Scenic drives near Sydney

Mar 6th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Scenic drives near Sydney

We are visiting my daughter in Sydney, arriving on Easter Sun. early AM and will have access to a car. She will have 2 days off so my thought was to get out of the city each day and to some scenic traveling, yet basing ourselves out of northern Sydney. We will have a total of 13 days in Sydney for exploring the city. We love exploring and can handle long days. Suggestions, tx, jb
jbstrig is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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There are a whole host of possible drives -- in fact, there is at least one book (probably half a dozen) on the subject, and it would be hard to know where to start! However, just for openers, may I give you one piece of advice which sprang out of the page at me when I read your post: for Easter Monday and Tuesday, stay right there in Sydney, and don't schedule any of your drives. The roads at the end of holiday weekends are packed, there's a lot of waiting time, including in all the pleasant little eateries on the way, and you will wish you'd left the car at home.

After that, well, the sky's the limit. One trip I really think you would like would be the Euroka - Katoomba - Mount Victoria - Mount Wilson - Richmond - Windsor trip. If you can spare a night away from home, you could add Jenolan Caves to that circuit. This is a nice trip at any time of the year, but in early April Mt Wilson is at its absolute best, quite a unique little village with trees that, in the autumn, are a riot of reds and oranges. There's simply nowhere else like it, but the tourist coaches, not wishing to tackle the narrow winding road for the last couple of kilometres, always bypass it.

Plan you day so that you get to Euroka Clearing (at Glenbrook, an hour's drive west of Sydney) quite early in the morning (all the traffic will be going the OTHER way, so you'll move fast along the very non-scenic M4 expressway), when you will probably be lucky enough to sit down for breakfast surrounded by wild kangaroos, and not a tourist bus in sight (they start rolling in around 10 a.m., and, predictably, the roos start rolling out at about the same time). You can get some hot bread from the bakery at Glenbrook Village and sit there on the grass, with roos and white cockatoos and pink galahs, and, if you're really lucky, the occasional goanna (no koalas, however!). This is not a zoo.... these animals are all wild, but not unused to the presence of nearby humans, especailly quiet ones. Once again, the Easter weekend is not the time to do this trip, as you will share the grounds with a hundred family tents, and the animals will have gone into hiding.

Since Katoomba is worth a half-day (easy!) on its own, you'd probably be wise to conclude your first day at Mount Victoria (15 minutes west of Katoomba), and drive on to Jenolan first thing the next morning (arrive there no later than 9 a.m.). There's another half-day to be spent at the Caves (see the Orient Cave!), and then you could drive back the way you came, but at Mount Victoria, head for Mt Wilson (a further fifteen minutes on a "new" road), where you could have afternoon tea at the little tea shop there. Then drive back to Sydney via Bells Line of Road, which is the "alternate" route to the highway you came out on, and takes in the old Macquarie towns of Richmond and Windsor.

If you want still more trips, I guess I'd be doing the south coast and Canberra. There's a great place to stay at a little town caleed Roberston, off the beaten path: it's called Ranelagh House. An ex-grand hotel, then ex-monastery, and then ex-hospital, and now back to being a hotel again. Canberra is great, and much under-appreciated by tourists, who think that, because it's not sun and surf, it's somehow not Australia. But there's a lot to see in the nation's capital, and it's all centrally-located so that, with a car, you can see it in two days. You can get to Canberra from Sydney in three hours by car pon a super-highway.... but the long way round, via the south coast, is far more scenic. Our local Canberra expert, Neil, will be along any minute now to tell you the tastiest route for this trip.

Enough from me. Other people can tell you about the north coast, which I don't like nearly as much as the south coast, and the Hunter Valley, which is okay if you want to visit vineyards. Maybe you could even go out west and see some of the old gold towns.. now that's the REAL Australia!

You have some fine opportunities ahead of you, with all that time and a car with a driver to boot. Have a great time!
Alan is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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I must agree with Alan's advice - stay off the roads at Easter - especially if you are not used to driving on the left. Easter Monday will probably be a parking station in any direction leading back into Sydney. If you must get out at thios time - use the trains.

If yopu feel you must drive, and are starting from the north of Sydney - consider the Ku-Ring-gai national park area - around Mona Vale, or Bobbin Head, near Turramurra - all very pretty, reasonably easy driving.

