6 Big Sydney Day Tour Destinations

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

– Lao Tzu

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu emphasized the importance of taking that decisive action of moving towards the direction you want to go. However, where do you begin making that first step if you were in a camper van hired for a quick day tour in one of Australia’s largest and busiest metropolitan centres?

Sydney is a web work of roads, nature trails and bridges that intertwine with the vast expanse of ocean before it vanishes to infinity. A camper van hired for a quick day tour around the city is absolutely a daunting challenge. The city’s approximately 26.15 sqm of steel and concrete towers combined with parks and recreational areas make up the metropolitan region alone. It doesn’t cover the remainder of the city’s rugged nature trails, beaches, and national parks.

Let us help you take that decisive step by giving you a guide on where to go for a quick day tour of Sydney. Not only would you be able to tour some of the most spectacular sights in the city, you would also have a taste of what “the harbour city” has to offer to every traveller eager to make that first step towards a great holiday.

Big Sydney 6

Before even moving a muscle, you must remember that Sydney is a cluster of “regions.” The entire city is so rich in cultural diversity that each of these regions offer a different perspective of what Sydney is truly all about. To help you out, we searched for some of the best places for your day tour in 6 key areas just to get you started.

These locations are within the bay area and are accessible through the various public transportation available in the metropolis. The 6 “regions” are: the City of Sydney, Inner West, Northern Suburbs, Eastern Suburbs, Western Sydney and Southern Sydney.

City of Sydney

The City of Sydney is ideal for first time tourists. The community is right across the legendary Sydney Harbour where you can visit the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the picturesque Sydney Opera House. Both had adorned postage stamps and tourism posters since anyone could remember. Also, both of these man-made marvels could be visited by going on a leisurely stroll along Circular Quay.

"australia :: sydney :: circular quay” by hjjanisch available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hjjanisch/7312887462/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

"australia :: sydney :: circular quay” by hjjanisch available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hjjanisch/7312887462/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ BY hjjanisch

This area is where you can check out the city’s 1st central business district (CBD). While at the CBD, visit the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) where you can shop for jewellery and home wares. You can also try the line-up of cakes and pastries that are served in the cafés established in this iconic façade.

Speaking of shopping, why not visit Sydney’s Chinatown and Haymarket for an introduction to the Oriental palate? Immerse yourself to a parade of authentic Chinese delights as well as a showcase of gift shops that would absolutely inundate your senses.

"Sydney Chinatown” by Pablo Rodríguez available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/prodriguezmad/7756694684/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

"Sydney Chinatown” by Pablo Rodríguez available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/prodriguezmad/7756694684/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Pablo Rodríguez

Inner West

If you haven’t gotten your fill of the food choices sold at Sydney City’s restaurants, why not try some of those served in the Inner West? This area is all about food and shopping!

Shop around the fashionable streets of Oxford and William. Meanwhile, you can also check-out the second-hand shops at Balmain, Glebe, Leichhardt and Newtown. These streets are also filled with bookshops and cafés that would arouse any bibliophile’s interests.

Among the marketplaces founded in the area, Balmain’s could be one of the oldest, as it has been serving locals and tourists with fresh produce and tasty delicacies since the 1800’s. On the other hand, some of the shops focus on regional gourmet dishes, like Leichhardt, which serves mouthwatering Italian delicacies.

Northern Suburbs

The Northern Suburbs is where you’ll get your first treat of Australia’s wildlife. There are several places that exhibit the local flora and fauna in the continent as well as imported featured species from the African savannah and tropical forests around the world.

Taronga Zoo in Mosman is a perfect spot where family and friends can learn a thing or two about the estimated 4,000 species that have called this park their home. Apart from foreign wildlife, Taronga also hosts several endemic species like the well-loved koala.

If you’re more of a sea-loving chap, you can visit the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. Or you can also try your agility and strength in commanding the waves at popular beaches in the area, like Manly Beach and Palm Beach. It is also here in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs that you can visit the Northern Beaches for an afternoon of sea and surf.

Eastern Suburbs

The Eastern Suburbs is also about sand, sea and surf, with Bondi Beach serving as the cherry on top of this oceanic delight. Bondi boasts of a 6 km paved path known as the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, which features the thunderous sea juxtaposed the heavy immovable rocks to create an imagery that can only be described as breathtaking.

