Choosing Sydney as my base in Australia is by far the most righteous decision that I made. Some might not agree but I have strong argument on why Sydney is a great city to live in. Yes, Sydney is a metropolitan city. It is busy, dynamic, just like another big cities. You can find any good restaurants, Asian, Italian, French, cool cafes for brunch, nice shopping area, crazy nightlife, and many more. If CBD is too busy for you, don’t worry. Sydney has many nice suburbs to live and many more places around Sydney are fun to travel.
Great beaches? Absolutely. East coast beaches are unbeatable. Nice waves, good vibes, girls on bikini, sixpack (ups!). I mean, this is what you’re looking for right? Sydney is also surrounded by some national parks which offer impressive walking tracks. On top of that, it’s super easy and cheap traveling around Sydney. Sydney transportation from train, bus, and ferry connect all areas very well. Using opal card, you get huge benefit traveling on Sunday. The maximum fare you’ll spend for the WHOLE DAY is $2.5, no matter how far you go. Here are 15 lists of cool places that I’ve been to around Sydney:
Bondi deserves to be one of the best and the most popular beach in Sydney. It take only 30 minutes from the city which makes it preferred by everyone. The built-in track for the walk from Bondi to Coogee extends 6 kms winding along the coast overlooking the ocean on one side will simply take your breath away. There’s 6 beaches around, my favorites are Bronte and Tamarama. I’m a frequent walkers of this track and always astonished by the beauty, especially the view near Waverly Cemetery and Bondi Iceberg Pools.
Train T4 Central (Eastern Suburb Platform 24)-Bondi Junction + Bus 333/380-Bondi Beach
Bus 404 Central Stand B-Bronte Beach
Bus 374 Central Stand C-Coogee Beach
Rugged tablelands, sheer valleys, towering cliffs, Blue mountains is just mind blowing as it is. Head to the vantage point to view panoramic view of Three Sisters. Some walks are easy enough to follow, one of them is Prince Henry Cliff Walk. Read more about Blue Mountains here.
Train Central (Blue Mountains Line Platform 7) – Katoomba + Bus 686 – Echo Point
Still in Blue Mountains area, Wentworth Falls is a good option for more challenging walk. The loop takes about 4-5 hour passing through some waterfalls, good valley view and dense rainforest. The walk is quite difficult with steep steps, so wear your shoes and bring enough water.
Train Central (Blue Mountains Line Platform 7) – Wentworth Falls
From the name itself, it sounds unique. La Perouse was named after a French navigator who landed on the northern shore of Botany Bay. The island on the head is called Bare Island. There are good beaches around such as Little Congwong Beach. I’ve seen alot of divers around this site, it was considered as one of NSW’s best diving site.
Bus 374 Central Stand C – Flinders St Near South Dowling St + Bus 399 – La Perouse
Bus 393 Central Stand C – Anzac Pde Near Robertson Rd + Bus 399 – La Perouse
Moving up to the north, one of my favorite beach is Palm Beach. It’s more relaxing and quiet compares to the south beaches. The seabed is extensive, and there’s a walk up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse and the view up there is amazing. You can get into the lighthouse with guided tour for $5 and learn more about the history of this area.
Train Central (T1 Platform 16) – Wynyard + Bus L90 – Palm Beach
Spit Bridge-Manly Walk
Spit Bridge to Manly is another interesting coastal walk to do. Slightly different from Bondi-Coogee, the walk cuts through bushland and passes the harbour side. It’s a little bit confusing to find the start of the walk in Spit Bridge but locals will direct you. It takes 3-4 hours to complete the walk. Get yourself an ice cream in Manly after you finish the walk.
Train Cental (T1 Platform 16) – Wynyard + Bus 178/179 Carrington St Stand C – Spit Road Nr Parriwi Rd
Ferry Manly – Circular Quay + Train (T2 Platform 1) – Central
Adding up my beach collection, Wollongong Beach is a nice stopover on the way to Kiama. You have to walk 2 kms from the downtown to get to the beach. The beach has barbecue areas and other picnic facilities. Wollongong is famous for tandem skydive.
