After the most epic road trip of a life time down the east coast of Australia and 5 months of continual travel I felt it was time to settle in one country find my feet with some family. The chosen ones were the Lambert’s in beautiful Sydney who welcomed me into there house for my remaining time in Australia. We’ve been so lucky to have family stops during this adventure as homesickness can become overwhelming at times but with tasters of home every now and again I can personally say it’s made travelling a whole lot easier!
With a base set up in Sydney, time on my side, and loving under the same roof of local experts I felt set to explore every inch of this incredible City.
Feeling Blue at the Blue Mountains
50km west of Sydney lies the Blue Mountains National Park. Described as a UNESCO world heritage site I was excited to be able to tick another one of my ever expanding list. The excitement grew as we started to drive through the winding roads that take you over the mountains and through the amazing scenery that surrounded us.
The mountains here are not the typical mountainous peaks we normally imagine, but are actually a dissected plateau (I know, I’m impressed)! Which really means that at one time the land would all have been at the same elevation, but softer parts of it have been eroded away to create the canyons to leave the higher ground as mountains. We were also intrigued by the blue name given to the area, and could swear that in the distance the mountains did not look blue! We later read up on it, and its thought that the many eucalyptus trees in the area give off a gas, and when UV light from the sun hits this gas it gives off a blue colour. You learn something new every day don’t cha 😉
We reached our destination at Echo Point – which is the gateway to the “Three Sisters” – one of the iconic landmarks of the Blue Mountains. The parking lot was flooded with holiday makers and tourists already so we wrapped ourselves up and battling the wind we headed down to see this famous view.
First on the agenda was the Giant Stairway that takes you right underneath the Three Sisters. Walking through the arch to go towards the Giant Stairway the wind WANs blowing a gale so with our heads down we followed the path where all tourists and fellow travellers head. Once you reach the start of the stairways, we felt the steep incline that the stairway so beautifully tries to tame for us lame humans. As you decide to climb down these stairs of around 1000 steps, one step at a time, we were treated to some amazing views of the Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters from the side. Once we climbed down the initial 100 odd steps, we reached a spot from where you take a small walking bridge to sit at the heart of one of the “Three Sisters”.
During our visit the wind decided to blow a hooley so it was pretty scary standing on this bridge just below the Sisters, hanging on for our lives. We decided to call it a day there and head back up the steps to appreciate the view from a safer angle.
Opposite the main tourist office is the look out area for the Three Sisters, the weather hadn’t eased here either so we took some snaps and took in the incredible view but could only take it for a few minutes before we couldn’t stand the cold wind anymore.
Ignoring the horrible weather the Blue Mountains are stunning and well worth taking a day trip or maybe longer to look around and really appreciate what really is only a short drive out of the hustle and bustle of Sydney. It was a day well spent within the laps of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I have ever visited. The Blue Mountains offer so much including numerous walking trails, waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife. It would probably take at least four to five more trips to even scratch the surface of this beautiful place.
With a base 40 minutes out of the city I was able to take many trips into the city where the majestic Harbour Bride and Opera House reside. There’s so much to see and do that I was able to while away the hours walking around and admiring the sights on several different occasions.
Seeing the Opera House for the first time I felt kind of star struck and without words. I was witnessing something SO famous and so well known with my own two eyes. It was the strangest feeling actually walking alongside that giant structure and realising that little old me had officially made it to Australia.
Another day was dedicated to walking across the Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately I cannot afford the crazy prices of the ‘Bridge Climb’ on this around the world trip so I opted to walk the free pedestrianised crossing alongside all the lunch break joggers. The views were still beautiful and I got to see panoramic views of the Opera House, the harbour and the sky scrapers of the Central Business District. I would really recommend this if your short on cash.
Royal Botanic Gardens – a great walk in the city starts at Circular Quay (where the ferries come in), past the incredible Opera House and into the Royal Botanic Gardens where you’ll find Australia’s first vegetable garden and now a treasure trove of trees, flowers, and grass areas. On a sunny day, you’ll find locals sprawled out all over the gardens soaking up the sun, even in the winter months. It’s a beautiful escape from the metropolis of Sydney.
The Rocks – are one of the most historic parts of town with narrow lanes, fine colonial buildings, sandstone churches, and Australia’s oldest pubs. There’s weekend markets and street entertainment which I unfortunately never got down there for, there is never a dull moment, not to mention lack of photo ops!
Even though I am currently the other side of the world I still managed to meet up with a friend from home and spend a couple of days together. It was so lovely to have company from my home town so you can imagine we had loads to talk about and catch up on. One of our days was spent at Bondi Beach. Probably one of the most famous beaches in Sydney. Bondi is wonderful and even though our visit was during Australia’s winter season the beach and the town still had a great atmosphere. While golden sands, turquoise waters and perfect waves make Bondi Beach an iconic Sydney attraction, there was still plenty to do beyond surfing. Amazing restaurants, eclectic shopping markets, gorgeous coastal walks and so much more. We did sit on the famous golden sands for a while but England, you may not believe me but Australian winters are darn cold, so we spent most of the day in and out of a variety of coffee shops and taking in the views around the coast line.
I was so fortunate to be staying with the Lambert’s as they took me to so many places that are off the tourist trail. Here’s a few of my favourites.
Cronella coast line – The views are incredible, with crystal clear seas, great big rolling waves and all year round blue sky’s it’s an amazing place to was the coast line and spot many hidden beaches along the route. The walk goes for miles so a chilled beer back at the beach is a must. A perfect day.
Berry – a quaint yet rustic and sophisticated town on the South Coast. With historic buildings on every street corner and beautiful leafy surroundings Berry is a delightful village to visit year-round. Berry has become a favourite for Sydneysiders seeking fresher air and a less hectic lifestyle. A must eat in Berry is afternoon tea at one of the many cafés and then for the ride home stop by the Famous Berry Donut Van – you won’t regret it!
Kiama – a classic seaside town with great beaches (in the summer), great hikes along the coast line, the famous Blow Hole and of course fish and chips. Kiama is really only famous for its blowhole. Before you start to guess what this is let me explain. ‘On the cliffs at Blowhole Point, waves surging into an underground cavity are compressed and forced upwards, exploding high into the air and accompanied by a loud ‘oomph’. The strength varies according to the wind, waves and tides, and when it’s pumping, it always draws a crowd’ (visitnsw.com). Unfortunately it wasn’t exactly pumping during our visit but we did get a few measly omphs and some splashes in,so I got the idea!
In my eyes the beauty of the state of New South Wales is the multitude of options on your doorstep, including the easy access to numerous beaches, theme parks, wild life, rain forest reserves, national parks, mountains and of course the iconic landmarks like Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House that for me really define Australia.