7 days, 6 nights
After seeing a lot of beautiful beaches, it was great to experience something completely different - the amazing Blue Mountains in Katoomba, a very quirky village which had a very European feel.
We headed to Echo Point first to see the dramatic scenery of the Three Sisters sandstone rock formation. There are so many different walking tracks which are recommended. We walked down the Grand Stairway - hand-carved stone steps giving access to the valley below Wentworth Falls. Walking through sections of the track on the side of the cliff, we passed many beautiful lookouts of Jamison Valley and Wentworth Falls.
Travel: Port Macquarie to Blue Mountain 4 hour 40 mins. (Option to stop off at New Castle on the way which is roughly half way - we just wanted to get to Sydney!).
THIRTY-FIVE to FOURTY-FIVE
At the end of this trip, we spent just under two weeks in Sydney, where Tommy was living for 7 months. But if you have more time you mustttt go to Melbourne as I have heard nothing but amazing things about that City (another reason for me to come back)!
We were based in Manly which was by far my favourite place in Sydney - just a 20-30minute boat from Sydney City Central. This week and a half was a great time to purely relax after all our active travels and make the most of the layed-back holiday vibe. Manly has such an active feel as everyone is undoubtedly up by 6am running along the seafront, swimming in the sea or playing volleyball on the beach. It is surrounded by so many organic, rustic, beachy cafes and restaurants so make sure you have time to give them all a try!
We completed many of the go-to walks: Coogee to Bondi Walk (4.3k), Manly to Spit Walk (10k), as well as Manly to North Head (4k). We headed to Palm Beach (about an hour bus from Manly) and walked up to the lighthouse which offered stunning beach views.
If you are in Sydney for New Years Day, you MUST get tickets for Field Day Festival - the best festival of the year in Sydney City.
We spent a couple days in Sydney Central before I departed. Make sure you go to China Town and Haymarket to immerse yourself within the Asian culture and guarantee yourself some flavoursome dishes. Walk around the Botanical Gardens, Darling Harbour and of course the Sydney Opera House. You can walk up the Sydney Harbour Bridge but unfortunately it was too wet and rainy for us.
Travel: Blue Mountains to Sydney 1hour.
Eating: (mostly Manly Based)
- Boathouse, Shelly Beach. $$-$$$. Rustic/posh beachy cafe. Stunning interior and presentation. A must go.
- Manly Wine $$-$$$. chic all-day cafe with beachfront views of Manly main beach.
- Girdlers. $$-$$$. Delicious breakfast dishes from eggs to pancakes to smoothie bowls. The lunch menu is also divine serving colourful nutritious superfood salad bowls.
- Rollers. $$. Great coffee and so many pastry choices, sweet and savoury. You can't go wrong.
- Dolche. $$. Build your own salads. Such great big portions filled with goodness.
- Lal Quila - Darling Harbour. $$-$$$. Indian, with delicious, authentic tender chicken curries. The Tandorri chicken as a starter is definitely a recommendation.
- Peanut Butter Jelly. $$-$$$. The charred cauliflower, peanut butter chicken skewers and curry arancini balls for starters are a winner. The whisky cocktail is amazing, with peanut butter in too!
- Watsons Bay Hotel, Watsons Bay. $$-$$$. Bar looking out onto the seafront. Live music, jazzy saxophone vibes.
As Tom lived there for 7 months, we didn't need accommodation. However, Air BnB is recommended in Manly as you're able to get some very nice places, especially if you want to get out of the hostel life/cramped hot camper!
When we went to the Sydney City Centre, we stayed at Meriton Suites, Campell Street which was a rather posh hotel, very central to everything! I booked this very last minute on booking.com for an apartment room for $300 for 2 nights (£150) - this was our treat for the end of our trip, and for the location and the area, pretty damn cheap!
Other recommended hotels:
Ovolo Woolloomooloo $$-$$$
Old Clare $$$
Thank you Tommy for making this trip happen and for creating such incredible memories. All good things must come to an end, but good things happen again. Until our next adventure... X