48 Hours in Sydney

Backpackers, holiday makers and adventure seekers have been heading down under for years. With some of the most iconic sights in the world on offer, no trip to Australia would be complete without seeing Sydney. Even if you’re just passing through at the beginning of your East coast road trip, you have to spend at least 48 hours in Sydney!

Check out this awesome itinerary for your three days in the Harbour City.

Day 1 – PM – YOUR 48 HOURS IN SYDNEY BEGINS

You’ve arrived in Sydney, it’s time to go and explore the city! The best way to do this is on one of the ‘I’m Free’ City Sightseeing walking tours. They start at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm and leave from Town Hall Square. Just look for the guides in bright green t-shirts. The tours last between two and a half to three hours and are a gold mine of history, culture and a bit of comedy (depending on the guide).

48 hours in Sydney - walking tour

The tour finishes in an area of Sydney called the Rocks. This is one of my favourite parts of the city as it contains so much history. If there’s time, pop into the little Rocks museum which is really interesting. I’m Free do also run walking tours of the Rocks starting at 6 pm, so if you’re up for more walking, go on this too. Alternatively, just sit back and enjoy the evening at one of the Rocks many bars or restaurants.

Day 2 – am

48 hours in Sydney - BridgeGet up nice and early for a morning stroll across one of the world’s most recognised icons, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you’ve got the stomach (and the wallet) for it you can climb the bridge for fantastic views of the city, but as you’ve only got 48 hours in Sydney this time, just walk across it.

When you reach the other side, head underneath the bridge to Luna Park. Luna Park is a small amusement park dating back to 1935 which is now listed on the State Heritage Register. It’s super interesting reading the various sign boards and learning about the park’s history. It’s free to enter and look but it costs to go on the rides. Why not grab a doughnut or an ice cream?48 hours in Sydney - Luna Park entrance

Either walk back across the bridge, or if you’re feeling lazy or tired, jump on the train back to Circular Quay. It’s time to visit Sydney’s most famous landmark, the Opera House. You can book on to a walking tour, however we have heard mixed reviews. For us just walking around the outside and getting up close is enough. It looks so different from a few centimeters away!

Next stop is the Royal Botannic Gardens; visited by over 3.5m people per year this is a great place for some chilled out relaxation. Jump on the choo-choo express train for a scenic tour with live commentary. Watch out for some exotically coloured birds or even flying foxes!

day 2 – pm

48 hours in Sydney - Coogee BeachOnce you’ve found some food to re-energise yourself, jump on a train/bus down to Coogee. Coogee beach is lovely and a great place for a swim, surf or snorkel. It’s also the starting point for a brilliant coastal walk all the way up to Bondi Beach. Spread over six km, it offers stunning views and takes in four additional beaches. There are playgrounds for kids, sculptures for the art lover and plenty of water sports on offer at each of the beaches along the way. Spend your afternoon enjoying the best the Sydney coastline has to offer.48 hours in Sydney - Darling Harbour

Put your glad rags on and head to Darling Harbour for the evening. This area is choc-a-bloc with fine dining and bars, perfect for a Saturday evening. Enjoy a wonderful meal and knock back some cocktails whilst looking out over the water.

day 3 – AM – 48 HOURS IN SYDNEY IS AT AN END

If your final day is a Sunday then count yourself lucky. All day travel on the buses, trains and ferries is just AUD$2.50! So make the most of it and jump on the ferry to Manly from Circular Quay. You get awesome views of the harbour without the price tag of a private tour. When you arrive in Manly one option is to plonk yourself down on Manly beach and soak up some sun. However, that would mean missing out on everything else on offer. As water babies our recommendation is to put on a mask and fins and so some snorkelling  in Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve at Shelly Beach.

48 hours in Sydney - Opera House

When you return on the ferry you’ll be greeted by spectacular views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

so much more…

There is so much more to do that we couldn’t fit in and I would recommend staying for longer than 48 hours in Sydney. There’s Centennial Park for picnics, museums and shopping malls galore and the Westfield Tower. If you’re one for aerial views and don’t mind paying for it, take a trip up the tower for views across the city.

Have you been to Sydney? How long did you stay for and what did you get up to? Are there any ‘must-do’s’ we have missed? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Australian Road Trip | Sydney to Brisbane

Australia is full of world famous cities (think Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Cairns etc). It’s also chocka with lesser known towns that are pretty up there on the awesomeness scale. Today we’ll be looking at the super exciting portion of the east coast of Australia; from Sydney to Brisbane.

This is the second part of a three part adventure, taking you all the way from hipster Melbourne to tropical Cairns. Check out part one and part three below;

Melbourne to Sydney | Brisbane to Cairns

Sydney to Brisbane

Sydney

Home of the iconic bridge and the Opera House, Sydney is a must on any Australian itinerary. If you watch this space, there will be a link to a brand spanking new blog post about the best way to spend a weekend in Sydney.

