SYDNEY and NSW road trip
G’Day Sport…. This Morning we arrived in Sydney, capital of New South Wales, where will be spending 3 days in the City before Picking up a Mini Camper for a 7 day Mini road trip to try to cram in as much of NSW as we can …
We arrived in Sydney in the pouring rain with 2 very tired and hungry little girls… so we made a first Stop at Mc Donald’s and got our first warning of how expensive Australia was going to be!! With the Girls bellies full they both fell asleep on the baggage carte and we set about getting organized, buying Local Sim cards arranging transport to our Hotel etc…
HOW MUCH!!!! was quickly becoming my catch phrase as we blew our daily budget before even stepping out of the airport … oh well its only money, lets get this party started
We opted for a Private minibus transfers into the heart of the city, which cost us about 10 dollars more than the train but go us right to the door which was a bonus considering the weather and the jet lagged kids… We had reserved a few nights at The Grand Hotel in downtown Sydney which was within walking distance of the rocks and all the main atractions and a perfect base for us.
Sydney we love you!!! what a beautiful clean and vibrant city, we had been expecting a very busy and congested city, so it was a pleasant surprise to find the streets relatively calm as we set of to explore the harbor and Botanical gardens.
On the harbor we had the Nice surprise of seeing the “Queen Mary II”, built in Saint-Nazaire, (next to our home town in France, and an important ship for the locals) She was the Worlds Largest ship when she was built and is still one of the most beautiful cruise ships ever to be built..
We were excited to see Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera house, so an early morning walk along the quay was a perfect start to the day. from the opera house we walked to the Botanical Gardens where we spent a few ours exploring the gardens while Sev worried about being attacked by killer Snakes,Spiders,Crocodiles and kickboxing Kangaroos, but it turned out that Australia is not as Dangerous as we She had expected ;-)…. the rest of the day was spent exploring the city and planning the following days activities toped of with a nighttime stroll to see the Harbor at night in all its splendor.
For our 2nd Day we visited Taronga Zoo, just the boat ride to get across the bay was wonderful and gives a great view of the “Harbor Bridge”, the Opera, and the Sydney skyline with its skyscrapers and iconic Sydney Tower… the Zoo is well laid out and has a great selection of Animals, and gave us our first and only glimpse of Koalas.
One of the advantages of living in Sydney is that only a few kms away are beautiful preserved and protected natural parks, the flora is exotic with its forests of Eucalyptus and tree ferns and the flora delighted the Girls with kangaroos, eagles, wombats and possums.
Nous voici à Sydney, capitale de New South Wales, avec 3 jours pour la découvrir puis une semaine pour aller s’aventurer en camper-van aux alentours côté cote et côté Nature…
Nous avons été enchantés par notre séjour.. un peu court cependant mais porte-feuille oblige… Ce bout de l’Australie recueille pleins de richesses, Sydney est une ville jeune, très vivante, accueillante et très propre, avec de belles architectures modernes et anciennes et les alentours nous ont souvent bluffés tant par les paysages si différents d’un coin à l’autre que par la générosité de la faune. Les gens sont naturellement chaleureux et de bonne humeur.
A Sydney, nous craignions la foule, mais que nenni, la ville est très fluide!
Sur le port nous avons eu l’heureuse surprise de voir accosté le “Queen Mary II”, construit à Saint-Nazaire, mémorable! L’Opéra parait tout petit à côté! Et juste derrière celui-ci, la ballade dans le jardin botanique est très reposante. Et le quartier historique de l’époque coloniale “The Rocks” a gardé son authenticité tout en restant moderne.
Notre excursion au Zoo de Taronga a été géniale, et rien que le fait de prendre le bateau pour s’y rendre et sortir de la baie donne un super coup d’oeil sur le “Harbour Bridge”, l’Opéra, la Tour de Sydney et les buildings en arrière-plan.
Un des avantages d’habiter à Sydney est qu’à quelques kms seulement se trouvent de magnifiques parcs naturels très bien protégés et préservés, la flore y est dépaysante avec ses forêts d’Eucalyptus et ses fougères arborescentes et la flore a fait le bonheur des filles avec les kangourous, les aigles et les wombats, mais pas vu de koala sauf au Zoo de Sydney…..
