Tips for Visitors to Sydney

 

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Tips for big attractions and small experiences in Sydney
Although Sydney is an incredibly famous city and one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, the secret to having an unforgettable time in this vibrant metropolis usually comes down to planning. Yes, you can arrive on a whim and figure everything out from the hotel lobby, or you could save yourself a lot of stress and use the experience of others to create the ultimate adventure.

Tips for breakfast  while staying in Sydney
With that said, here are some straight forward tips for the best day tour, breakfast, beach, and attractions to help you experience the big attractions and smaller experiences in “the Harbour City”:
Skip the hotel breakfast and explore the city centre café’s
Sydney is home to one of the most wonderful cuisines and café cultures in the world. From charming food trucks selling fresh snapper to rustic eateries or luxury dining; there is something for absolutely every taste and budget. For this reason, your hotel may provide a complimentary meal each morning, but breakfast is one of the most enjoyable times of the day to get out and explore the eateries in Sydney.
During fine weather, the road side tables next to Ruby’s Diner in Surry Hills is my favorite pick for a light and healthy breakfast, but then this is sometimes a little far from the city centre. Instead, check out Pablo & Rusty’s on Castlereagh Street where beautiful high ceilings and leafy surroundings make the perfect oasis of calm in a rather busy area. Consisting of the most perfect poached eggs and shallot on toast, this is also an ideal taste of the very cosmopolitan side of Sydney.
That being said, rather than opt for the same hotel lobby, it is worth making an effort to visit as many cafés as possible for breakfast and start each day with a little adventure somewhere new.

Rent a car and take a road trip to the Blue Mountains
Car rental is reasonably affordable in Sydney, but regardless, the rewards that come with having your own vehicle are priceless. Take for example a road trip to the Blue Mountains, where a glorious hue gives reason to the name of these mountains as it covers the most famous valley in New South Wales.
The Blue Mountains are just a ninety-minute drive but before leaving the city, take a pit stop in the suburb of Balmain for an encounter with a delightful bakery called Zumbo’s Patisserie. This tiny store on Darling Street is where you can pick up some snacks for the road and take in a little bit of local hospitality at the same time.
Although that first glimpse of the mountains is unforgettable, the highlight of a visit to the Blue Mountains is an opportunity to take a hike along the Charles Darwin Track. Featuring ancient bush paintings and even dinosaur footprints, this trail is the best way to feel immersed in the region and learn from a professional guide about the great biodiversity in the mountains.

Skip Bondi and spend time at Coogee Beach
Stretching for almost one kilometre, the golden sands of Bondi Beach are certainly the most popular in Sydney. However, the central location and reputation of Bondi ensure the beach is always extremely busy and often, overcrowded. For this reason, Coogee Beach is an enticing alternative and possibly an even more enjoyable beach to visit in Sydney.
Located just twenty minutes from the city centre, Coogee Beach is easily accessible by local transport, but if you have a rental car, there is also ample parking around the bay. Coogee Yeeros Café offers the best eggs benedict with sea views, and Friggitoria serves a sublime Gnocchi with Polpette while there are several popular bars nearby if you choose to stay on for the evening.
Less populated and less crowded as Bondi, you should find the conditions are more suitable and calm for swimming, relaxing and sunbathing. This area is also known for having three major ocean baths (Giles, McIver, and Wylie’s) but for anyone feeling a little more active, there is a cliff hiking trail which offers stunning views of the coastline in New South Wales.

Embrace the crowds and try not to avoid the touristy places
Whether you stay for a few days or even a couple of weeks, try not to overthink your itinerary and remember that many of the attractions in Sydney are popular for a reason. For example, taking a cruise down the river is hugely touristy but highly enjoyable and a great way to see the city from a different perspective. Similarly, the Sydney Opera House has a very insightful walking tour, the infamous bridge is worth the climb, the Royal Botanical Gardens are spectacular, and even the above mentioned Bondi Beach deserves an afternoon if you have any time to spare.
While many visitors forgo the lesser known experiences for big attractions when they travel, this would be a shame in Sydney considering how the small attractions are every bit as important. At the same time, there is no better way to waste time than arriving without a plan and with the above tips in mind, there should be no reason to forgo anything at all, even the smaller experiences.

