A typical weekend in Sydney offers so many exciting things to see and do – if you like closed rooms and skyscrapers that is!
If picturesque green rolling hills, fresh air, meeting new friends and having outdoor adventures is more your thing you certainly don’t have to strike Sydney off your list. Within just a couple of hours travel of the concrete jungle you can find culinary adventures and breath taking mountain ranges that will have your GoPro salivating at the ready to take the photographs that will have your Instagram followers drooling.
When it comes to day trips from Sydney you are certainly spoilt for choice and if you only have a weekend up your sleeve before you have to return to reality you need to make some tough choices to maximise your time. Check out my ultimate Sydney weekend …. without the concrete!
Saturday – A food and wine adventure in the Hunter Valley
You’ll have to be up early for this one but you know what they say about birds and worms! Your reward will be a gorgeous day sipping the citrus and honey flavoured Semillons and fruity Verdelhos that have made the Hunter Valley a wine destination to remember. Couple that with the vibrant plum and subtle oak characters of a rich Merlot, the creaminess of a locally made Labna cheese and some refreshing strawberry and cream flavours in a complex Moscato with a light spritz to finish, and you truly have a recipe for a day that your friends who are too busy to join you will envy!
Of course everyone thinks of wine when you mention the Hunter Valley but there are some true gems in this region that give you even more reason to leave Sydney in your rear view mirror for the 2 hour journey North.
The range of exciting craft beers is just one reason. You won’t be able to ask for a “Dirty granny” or a “Dogbolter” or a “Redback” at the average bar in Sydney … and enjoy it in a rustic chic-setting where the indoors can become the outdoors within a few steps of the floor to ceiling glass doors.
And what about shopping?
There are more shops in Sydney than Lady Gaga could visit in a year but what you won’t find is authentic handmade produce made by locals with more love and genuine passion than a supermarket has ever envisioned. I’m talking about visiting the Handmade In The Hunter Markets which are right on your doorstep most weekends if you visit Kevin Sobel’s wines. Imagine candles that could pass for a chocolate Sundae dessert or handmade jewellery that is nothing short of an artwork that you can wear. You are not just buying a handcrafted item here – you are buying the artistic talents of Hunter Valley locals and you don’t have to have the kind of budget needed to purchase a Rembrandt to take home a piece of Hunter Valley artwork that is the pride and joy of its creator.
These are just a couple of the amazing gems you can discover in the Hunter Valley and the best way to find them all is to join a tour with a guide that is a local. Other than the fact that you won’t have to stress about navigating (or have someone in your group miss out because they need to stay under the legal alcohol limit to drive), you can draw on your guide’s local knowledge of the cellar doors and their wines in order to have a unique tasting experience. Tour guides often have established relationships with the cellar doors and can ensure your group receives a private tasting with cheese and biscuits and other accompaniments that enhance the wines you taste that you wouldn’t normally get at the public tasting bar with a sommelier that is busy serving everyone else from the general public as well as you.
It’s a long way from Sydney (2 hours drive North of Gordon) so travelling with a tour company that offers those little luxury extras like stylish and comfortable leather seats, individual air conditioning controls, a mini-fridge to keep your dairy purchases cold and fresh and tasteful onboard entertainment through a DVD and sound system will take your tour experience to the next level. The wine tours of the Hunter Valley offered by Tastes Of The Hunter Wine Tours are definitely worth checking out. Their Trip Advisor reviews paint a picture of a comfortable ride and mention those little extras that make an experience memorable.
You’ll want to arrive back to Sydney relaxed and ready for a big sleep before your Sunday adventures…
Sunday – Stunning scenery in the Blue Mountains
Charge your GoPro and bring extra battery packs as you are about to experience nature at its best. From the majesty of the Three Sisters rock formation to the quirky limestone rocks of the Jenolan Caves the Blue Mountains National Park is certainly a treasure trove of sights. All the famous characters of “Downunder” can be found as far as wildlife go with Kangaroos and Koalas in abundance but Wombats, Dingos and little Penguins are also waiting to greet you if you journey to Featherdale Wildlife Park.
If a wild ride is more your style rather than wildlife, then buckle up for the Scenic Railway – Australia’s steepest railway. If you are not afraid of heights then cruising 370 metres above the mountain chasm of the Jamieson Valley also awaits you on the Skyway.
You can relax and enjoy the journey by coach or if you want to skip the peak hour traffic back to Sydney on a Sunday night and do things a little differently, you can enjoy a Parramatta River Cruise to see you back to Sydney as you relax with a drink from the bar in hand.
With so much to see and do beyond the city limits you should certainly think of Sydney as a region rather than just a city. When you do, your holiday and day trip options start to become way too many and too tempting to just think of Sydney as a weekend destination. Maybe you should apply for some extra annual leave and make it a whole week rather than a weekend!
