The Royal National Park

With Rachael’s working well outside of Sydney, she has been fortunate to receive a company car – a very sporty looking white Kia Cerato Sedan.

While making her commutes considerably easier, this has also meant we have been able to do lots of exploring outside of the city, without having to rely on the public transport network. With a ton of things to see and do within a two hour drive of Sydney, we have been trying to join the crowds heading out of the city at least one day every weekend.

One of the most popular weekend getaways for Sydneysiders is the Royal National Park, which is located just 29km south of the CBD. The Park was founded in 1879, and is the second oldest in the world (after Yellowstone). We made the short journey from Glebe and spent a day exploring the vast and beautiful park.

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After paying the (very reasonable) $12 (£7.50) entrance fee, we began our tour with a quick stop at the visitor centre in Audley. Despite being early, it was already busy with lots of people getting their morning caffeine fix from the Audley Dance Hall Cafe.

We grabbed a map, and decided to start with a few of the Park’s lookouts. First up was the Bungoona Lookout, near to the entrance to the Park. The viewpoint is just a short walk from the carpark, and provides a excellent view of Hacking River, while giving a  great perspective of the size of the park.

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Next, and even more impressive, was the Governor Game Lookout, which is a further 20 minute drive into the park. Again there was limited walking required, and the coastal views were breathtaking, with the white sands of Garie Beach just below us.

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Keen to get out of the car for longer by this point, we continued down to the busy Garie Beach, one of the Park’s eleven beaches, and especially popular with surfers.

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After a relaxing walk along the beach, we decided to pick up the Park’s epic coastal track and follow a section of it along the coastline. The 26km one-way trail stretches almost the entire length of the Park from Bundeena in the north down to Otford. We headed north along the track, starting with a steep climb up to the clifftop, and with frequent stops to admire the views back to the beach behind us.

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Despite being close to the coast, much of the path was along narrow paths and through thick bushland, with only occasional glimpses of the ocean. However the glimpses were always worth the wait.

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We walked as far as the popular Eagle Rock formation, where we found a spot on the rocks and stopped for some lunch overlooking the ocean. With our energy levels restored we made our way back along the trail to the Garie Beach.

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After a long day of exploring, we made one final stop on our drive out of the park. We arrived back at the visitor centre in Audley just in time for our customary coffee and cake while watching the sunset, before making our way back to Sydney.

Cockatoo Island

Our recent Sundays have been spent making the most of Transport NSW’s generous offer of unlimited travel all day for just $2.50 (£1.60). This includes all trains, buses as well as Sydney’s extensive ferry network, making it a great, cost effective way to explore more of the State.

Cockatoo Island, the largest of the seven islands situated within Sydney Harbour, is just a short ferry journey from Circular Quay, and seemed a great place to spend a Sunday morning, ensuring we took the early ferry to avoid the crowds.

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Island has a lengthy history (for Australia anyway), and was opened to tourists only as recently as 2007. Much to Rachael’s excitement, after the colonisation of Australia, the island was originally used as a prison, housing convicts transferred from the overcrowded Norfolk Island. Continue reading

Coastal Walks in Sydney

It was recently announced that Sydney has dropped out of the Economist magazine’s global top 10 liveable cities, plummeting all the way to 11th out of the 140 cities surveyed in 2017. However, despite this terrible result (London came 53rd) we still couldn’t be happier with our choice to live here!

Our first few months in Sydney have mostly been spent exploring as much of the city as possible. It has been a very mild winter (according to the Aussie’s in my office anyway), and we have tried to make the most of winter sunshine by enjoying lots of coastal walks.

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After spending our first four weeks in Sydney living in Bondi, we were sure to revisit the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal several times. Although we had walked the route already while travelling,  it was great to do it again, especially with it being so much quieter on weekdays, and the early morning lighting made the views all the more impressive. Continue reading

Back in Sydney

So after our slight change of plan, we are now well settled into our new life in Sydney and it has begun to feel like home far quicker than expected. Unfortunately it has been a little more difficult to keep the blog up to date, as the last six weeks have consisted of us both starting new jobs and finding somewhere to live. However, hopefully I will have more time to write in the coming weeks, with lots of exploring to do in Sydney and the surrounding area.

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We spent the first three weeks in Sydney staying in our friends amazing apartment in Bondi, which was a great place to begin life in a new city. While we enjoyed living so close to the beach, we decided to look for somewhere closer to the CBD for our own flat. Continue reading

Brisbane continued…

With the campervan gone, our travelling around Brisbane was a little restricted compared to what we had become accustomed to. We found the public transport to be fairly limited compared to other cities, with the river making it even more difficult to travel around, despite the ferry network. However, we did still manage to make a few journeys out of the more central suburbs during our week in the city.

We decided not to bother with public transport at all for our trip to Teneriffe, a suburb on the east of the city. Instead we again made use of the CityCycle bike hire scheme, cycling all the way along the north bank of the river from the CBD, making use of the great cycleways. However, as you travel further away from the centre, the bike stations become more sporadic, and we very nearly went over the 30 minute limit for each individual journey on several occasions.

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The journey itself took us around the area of New Farm, including the large New Farm Park and the nearby Brisbane Powerhouse. The imposing former power station has been converted into a cultural hub, and now hosts a variety of plays, concerts, exhibitions and other events. Continue reading

Our week in Brisbane

Having very reluctantly given back the campervan with no issues, we checked into our AirBnb which was in East Brisbane. On arrival, our hosts Mike and Anna gave us a great suburb by suburb guide to the city, and lots of great ideas about where to visit during our stay.

After enjoying sleeping in an actual bed for the first time since Hong Kong, we were feeling refreshed and ready to start exploring the city. Brisbane is dominated by the huge river of the same name, which winds and bends its way through the city.  We therefore decided to start with a ride on the free CityHopper ferry service, and were soon in sight of Brisbane’s imposing skyline, as the ferry slowly chugged its way towards the CBD.

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The end of our road trip

So after 57 days we finally made it to Brisbane, the last stop on our road trip, where we begrudgingly returned our campervan. Here’s a few interesting numbers from our epic journey:

  • Total miles travelled: 7,223
  • Total miles walked (according to my sometimes dubious Fitbit): 505

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  • Total amount spent on petrol: $1,898 (£1,200)
  • Total number of campsites: 38 (21 were free)
  • Total amount spent on campsites: $787 (£498)

Continue reading