"Surfer at Bondi Beach” by Justin Otto at https://www.flickr.com/photos/8604504@N03/5664205924/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"Surfer at Bondi Beach” by Justin Otto at https://www.flickr.com/photos/8604504@N03/5664205924/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Justin Otto

There are also other attractions in the area, most of them beaches and parks where your family and friends can enjoy either a quick dip at the sea or a relaxing afternoon surrounded by nature’s calm. Meanwhile, Watsons Bay is the best place in the area where you can buy fresh, sweet and succulent seafood. It is also known as the oldest fishing village in the city.

Western Sydney

After getting a perfect tan at the fantastic beaches at the Eastern Suburbs, take a step back in time at the heritage sites in Parramatta located at Western Sydney. The Old Government House, which was built in 1799, is the jewel on the crown of Sydney’s 2nd central business district (CBD).

Still hungry for adventure? Well, there’s also something for sports enthusiasts. If you want to catch the latest game, check out the events scheduled at the Parramatta Stadium. Then, visit Campbelltown for their scenic bush walking trails that lead you to Georges River Nature Reserve.

After that, you can end your visit to Western Sydney with a feast at Cabramatta where they serve the best southeast Asian dishes in the city. After all, they aren’t called Sydney’s “Little Saigon” for nothing.

Southern Sydney

Southern Sydney is all about nature’s finest gallery of cliffs, nature trails, and coastlines that strum the chords most familiar to the heartstrings. This area is where you can find the Royal National Park as well as La Perouse Museum, which features the history of Southern Sydney. The museum was named in honour of French explorer Comte de la Perouse who came to the continent in 1788.

These are the 6 biggest tourist zones for a memorable day tour in Sydney. Although there are a lot of them, they are all very accessible through the major roads as well as public transportation that connect them to each other. Looking at the list, your itinerary options are definitely limitless.

It’s up to you which of these destinations you would like to cover. When you’re done deciding where to take that first brave step, why not turn on the ignition of that camper van you hired and start touring the gleaming beauty of Australia’s “harbour city” – Sydney? You know you want to.

We always love to hear from you! Which of the featured tourist destinations in Sydney would you visit next? Share your love and comments via Salamanda Travel’s Facebook and Twitter pages today!

Cultural Festivals in 2014 – Stay in a Campervan

There is no doubt that there are great opportunities to explore Australia’s nature and wildlife in a campervan. It is up to you whether you are going to dive in the Great Barrier Reef, pose for stunning pictures in front of Ayers Rock or be enchanted by the timeless beauty of Kakadu National Park.

But what about the cultural celebrations and music festivals that shape Australia’s character? There are numerous events throughout the country that are perfectly accessible by campervan – a must-see for young and old. Why go in a campervan? The answer is simple: use it as both transport and accommodation and stay at campgrounds wherever you go.

Take a look at our Australian culture and music festival compilation for 2014. You will find the highlights by month until the end of the year.

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May

Start your journey loud and loony in Darwin! The BASSINTHEGRASS festival will carry you off to the grounds of the Darwin Amphitheatre, a place where different musical tastes collide to create a unique atmosphere. Presented by the Northern Territory government, BASSINTHEGRASS is conducted in a safe and friendly environment. Souvenir caps instead of a conventional ticket and the provision of free bottled water which is available throughout the day is a cool innovation. This year’s line-up includes Allday, Karnivool, The Amity Affliction, Vance Joy and many more. Secure your camper for Saturday 24 May 2014 today, so nothing can go wrong!

BASSINTHEGRASS
Sat 24th May
Darwin, NT

June

Take off to another wicked festival in North Queensland. River Sessions returns to Mackay this June with another line-up chock full of Australian talent. An epic line-up featuring The Amity Affliction, Rufus, Art vs Science and oodles more will take to the Mackay Showgrounds.

You can plan your trip and hire a campervan in Brisbane one week before the event and head to north. You will drive through the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Visit Noosa, one of the top three beaches in the South Pacific. Drive along the famous Bruce Highway and stop in at Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, which is located only 3 hours from Brisbane by campervan. This heavenly place will charge you full of energy. Park your campervan at one of the campgrounds located next to the island, and take a day trip to Fraser Island.

