Things to see and do while backpacking in Blue Mountains, Australia.
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Sydney cannot get enough of city festivals. Whether it is art, comedy, writing, thought provoking talks or just lights – Sydney has a festival for you. That means this city keeps your entertained, enlightened and intelligent. My personal favourite is Sydney Festival which runs throughout January every year and most of the events are free! Here are a few festivals and the time of year they usually pop up: 7th-26th Jan – Sydney Festival April-May – Sydney Comedy Festival May-June – Vivid Sydney Events throughout the year – Ideas at the House Blue Mountains Everybody needs a break from city life sometimes, and the Blue Mountains are just the right bit far and the right bit close enough for Sydneysiders to get their fix of freedom with a day trip into the bush. Even if its just to the touristy Echo Point in Katoomba, or to take a deep breathe of fresh air while looking out over Govett’s Leap – the accessibility of the mountains gives Sydneysiders a sense of sanity all year round. Beaches Whether its Northern, Eastern or Southern, every beach in Sydney has golden sands and clean water. Head up to Palm Beach for a sense of calm and serenity; head to Bondi and walk the immaculate the Bondi-Bronte coastal walk; or head down to the Shire to add a bit of shopping and personality to your beach day. Even the hidden harbour beaches are amazing for a chill out session with a view of the city skyline, harbour and its surrounding bays. Camp Cove is a prime example, stop off at The Gap lookout and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel for lunch before or after. National Parks Not into finding sand in your nooks and crannies weeks after visiting beaches? Sydney has yet more nature to offer you instead. National Parks can be found all over the city from Royal National Park to Sydney Harbour National Park. There you can find hikes and strolls to suit any level of enthusiasm. Pack a picnic and away you go! Inner West “Inner West the best” is what you often here locals from the area chant everyday before they take a sip of their cappuccino and dig into a smashed avocado on sourdough. But it really is. This area is a foodies paradise with several top notch cafes in every suburb that dish out great brunch, coffee and/or desserts, what else could a hangry Sydneysider ask for? Cabramatta Speaking of food, one of the best things about Sydney (and Australia in general) is the multicultural food landscape that gives us the opportunity to try amazing, good quality food from so many cuisine options. Of of these is Vietnamese, and the place to get it in Sydney (and most probably Australia) is Cabramatta. It is home to the largest Vietnamese community in Australia, so you know its legit. Make the journey to spoon delicious ph? in to your mouth, as it’s pretty much like going to Vietnam only it takes an hour by train instead. Central Park Sydney This place is a sustainable urban citizen’s dream. Self-labelled as ‘The Living Mall’ this “village” is home to a selection of retail shops, an upmarket foodcourt, apartments, art gallerys and a park. The building itself has a sustainable design including a stunning vertical garden and solar panels that light up when the sun goes down. The place just has a vibe that makes you want to come back again and again even just to sit in the park with some ANITA – La Mamma del Gelato or a Love at First Bite Nutella Doughnut from Doughnut Time. Just when it couldn’t get better, it does. Right next door is Spice Alley, a new area where you can yet again get authentic Asian dishes and drinks at a really reasonable price! Shopping People always say that shopping in Sydney is nothing compared to Melbourne. I beg to differ. Sydney CBD has a great selection of shops including the snazzy Pitt Street Westfield. Even more striking is that you can also casually shop within the stunning and historical QVB, which in another life could’ve potentially be some sort of museum that charges an $11 fee. Inner city suburbs, like Newtown and Paddington, offer great boutiques and smaller chain shopping too. So Melbourne Schmelbourne I say. Sydney Harbour Just look at it, it speaks for itself. NYE fireworks I never got the hype, or why tourists flock to Sydney and stand for 12 hours to see gunpowder form into sparkles in the sky for 10 minutes. But this year I watched a few other countdowns from around the world and, alike to many new Beliebers in 2016, I am a convert. The show is incredible and spans across the whole harbour, down the river into the suburbs. Whether you’re watching it from the Opera House, Balmain or while you drive over the Gladesville Bridge, that stuff never gets old. Café Culture Again Melbourne always gets the credit for endless supply of quirky, delicious and innovative cafes, but Sydney really stepped up its game last year and I am yet to find a suburb without a decent cafe culture. There’s nothing quite like catching up with friends while you sit outside enjoying brunch at your favourite cafe, or a new one you’re trying out. With the weather always (usually…) being pretty good, boy does sydney offer the possibility of this dream brunch. From big names like West Juliett and The Grounds, to local delites like Clipper Cafe or Cornersmith, you really can’t go wrong. This makes Sydneysiders well-fed and well-caffinated, which means we are well, happy! Darling Harbour I know its hella touristy but, as any good local will always let you know, it is home to the worlds largest IMAX screen! That’s gotta count for something, right? Darling Harbour is a great