Sydney to Brisbane Part 1: A week in Sydney and Surrounding Areas 

3 DAYS IN SYDNEY

I couldn’t live in Sydney, too many people and far too much traffic, but I love this city and could happily visit time after time. If you are staying for 3 days don’t miss these highlights.

1. THE OPERA HOUSE: I would love to go to a performance but just haven’t had the opportunity, so my favourite thing to do is sit in the opera bar with a class of bubbles and freshly shucked oysters watching the world go by. The opera house is stunningly lit up at night and for a special treat book into ARIA with its amazing glass-walled dining room overlooking it sheer white walls and the harbour bridge.

2. THE HARBOUR BRIDGE: Climb it and sail under it. The bridge climb is worth the hefty price tag, I did it with friends back in 2004 during the day which was incredible and my parents at twilight, which they said was stunning. I would also recommend hiring a boat or going on a cruise and sail under the bridge. It’s a gorgeous harbour with lots of little beaches you can stop off at for a picnic and then watch the sunset. For hire options checkout this website

3. THE RAMBLES: Right next to the harbour bridge explore all the little interesting shops this area has to offer

4. BOTANIC GARDENS: I could spend all day in these gardens, they are beautiful but a few hours is perfect. There are  stunning views of the harbour and it’s a perfect place for a picnic.

5. WALK: The 6km Bondi to Coogee coastal path

6: MANLY:Catch the boat to Manly from Circular Quay and explore the shops and beaches

7. DARLING HARBOUR: Explore and take advantage of happy hour in one of the waterfront restaurants then people watch over dinner and take in the city lights. Seaworld is located here and has an amazing shark tank as well as 2 platypuses. I took advantage of a groupon offer and headed in to see the platypus, so far my only sighting of these little elusive animals.

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2 DAYS IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

There are day trips you can do to the blue mountains which show you the highlights, I last visited in 2004 and it’s certainly developed a lot since I did a day tour.

WHERE TO STAY: This time we stayed for three nights at Blackheath campsite, which is conveniently located to explore the area and it’s only a short walk into the town for drinks and dinner.

WHERE TO EAT: We found a cute little cafe in the arcade called Govettes wine bar, a little gem of a place where we had pre dinner wine and cheese, before heading to Vesta a slow cooked European meat restaurant.

HIKES: Before dinner we parked the car at Scenic World and walked to Eco Point to view the Three Sisters and then down the Giants Staircase and along the rain forest floor before exploring the boardwalks and catching the cable car back up to the top. This was an easy 7.3km walk but has step steps down into the valley. Alternatively you could take the skyway across to East Station after parking at Scenic World and from the bottom either walk back up or take the railway.  If you still have the energy after the 1000 step giant staircase then head to Leura Cascades and walk the circuit or just head to the falls and then onto the lookout and return as we did. The weather was against us for the second day and so we explored Katoomba and had coffee in the Gingerbread House, had there not been torrential weather the plan was to do Wentworth Falls. Checkout this website for all the walks or call into the Blue Mountains Visitor Centre at Glenbrrok.  There are so many, I would love to go back, but we did find the areas around the park very busy compared to the Grampians and Snowy Mountains.

We would also recommend the Oaks MTB trail, we did before my parents arrived. But as this is a blog on easy activities and tourist attractions, you can check it out on the One Way Fun On Your Bike [Blog in development].

2 DAYS AT UMINA VISITING PALM BEACH

Okay first up even if you are not a massive Summer bay fan, don’t miss Palm Beach, it’s beautiful. Secondly there is no camping, where is Summer Bay Caravan Park? And thirdly wow accommodation is expensive, we therefore found a genius way to still stay near beautiful beaches and access Palm Beach quickly…….okay I’m going to admit it was actually by luck not planning.

WHERE TO STAY:  Ocean Beach -NMRA Holiday Parks. We stayed in one of their cabins with a lovely big veranda for sitting out on in the evening, they have two large pools and direct access onto the beach.

BEACH WALK: From the Campsite at Umina to Ettalong beach and have lunch at Margarita Daze a relaxed beach style cafe and restaurant right on the beach front.

DAY TRIP: Take the short 30min ferry from Ettalong Beach to Palm Cove  with Fantasea Cruising. From the Ferry terminal walk up the hill and over, or take a bus and then explore the beach, have coffee at Dunes.  Then walk along the beach up to Barrenjoyey lighthouse for amazing views before  having lunch at the Boathouse on the deck. There are a few nice shops to explore, I loved the deli at Palm Beach Wine Co. where we bought local ground coffee, but could have bought so much more. The Ocean Pool is also a must on a hot day. To get back to the ferry we went back up and over the hill through the McKay reserve where mum saw a huge green tree snake.  We finished the day with drinks at Barrenjoyey House  

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