River Sessions Festival
Saturday, 28th June 2014
Mackay, QLD

July

Don’t be afraid of winter. It’s going to be hot! July holds probably Australia’s most prominent music event. Of course it’s in the Sunshine State – where else? With over 170,000 likes on Facebook, Splendour In The Grass is an absolute must for every Indie, hip-hop and electronic music fan. Hiring a campervan in advance is certainly the best idea when planning to go insane on Friday 25 July 2014. With plenty of on-site camping, Splendour creates its own community for a weekend that is a heady mixture of coeval performing arts. From July 25 – 27 Splendour In The Grass returns with three massive days of sensational sounds from around the globe.
Book your campervan and reserve your tickets for this amazing festival! Here is all you have to know about camping on Splendour In The Grass.

Splendour In The Grass 2014
Friday 25 July 2014, 10:00am – Sunday 27 July 2014, 11:00pm
Yelgun, NSW

August

You can’t get enough of a good thing, but there are other festivals besides music festivals. If you want to take it easier, we have also got some cultural festivals for you. In case you have never been to the Northern Territory, The Darwin Festival is a must-do event for you. An 18-day feast of theatre, music, dance, cabaret and more in the beautiful tropical city of Darwin awaits you. Head to Darwin in August and catch a little of the northern Australian culture.

The festival was born out of the destruction and devastation caused by a natural disaster over 35 years ago. Don’t worry, this is the best time to go there – stay dry and avoid the hottest temperatures during the dry season. The 2014 Festival takes place from 7 to 24 August. Travel with your rental motorhome from Salamanda Travel across the tropical area of NT and experience the celebration of the town’s revival as well as the optimism of the locals.

Campgrounds are available next to the centre and the festival:

  • Hidden Valley Tourist Park
    25 Hidden Valley Rd, Berrimah NT 0828
  • KOA Caravan Park
    460 McMillans Rd, Marrara NT 0812
  • Discovery Holiday Parks – Darwin
    11 Farrell Crescent, Winnellie NT 0820

 

 

Darwin Festival
7 – 21 August 2014
Darwin, NT

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September

September will bring you closer to Asia’s arts and culture. With the OzAsia Festival, Adelaide celebrates Australia’s multicultural civilization and position within the Asia Pacific region. Experience traditions and rituals in theatre and dance, food and film through to arts and music. Be enchanted by the sensational Moon Lantern Festival at sunset. This highlight is a free community event that will impress.

Rent your campervan in Adelaide and plunge into the amazing colourfulness of the largest continent of the world, shaped by ancient traditions and customs. Discover the OzAsia Festival in your campervan and meet Australian artists who identify with an Asian heritage, as well as traditional artists from Asia. A diverse program of excellent shows for a broad range of tastes and budgets is on offer.

In your motorhome from Salamanda  you’ll be able to self-cater, and you’ll save money on accommodation. Moreover, there is the Adelaide Caravan Park right in the city, next to the Adelaide Zoo and the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. There is no better place to stay; it will take you no longer than 10 minutes to go to the city centre.

OzAsia Festival
5 – 21 September 2014
Adelaide, SA

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October

Let the summer begin with thunder! Be ready for the new #1 DJ in the world – Hardwell. During his I AM HARDWELL world tour he is coming to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney – in that order. This is a golden opportunity to listen to probably best electronic dance music this style of music has to offer. Be sure to purchase tickets as soon as possible!

Hardwell’s sounds will move you to a different dimension and the unique beats will stir your blood. While traveling to each corner of the world, Hardwell has found fans from all around the world and keeps on amazing them.

Satisfy yourself by planning a marvellous holiday with your rented campervan. You have all three opportunities– Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Brisbane: Pick-up a motorhome on Friday, 3rd October over the weekend and start with Hardwell’s upcoming performance. The capital of the Sunshine State offers you a lot of sights and entertainment. You can start travelling with your campervan around Brisbane on Saturday and visit popular places like the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Noosa and Fraser Island. Put the finishing touches to your unforgettable weekend on Sunday and pay a visit to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or head to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens or Mt Coot-ha.
Here are some campervan hire campgrounds and caravan parks:

Melbourne: If a visit to the most liveable city has always been your dream, now is the time. Combine your experiences by travelling in a campervan in and around Melbourne with peerlessly electronic tunes. Feel the dancing mood atmosphere all over Melbourne on Saturday, 4th October. Be inspired by the youthfulness and cosmopolitan nature of Victoria’s capital city.