Blue Mountains

Sydney to Brisbane - Katoomba Waterfall

Only an hour away from Sydney, the Blue Mountains feels a world away from the cosmopolitan city. There are hiking trails and waterfalls galore, so you can spend a few hours or a whole week exploring the beautiful scenery.

Katoomba is the biggest town in the range, with of a population of just over 8,000 people. It’s also the most touristy part, with busloads shipped in daily to see the famous Three Sisters and the (in our opinion) overpriced Scenic World.

Newcastle

A laid back city three hours up the coast from Sydney, Newcastle is known for its surfing. Novices may find the surfing conditions a little bit taxing, but there are also a bunch of seaside attractions that make a couple of days up here nice before heading inland.

Definitely seek out Bogey Hole, hewn out of the rock by slaves on the order of the Commandant of Newcastle in 1820. It is now open to the public, for free, and it’s spectacular to be showered by sea foam while splashing about in the water.

Hunter Valley
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If you are a fan of wine, cheese or chocolate, the Hunter Valley is the place to go! Known as the fancypants place for Sydney-siders to spend the weekend; it is a tiny bit expensive. Still, if you know where to go, you can get casually sozzled for less than a tenner.

The most perplexing part about visiting the Hunter Valley is that you’ll need to find someone to be designated driver, or pay for one of the many, many minibus tours.

Tamworth
Sydney to Brisbane - Giant Golden Guitar

At some point you will suddenly notice that Australia has a slight obsession with ‘Big Things‘. One of the first we came across was the giant guitar at Tamworth – home of Australian country music (which is an actual thing, who knew?).

Tamworth is an otherwise sleepy town, but almost every bar is filled with a country and western singer every night. If you happen be in the area in January, there is the Tamworth Music Festival. The roads are closed and buskers compete in the streets to attract the crowds of people who travel from all over the world to be at the festival.

Yamba

Hands up if you have ever heard of Yamba? Well, a gold star to you if you have. It’s an untouristy place to hang out on the beaches with the locals or show off your athleticism with just how great you are at watersports. There’s also a little museum if you’re feeling like your brain cells are dying with all this sun and salt-water.

Top thing to do in Yamba though – is eat a giant plate of fish and chips.

Big Banana
Sydney to Brisbane - Big Banana

Yup, it’s another ‘Big Thing’. This one a whole amusement complex has grown up around. This is a great spot to stop for some banana milkshake and a banana split as it is right next to the highway. It’s only really worth sticking around longer if you have younger kids with you as all the attactions are a bit more geared up to them. Sadly.

Byron Bay
Sydney to Brisbane - Byron Bay

If I chose a place to live in Australia, it would be Byron Bay. As well as the pristine beaches and crappy learner surfer friendly sea, it sports a wonderfully undeveloped town centre. There are more independent shops than you could shake a stick at! Although, frankly, I’m not sure why you’d do that.

To top that all off, there is a gorgeous walk to the Byron Bay lighthouse which is practically on top of the most easterly place on mainland Australia. This is also a great place to do some turtle spotting or whale watching at the right times of year.

Surfer’s Paradise

Surfer’s Paradise is a little like Byron Bay’s cousin who wanted to be cool, but took it too far and ended up selling out. The surfing conditions are good, and the beaches are glorious – like much of the Gold Coast. But apart from that, there’s not a lot except some crumbly holiday apartments and too many topless guys running along the seafront with their tank tops tucked into their shorts.

But if (a) you like that kind of thing, or (b) it’s on your to-do list and you have to cross that baby off, then it’s a ice enough place to hang out on the beach during the days and party during the nights.

Brisbane

Sydney to Brisbane - Brisbane Sign

Congratulations on making it all the way from Sydney to Brisbane! It was a long drive and I bet you have spent a butt-load on fuel for your car. But I have some great news – there is lots to do in Brisbane for free! So go out there, have some fun, and spend time chilling out in the sunshine.Plus, stay tuned for part three!

Melbourne to Sydney | Brisbane to Cairns

Have you road tripped in Australia? Did we miss anything out? Let us know in the comments below!!

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Australia quirks

It’s time for another instalment of our ‘Quirks of…’ series. This time we’re looking at the weird and wonderful aspects of the land down under – Australia Quirks.

Australia was somewhere I had wanted to visit since I was little. It was a magical places, so far away filled with strange animals and places I’d heard about on travel programs. In actual fact it is a strange mix of England and America with a little something extra (I supposed you’d call it Australian) thrown in. Continue reading

Australian Road Trip | Melbourne to Sydney

The route we took from Melbourne to Sydney was a whopping 1,200 km! That’s further than the South Coast of England to the North Coast of Scotland. That’s further than the drive from Nashville to Toronto. It is such a long drive, but there is just so many cool things to experience along the way.

Welcome to the first part of a mini-series of one of the greatest and most common road trips to take across Australia. In this first part, I’ll share about the beautiful drive from Melbourne to Sydney via Canberra. The next two parts will magically appear as links here once they are published – sometime in the next week.

