After arriving in Sydney, I started to get settled for my time there. Most of the weekdays were spent at the office, so I won’t bore you with those details, but I did manage to get up to some adventures on the weekend.
Hiking in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains lie to the west of the city, about a 2 hour ride by train from the central station. It actually a pretty easy train ride and I ended up going out and back twice in the same weekend. There are many stations you can get off at and go for a hike; I stopped at Katoomba and Wentworth Falls.
Katoomba is a “major” station and very popular for hiking. There is also a decent town where you can grab some food or a coffee. This is also the site of the Three Sisters, a popular attraction which is visible without any “serious” hiking. Wentworth Falls is just before Katoomba and requires a bit more effort in order to reach some of the hiking trails, but it’s well worth it and less busy than some of the nearby trails.
Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley
If you head north from Sydney for about 2.5 hours, you’ll come to Newcastle. If you take a left, you’ll eventually come to an area known as the Hunter Valley, famous for wine. There are day trips that leave from Sydney, but for many reasons, those didn’t end up working out. Instead, I took the train to Newcastle and caught a more local tour from there. This did require taking a very early train out of Sydney, but it was worth it as we stopped at 4 different wineries and even saw some ‘roos!
If you head south from the city to the last stop on the train you’ll reach Kiama. It’s a neat small town, whose claim to fame is the Kiama Blowhole. It’s a natural rock formation where waves rush into a carved out cavern in the rock and then burst through a whole in the top! I wasn’t there at quite the right time (the tide was a little low), but I did get to see a few jets shoot up. There are also some nice walking trails in the area if you’re up for a bit of a hike 🙂
When I was not off exploring the surrounding areas, I did manage to check out some of the neighbourhoods closer to town. I went out to Manly, Bondi Beach, CBD, Newtown (check out my full post of all the yummy food I found on Vegan Travel), and Taronga Zoo. I went to the zoo on the suggestion of pretty much everyone I met, and I was very disappointed. With the number of animals they have there, I was expecting a huge expansive area more along the lines of a sanctuary; sadly the habitats are tiny and it takes about 10 minutes to walk from one end of the zoo to the other. In addition, they have a seal show where they do tricks for an audience, very SeaWorld. I left feeling heartbroken. I would really not recommend going. The only thing I enjoyed about the area was that you got a great view of the city and bridge. I unfortunately didn’t to the harbour bridge climb, so I guess I’ll just have to go back.
But overall I enjoyed my time in Sydney and would love to explore more of the country soon!