Wine tasting in the Hunter Valley

After trying so much wine on our journey so far, it would be unfair to travel though New South Wales without also sampling the best it has to offer. We therefore spent a day in the Hunter Valley, which is home to over 120 wineries.

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The best winery we visited this time was Tyrell’s, where our wine education continued. Our very knowledgable host gave us lots of information about the different varieties of grape, and how climate, soil and other factors influence the taste of the final product. Continue reading

The Central Coast

Our journey between the popular tourist regions of the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley, took us through the lesser known Central Coast region. While we knew very little of the area beforehand, we still found plenty to do, with yet more small towns and beaches to explore.

Arriving in early afternoon, our first stop was the secluded Pearl Beach, where we spent some time relaxing on the sheltered beach. We then headed to Ettalong, and walked around the foreshore of the small but popular town.

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The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains, which are located 130km west of Sydney, are one of the most popular national parks in Australia, and somewhere we definitely had to visit. The mountains get their name from the natural blue haze created by the eucalypt forests. The oil from the trees mixes with water vapour and sunlight to produce the distinctive blue colour.

After a hectic few days in Sydney, and with 1000km still to drive before reaching Brisbane, our time in the area was limited. We therefore decided to complete a one day route along the Greater Blue Mountains scenic drive, which includes the majority of the parks most popular attractions.

After camping in Blackheath, we made our way south to Wentworth Falls where our route started.

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We walked a one hour circular route, which took us to the top of the falls and round to the Princes and Fletcher lookouts, for even better views of the huge falls. Continue reading

Sydney

We spent a total of 5 days exploring Sydney, with our friends James and Kat kindly agreeing to host us for the entire time in their flat in Newtown. This meant we even had a few nights out of the van for the first time in over a month! With lots of other friends to meet up with as well it was quite a different experience to the other cities we have visited.

Our excitement to visit Sydney was tempered by the awful weather forecast in the week leading up to our arrival. With reports of over a months worth of rain expected in just a few days we weren’t sure what to expect. However we arrived on Thursday afternoon to glorious sunshine, and immediately got started on the main tourist attractions. Arriving into the Circular Quay station, we were immediately greeted by the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

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Canberra – A day in the capital

We took time out of our journey along the coast of New South Wales, to make a day trip to the Australian capital city of Canberra. The city is located in the Australian Capital Territory, and is an 150km drive inland from the coast, through the Great Dividing Range mountains.

The purpose built capital is considerably smaller than the countries more popular cities, and is never high on any list of where to go in Australia. However it is increasing in popularity, and we decided it would be well worth a day exploring.

We started by driving to the Mount Ainslie lookout. It was a perfectly clear morning and the views across the south of the city were great, with the Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin dominating the view.

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It was interesting to read how the location for the capital was decided as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the competition to design the city, which was won by the American architects, Walter and Marion Griffin, in 1911. Continue reading

The south coast of New South Wales

We spent several days travelling north through New South Wales, as we made our way towards Sydney. As with the rest of our journey there was plenty to see along the way.

Our first stop was in the Ben Boyd National Park, where we walked the short Pinnacles trail. This 2km loop provided a lookout to the Pinnacles formation, where erosion has uncovered layers of bright white and orange rock in the cliffs.

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