruction is provided to complete at least two rappels (depending on the tour company you choose). Besides the rappelling, the tours have spectacular views of the coast and include trekking through the mountains, visiting caves and temples

Canyoning

Canyoning is a thrilling adrenaline rush of an adventure sport wherein you jump into a fast-flowing mountain stream and allow yourself to be carried at high speed downstream. The most popular place for canyoning in Vietnam is Dalat. Dalat is in the Central Highlands and is a lovely resort town near a lake becoming renown as a destination for honeymoons as well as the adventure sports of cliff jumping, waterfall rappelling, natural water slides, and hiking, as well as canyoning. Various companies offer canyoning tours in Dalat all at similar prices for similar itineraries, so just choose which appeals most.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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