place to go for a cheesy night out. You can dine in the food court or at Hard Rock Cafe, and then go play a couple games of bowling or laser tag. Grab some ice-cream for a stroll around the harbour admiring how beautiful the city lights reflection is off the water. There’s a whole bunch of bars and clubs to hop to and from if you are in the mood for a dance too. there’s even a ferris wheel guys! Darling Harbour is Sydney’s solution to a lack of American style county fairs, and it does the job well. Opera house Again, this one speaks for itself. It took around 16 years to build so you have to admire the self-cleaning tiles in all their sail-like brilliance. It has a great view of the city, botanical gardens and harbour. Catching a show or getting a drink at the Opera Bar just makes any Sydneysider instantly feel fancy asf. People come to Australia purely to see this gem, so yeah why should we ever leave her? Public transport Jokes, its actually atrocious so once you are in the city you just walk everywhere, but its okay cause its a beautiful city so we put up with it’s cons. The Rocks Being the first city of Australia, Sydney has a lot of awesome history that can still be seen – especially in The Rocks. The sandstone architecture and chaos of unplanned streets takes you back in time for a moment. The history might not be as old as almost all other cities in the world, but it is still pretty great. The Rocks offers historical convict tours, ghost tours, and holds great markets every weekend. Markets Food, clothes, jewelry, flowers, books, thrifting, kitch, quirky, anything! Anything you can think of, Sydney has a market for it, and there is always one on every weekend somewhere. Bondi, Glebe, Rozelle, Balmain, Kirribilli, Surry Hills, Paddington and more! Check them out and you’ll get why we don’t need London’s Brick Lane Market or NYC’s many flea markets. Barangaroo Although the housing and casino are yet to be completed, most of the actual good stuff to come out this project is open! There is a park by a waterside walkway that is great for day or night strolls with friends or loved ones. The place is also really quiet most of the time as nothing major around it has opened yet so it is a great place to go for some alone time right in the middle of the city. Closer to King Street Wharf is a restaurant area with great choices of food including Mamak, Bourke Street Bakery and is often home to trendy pop-ups. Open air cinemas Summer calls for outdoor fun, which for Sydney includes a multitude of open air cinemas where you can enjoy music, food and a movie with friends, lovers or family. So basically Sydney does summer really bloody well. Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema has locations in Bondi and the Inner West. While St George Open Air Cinema has a breathtaking view of the harbour from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Centennial Park further holds the Moonlight Cinema, where you often get a get view of the parks bats flying about at twilight. Western suburbs You’re probably thinking I’m joking, but I’m really not. All the precincts of Sydney have something different to offer making them all of great value to this city, but what the Western suburbs offers is everything awesome. Former home to Sydney’s beloved Wonderland, this area now offers us Wet and Wild water park to make up for its loss. And everyone knows that water theme parks are the best theme parks of them all. Further down the road is another gem: Featherdale Wildlife Park, which is home to Australia’s favourite birds, reptiles, marsupials and mammals. Who doesn’t love aww-ing at koalas sleeping for a good 18 hours a day. If for some reason you’re not into waiting in lines for water slides or avoiding kangaroo droppings everywhere you walk, Western Sydney has the one thing that can satisfy all lazy humans – a drive in cinema. Not only is the general concept and experience of the drive-ins perfect in itself, but Drive In Blacktown actually has its own 50’s style diner attached where you can get a decent feed before your movie. Plus the movie ticket prices can be ridiculously cheap compared to regular prices, and you can see two movies in a row, form the inside of your car may I remind you.Katie Eager
Blue Mountains The Blue Mountains are a wonderful way to spend your day! Plan for an early start to your day as the mountains are roughly a 1.5 hour drive from the city. Especially if you are renting a car- try to get out as early as possible. (If you are renting a car, you usually have to return the car by 5pm) Once you arrive, you will have a beautiful view ranging as far as you can see. There is a merchandise shop as well as some places close by you can get some food from. You will be able to clearly see the 3 sisters rock formation, and can even walk along a path/stairs to get a closer look. There are several trail walks you can do that vary in length depending on how long you can alot. If you are keen- there are several places you can get accommodation if you are wanting to give yourself a couple days to see as much as you can!brittany-wiseman
BACK TO NATURE – SYDNEY’S FARM GATE TRAIL
It’s also an alternative route to the Blue Mountains which offers some interesting diversions along the way, as opposed to speeding through the suburbs along the main Great Western Highway.Cassandra Hill
Day trips from Sydney: Daffodil dazzle at Rydal