The Countdown to the Epic Rugby Match Continues
The 2019 Australian sporting calendar is jam-packed with thrilling action, among them the State of Origin rugby league. The greatest match in Rugby League 2019 will be a battle between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons. Ensure that you enter your State of Origin betting predictions to stand a chance at winning big. Hint! The Blues look like the obvious choice, but the Maroons seem like they are ready to snatch the win. While the New South Wales Blues will be eager to defend their hard-earned title. All in all, history will be made because both teams stand to gain or lose a lot.
Just like the other times, tickets to this premium rugby event are sure to sell out now that the second game will for the first time be staged outside of Queensland, South Wales, and Victoria in Optus Stadium, Perth. Since the game will be played on a weekend, it makes it more convenient for Origin fans to travel to Perth and witness the historic match. You can get an excellent travel package that includes a great choice of accommodation as well as tickets to the State of Origin series. There are also travel agents who can assist you with booking flights as well as accommodation if you wish to stay in Perth and the surrounding areas for a few more days.
Being one of Australia’s premier sporting events, many consider the State of Origin as the climax of rugby league by many. The game is played in sold-out venues and is battled between Queensland and New South Wales who have created a formidable rivalry. It is this rivalry that has led to some of the most competitive and unforgettable matches ever. Both teams have extraordinarily contributed to the league since its inception in 1980 with the Maroons winning more games than the Blues.
In previous years, the State of Origin has fixed on Wednesday nights, with a spacing of only three weeks apart. However, in 2018, the second game was played as a stand-alone match in Sydney on Sunday night. The first, as well as the third games, remained slated for Wednesday night. The same is set to happen this year. Only the second game will be played at Optus stadium in Perth. The first game will be played at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane while the last match will be played at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
The State of Origin has been an unpredictable series year after year. The big question is, who will take an early lead, all things considered? The Blues might be the heavy favorites, but don’t be surprised if the Maroons pull off a shock victory with their new lineup. That said, are you thrilled to witness history being made as the most celebrated sporting rivalry in Australia heads to Perth for what is likely to be an unforgettable weekend for the State of Origins League fanatics? If your answer is yes, then ensure that you select a travel package that will best cater to your travel requirements.
Adventurous Adelaide: Driving Up The Coastline
In the south-east of Australia, one of the oldest cities in ‘down under’ is situated at the coastline. Kangaroo Island neatly tucks the city away as it protects it from the southern winds and tropical storms. However, it’s a place that is rural and humble. Normally tourists and travellers might see Sydney and Melbourne as the two places you have to visit if you do come to this side of the world. Yet Adelaide is what you might call ‘real’ Australia. It’s the everyday life of living in a country that is most desert, surrounded by deadly wildlife and taking it slow that shows the side of the country that is bare and true. It’s a city of 1.3 million people but this population is spread out in the countryside surrounding the city, and in suburban as well as urban districts. It’s a place where many Australians have decided to retire in as it’s quiet, and is at one with the beaches and the ocean waves. This makes it a perfect city to take a road trip in.
Take it slow
Driving up the coast, you’ll be on many rural roads that will be winding and at times changing in gradient. Before you get going, consider campervan hire as it gives you a place to sleep, cook meals and hang out late into the night. These motorhomes are of the premium variety, which means you have many features that base models do not. Things like an onboard shower and toilet, as well as mattresses and external BBQs are available. Pretty much everything you need for a road trip is onboard. There’s easily enough space for 3 to 4 adults but if you have a family such as 2 adults and 2 or 3 children there’s enough space for all of you too.
On the cliff
Start your road trip journey in Seacliff. It’s a small suburban area right by the coast. Long flat plains and beaches that are a gentle beige are accompanied with winding roads. The light green vegetation that surrounds the beaches, the roads and at the foot of the hills is just up to knee height. This little area is south of Brighton which is mainly a tourist hotspot. Seacliff is a quiet residential area with large houses and sometimes gated communities. A great place to watch the sunset and cook outside for your first night. Go down to the Seacliff Beach or the Seacliff Esplanade to learn how to row in a kayak. There’s also a yacht club that can take you around the coast to see the rock formations.
Lack back sands
Your next stop along the coastline should be West Beach. An incredibly laid-back beach where local residents come to walk their dogs. Many families will come here on the weekends to have a picnic with an awesome view. The waters are largely calm because as aforementioned Kangaroo Island takes most of the speed out of the waves. It’s a very popular swimming destination because the waters aren’t just calm but they’re also a clear blue sky colour. There are also ice cream parlours that will help you stay cool and enjoy something sweet. A lot of eateries are spread around the coast also, with the unusual barbecue joints being very popular. Of course as you can imagine, there are stores that sell iconic Australian beachwear and fashion brands that are popular among surfers and swimmers.