Sydney to Brisbane | Brisbane to Cairns

We hugged the coast from Melbourne before turning inland to visit Canberra not long after the Victoria/NSW border. From there, the plan was to head back towards the coast and make it to Sydney stopping in Wollongong on the way.

The infernal car started playing up around then, so we never made it to Wollongong, which I am bitterly disappointed about. It’s definitely on the wish list for next time we’re in the area.

Yarragon

Yarragon is an adorable little town, building itself up around the tourism provided by both the Princes’ Highway (which you’ll be driving on) and the railway that runs right through. The railway station is over 100 years old, which might not seem old to those of us in the UK, but is pretty impressive nontheless. There are shops to stroll around, and the chippie does some amazing tasting chips. They come in huge portions and traditionally wrapped in paper.

Yarragon

Old Gippstown Heritage Park

Just down the road from Yarragon is a museum showcasing a collection of buildings from the 1840s to 1930s, which have been transported here from all over the state for preservation. There’s also information about the history of the fledgling state of Victoria and loads of different activities throughout the year.

Mallacoota

Marking almost exactly the halfway point between Melbourne and Sydney, Mallacoota is a sweet little town on the water, that explodes with tourists at Christmas and Easter. Most of what there is to do here is heavily water based, but there are so many, you could do a different activity every day of the week!

Eden

Eden was actually named after a British secretary for the Colonies, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was named after the biblical garden. The views of the surrounding ocean are breathtaking. Eden draws thousands of tourists every year for the bi-annual migration of whales. The most famous of Eden’s whales, Old Tom, has had the honour of having his skeleton hung in the Killer Whale Museum (which may or may not be your cup of tea).

Eden

Snowy Mountains Highway

This highway winds its way from the coast road all the way up to Canberra. Despite the capital being in an area called the flatlands, there is a stonking great hill in the way! How much you love this scenic drive will depend on your attitude to driving constantly in first gear, being as speedy as a tortoise and occasionally having to stop to put snow chains on your tires.

It’s ultimately a much funner drive than some of the more arduous, straight highways. And with the highest point at almost 300m higher than Uluru, you’re in for some spectacular views.

Canberra

Canberra is often missed out by travellers who bunny hop from Melbourne to Sydney. It’s perceived as a boring government centre with nothing much else going for it. The truth is not massively far from that. But if you have a spare day or two, it’s a lovely place to go for a walk around the huge man-made lake, visiting all the museums or exploring the markets at the old bus depot.

Canberra

Wollongong

If you don’t have a crappy car that is in danger of spluttering to a stop and using up three times as much petrol as it should do, I would absolutely recommend going to Wollongong. (It’s only been two months, and I can hold a grudge for years, so don’t think you won’t hear about the blasted car again!)

It’s a perfectly picturesque place, with something to do for anyone no matter what it is that you like doing. Even if you’re not on a road trip, it’s a great place to visit on a day trip or weekend getaway from Sydney.

Sydney

Congratulations on finally making it to Sydney!! Covering the city in a paragraph would be pretty much impossible. Stay tuned for another nifty link here to check out our top tips for how to cover Sydney in 48 hours. Or visit our favourite veggie joint in the whole of Australia.

You could visit a million places on and not far from this route, and still not have seen everything. There really is an excess of things to do and see; you are completely spoilt by the beauty in this part of the world.

Have you road tripped in Australia? What was your favourite bit? Do you have any tips for how to make a road trip great? Let us know in the comments below!

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TL;DR February

As we mark the end of another month (February), we sadly have to wave a fond farewell to being full time travellers. The pull of the English way of life, storms and logical traffic laws were just too much to ignore!

Don’t worry, we’ll still be writing about our travel adventures on here, both some from last year you haven’t heard about yet, and some more that we’ll have across the UK and Europe.

February - TLDR Continue reading

Least favourite things about travelling for 350 days

Our amazing adventure of traversing the globe for a whole year is almost at an end. As our previous post indicated we have been on the road for over 350 days. We’ve seen loads of different countries, witnessed awesome spectacles, eaten exotic food and met some brilliant people. But it hasn’t all been roses and kittens; On request from one our readers here are some of our least favourite things about travelling for 350 days.

least favourite things about travelling - sad C & D

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Travel experiences – our favourites after 350 days on the road

It’s almost over; our year long round the world trip is almost over *wipes tear from eye*. That means we’ve been on the road over 350 days, That’s 350 days of travel experiences. (Not all of them favourable, but our next post will talk about that).

We’re sad that it’s over, but happy to be going back to the UK and seeing friends and family. It means we can share our travel experiences with them in person over a beer. This will be our last ‘favourite things’ post for this trip and possibly ever. So make sure you check out the previous posts and see our favourite things from our whole year of travelling:-

300 Days | 150 Days | 100 Days | 50 Days

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