Here are some campervan hire campgrounds and caravan parks:

  • Gladstone Park Motel
    196 Mickleham Road, Gladstone Park
    Phone: +61 3 9338 3533

Sydney: Hardwell’s last but not least I AM HARDWELL Australia tour destination is at the same time the biggest city Down Under. Many fans will make their way here and leave Sydney after the performance. But a much better idea is to hire a campervan and explore the region around Sydney – before or after Hardwell’s show on Sunday 5th October.
Here are some campervan hire campgrounds and caravan parks:

I AM HARDWELL
// AUSTRALIA TOUR DATES //
October 3, 2014 – Brisbane, QLD
October 4, 2014 – Melbourne, VIC
October 5, 2014 – Sydney, NSW

November

The Double Bay Street Festival 2014 should be an exceedingly successful day. In 2013, over 60,000 people participated in the fun of the day. Expect gourmet food, vintage, designer fashions, clothing and children’s toys. This festival is perfect for young families as it provides lots of entertainment for kids. Bring some joy to your infants and take them with you to Double Bay – only 10 minutes to the city of Sydney. They will be amused by a plenty of stalls, rides, crocodile encounters, camel rides and many different acts. Be flexible, explore beautiful Sydney and stay with your family in a campervan. It’s much easier to find a campervan park in Sydney than you think!

Please check this website for more information about campervan parks:

Double Bay Street Festival 2014
Sun 2 November
Double Bay, NSW

December

Slowly but surely, the year comes to an end. There is midsummer, hot temperatures and Christmas coming, followed up by New Year’s Eve. You can hardly wait and that’s why December is a special month – you can choose between various festivals where you can celebrate the best time of year.

Let’s get started with the Woodford Folk Festival. It’s an annual music festival held near the town of Woodford, Queensland. Hire your campervan in Brisbane and head 76 km to the north to arrive at the town, which is famous for major events. The Woodford Folk Festival is one of the biggest annual cultural events of its type in Australia.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically for six days and nights of a mix of performance styles, different genres and nationalities. Start celebrating on 27 December after your Christmas holidays and stay to 1 January with the most all the best folk, rock and roots artists. About 130,000 patrons attend annually. Some fans camp on-site overnight, but many stay for the full festival experience. So stop wondering why a campervan is such a brilliant idea. Shower and toilet facilities are available in all campgrounds. However, you should book your motorhome in advance! You’ll find more important information about camping here.

Woodford Folk Festival
December 27 to January 1
Woodford, QLD

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An alternative is the Falls Festival in Tasmania. A perfect occasion to discover this stunning isle in summer is to rent a campervan in Hobart and see the best of the natural state. Spend your Christmas holidays in Tasmania while travelling around and discovering beautiful destinations. On 29 December head to Marion Bay and experience the Falls Music & Arts Festival. You will be surprised by contemporary music performances, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and some art forms. Of course, camping out at the event belongs to the local tradition. Enthusiasts will find beautiful beaches next to the festival.
Click on the link for more information on travelling and camping in Tasmania.

Falls Festival
DEC 29 2013 – JAN 01 2014
Bream Creek, TAS

Australia has amazing cultural events year round. They are a great opportunity to experience unforgettable moments to share with your loved ones. You’ll soon realise that travelling in a rented campervan is simply a part of Australia’s lifestyle. At the festivals, you will most probably meet new people with the same passion for the easygoing lifestyle while having fun as well as saving money with a campervan hire. Your best memories will last – whether you’re from abroad or a local.

How our Price Match Guarantee on Campervan hire works

So, you’re looking for the best deal on campervan hire for your self-drive holiday in Australia, New Zealand, the USA or Canada. Who doesn’t want to get the best deal?

There are lots of vehicles out there, lots of choices, quite a few different suppliers and many agents.

ConfusedSo how do I get the best deal on my RV hire?

One great way of ensuring you’re getting the best price on your campervan hire is knowing about our Price Match Guarantee and the confidence this gives you.

At Salamanda Travel, we are so confident that we have the best prices on campervan and motorhome hire in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada, that if you find a cheaper price for the same vehicle and the same dates we’ll match it and give you a fifty dollar Amazon voucher.

Watch our clip here:

Then go ahead and test us out – get a quote today here!

Of course, some conditions apply. But if you have any questions, please get in touch.