Camper van Road Trip
For The Rest of our Stay we had booked a Mini Camper From Jucy Campers. this was to b our first experience of Van Life and we were all very exited about getting on the road.
We had Planned to Spend the next 7 days on a Mini road trip using free and paid campsites (both are impeccably clean!) using the iPhone app Campmate with its off line maps its a great way to find freedom campsites on the road.
Day 1. Sydney direction south coast to Wollongong via “Grand Pacific drive”, a Starting in the Royal National Park, less than an hour south of Sydney’s CBD, the Grand Pacific Drive is a 140 kilometre scenic coastal drive taking you through rainforests, over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and through the coastal cities and townships of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven.
for our first night we decided to stop at Coledale Camping reserve, a payed campsite where you can park up a few meters from the beach, its popular with surfers and was ideal for a first stop over while got our heads around Van life.
The next day we continued our Trip down the Grand Pacific drive visiting Shellharbour, Kiama and Sholehaven but the weather wasn’t with us and we decided to head inland and drive upto the blue mountains via Kangaroo Valley where spent the night in a freedom camp site surrounded by bush with plenty of Kangaroos and wombats to keep the girls happy
The Next morning we set of towards Katoomba with a stop off at Belmore Falls, This is an easy walk of about 2km through native bush and with beautiful views of the falls and surrounding areas, unfortunately for us we were still being hounded by the bad weather and the falls where almost invisible in the the mist.. we only got a few fleeting glances as the mist cleared for a few seconds before whiting out again. none the less it was still a nice walk and the mist added a touch of adventure to it all.
The drive to the Blue mountains was spectacular and the views of the 3 sisters from Eco point at Katoomba didn’t disappoint, so we set up camp at a paid site across from Katoomba Fall, the site gave us access to the hiking tracks and federal pass in the valley
Mount Wilson (fern Cathedral ) we spent a wonderful night in a very peaceful and deserted Freedom campsite at Fern Cathedral the campsite was very basic but had access to a couple of great bush walks with Giant eucalyptus and beautiful Tree ferns,
Mount Tomah (Botanical Garden, also called “Tomah” in arborigenous language means tree fern) is well worth a visit with a beautifully laid out gardens and a great section of natural bush and rain forest to explore very beautiful and wild.
Richmond, was more of a “way back to Sydney” rather than a destination, the area has a lot of history as it was one of the first places settled by europeans, who farmed and mined the area. its also the site of a large Military Airbase, all in all there was very little to get exited about. we had originally planed to camp at Cattai National Park which promised bush walks and plenty of wildlife, but to our disappointment it was closed for renovations so we opted for the only option nearby which turned out to be a rather run down and grubby paid site where we settled in for a BBQ and a beer while the kids dug up the abandoned volleyball court.
The Next day we set off with no real idea where we would spend our last night, we wanted to be local to Sydney airport ready for the camper return the next day but not in the city or built up area, so we settled on a RNP campground in Bundeena which offered us Bush,mangroves, and nice beach all within an hour of the airport, the kids had a great time exploring the marshes and mangroves and that night under a full moon we had the pleasure of watching a herd of deer tip toe through the bay and disappear into the mangroves… one of the most beautiful things we have ever seen!
Notre circuit en camper-van en utilisant les camping gratuits et payants (les deux sont d’une propreté irréprochable!):
- Sydney direction cote sud jusqu’à Wollongong (Route “Grand Pacific drive”, unique mais moins chouette sous la pluie.. par contre pour les amoureux de surf c’est pleins de spots! )
- Remontée par la “Kangaroo valley” jusqu’à Kattomba (très beau, on se croyait dans le Yorkshire anglais)
- Blue Mountain: Katoomba (3 sisters), Mont Wilson (Cathedral fern), Mont Tomah (Jardin Botanique, d’ailleurs “Tomah” en langage arborigène signifie fougère arborescente). C’est la partie qui nous a touchée le plus tellement c’est beau et sauvage.
- Près de Richmond, moins joli à notre goût..
- Retour vers l’aéroport, dans un camping sympa à Bundeena (mangrove, jolie plage et petit bonus qui nous a été offert: passage d’un troupeau de biches dans la mangrove devant nous!)