Balmoral Beach

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Another favourite spot of mine is Balmoral Beach. It is all about the foreshore here and other than a handful of excellent eating options, a trip here is all about soaking up the gorgeous view.

The best way to get here is by catching a ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo Wharf. From there you can walk around the head land which is an excellent but long walk (about 4 hours from memory) or simply jumping on the bus that is waiting meets the ferries. I have done both depending on time and energy level.

Enjoy!

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Sydney Harbour National Park – Watson’s Bay

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For me, there is almost no better way to relax on a sunny day off than to catch a ferry on the beautiful Sydney Harbour. For most people this probably means the Manly ferry but I prefer Watson’s Bay any day. 

On offer are great swimming beaches, cliff side walks, parks and excellent scenery. Watson’s Bay is very quite town with only a handful of food options but pretty much everything you could want: a cafe, pub food, fish and chips or fine dining seafood at Doyle’s restaurant. There are also generous amounts of grass or sand if you have packed a picnic.

I always feel like I have been on holiday after spending the day here.

Ferries leave fairly regularly from circular quay and take about 25 minutes depending on the route. You could also take the opportunity to visit Double Bay, which has plenty of shops and food options.

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The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust

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Brilliant views of the opera house and harbour bridge, sunny lawns for vitamin D therapy, majestic Morton bay figs, herb gardens, rose gardens and oriental gardens to name but a few reasons to visit the Botanic Gardens. What more could you want?!

Enjoy!

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Bobbin Head to Hornsby

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Ok, so after relaxing at Bobbin Head (see previous post: Mt Kuring gai to Bobbin Head), we headed toward the mangrove board walk. I have to admit that mangroves are not my favourite type of scenery and the smell is usually less than desirable but they it actually made for an interesting walk. There were hundreds of crabs playing in the mud and I took more photos of them then any other single thing on the walk.

After the board walk we made our way to the final leg of our walk. This was probably the most fun but slightly frightening part of the day. The path was not a well used one and there are a few points where is disappears or a tree has fallen in the way but if your feeling brave, know where you are going and have told someone where you will be, then I am sure there are more tricky walks out there.

The walking track makes its way along a river most of the way, which is very beautiful. We had he spooky feeling were being watched and it turned out we were being watched by wallabies! They are very cute but make the strangest noises. 

Towards the end of the track, you start to walk up hill and water starts to fall in little cascades and the vegetation is similar to rainforest. It’s very pretty.

The final part of the track makes its way up a step hill, and eventually you come out in suburbia.

Enjoy!

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Mt Kuring-gai to Bobbin Head via Apple Tree Bay

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I have always wanted to explore Kuring-gai Chase National Park. The train between Newcastle and Sydney winds it’s way through the area and the isolated houses that are only accessible by boat, look so idyllic and peaceful.

The first part of the walk to Apple Tree Bay is almost entirely down hill and doesn’t take much longer than an hour. Don’t forget to soak up the views that the height offers you. There are picnic spots and facilities at Apple Tree Bay, but we continued on to Bobbin Head Cafe for a proper break. At Bobbin head you can also hire paddle boats and there is a tourist office that offers info on the local walks. 

If you plan to turn back the way you came, it is worth making the time to go along the mangrove board walk to get a close up look to a mangrove.

Your options at this point are to to go back the way you came, carrying on to Hornsby Station. See Bobbin Head to Hornsby post for details.

Enjoy!

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Jenolan Caves

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A large portion of Australian’s who live in NSW probably remember going on a school trip to Jenolan Caves at some point during primary school. I was in year 4 when my class went and we stayed the night in Caves House, the historic onsite accommodation on the isolated site of the caves. I don’t remember much of the caves themselves but I do remember being very impressed by the blue lake that greets you when you arrive at the site. I am still in awe of the unnatural colour of the water today. I took so many photos!

If you can only make it to one cave, I highly recommend the cave we visited, The Orient Cave. It is as beautiful as promised and was the tour guides favorite cave as well. The tour last about hour and a half and while this is plenty of time to enjoy the caves beauty, I didn’t want it to end. This time I know that I will remember the caves well. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries right at the beginning of the tour, so my photos don’t really convey how beautiful it is. I suspect it is probably something you have to see with your own eyes for it to be truly appreciated anyway.

We also did the complimentary self guided tour of the Nettle cave and the Devil’s Coach House, which gives you a lot of interesting information about the history and formation of the caves. The Devils Coach house huge and impressive.

I recommend packing your own lunch. The food from the kiosk was very overpriced and very average. Watch out for the very cute but cheeky, rosellas that help you eat your lunch! It is also a beautiful spot to have a picnic or BBQ and there are gas powered/coin operated BBQ s on site. 

There is no public transport to the cave but Trolley Tours have a daily tour leaving from Katoomba at 9am and there are regular trains to Katoomba from Sydney. There are also day tours with various companies that leave from Sydney.

Enjoy!

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Spit to Manly Walk

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The idea of walking through national parks with crystal clear water and secluded beaches on one side and native flora and fauna on the other side is very appealing, so I was really excited to be doing the Spit to Manly walk.

Crater Cove, Sydney National Park

Ok, so I found out about this walk because apparently it is one of the must see tourist destinations of Sydney. I had never heard of it before stumbling across it while browsing the web and couldn’t wait to try it.

I have to say it doesn’t disappoint and is one of my favourite Sydney spots so far!

Middle Harbour, Sydney Harbour National Park

My partner and I started the day at Milson’s Point for breakfast. There are several cafes to choose from in Kirribilli, which despite the CBD being visible across the harbour, has a surprisingly Australian country town feel to it. There are also several options on the other side of the the bridge. The place we intended to eat had just closed for breakfast, so we wandered until a menu caught our eye.

From here we caught a bus to Spit Bridge (the bus leaves from just near the ferry stop). It turns out that the bus only went as far Spit Junction. There are a few buses on this route that go all the way to the bridge but the bus we were on was not one of them. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. On the 2 km walk to The Spit we turned down Parrawi Road,  and the view is stunning! It is a residential tree lined street on the edge of a very steep drop, which people have built houses that are nothing short of million dollar mansions looking over a bay of aqua water. You also pass one of two lighthouses that are still used to guide boats into the harbour. It is hard to believe that a place of such natural beauty exists within 20 minutes of the city. It was a great start to the walk.

Once you cross spit bridge, the walk begins and is very well sign-posted. There are numerous spots to go swimming, stop for a picnic and just soak up the scenery.

One of my favourite stops was at Reef Beach. It is secluded and clean and was one of the nicest places I have been swimming.

Reef Beach, Sydney Harbour National Park

The full walk is estimated to take 3 hours, but it took us closer to five with stops along the way for snacks and swimming plus a few detours. We found the maps along the way to be useful for helping keep tabs of where we were up to on the walk.

Make sure you take water and snacks and plenty of sun cream! There are plenty of buses to The Spit from near Wynyard station in the CBD.

We finished a great day with a ferry ride back to Circular Quay, bliss!

Enjoy!

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