Article by Derek Cullen

“Derek Cullen is an Outdoor Blogger from Ireland who has spent the past nine years travelling more than fifty countries around the world. Although currently working as a guide in Africa, Derek has also spent extended periods in Canada, Thailand and Australia.” My blog: http://www.nohangingaround.com

WHITSUNDAYS AND FRAZER ISLAND

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Whitsundays & Fraser Island: Small expectations and big experiences

When I first travelled to the East Coast of Australia, I did so with little expectations. In such a popular corner of the world, this lack of excitement will probably appear as quite strange but the truth is, I was afraid that Whitsundays and Fraser Island might fail to live up to their lofty reputation. In fact, it was for this reason I was so disappointed on a recent visit to Hanoi, as this bustling city in Northern Vietnam failed miserably to warrant the glowing feedback I had previously received from fellow backpackers.

However, I was very wrong on this occasion and the east coast was not only the highlight of my time in Australia but also the most unforgettable part of my two year trip around the world.

First impressions of Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach is such a vibrant town which made it the perfect spot to spend time before our trip to the Whitsunday Islands. My two friends and I had just arrived from Cairns as a hive of activity unfolded on the main street in front of our campervan. Colourful cafés lined the roadside as the sun disappeared and neon lights began to flicker above the doorways of nearby bars; it was a welcome sight after such a long drive. We spend two nights mingling with fellow backpackers in Airlie Beach and readied our bags to board a yacht on the final morning.

New friends and Whitsunday Islands

Initially, we had worried about the group dynamic and claustrophobic nature of a boat but the yacht was an impressive specimen with an incredible amount of space to move around in. At the same time, we also had joined the perfect mix of like-minded travellers who seemed more interested in having a good time rather than “getting in the way” of our experience.
Relaxing on deck with light conversation and a gentle breeze, I remember thinking that this was the most pleasant feeling imaginable, as the isolated islands of Whitsundays came into view on the horizon. In fact, few places in the world have such crystal clear waters and we could already see the white powdered sands ahead for which the islands are best known. Stepping ashore to explore Whitehaven Beach was definitely a highlight and snorkelling amidst the coral on the Great Barrier Reef was an equally memorable experience but then cruising on deck in the middle of nowhere was the genuine highlight, with nothing but a gentle breeze and light conversation with new friends.

Fraser – An island waiting to be explored

Having had such an incredible time on our Whitsundays adventure, we found ourselves travelling south with newfound enthusiasm and faith that Fraser Island might just be as special as people say.
Hervey Bay is the most popular starting point to visit the island and it was here we met four Canadian backpackers who agreed to join our adventure. Although it was great to join up with our new friends, the reason for this was because Fraser Island is best explored on a self-drive safari and for this we needed some extra bodies to reduce the cost. Rugged and relentless, the interior of Fraser Island was almost jungle like and home to some seriously challenging roads.
With that said, we managed to manoeuvre these without any accidents until the opposite side of the island where long stretches of white sands and incredible hiking trails were waiting to be explored. Fraser Island might be quite a popular destination for tourists but there is a distinct wildness about taking a road trip around this particular island, especially any time dingoes surrounded our tents.

Exceeding small expectations in every direction

From isolated islands, pristine waters and dense jungles, the scenery was breath taking in every direction and every bit as picturesque as any travel magazine. At the same time, we had arrived with apprehension for taking an organized group tour in seriously touristy waters but those people became our friends and in the end, the group aspect was quickly forgotten along with any of our concerns.
In hindsight, while we did arrive on the east coast of Australia with minimal expectations, our experience in both Whitsundays and Fraser Island were always going to exceed them, regardless of their size.

