I took a trip south from the city one Saturday in March to the Royal National Park, a huge preserve of bush and undeveloped beaches starting about 50 km from Sydney. There is train service from Sydney through the park with a couple of stops actually in it. One of those is the hamlet of Otford. My goal was to visit the legal clothing-optional beach called Werrong Beach. Upon exiting the train platform and station go up a footpath that climbs the hill next to the station. Follow this paved path up more until you come out to a road with views of the ocean. You can decide here if you need provisions or not. If so, there is a restaurant and takeaway to your right. Make sure you have plenty of water. There are NO facilities of any kind in the park or beach. The beach is to the left. Carefully walk along the road and cross when you see a parking area/overlook. Locate the trail (there will be signs) and start hiking. It took me 40 minutes to get on to the beach from the carpark and I hike fairly fast. It is a good workout which discourages most from going. The beach of golden sand is set in a steep ampitheatre of green hills. Breathtaking location. Only seven others were there when I arrived, 3 nude males and 4 nude females. That was it. Bracing cool water. It is an east facing beach, so it is only good in mornings and until 2 p.m. latest. The hills are so high behind the beach the sun is lost early.
CityRail train ( Southern Line) leaves from Sydney Central station at 7:37 am weekdays gets into Otford at 8:35 am. Weekdays leaves Otford at 4:06 pm arrives Sydney at 5:06 pm Distance is 52 km. Weekends leaves Sydney Central 8:42 am arrives Otford 9:40 am. Weekends departs Otford 4:18 pm arrives Sydney 5:14 pm. Weekday return fare is $12.00. Discounted weekend "off peak" fare is $7.40.
CityRail: www.cityrail.nsw.gov.au Telephone: 131 500
We had a family holiday at Barrington Tops Guesthouse - an Eco-tourist holiday resort. It is about 1hr north of the Hunter Valley wine country. Barrington Tops is mountain country with lovely rainforest, cold in winter but a haven in summer with crystal mountain streams to cool off in. I loved it because it's like going back to nature with lovely bush walks, rainforest and natural mountain stream water holes but we had the added pleasure of having all meals provided (country-style cooking yum yum) and theme nights, Barrington olympics etc. It's a great place to interact with Australian animals and meet down to earth people. It's a hidden magic holiday destination and families book at the same time every year to meet up again. I totally recommend the place and if you want to know more, please check out our holiday on my Barrington pages.
Not really very far from Sydney, around 80 kilometres is the NAN TIEN BUDDHIST TEMPLE, reputed to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere!
According to the Wollongong website, Nan Tien Temple is a Buddhist temple complex located in the industrial suburb of Berkeley, on the southern outskirts of Wollongong. Nan Tien is a Chinese term, which means "southern paradise".
When we visited, the weather was not so cold nor hot! It was just perfect for a day's out for the family! Entry is free so that's the bonus!
Still according to the government website, the Nan Tien complex was built using traditional techniques and materials by Chinese craftsmen, but with numerous modern features.
Occupying a semi-rural hillside site several square kilometres in size, and set amidst landscaped gardens, it is the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. It also has the largest terracotta tile roof of any building in the southern hemisphere.
It is now becoming a majpr tourist spot in Wollongong, even hosting retreats and offering classes in tai chi, Chinese cooking, calligraphy and related topics.
This scenic drive actually starts in the south of Sydney at the Royal National Park.
Bald Hill is a magnificent lookout with views south to Wollongong. You may see Hang gliders and para gliders here.
From here, the route heads south through the North Wollongong Coastal towns to Wollongong. These towns are famous for their unspoilt beaches and rock pools, and art and crafts, great fishing & surfing spots, plus many cafes and restaurants.
The routes follows along cliff hugging roads right above the South Pacific Ocean, and at one stage, along the magnificent Sea Cliff Bridge- the 665 metre over-the-ocean bridge opened in 2005.
Leaving Wollongong, the drive takes you through to the beautiful coastal towns of Shellharbour and Kiama, and ends in the spectacular Shoalhaven region.
Be sure to stop at lovely little Kiama, it is famous for its "Blowhole" and has some nice old shops to browse around, see my Kiama page for more info.
Another route, well worth doing!
This is huge. This is also something I guarantee fewer than a hundred or so tourists each year would see during their Sydney visit.
It's located at the environmental waste centre at Chullora and is made, not unsurprisingly, of scrap bits and pieces.
If you actually get to see it I have no doubt you will be amazed, as I was, at the amount and variety of stuff they've put together to make this standout sculpture.
Finally in 2010; I made it to Botany Bay. I had wanted to see in the previous two trips to Sydney but just never had the time. Thankfully in November 2010; our friend JAckie took us to Botany Bay for a day of exploration and a tasty late lunch.
I am a huge history buff and have a bit of an obsession with Captain Cook and explorers in general. Ahh to sail into the unknown and dicover new places; it must have been exhilerating yet scary. Our adventure began at the Botany Bay National Park. The National Park is on the site of Captain Cook's Landing Place where Cook and his crew first set foot on Australian soil in 1770. This area is marked with a monument. I was so hapy to finally see this in person yet a bit dissapointed that it is surrounded by industrial areas across the water and the water is full of tankers floating by. So I closed my eyes and envisioned Captain Cook and his crew setting foot on Australian soil....
The Park has several nice walking trails as well as monuments along the way. A highlight to our visit was a drive to Cape Solander and checking out the beautiful sandstone cliffs. It was an incredible day of new sights and new experiences....thanks to Jackie.
There is a nature reserve at the Teregal lagoon outside Sydney on the edge of a beautiful orange coloured beach. When we arrived there were about 20 wild pelicans there - i think they are regulars here. Amazing to sit and watch such amazing birds in a natural environment. Well worth the detour.
Viewing Collaroy and McPherson Beaches..........just beautiful scenery here and a wonderful walk that my brother often does.
Take a day trip to Canberra, the capital of Australia. Be careful of the menacing traffic and mad rush of people! ;-)
Really off the beaten path but well worth a visit, is Wave Rock in the little place of Hyden. We hired a car in Perth and drove 350 kilometres along the Tonkin Highway to see it.
While visiting the Wave Rock at Hyden walk along it on top or in the shade to the Hippo Cave. It really does look like a hippo's mouth.