Campervan Rental Bonds, 5 things you need to know…

When will the bond I paid when I collected my campervan be reimbursed? This is definitely one of our frequently asked questions at Salamanda Travel.

Bond amounts payable on pickup of your campervan or motorhome vary. Some are debited from your credit card; some are “swipe only” which means the credit card is swiped and pre-authorisation given, but the amount is not actually debited. In this case, if the vehicle is returned intact the pre-authorisation is simply removed on the return of your camper, and will not show on your credit card statement.

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The campervan supplier does debit your credit card with the bond amount in the case of Standard Liability and Liability Reduction Option 1 (read more about these options here), and also with Hippie Camper vehicles. The amount that is debited when you pick up your motorhome is returned to the same credit card within 15 working days after return of your hire vehicle, assuming all is well with the state of your campervan or motorhome when you return it.

If there is a delay, it may be from your own financial institution – some process the amounts faster than others.

Our major supplier, Apollo Motorhomes, is available for any questions regarding the refund of your bond amount after the vehicle has been returned. Their number within Australia is 1800 777 779 or worldwide on +800 3260 5466. Check their website for further contact info.

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If your bond amount is not returned after 15 working days following the vehicle hire, please do contact the supplier in the first instance, as they are the ones who actually debited the money.

Of course at Salamanda Travel we are always here to answer your questions, so you can call us or send an email if in doubt about the return of your bond or any other question to do with your self-drive holiday.

We are currently available by phone Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 1:00am Australian Eastern standard time (AEST). Our toll free numbers are:

  • Australia            1800 995 446
  • New Zealand     0800 448 278
  • UK                      0800 028 7890
  • France               0800 917 640
  • Netherlands      0800 022 7231
  • Switzerland       0800 562 795
  • Germany           0800 189 9380
  • USA               (310) 929 5666

Australia in a Campervan – Our Guide to Cruising South Australia

Obviously, Australia can’t be seen in one day. Planning a trip through Australia means making a lot of choices. No need to panic, we can help you with making these choices and get you familiarised with the world Down Under.

In this blog post we’ve included some ideas for a round trip through South Australia. Drive your campervan along the beautiful wine valleys up to Mount Gambier.

Barossa Valley

Wine Tasting
A superb place to wake up in your own motorhome and enjoy Port Augusta to the fullest is Hancock Lookout. From here, you will start your self-drive holiday with panoramic scenic views that you will find driving towards the Barossa Valley.

The Barossa Wine Valley, with Jacobs Creek, is one of the most famous wine growing regions in Australia. The vineyards are extensive, so make sure you stop by to taste a couple of these delicious free wines, just to make sure you have tasted the best ones!

Biking and cruising
Once you have found your favourite wine it’s time to hit the road and drive further through the Adelaide Hills, which is also a popular bike route. It’s an ideal setting to imagine yourself in a dream world where you’re cruising a classic convertible, wearing outsized sunglasses. But a campervan will do just fine to soak up the beautiful views of the forested slopes and magnificent scenery here.

Adelaide

City rush and city hiking
And all of sudden, deep in the valley, there’s Adelaide. With a million residents it’s quite a busy city, but with its relaxing parks it still offers a lot of green space. If you want to get away from the city rush, Glenelg is a charming coastal township, a suburb of Adelaide set on the ocean. Here you can take a walk along the beach, sink in the soft sand and contemplate eternity.

Fleurieu

Penguins at Granite Island
From Adelaide drive your campervan further south towards Fleurieu Peninsula and stop at Waitpinga beach, the aboriginal name for Windy Beach¸ and yes as the name suggests, it’s quite windy here. Next stop: Victor Harbor, known for Granite Island, this island was once part of the mainland but is now connected with a causeway. You can cross the causeway on foot or a by a horse-pulled tram. At dawn you can indulge in some penguins spotting at Granite Island.

Mount Gambier
The last stop will be Mount Gambier, but first visit Umpherston sinkhole, once a cave formed through dissolution of the limestone. The sinkhole is shaped as a hole since the top of the camber collapsed downwards. Now it is an ideal location for a botanic garden. Mount Gambier is known for its Blue Lake, a lake formed by a volcanic crater. Every year in November, the lake changes from its grey colour to a clear blue tint for a couple of days. Later during the day check out Caves Gardens, a waterfall right in the centre that falls down into the underground limestone caves.

Convinced? Now book your self-drive holiday yourself!