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2023 New South Wales - AU (Part 2)

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The second part of our Australia trip, we first spend a few days in Sydney and afterwards rented a campervan to drive up north to Noosa in Queensland.

Camping is a popular way to visit Australia as it gives you the flexibility not having to book to far ahead. Except for the weekends in popular places, we were always able to make a reservation by phone or online with 1 day notice.

We have rented with Juicy as they allowed different pickup and drop off points. While  driving the campervan was without any issues, we have to say that all the rest was really far below expectation and not comparable with  minimum standards when renting a campervan in Europe.

As we are used to travel by bicycle and sleep in a tent, this certainly did not spoil the trip.

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Sydney Cove

Sydne Cove is a bay on the southern shore of Sydney harbour in between the Sydney Harbour bridge and the Sydney Opera house. In 1788, a convoy of British ships arrived here to establish the first European settlement in Australia.

Now, it's a significant cultural and commercial hub with restaurants and shops. From Circular quay, ferries are departing to various destinations around Sydney harbour.

We stayed at the Sydney Harbour Youth Hostel which is located in "The Rocks" suburb. The Rocks is one of Sydneys oldest areas with cobbled streets, historic buildings and a lively atmosphere. This is where convicts arrived in the early days of colonial times.

From the YHA's roof terras, you have a nice view over the harbour and the opera house.

From The Rocks, it's just a short stroll to the Sydney harbour bridge. While climbing the bridge is a well known (and expensive) tourist attraction, the local tourist office recommended us to just walk over the bridge as it gives you the same feeling and views over Sydney harbour.

For drinks or food, just walk up the stairs at the Mercantile Hotel and enjoy the view from the roof terras. Be in time or make reservations as it is a popular spot. You may also want to check beforehand if a huge cruiseship will not be blocking the view. The Tourist office can tell you.

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Sydney Opera House

For the view of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour bridge together, you can walk to Mrs Macquaries point at the  Royal Botanic Gardens, or you can jump on the ferry to Manly beach  at Circular Quay.

While the Opera house on most photos looks like 1 huge building, it's in fact 3 separate constructions with a total of 14 shells. I also looks totally different from different sides.

Inside are 7 performance venues and in 2007, it became a UNESCO World heritage site.

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Manly & Bondi beach

The world's first surfing contest was held at Manly in 1964, making it one of Australia's most famous beaches. The beach is about 2 km's long and the perfect place for beach games.

A ferry leaves every half hour to Manly from Circular quay and just costs you a few Euro's. Pay by swiping your credit card.

While Manly beach is known as having a relaxed vibe, the most famous beach is certainly Bondi beach, which attracts more party people and is also one of the most expensive beach holiday places in Australia.

 

Ocean pools like the Bondi Icebergs Pool are quite typical in Australia, especially in coastal areas where there are strong waves and currents.

From Circular quay, it will take about 45 minutes by bus to Bondi.

We did the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk which is about 6 kilometrs and goes along the cliffs.

From Cogee, you take again a bus with one stopover to Circular Quay.

Near the midway point of the Bondi To Cogee walk is the Waverley Cemetery. It's probably one of the most scenic cemeteries in Australia, situated on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

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Shopping in Newtown

We very seldomly plan ahead what we will be doing. Usually, we look it up on the internet or ask locals. We will always check out if there are interesting places  for strolling around, have something nice to eat, interesting shops etc...

For Sydney, the Newtown neighbourhood, located 4 kilometers southwest of the Sydney CBD, fits the bill perfectly.

The area is known for it's diverse community, alternative fashion outlets and vintage stores.

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The Blue Mountains

The blue mountains are about 100 km's from Sydney and are a must visit for nature lovers. For us, this was our first leg with the campervan and we stayed in Katoomba, just 5 minutes walking from the Three Sisters, a rock formation of three towering sandstone peaks (Photo above and herebelow at 5 AM). 

The blue mountains are also easily visited by train from Sydney.

The area gets its name from the blue haze that hangs over the landscape, caused by the scattering of sunlight through the eucalyptus trees.

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Tomaree National park

Tomaree National Park is a coastal reserve near Port Stephens, about two and a half hours drive north of Sydney.

Just before reaching the National Park, you are passing Stockton beach which is the longest sand dune system in Australia, with dunes reaching heights up to 30 meters.

The main attraction at Tomaree NP is the Tomaree Head Summit walk. It's a short hike with well maintained tracks and stairs leading to the summit, where you have stunning views of the surrounding beaches and the coastline.

Our campingspot for the night was at the Island Leisure village near the border of Tilligerry Creek

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Crowdy National Park

About 350 km north of Sydney is the Crowdy National Park. In most National parks, there are camping spots and we stayed at the Diamond head campsite. First place for us where kangaroos in the wild were just grazing or relaxing just a meter away from you.

Early in the morning, we hiked the Diamond head loop track offering spectacular views.