Fun Day Trips Out of Sydney

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Stanwell Tops

My favourite thing about Sydney is that there are so many things to see that are only just a day trip from the city. There are so many beaches along the coast to visit and the Blue Mountains are less than a two-hour drive away.

Jervis Bay

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Hyams Beach

A great day trip out of the city is Jervis Bay and Hyams Beach. Hyams Beach is considered the whitest beach in the world. It’s about a three-hour drive from Sydney and we took a leisurely drive down stopping at several spots. Starting quite early in the morning our first pit stop was Stanwell Tops (first picture above). If you need to sort out any reminder of how beautiful Australia is Stanwell Tops is ideal. The view was stunning! We sat for a good ten minutes and I went to go get an affogato at the local ice cream truck. The picture explains it all really. The next stop was the Cathedral Rocks in Kiama Downs. We decided to do a bit more exploring here climbing the rocks and walking around the area.  It was a beautiful sunny day so wanted to take advantage of the weather.  Do watch the water as the waves can get quite big around the area.  Our feet were pretty soaked after walking on the rocks.

Or last pit stop before Jervis Bay was the Kiama Blowhole.  It was a bit underwhelming and there were heaps of people. However, it was a good time to get lunch. We ate at the Neptune Café as the Wharf Restaurant had a line out of the door. I got a really good burger. They have gluten free options and as a person allergic to wheat this is always ideal. I loved the quirky décor of the café.

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Kiama Blowhole

After a solid lunch we were off to our final destination, Jervis Bay. We stopped to get food to have a dinner bbq when we arrived at camp. Then we jetted off to make camp. I would defo suggest going camping for a night at least like we did. It was super convenient and close to the Hyams Beach. Also, it was reasonably cheap which is hard to come by in Australia.

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BBQ

We had an amazing group bbq and talked. It was a great night of beers, talking, and dance parties at the beach.

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Hyams Beach

The next day we spent at Hyams Beach and truly the sand is so white. The water was a bit too cold for me so I think I spent a total of five minutes in it. We only stayed a night but you could definitely do two if you wanted. After a few hours at the beach and lunch we jetted back straight to Sydney.

Norman Lindsay’s Gallery

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The grounds at Norman Lindsay’s Gallery

If you’re into art and up for an hour drive out of the city, Norman Lindsay’s Gallery is a great spot. It’s located in Faulconbridge up in the Blue Mountains. After feeling quite drained from city life it was a relief to head out to the Blue Mountains. I had never heard of Norman Lindsay but my partner had gone to the gallery a few times and liked his work. We headed out quite late in the day and took a leisurely drive out. We started the day at the café on site and had lunch before heading to the gallery. The gallery is relatively small and can be seen in an hour. Here, however, is where I learned about the Magic Pudding. I felt at a loss since it seemed like something most Aussie kids grew up with. So it was something eye opening for this American. It was cool to see the original sculptures.

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Magic Pudding

We even got to talk to an artist at the gallery that was currently working on prints and etchings. The staff was extremely friendly and answered as many questions as we had. The grounds are really lovely and honestly were my favourite part. We walked around to look at all the sculptures and fountains outside.

It was so tranquil and by closing time of the gallery we were the only one’s walking around. It was good little side trip up to the mountains to escape city life. I would definitely suggest this little spot for anyone interested in Australian art.

Palm Beach

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Palm Beach

Another good day trip away from Sydney city life is Palm Beach home of the filming of Home and Away. I won’t lie, I still haven’t seen an episode of the show. However, the beach is really beautiful. Honestly, I can’t pass up an opportunity to head to the beach. It’s about an hour drive away from Sydney. My partner and I went a few days after Christmas and surprisingly it wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be. Still a struggle to find parking but a few spots were straggling about so I can imagine it could get busier.

It was the height of summer so it was incredibly hot. The sand was at least ten degrees hotter than the air. This required us to run back to the stairs to head to the car as our feet felt on fire. Don’t forget to apply suncream more often then you think.  We made that mistake applying twice and burnt to a crisp for being out in sun for a total of three hours.  The Aussie sun plays no games.  Luckily, the water was super refreshing and after a short swim we head to get lunch. We ended up at the local fish and chips shop. I had a really amazing seafood salad that hit the spot. Across from the shop was another bit of beach and we watched the boats for a bit before heading back to Sydney.

