Map of Sydney Area Sydney Port Stephens Ku Ring Gai Hunter Valley Blue Mountians Jenolan Bundeena Waterfall Otford
Around Sydney
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Sydney


Sydney Opera House Sydney is a modern city, heavily influenced by its colonial past. It is also however, one of the most multicultural cities on earth, and it is possible to find Chinese, Japanese and Korean scripts on different shop fronts and a very wide selection of restaurants. The quality of food, as a rule, here is very high, and there are many good restaurants, although I am yet to find truly fresh sushi (by Sapporo standards). Mostly the weather is sunny although the past summer has been rather hot, with it topping out at about 43 degrees. The focal point of the city is the water front where the opera house and Harbour Bridge are located. I lived in the suburb of North Sydney, 15 minutes walk from the harbour bridge, which is mostly a business area, but close to the city and very nice to live in. The picture shows the opera house during the vivid colours festival, where colours and patterns are projected onto the building, this is one of my favourite festivals in Sydney. The CBD is located in this area and then the sprawling conurbations of the modern metropolises continue out for several miles. However, Sydney is almost completely surrounded by national parks and it takes very little time to get to places completely devoid of human influence that offer much good walking.


Ku Ring Gai


Wondabyne Ku Ring Gai is a large national park area just north of Sydney. There are many areas to walk and rivers to kayak and sail on. The first place here i visited is Wondabyne, which is mostly renowned for being one of the shortest train station platforms in Australia, although the word renowned is possible an over statement. There is nothing here except a river and the start of a bush walk, which is of course why we went. The walk had several nice views but rather too much pushing through bush land, and the cave at the walks furthest extent is nothing to write home about unless you were writing about the possible miss use of the word cave. The highlight of the trip was no doubt the hailing of the train to stop at the station upon out return.

Berowra Berowra is very close to Sydney but is situated near several good walks. As appears to be the norm when I go walking the weather started nice but as soon as we made it into the country side a thunder storm rolled in and sat on top of us. After some waiting we got bored and carried on. The paths on this walk were quite well maintained and the river and marsh land gave nice views. There were leeches at times, which seem to be quite common. Due to the variation in habitats there are quite a few birds including whipbirds which make a very distinctive sound, as the name may suggest.








Hunter Valley

The Hunter valley is situated to the north of Sydney and is famous for its wine. There are many small vineyards and it is customary to take a tour bus which provides transport around a number of them. Some are very small family businesses while others are bigger labels, and each will give you about 6 samples of their products, so it is possible to experience a wide spectrum of wines over the day long tour. The Hunter valley is also very picturesque and green, getting much more rain than surrounding areas, so is nice to go walking in.





Blue Mountians


Wentworth Wentworth is located in the Blue Mountains near the much more famous Three Sisters at Katoomba . Wentworth falls are, however, the most spectacular thing I have yet seen in New South Wales. The river crashes down well over 100 meters (187m in 3 tires if you must know), and the walk drops steeply down metal staircases first down to some pools at the midway point and then all the way to the valley floor. These are quite hard going and we were lucky enough to get caught in a thunder storm as we started the assent. These storms are common around the Blue Mountains and pass quickly. There are also several small waterfalls on the lead in but these were filled with naked Australians at the time of visiting.








Jenolan

Jenolan Caves Jenolan is just the other side of the Blue Mountains to Sydney and is famous for the large complex of caves. It is very much a tourist destination, although the access is through lots of winding roads, but is done to a high standard. There are lots of different caves, although they are quite expensive. The highlight of the main tour is the cathedral chamber, which is quite spectacular. The lighting within the cave is very well done and the tour winds though many tunnels and areas.








Bundeena


Bundeena Bundeena is just to the south of Sydney and has some great cliffs as well as a wide river. The walking near the ferry terminus is rather slow going as one must hack through the undergrowth, however, further away from the town there are walkways and the rocky cliff tops allow easy hiking. The cliff have a range of interesting rocks, ranging from a type of gritty stone that falls apart when touched to odd white stone that looks like cheese. There are also massive boulders that have fallen into the sea as very regular cubes. Inland the paths are very sandy, probably due to the sandstone, making progress slow but I would recommend the area for a day out.









Bundeena It is also possible to hire kayaks off the beach at Bundeena and explore the surrounding area. This includes some mangroves as well as some small creaks as well as the more open river and, if we had had more time, the open sea just beyond.














Waterfall


Waterfall Waterfall is a rather misleading name for this place. While there is a little water in the area we didn't find any in the process of falling. It perhaps did not help that we arrived on a day that the temperature hit around the 40 degrees, and coupled with modest supplies of water and rather tough going it was not the most enjoyable trail. I feel it is not one of the most popular routes as the path often disappears completely and this lead to some excitement when we completely lost the small trail on a remote hillside and had to spend an hour hacking up and down the hill to find it again. After this we turned around and went back to find a shop to buy lot of liquid and have not returned since. The lesson to be learned here is probably not to go bush walking at the height of summer, something I was later explained by a few Australians after I recounted this story.


Otford


Otford Otford is a really great place. Situated on the coast south of Sydney we probably chose one of the best days to come here. It was late spring and the sun was bright in a perfect blue sky shining down on a shimmering blue sea. The walk follows the cliffs through forests and leads down to an isolated beach. The way is mostly easy going although leeches are present, as Gemma discovered when we stopped at the beach and removed our shoes. It is possible, if pushed, to walk all the way back to Bundeena in a day from here, although taking the train is a some what easier option. The main attraction down a the beach is the figure of eight pools which have been carved out of the rocks. Unfortunately, it was high tie when we arrived so the pools were not visible, although similar ones can be seen at other places along the coast.


Port Stephens


Port Stephens Port Stephens is a few hours north of Sydney and is an area with amazing sandy beaches. The sea is very calm as it is protected by headlands on all sides and this makes it home to large numbers of fish and dolphins, in fact on our first evening as we walked along the beach we saw some dolphins only meters from the water edge. The following day we took a dolphin watching trip out into the bay and then took a walk along the beautiful white sands. At one point when swimming in the sea we were engulfed by thousands of small fish shoaling around the bay. These were being hunted by larger fish that kept jumping right out of the sea. We finished the day at sunset point to watch a beautiful sunset.