Or you could head to Wisemans Ferry, St Albans, Windsor, etc - the traffic shouldn't be too bad.

Under no circumstances let yourself be seduced by the Pacific Highway north out of Sydney over the holiday period.
margo_oz is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 05:05 PM
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Thank you so much for that information, it really helped. We will take you advise and not travel that weekend. I just booked a tour to the Blue Mts and another to Hunter Valley via a small personal van company, right after Easter. I like your itinerary and will borrow the car to head in that direction after the holiday. My map is not as detailed as your instructions, so will pick up a driving map, though I see Katoomba. Can you tell me if the Berry area is worth traveling to? Is there a lot to see off the Princess Highway? tx,jb
jbstrig is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 05:11 PM
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Alan-Just read your reply to zoeuk and I will also take your advise on seeing Sydney your way. tx jb
jbstrig is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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Well, I wouldn't make Berry the focus of my trip - but then, I'm down that way about once a month anyway, and lots of people love it.

Berry is a cutesy little town, with a heap of cute shops selling overpriced cute knick-knacks and cottagey stuff. There's a squillion cute coffee shops. (cute features a lot in descriptions of Berry) Outside Berry, there are some fabulous beaches, almost deserted. There are fishing towns - my favourite is Greenwell Point, (south of Nowra, the next big town after Berry) - there is absolutely nothing to do there, but watch the pelicans and buy some fresh fish and/or oysters, and relax.

Inland from Berry, there are some nice drives through the mountains, and a couple of national parks. Some of those mountain passes are a bit hairy (read narrow and very wind-y) though - especially if you're not used to driving on the left. The last time we came down Macquarie Pass, cloud moved in and we lost all visibility in a matter of minutes - it became cold and dank and quite scary - a bit of a problem as we were in a convertible, and there wasn't enough visibility to pull off the road and put the lid up. On my next trip longer than 2 days down that way, I plan to do some walking out of Barren Grounds, a bird sanctuary.

You could do this on the Easter weekend, although the trip back to Sydney will be at a standstill from Kiama - perhaps best to make the return trip on the Tuesday or Wednesday.
margo_oz is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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We love adventure think we will pass on the Berry area, too many other spots to see. I have 2 travel books and am doing a lot on the internet. My daughter is currently working in Canberra and will just be transferred to Sydney 2 days before our arrival, so won't be familiar with area. (This is just a short working stint). I have got so much info on this sight to plan for Brisbane and Melborne and now am hoping for Sydney and Cairns. The time is soon approaching and I like to have have a plan. She will be working so we will be on our own for a few days and need advice on day travel.(no overnight). Easter Sun&Mon in and around Sydney, Wed, Hunter Mt.- Thurs Blue Mtns, than back again on April 18th and 19th. Looking for a tour to the Katoomba area. tx,jb
jbstrig is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 10:58 PM
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I think that if you only have the use of a car for a short while and your daughter is new to Sydney then I would have to agree with Margo_oz about the Ku-Ring-gai national park area. Find a decent map and I would suggest going to Commodore Heights which gives a great view of looking down on Palm Beach and Pittwater and up the coast. Also there is a vistors centre nearby where you can walk around and see wallaby's, emu's, & other birds etc in relatively natural surroundings (emu's are in a paddock), I think its free with a donation box and very few visitors, certainly when I've been there.

With a car you could also go to the Heads at Manly, I say this as Manly is easy to get to normally without a car but to make it to the Heads in a car is a way lot easier and the view is great.

I second Alan's suggestion of Canberra but if your daughter's just moved from there it may not be high on her to do list but you could always go yourself by train. I think the National War Memorial is great although I'm not sure Queen Lizzie will be too impressed by her sculpture!

Geordie is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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If you're basing yourself out of the North side of Sydney, then the Hawkesbury River area is a must. You may want to just move there of course. There area a number of different drives you can do around there. Wiseman's Ferry is a great drive, as is West Head in the Kuringai National Park and other areas through that park. Coal and Candle Creek. Akuna Bay. Cottage Point. Fantastic places.

I can thoroughly endorse Alan's suggestion re the Blue Mountains trip, especially coming back via the Bell's Line.

Another spectacular drive is via Bowral down through Macquarie Pass, spending some time in Kangaroo Valley. Wonderful views.

Have a great trip!
guykb is offline  

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