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Category Archives:Sydney

Wet’n’Wild Sydney Review – Balancing fun and relaxation

Wet’n’Wild has been a mainstay in the Gold Coast for a long time now so when one opened in Sydney it was only a matter of time until we visited. That time came on a hot weekend in November and we were lucky to have a perfect, sunny day of about 28 degrees (Celsius).

First Impressions of Wet’n’Wild Sydney

My first impression of the park was that it wasn’t as big as I was expecting. At most theme parks you need a map to find anything and plan your day accordingly. At Wet’n’Wild Sydney this is not the case and although this sounds like a negative, it works in their favour because it is big enough to house plenty of slides and activities to keep you entertained for an entire day, but small enough that you don’t need to make any plan, you just float wherever you feel like going next – sometimes literally.

The extreme rides at Wet n wild Sydney

My second impression was that there were not many people there. This might be because it is pretty early season but I didn’t ask too many questions because I could park right near the gate and I walked straight on to just about every slide I wanted to without queueing. I imagine as school holidays hits in December this will be a completely different story.

Overview of the Park – what is there?

Wet’n’Wild Sydney centres around an enormous man-made beach with the largest sun umbrellas I’ve ever seen. This beach borders an even bigger pool, which creates artificial waves, simulating a real beach.

Wave pool at Wet n Wild Sydney

The park has 4 slide towers with anywhere from 2 to 6 different slides on each. Each tower and slide has a varying level of speed and adrenaline so all levels of thrill-seeker are catered for, from the complete wuss/small child to the adrenaline junkie.

There is a lazy river, part of Dinosaur Lagoon, which is fun and somewhat relaxing to float around in rings. In fact, and I don’t know if you’re allowed to do this, but the lazy river would be great to actually have floating armchairs or blow up animals to float around in.

And just imagine if the park was BYO. Floating around the lazy river with a beer. Now that’s an idea for a theme park.

Um…where was I?

I’m not really sure why the lazy river area is dinosaur themed, but it actually works well as something extra to take your attention. The kids will love pressing the buttons to make the dinosaurs move and it’s pretty cool seeing a life-size (I imagine) Diplodocus overlook the pool.

Diplodicus overlooking Boomerang Bay at Wet n Wild Sydney

There is a kids play area called Nickelodeon Beach, with a few appearances by Spongebob, Patrick and Sandy, and a giant bucket that fills with water and crashes down every few minutes.

Lastly, there are also a couple of pay-to-play rides that are not included in the entry ticket. One is what must be the biggest swing in the world (at 75 metres), and another is the Surf Deck, an artificial surfing wave. Both are $25.

Nickelodeon Beach crashing giant bucket of water

For the Kids

As I mentioned there is a fairly large kids area with fountains, larger-than-life-size Spongebob characters, as well as kid-sized tube rides that parents can take their kids on. Probably not enough to entertain young kids all day, but in saying that I don’t think it’s supposed to.

Spongebob and Pals at Nickelodeon Beach Wet n Wild Sydney

For the Thrill-seekers

I’ll be honest. Before coming to Wet n Wild I was expecting most of the rides to be reasonably tame. Fun, but not adrenaline pumping.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were in fact a number of rides that fed my roller coaster habit.

The 360 Rush was my favourite ride. It was short, but thankfully there was no line so I just walked on. It starts on the same platform at the H2Go Racer slides, they strap a board to your back and you hop in to this clear chute, upright, not dissimilar to something you’d be cryogenically frozen in.

They count you down and the floor drops from beneath you and you free fall and are shot through the tube at phenomenal speed. It’s over before you know it, your heart is racing, and you can’t wait to do it again.

The H2Go Racers at Wet n Wild Sydney
The 360 Rush are the 2 pipes on either side of the main, colourful slides

The Bombora is another for the thrill-seekers. On a raft seating 4, it takes you through a few turns before dipping down a steep slide and up an almost vertical wall before finishing. Quick, but your stomach will drop.

There are more but I will keep it at that for now.

Punters sliding vertically up the Bombora Slide
The Bombora

The Food Options

I didn’t actually buy any food there – I brought my own because I was expecting theme park prices. I was correct to do so because I did have a wander through the food vendors.

To give you an idea of prices, you can get a small pizza for about $13, and 4 burgers for $50 (didn’t see the individual price). This didn’t include drinks. So yeah, not cheap. Sneak in your own sandwiches, fruit and snacks like I did.

They also have their own cafe with a selection of coffees, wraps, cakes, ice cream and other delights you would find in your local cafe. I didn’t buy anything there buy it was done up well with blackboards and wicker chairs. It would be a good place to sit out of the sun while your kids go off and do rides.

Bottom of the slides at Wet n wild Sydney

What I loved about Wet’n’Wild Sydney

The park is not huge so you don’t need to do a lot of walking like you might at a typical theme park, and yet there is still plenty of action to keep you entertained for a whole day.