Article by Derek  Cullen

“Derek Cullen is an Outdoor Blogger from Ireland who has spent the past nine years travelling more than fifty countries around the world. Although currently working as a guide in Africa, Derek has also spent extended periods in Canada, Thailand and Australia.” My blog: http://www.nohangingaround.com

THE FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE

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Travelling in Remote Australia: Introducing The Royal Flying Doctor Service

Picture the scene. You’re venturing through the Australian outback when suddenly disaster strikes. You’ve broken your leg and cannot move, but you’re hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest town and thousands of kilometres away from the nearest hospital. Local towns may not have any medical services, and it would take hours and hours to travel to a hospital by road…


Fortunately, Australia has the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides emergency and primary health care services throughout Australia. As one of the world’s most comprehensive aeromedical organisations, it provides a 24-hour service to those living, working and travelling in Australia.

When travelling, it is important to be aware of this vital service. In addition, you should keep a few key things in mind to help you stay safe when travelling to remote regions.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service

Founded in 1928 as the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service by Reverend John Flynn, the Royal Flying Doctor Service provides emergency assistance to those who require medical attention in Australia. The service provides medical treatment on the ground and has a fleet of aircraft used to transport patients to hospital for emergency treatment.

In 2014/2015, the RFDS provided more than 4,000 emergency evacuations and is a true lifeline for people travelling in the remotest parts of Australia. It has several bases around the country and a fleet of 18 aircraft that are capable of landing in a variety of locations.

If you would like to learn more about the RFDS, you can visit one of the visitor centres and discover more about the work of this vital organisation:

• The Bruce Langford Visitor Centre – Broken Hill, NSW
• The Dubbo Visitor Centre – Dubbo, NSW

Preparing for Outback Travel

As we have mentioned, the sheer size of Australia means that you can easily find yourself hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away from medical assistance. If you are traveling to remote areas, you should plan your trip carefully to help avoid emergencies and be better prepared to deal with them should the worst happen.

• Plan your route carefully. Sort out an itinerary in advance, and don’t forget to invest in a good quality map.

• Take enough water. It is recommended to carry around 10 litres of water per person, per day. Water should be stored in small containers, and you should NEVER rely on waterholes, dams, mills, etc.

• Take enough food. It is recommended to carry enough food for each person for two days.

• Bring matches (or a lighter), and a fire extinguisher.

• Pack a first aid kit – and, if possible, go on a first aid course before travel.

• Wear appropriate clothing – including a sun hat, good walking shoes, summer clothes for the day and warmer clothes for the evening.

• Apply sunscreen and insect repellent.

In addition, it is recommended that you don’t travel during the hottest times of the year.

If you become lost or your vehicle breaks down, it is important to stay with your vehicle. Look for shade and shelter, and keep yourself hydrated.

In an emergency, call 000 to contact your local emergency services.

Article by Dan Flower

NOWRA AND THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH COAST

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A Guide to Nowra and the South Coast

Situated on the banks of the Shoalhaven River, Nowra is a charming town that makes a great base for those wishing to explore the many attractions and beautiful scenery of the South Coast. Nowra itself offers a wide range of things to see and do, while Jervis Bay, Boodoree National Park, the Kangaroo Valley and the picturesque villages of Berry and Greenwell Point are all just a short distance away.

Introducing Nowra

The town of Nowra enjoys a stunning location on the banks of the beautiful Shoalhaven River and has many museums and galleries to explore, plus a great range of shops and eateries.

D9 Hosting

Be sure to take a river cruise, where you can sit back and enjoy a relaxing ride along this picturesque stretch of water – or for the best panoramic views over Nowra and the Shoalhaven, head off on foot along Bens Walk and finish up at Hanging Rock, which is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the area.

Visit the Tree Adventure at Nowra Park

 The ever-popular Tree Adventure at Nowra Park offers great fun for all the family, with a wide range of exciting and challenging treetop obstacle courses that will have you climbing, swinging and gliding through the forest!