Train Central (South Coast Line Platform 14) – Wollongong
Kiama Blowhole is a natural cavern on a seaside cliff that will splash water out in certain sea condition. The water can reach up to 25 meters high. Many people are curious to see this natural phenomenon. You need to be patient though and wait until the water erupts. Once the water comes out you’ll feel a big satisfaction.
Train Central (South Coast Line Platform 14) – Kiama
Figure Eight Pool
As soon I found out about this place, I was determined to visit there no matter what. The name itself has explained the meaning. It’s a natural eight-shaped pool located in Royal National Park. This pool is only accessible during low tide so check the tide before you go. Fastest way to get here is by car. The track starts from Garrawarra Farm carpark and takes only 3 hours return. That was my first attempt but unfortunately the tide was high so we couldn’t see the pool.
My second attempt was from Otford Station. The track was much harder, it took me 6 hours to do the circuit, nevertheless the view was spectacular. Follow the track to Burning Palms Beach. From the beach, walk down towards the boulders and rocky area. Extra careful on this area cause it’s a bit slippery and sharp. In the end you’ll find many pools on the rock and one of them is Figure Eight Pool. I wasn’t that lucky cause it was really busy at that time so I had to line up to get good picture with the pool. If I zoom out this picture, you’ll see legs surrounded me. Don’t go too far to the edge, the waves can sweep you anytime. There was an incident before when a big tide suddenly strike and many are injured, be careful.
Train Central (South Coast Line Platform 25) – Otford
Train Central (South Coast Line Platform 17) – Helensburgh + Train (Platform 2) – Otford
Wedding Cake Rock
Another highlight of Royal National Park is Wedding Cake Rock. It is made of distinctive white sandstone and due to natural event there’s a crack and very fragile. Fence are now installed for safety but still some people jump over just to take a picture without considering the risk. The walk is fairly easy. You will pass unique white rock formation, feels like in outerspace. The best part of this walk is Marley Head. You’ll be in a point where you can see this wide view of milky waves rolling to the shore and it’s just over the top. One of the best experience that I had.
Train Central (Eastern Suburbs Line Platform 25) – Cronulla + Ferry -Bundeena
This is the only place that I went without public transportation, by a car that I rented. Hunter Valley is more like a holiday countryside where you can see vineyards and sample the wine. Great for chilling and spending time with family. On our way back we made quick stop in Newcastle, then unexpectedly found amazing stops, Budgewoi Beach and Lake Macquarie.
Auburn Botanic Gardens
Located 20 kms west of the city, Auburn Botanic Gardens has a captivating charm and it’s suitable for a short trip from Sydney. The garden is designed similar to a Japanese Garden. There’s a greenish pond in the middle of the garden and you can see a swarm of ducks playing around. The best time to visit is during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival where you’ll be entertained with cultural Japanese performances and of course, blossomed cherry trees.
Train Central (T1 Platform 18 or T2 Platform 19) – Auburn
Plenty of wild kangaroos in Australia but hardly can be found in the city. If you wanna meet them just head to Morisset Park. The kangaroos are friendly, you can feed them and take selfie with them!
Train Central (Newcastle Line Platform 9) – Morisset
Cronulla might be my least favorite beach but still worth a try. The surrounding is pretty chill with shops and cafes. The beach is a bit too crowded for me, suits family more. Still, it’s nice to take a dip in a hot sunny day like this!
Train Central (Eastern Suburbs Line Platform 25) – Cronulla
I went to Maroubra and had barbecue with my friends. It’s my first barbecue experience in Sydney that’s why I was so excited! You can use the barbecue area for free around the park. The beach is just 5 minutes away, it’s stunning. Two thumbs up for Maroubra!
Bus 376/395 Central Stand C – Maroubra Beach
I used Central Station as my starting point because it’s the main hub of the trains, buses, and trams in Sydney. Most of the places above takes around 1-2 hours to travel by public transportation.
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