The beach is huge, as is the wave pool. There are sun recliners on the beach but I have a feeling on a busy school holiday weekend these would fill up very fast. The wave pool is very novel, and would be especially cool to play in for those that don’t live near a beach. I do live near the beach and it’s still impressive. It just gives the whole area an authentic beachy vibe.

Wet n Wild Beach Sydney umbrellas

The rides are genuine, ear-to-ear laughing, fun. Even for those craving thrills like myself, the more tame slides are very enjoyable, and the fast rides are even better. There’s something for everyone here.

What I didn’t love

You can’t take your GoPro on the slides. This was a real bummer, as I was really looking forward to testing out my new gear with some really unique vision. I asked why and they stated vague safety reasons. I can somewhat respect that so I didn’t try to sneak it on later, despite what the voice on my other shoulder was telling me. But…

You can’t even take you GoPro in the lazy river. This I didn’t understand, nor did I respect, nor was I given a reason. So I did get some pretty cool vision floating around the river when the lifeguards weren’t looking.

Luke in the Wet n Wild Sydney lazy river

Parking and lockers were extra. You come to expect this from theme parks but it still sucks. Especially when the car park is a purpose-built for the park and will not be used by anyone other than visitors. Just include it in the price or not at all!

Some rides need a minimum of 2. This is not great if you are in a party of 2, and half your party doesn’t want to do a particular ride. This happened to me on a few of the more hairy rides. By chance there happened to be some other poor sod who was denied because he didn’t have a partner as I was getting on another ride at the top. I mentioned to him that I’m looking for a partnet and would go with him because Kynie wasn’t keen. I raced back up and walked straight on with him.

Tyrannasaurus at Dinosaur Lagoon, Wet n Wild Sydney

Best tips for visiting Wet’n’Wild Sydney

Go with a small group. I had great fun with Kynie at the park but with more people there are more chances that you’ll have a partner to do some of those rides with you. I missed out on doing what looked to be some really cool rides so next time I’d go with a bigger crew.

Sneak in your own food. This wasn’t at all difficult. I opened up a single zip of my bag to the one security guard at the door, he took a peek, asked if I had any cans or glass (which I didn’t), and that was it. Probably saved us at least $40 in food, drinks and snacks throughout the day.

Go outside of school holidays. Holidays are peak, peak time and if you ignore this, expect a crowded beach and long queues. I guess this is not dissimilar to other theme parks, and if that’s unavoidable then so be it. But if at all possible go in the early or late season like I did (I went early November).

If you go in low season, I probably wouldn’t bother with the Cabanas. They aren’t huge (well some are bigger than others), and the chairs don’t look as relaxing as the deck chairs on the beach. But, in the high season when the entire park is packed, the cabanas could genuinely provide some much-needed respite as you seek some private shelter away from crowds and the sun.

Cabanas at Wet n Wild Sydney

Overall…

Just go. Wet’n’Wild was fun for me as part of a couple, but I would have had just as much fun in a small group, large group or family. They have catered for all demographics really well and if you pick a day with low crowds, by lunchtime you’ll have worn yourself ragged from all the stairs you’ve climbed, which will be a perfect excuse to laze about on the beach.

Kynie and I were hosted by Wet’n’Wild Sydney, but all opinions and recommendations are 100% my own.

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Wet n Wild Beach Sydney - the biggest beach umbrellas I've ever seen Wet n Wild Sydney Slide Pool


Sydney Harbour YHA: More than an incredible view

There are not many accommodation options in Sydney that are well located in the city and can accommodate both the dorm-loving backpacker and those looking for a bit more privacy. Sydney Harbour YHA is one of few that does, and does it well.

The hostel is very new, modern, clean, and well-run. It is perfectly places to explore the city and there is plenty of nightlife (and day life) just around the corner. I spent a single night at the hostel during the opening night of Vivid Sydney Festival of Light. The only problem was I only had one night!

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Get Incredible Views of Any City Without Paying a Tourist Tax

You’ve seen it before. Every city you visit there’s a big, obvious, pretentious, touristy tower with an observation deck just waiting to take your touristy money. And you want to give it to them right? Because you want that birdseye view of the city. You might just want an overview to put things in their place, or you might be incredibly autistic and want to put a map together in your head using your overview of the roads you can see from high up (the view from the plane window didn’t quite do the job).

In any event, it is your mission to get as high as possible – and not like last time you visited your grandparents in Colorado either.

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4 Day Sydney Itinerary – Exploring Sydney’s Local Culture

4 day itinerary sydney

The nature of travel is to explore new places and create your own story by finding unique and individual experiences. Sydney is such a diverse city that one could spend a week there and not run out of things to do.

The big sights will take maybe 2 days, after which you might be left wondering what next? This Sydney itinerary will help you cut through the noise and show you how to explore Sydney’s local culture: the neighbourhoods most guidebooks don’t get around to, the secret beaches only the locals frequent and more, then read on my friend.