 Visit Shoalhaven Zoo

 Shoalhaven Zoo is the largest zoo on the South Coast and is home to a wide variety of native and exotic animals, including mammals, birds and reptiles.

Take a Trip to Kangaroo Valley

Immerse yourself in nature by visiting Kangaroo Valley, where lush green pastures, clear rivers and sparkling creeks are just waiting to be explored.

Jervis Bay

Located just a short distance away from Nowra, the Jervis Bay National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful area where you’ll find paradise beaches and clear turquoise waters, plus many great walks and some of the best whale watching vantage points in the whole of Australia.

Head to Hyams Beach

Head to Hyams Beach, which it is claimed has the whitest sand in the whole world! It’s a great place to relax, read a book and go swimming – or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not go snorkelling, paddle-boarding or even kayaking?

Go Whale Watching

Whether from the shore or by boat, Jervis Bay is one of the best places in Australia to see humpbacks and southern right whales. Find a great vantage point at Greenwell Point or Cape St George Lighthouse in Booderee National Park – or why not head off on a whale-watching boat tour and experience the beauty of these magnificent creatures up close and personal?

Explore Booderee National Park

Bodoree National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty that’s home to secluded beaches, inviting bays and an array of beautiful walks. Cave Beach is a great place to go surfing, or head to Green Patch Beach and experience swimming amongst the fish. It’s also a popular place to go camping and has three popular campsites to choose from: Green Patch, Bristol Point and Cave Beach.
Article by Dan Flower.

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THE SYDNEY TO HOBART YACHT RACE

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Sailing: The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is a 628 nautical mile yacht race that takes place in December each year, with a flotilla of yachts making the gruelling journey between Sydney, New South Wales and Hobart in Tasmania. Widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and challenging ocean races in the world, the event has become an iconic part of the Australian summer and is something that’s not to be missed.

 Watch the start of the race in Sydney

On Boxing Day (26th December) the boats leave Sydney Harbour and begin their long and difficult journey to Hobart. As the race begins, Sydney Harbour is transformed into a sea of colour and noise, with thousands lining the harbour sides to watch the boats depart and set sail out to sea.

D9 Hosting

To get a great view of the action, head to one of the many great vantage points located in and around Sydney. On the south side is Watsons Bay, which is a fantastic spot to enjoy a picnic and watch the boats go by – or if you’re looking to wine and dine in style, head to Doyles on the Beach, a popular a la carte seafood restaurant that offers stunning harbour views.

Other popular viewing locations include Middle Head lookout in Sydney Harbour National Park, Bradleys Head Amphitheatre and Georges Heights Lookout at Headland Park. Wherever you go, just be sure to get there early if you want to grab a good viewing spot!

If you’re looking to get up close and personal with the action, head out to sea and book one of the many harbour cruises that offer you an unbeatable vantage point of the starting line as the excitement unfolds. There is also the Manly Ferry, which leaves regularly from Circular Quay and Manly and offers great views of the yachts as they jostle for a good early position.

Cheer the competitors home in Hobart

Cheer on the competitors as they return to dry land in Hobart and soak up the atmosphere as the race reaches a thrilling conclusion at the Hobart Race Village in Constitution Dock.

The festival is free and begins in the days leading up to the race finish, with the dock coming alive as thousands of excited fans descend on the city to cheer on the competitors as they race cross the finishing line and complete their epic journey. In the village, you’ll find a wide array of quality food and drinks, plus live entertainment and many family-friendly games and activities.

To get a view of the yachts as they race across Storm Bay and make their final approach to the finish, head to Long Beach in Sandy Bay or take a 15-minute drive out to Taroona Beach in the suburbs and enjoy a great vantage point in this picturesque spot.

Whether you choose to view the race from the sea or the land, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event that’s not to be missed!
Article by Dan Flower.

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