Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day Trips around Sydney

Finally, here's the last set of photos from my Sydney travel series. These consist of the day trips we took, which were about 2-3 hours away from the city.

We chose to go to Blue Mountains, inscribed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO, on our own rather than book a tour which would have set us back about $100 per person. Here we saw the Three Sisters, which are sandstone rock formations that are one of the best-known attractions in the region.

We just took a 2-hour train to Katoomba and then walked all the way to Echo Point, which is the lookout area. The walk is quite far though, about 45 minutes (some areas with steep slopes!). But you can take a taxi from the train station if you don't feel like walking.

Once we got to the lookout though, we were greeted by spectacular views. I swear, the pictures don't do justice to the actual beauty of the mountains.

This was actually not part of our original itinerary. But when my friend took a day-off from work, we wanted to go somewhere she hadn't been to before. Good thing we came across this place online and decided to go for it. This was probably my favorite part of our entire trip!

Again, we just relied on public transportation. We took a 1-hour train to Cronulla, then a 30-minute ferry to Bundeena, which is where Royal National Park is. We were completely lost when we arrived there though, we had no idea where to go! I guess its not really a popular tourist destination since there weren't even signs leading the way. We ended up walking through this subdivision (with really big houses) and we just kept asking random people along the way where was the coastal walk.

After walking and walking, and wanting to give up already, we finally reached our destination. And it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! Look at these views! What was amazing is we had the whole place to ourselves. And what was funny is we were so unprepared for this trek that we didn't even have any water with us haha! We should have also worn rubber shoes! But I'm just so thankful we were able to see and experience this place. It really makes you appreciate the beauty of nature. =)

This was the only tour we booked since it would be impossible to go around here without a car. We booked   Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tours at $100 per person (lunch not included in the package, we just bought our own food at the restaurant). We were picked up at a hotel near our place at 7:30am then it was about a 2.5 hour drive to get to Hunter Valley. We were a total of 10 people in a Mercedes Benz van.

We visited 5 wineries and we were all pretty buzzed before lunch! We tasted and drank so much wine, the $100 was really sulit haha! The time we went wasn't the best season to visit Hunter Valley since it was winter, so none of those lush vineyards I was picturing from that Keanu Reeves movie "A Walk in the Clouds". But it was still very beautiful and picturesque.

We also visited the popular Smelly Cheese Shop for some cheese tasting, which smelled and tasted really, really good!

Last part of the trip was chocolate tasting and some shopping. Then we headed home and was back in the city by 6:00 pm.

All in all, my trip to Sydney will probably be one of my most unforgettable since I got to spend it with Vins and my good friends. Definitely, I cannot wait to go back with the kids and also visit other cities like Melbourne and Gold Coast so we can all experience it together. =)

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