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How to avoid the tourists and experience the real Sydney

Clovelly Beach

Sydney is Australia’s most popular tourist destination and being the gateway to this dusty brown country is the most accessible. It is with good reason that it is so highly visited though with such incredible sights as the Harbour Bridmge, Opera House, and well, the harbour itself.

But what do you do when you’re done? How do you experience the real Sydney?

Well. The answer lies within the neighbourhoods. I have read the big name travel guides for Sydney, and even taken various groups of foreign friends around Sydney and we did not even set foot in the neighbourhoods (except for the one we were lucky enough to house sit in). But it is these suburbs adjacent to the CBD where you get to experience the true culture of Sydney and see how the locals live.

Once you get the big sights like the above-mentioned, Manly, Bondi out of the way here are few suggestions on how to ‘escape the hordes’.

Surry Hills

Most big cities will have a Chinatown, some a Koreatown, and even others might even have a Little Italy. Well Surry Hills is like Sydney’s Little Melbourne. Or Melbournetown. Whichever you prefer.

Hipster cafes roasting their own beans, boutique beer pubs, and trendy, underground cocktail bars abound in this off-kilter suburb that seems as dedicated to the foodie and coffee cultures as Melbourne.

Many of the best places are signless and hidden, and exploring is a great way to get a feel for the area in terms of backstreet cafes, but also to take in the beautiful town houses. Best to keep your eye out for some street art as well, it is as sporadic as it is impressive.

Surry Hills Street Grafitti Art

Alexandria

Alexandria is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance at the moment. Historically it is known as an industrial wasteland, with no reason to go there unless to work at an unexciting job. However, places like the Grounds of Alexandria and their little brother The Potting Shed are injecting some much needed alternative style with their unique garden set cafe and restaurant.

The locals are only just beginning to cotton on to Alexandria’s resurgence so you can bet that the tourists haven’t even given it a thought.

Grounds of Alexandria, sydney NSW
Grounds of Alexandria, Sydney

The Northern Beaches

If you are wanting to experience the true culture of a day at an Aussie beach and don’t want to battle with the crowds of Bondi again, head out to Dee Why and French’s Forest. Granted, they aren’t the easiest to get to without a car, but they can be fairly easily reached by bus from Manly, as they are the next beaches north.

On a hot day they can still be kept reasonably busy by the locals, but surprisingly, unlike many Australian coastal cities, Sydneysiders frequent their beaches much less than other coastal cities. My guess is that being so big, it is still a lot of effort to reach unless you live right by it.

Got time for a quick pin? This is actually Clovelly Beach, not far Gordon’s Bay (below)

Experience the real sydney. This is Clovelly, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Not many tourists get out here but it is beautiful. By @backstreetnomad.

Newtown

Ten minutes south-west of the city is Newtown, essentially one long road exploding with cool cafes, boutique shops, plenty of bars and more variety of ethnic cuisines than you can poke a stick at.

Popular with the trendy locals but still fairly well hidden from the Lonely Planet traveller. In fact, Lonely Planet gives this incredible suburb a measly one paragraph in it’s Sydney chapter of the Australia guide book – a travesty to say the least.

Worth at least half a day Newtown is a perfect neighbourhood to explore and find one of the many, many places to eat, drink and shop.

Newtown Sydney Australia

Waverton

Just a few stops north of the bridge is the sleepy suburb of Waverton. Explore Balls Head Park on foot while taking in the spectacular views of the Harbour and the Bridge.

The park is very typical of Australian flora and you can also discover caves and an Aboriginal waterhole. I’m not actually sure what makes it Aboriginal – perhaps indigenous Australians, having lived here before Europeans, named it after themselves.

Who knows? If you enjoy walking, catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Luna Park or McMahon’s Point and walk west to reach the reserve. When your exploration is complete, you can walk up Dogs Head Road (which turns into Bay Road) and have a snack/meal/coffee at the very cute Botanica garden cafe. Across the road is Waverton Station, where you can catch a train back to the city.

Sydney Skyline from Balls Head Reserve, Waverton. By Lenny K Photography via Flickr.
Sydney Skyline from Balls Head Reserve, Waverton. By Lenny K Photography via Flickr.

Gordon’s Bay

Another Alternative beach experience for you, Gordon’s Bay is less beach, and more large rocks to sit on. A bay (and a hill) around from Clovelly Beach, and about a half hour walk around from Bondi, you will be greeted by old dinghy boats pulled up on the shore and plenty of sunbathers on the rocks (is that some type of drink?).

Walk around to the right and pick your favourite spot on the rocks by the water. Bring a towel though because they can get hot.

Gordon's Bay Sydney Australia

Heading to Sydney soon? Then read this next: My 4 Day Sydney Itinerary article.

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