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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

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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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