The beauty of spring is best reminded by flowers. The weather becomes pleasantly mild balanced beautifully between the shivering cold and the sweaty sun. That summer is at the doorstep and the mercury will rise sharply further often catalyses me to become outsdoorsy. Last weekend was no exception – we chose a small village close to Sydney and nestled below the famed Blue Mountains of Australia – the beautiful village of Rydal. Once known as the Solitary Creek, it was renamed after its counterpart in the British Isles where Wordsworth romanticised his words in the later stages of his life. As if in apt recognition of one of his most popular poems of the Romantic Age, this tiny hamlet ushers spring with a Daffodil Festival. The villagers lovingly plant large swathes of their gardens and pathway flanks with myriads of daffodils. Who could pass down this opportunity to gaze upon these golden yellow blooms on a spring filled balmy day?Ozymandiaz
Sightseeing in Sydney
Trips in and around Sydney vary in price, but all are worth doing in their own way, while not restricted to, many sights and activities worth seeing are: Sydney Harbour Bridge Opera House Harbour Bridge climb Sky Tower Blue Mountains Bondi Beach Manly Beach Coogee Beach Watsons Bay Rocks Market Paddy’s Market Fish Market Brighton Beach Hyde Park Barracks Museum Museum of Sydney Australia Museum Harbour Bridge Climb For those adrenaline seekers out there, the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is definitely worth the money. While a little more on the expensive side compared to anything else in the city, it’s an experience you can compare to none, and then on top of that, the views across the harbour and over the opera house are worth cherishing. There are three types of climb; the sampler, the express, and the bridge climb, you then have the choice of day or night. Both the express, and bridge climb take you to the top of the harbour bridge, allowing you to see the magnificent views, with the main difference being, the express is 1 hour shorter, follows the inner arch of the bridge and takes you to the highest point. The bridge climb however, is three and half hours long, following the path on the outer edge of the bridge. While most would opt for the bridge climb, the express has a hidden level of adrenaline as you climb to the top of the bridge with the cars below you, giving you a real sense of height. The sampler climb however just takes you a quarter of the way, so while much more cost affective, the adrenaline and views aren’t quite the same, but still great for those on a budget. What is also great for those that do opt for one of the bridge climb experiences is that they also throw in a ticket to the original Pylon Lookout (usually $13) which you can also see some incredible views from as well as having the chance to take your own camera – something which is unfortunately prohibited on the bridge climb.Lauren Heno
Many people think that because Sydney is a big city that it’s just for eating, shopping, and being an important businessmanorlady. But Sydney has some great bushwalking tracks! The Lane Cove National Park (in the North) and the Royal National Park (in the South) offer some really good walking tracks where you can experience all the awesome Australian flora and fauna. The Blue Mountains also has really amazing bushwalking, but it’s a little bit out of the city (and by ‘a little bit’ I mean a 2.5 hour drive).sophie-elliot
Sydney: The Blue Mountains
The Journey Sydney: The Blue Mountains We woke up in the Sydney CBD at an ungodly 5 am in the morning with the goal of scoping out the Blue Mountains for further trekking possibilities. The sun was not yet up and I cannot believe I am saying this, but I was silently wishing for my windbreaker and long socks. The Air Conditioning on the train did not help, although in rosy retrospection it was a nothing short of welcoming on the ride home. The first challenge was boarding the correct train. With platforms upon platforms and escalators that go only one way in Wynyard station, this in itself was a feat worth noting. Changing trains at Central we began the 2.5 hour train ride into the Western suburbs. The Greater Blue Mountains actually spans quite a large surface area, giving travelers the choice of several stations to embark upon their adventure- from Wentworth to Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath and beyond. Armed with my insect repellent wipes courtesy of ALDI (sponsorship opportunity please?), we walked down the streets of the most popular tourist town of Katoomba to a breathtaking view of the lush green valleys and layered mountainous plateaus that made up the national park.Wildchild
Top 10 Places to Visit in the Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains Top Attractions The Blue mountains is a very special place located near Katoomba, west of Sydney in New South Wales that will instantly take your breath way. With beautiful natural attractions, bushwalks, aboriginal culture and antique and iconic shops; the Blue Mountains has plenty of activities that you can experience and witness, to keep you occupied for days upon end! This colourful, world heritage listed place can offer you an inexpensive holiday that you will not forget. I have had the pleasure of experiencing the inner beauty that is offered in this area numerous times, and thought it was fitting to offer the top 10 places and gems (in my opinion!) that you need to explore and undertake, or at least consider when visiting the Blue Mountains.Cam Munro
The Blue Mountains: Easy walks near Katoomba
The Blue Mountains The Blue Mountains are perhaps one of the best known tourist destinations in New South Wales, and for good reason. The picturesque countryside and stunning views are ideal for exploring, bush walking or just for escaping city life for a few days.Rebekah V
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