An inland island
To finish your coastal road trip, you should enter into West Lakes with the sole intention of visiting Delfin Island. It’s a small island inland, with a golf course that also has lakes in it. However, West Lakes itself has attractions such as the long number of restaurants on the southern point. There’s also a large mall called Westfield West Lakes with lots of domestic brands. So if you ever want to take a piece of trendy clothing back to your own nation with the style of Australia, here is a good place to get some. High up on the north end of West Lakes there is a boating club, which again can be used to take small tours around the lakes and enjoy the cool evening breeze just cruising up and down.
Australia is easily one of the best nations in the world for any kind of road trip. However, driving up the coast of Adelaide is one of the more pleasurable routes to take. It’s quiet and peaceful, you’re surrounded by beaches, lakes and the coast. No wonder so many people choose to live in this city, it’s got clear blue waters, a slow-paced lifestyle and plenty of sunshine.
7 BEST BEACHES IN AUSTRALIA NO TOURIST SHOULD MISS
Australia is renowned for its natural beauty and its beaches, which never fail to catch us by surprise as each one is completely unique from the other. Australians have a prominent beach culture with the beaches not just many in number but also of high standards. With the country being ‘girt by sea’ it’s no surprise that there are many Australian beaches to choose from. And when you see them, you then understand how they have become one of the main reasons why tourists visit the country.
The following are the 7 most iconic beach destinations in Australia that no tourist should ever miss.
- Whitehaven beach
In 2008 State Awards, this beach was granted the title “Queensland’s Cleanest beach”. The beach is a 7km stretch and has facilities like Beach BBQ and camping. This beach is actually best known for crystal white silica sands and turquoise coloured waters. White haven beach got its name from the presence of white sands all over it which makes it look really pleasant and beautiful. The white sand on this beach is especially notable as due to the colour and shape of the grains, it does not retain heat which makes it very comfortable for people to walk barefoot all day. This is one of the best beaches in Australia.
Image from Canvas Factory – Used with permission
- Turquoise bay
The waters at Turquoise bay are the cleanest, clearest and calmest in Western Australia. This sandy beach is located in Cape Range National Park. The waters are warm, shallow and crystal clear. The beach is a home for massive prawns and whale sharks and a lot more fish species. One can find plenty of colourful corals in here. Turquoise bay ranks in the top 20 best beaches in Australia. The best way to spend an evening if you want to sit and relax is to visit Turquoise Bay!
Image from TripAdvisor.com.au – Used with permission
- Blinky beach
New South Wales has one of the best beaches in Australia and that is the Blinky beach. This is considered as one of the best surfing beaches in the country by the Australians. The Blinky beach has in it the turquoise sea, white sand, tall dunes and white daisies. It is situated right between the Blinky point and Mutton Bird lookout. This is one of the popular tourist attractions in New South Wales however swimmers should take great care as there are no lifesavers on duty at this beach, so if you get into trouble it might not end well.
- 75 Mile beach
Located right in Fraser island, the beach got its name apparently because it is 75 miles long. The other attractive feature of this beach is the presence of a popular swimming spot called as Champagne pools and Maheno Shipwreck. The beach is well known for its multi coloured sand that varies from vivid white to mosaic orange to ochre tones. This beach is the home for a large Tiger shark population and a great spot for oceanic views. It is considered as Australia’s most iconic 4WD adventure spot and also world’s best coastal drives. Tourists should take great care at this beach for two notable reasons, the tiger shark population and also the fact that 75 Mile Road is considered one of the more dangerous roads in Australia.
- Bondi beach
One of the most visited sites in Australia is Bondi beach which is located in Sydney and is about 1 km in length. A large number of whales and sharks have been found in this beach during the months of March to May. A community cultural centre called as Bondi Pavillion is located in Bondi beach which has galleries, function rooms, theatres, art workshops and studios. This is the place where many of the festivals take place as well.
Image from Wikimedia – Used with permission through Commons License
- Palm Cove
Palm Cove which is located in Northern Queensland coast got its name from the palm trees that line up the beach. It is located quite close to Great Barrier reef and Daintree forest and hence it gets a lot of tourist attraction every year. Many restaurants, cafes, galleries and Boutique shops are located very near to Palm cove that keeps the entire area busy.
- Wineglass bay
Wine glass bay located in Freycinet National Park, Tasmania got its name right because of the perfect wine shaped curve the beach has got. The beach has white chalky sand, pink granite cliffs, clear and sapphire coloured waters and is entirely surrounded by forests and peninsula of mountains. The walk to wine glass bay is beautiful and most loved by all the tourists. Campsites are located at the end of the beach for people who prefer camping.
Meet Cole and Adela
We 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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