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Palm Beach views after lunch

 

This is the great thing about Sydney really, there are so many places close by that are worth the trip to see. It is a great city for anyone that likes to explore nature and the beach is never too far away. And sometimes an escape out of the city is necessary to refresh and rejuvenate.

Australia Part One of Many

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The Opera House

Well, here’s the other half of the blog Caitlin and I’ve made some massive changes in my life. I moved to AUSTRALIA. I’m currently in Sydney on the working holiday visa trying to find work in maritime archeology/heritage. It’s been a crazy adventure so far. I arrived January 30th of this year and I’ve been taking it easy enjoying the sites and exploring all Sydney has to offer. This city is absolutely stunning. Photos do not do it justice at all. Seeing the Opera House in real life was a truly surreal experience. I still cannot believe I moved out here. As it’s been three weeks into my stay I’ve covered a lot of ground. Here are some weekly highlights and below is a list and pictures of things I’ve done in Sydney and it’s surroundings so far.

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Week one’s highlight was getting to the city itself. Seeing the Harbour Bridge and taking a walking tour around the Rocks felt the most like I made it. I’m blown away at how gorgeous the city is. There are so many parks and green spaces that are surrounded by huge infrastructures and bustling city atmosphere. I feel like I’m constantly surprised at what I’ll find at every turn. I still in awe that I’m in Australia. Walking around the city makes me feel like I made the right decision in coming here. I would definitely suggest the city or the Rocks free walking tour. It really helps to gain your bearings around the city.

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Week two’s highlight is a tie between bonding with kangaroos at Morisett Park and the breathtaking Coastal Walk (Bondi to Bronte). I won’t lie getting up close and personal with kangaroos was AWESOME. There’s honestly no other word for it. We didn’t approach the kangaroos either they came to us which was super cool. I suggest bringing some food along as it takes some coaxing to get them over and not taunting or attracting the attention of a bigger kangaroo. Some of them are massive and don’t underestimate how strong they are. Some of them seriously look like they’ve been lifting some intense weights. The coastal walk was mind-blowing. The views of the ocean surrounded by beautiful cliffs were awe-inspiring. This would definitely be in my top 5 must-do in Sydney. I would suggest if you make it all the way to Coogee to take a refreshing dip in the ocean. I, on the other hand, made it to the Cemetery and turned around back to Bronte to truly enjoy the ocean. Plus, summer in Australia is super hot so bring TONS of water. I was ready to just swim after all that walking.

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Wattamolla Waterfall

Week three’s highlights is hands down jumping off of a waterfall at Wattamolla. I realize there are signs saying to not do this but if the tide is high and you just watched about 5 people do it successfully then jump. It’s something I will never forget about living in Australia. Plus the national park is beautiful in its own right if you’re not up for the adventure. Close second is the stunning Blue Mountains. I would suggest getting a map since we got lost on our trek. The signs disappeared on us half way through so we did a lot of guesswork walking around. However, that did not take away from our gorgeous surroundings. I’m definitely planning at least one more trip up that way to explore.

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Blue Mountains Elysian Rock Lookout

If you do plan on going to Sydney and planning on investigating its surroundings, I suggest going on big trips on Sunday since there is a $2.50 cap on all travel with the Opal card. This is so convenient and makes the trip entirely worth it.

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The cutest koala ever at Taronga Zoo

Sydney is a bustling city like none I’ve been to before or have ever experienced. I cannot wait to explore more and truly enjoy the best the city has to offer. Now, if someone could give me a job that’d be the cherry on top but for now I’ll settle for making the most of my adventure. Such a tough life!

 

Week One:

Opera House
Botanical Gardens
Taronga Zoo and hanging out with a koala
Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary and chilling with some kangaroosExploring Newtown and University of Sydney and Nicholson Museum
Pop-up gin bar at the MCA
Darling Harbour
Maritime Museum (because I’m a total maritime nerd)

 

Week Two:

Morrisett Park and truly bonding with the natives
Super Bowl in Australia, which was an unreal experience to be enjoying it with some Aussies
Enjoying the Chinese New Year- food, festivals, and lanterns
Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is a must for anyone traveling to Sydney. It has constantly stunning views

 

Week Three:

Wattamolla and jumping off a waterfall (something that was on my bucket list)
Wendy’s Secret Garden and gorgeous harbour views
Street Art hunting in Newtown
Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park
Relaxing on Bondi
Exploring the beauty that is the Blue Mountains