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!

Australia in a Campervan – Our List of the Country’s Best Beaches

When people think of Australia, a number of things come immediately to mind: the immensity of the country (7.6 million square kilometres) kangaroos and koalas, breathtaking natural landscapes, the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, and … beaches!

Yes, indeed, in Australia you will find some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Bordered by the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans and the Arafura Sea (stretching across 700,000 km2 bordering Indonesian islands and North Australian reefs), as well as the Timor and Tasman Seas, the coastline of Australia offers 37,000 km of coast boasting many spectacular beaches.

Here is our list of Australia’s Top Ten beaches:

  • Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Islands, QLD: Located on the largest island in the archipelago, Whitehaven Beach is famous for having the purest sand in the world and is widely considered the world’s most beautiful beach. Along its 7km you’ll find blinding white sand composed of 98% silica (which is, incidentally, used to make the lens of the Hubble telescope), lapped by crystal clear waters.

Whitehaven Beach

  • Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW:  A landmark for surfers, backpackers, tourists and swimmers, Bondi Beach is located just seven kilometres east of Sydney’s CBD and is emblematic for Sydney. This beach, one kilometre in length, is also famous for The Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club, the world’s oldest lifesaving club which was founded in 1907 and is the subject and setting for a popular reality TV series.
  • The Pass, Byron Bay, NSW: a special atmosphere surrounds Byron Bay, making this place magical and a little mystical as well as attracting an alternative culture and some of Australia’s most rich and famous people. Famous as a renowned surf spot, Byron is much more. It’s also an excellent place to observe whales between June and November, or walk along the path to Cape Byron which as the most easterly point in Australia, allows you to be the first to see the sunrise on the whole continent. Take a wander through the lush coastal forest nearby or simply enjoy the somewhat different life in this town with its laid-back feel and interesting restaurants and cafes. You’ll definitely come back home feeling refreshed.

Byron Bay

  • Noosa, Sunshine Coast, QLD: the tropical paradise of Noosa has a lot to offer as a relaxing and beautiful place to spend time. In a nutshell, Noosa is a glamourous international seaside resort, with pristine beaches, luxury shops, the famous Noosa National Park and a lush hinterland region with attractions such as the ever-popular Eumundi Markets. Located about 90 minutes by car from Brisbane, it’s popular as a weekend gateway destination.
  • Cable Beach, Broom-WA: 22 kilometres of immaculate white sand bordered by the deep blue sea of the Indian Ocean makes Broome a romantic destination. Sunset on Cable Beach is a spectacular sight. One of the most well-known activities in the region is a camel ride along the beach. Between March and October you can admire the “Staircase to the Moon”, a natural phenomenon caused by the rising full moon shining on Roebuck Bay at low tide to create a stunning optical illusion that is reminiscent of an escalator going to the moon.

Cable Beach

  • Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW: The walk between Greenfield and Hyams Beach is a truly special experience. Hyams Beach has been officially recognised by The Guinness Book of Records as the world whitest beach. It’s unquestionably the most famous beach in the Jervis Bay region, that because of its rich marine life and unspoilt nature is popular with divers and snorkelers as well as fishermen, and also makes it the perfect place to spend quality time with your family.
  • Bells Beach, Torquay, VIC: Located along the picturesque Great Ocean Road, stop at Torquay to breathe the pure air of Bells Beach, the emblematic beach immortalised in the movie Point Break and the cult documentary The Endless Summer. Each year, it’s also home to the world’s longest-running surfing competition – The Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival. Some of the best waves, or breaks, in the world are to be found here and it’s well known among the surfing fraternity as one of the world’s top surfing destinations.

Bells Beach

  • Surfers Point, Margaret River, WA: Margaret River is a paradise for food and nature lovers. The region produces less than 1% of Australia’s wine, but more than 15% is Grand Cru quality. Evans & Tate, Fermoy Estate, Flinders Bay and Flying Fish Cove are some of the first class vineyards in the region. It’s also a natural paradise surrounded by caves, white sand beaches, hiking paths and world-class surfing points. Catching waves in “Marg” is the goal of surfers the world over. So come and experience the ultimate surfing safari in this region!
  • Cape Range, Turquoise Bay, WA: Turquoise Bay in the Cape Range National Park, close to the beautiful Ningaloo barrier reef has one of the most beautiful, perfect beaches in Western Australia. The most popular activity is snorkelling. With its white sand and crystal clear waters, you are sure to see plenty of colourful fish and coral. Some inhabitants of the reef are parrotfish, scissortail sergeants, spangled emperor, blue damselfish, moon wrasse, butterfly fish, reef sharks and green sea turtles.
  • Wineglass Bay, TAS: Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet peninsula in Tasmania is part of one of the most beautiful regions in the country. It’s an ideal place for fishing, sailing, hiking in the outdoors, kayaking, climbing or relaxing. You can also spot wildlife such as as White-bellied Sea Eagles, quolls, wallabies, wombats and Tasmanian Devils.

Wineglass Bay

So now it’s up to you to hit the road in your motorhome to discover some of these stunning places, and make your own list! When you do, please leave your comments below.

New Zealand – Our Guide to the Best Treks in New Zealand

New Zealand is famous for its spectacular natural scenery and what’s more, it’s carefully protected. It’s not surprising that numerous movies have been filmed here. So if you’d like to go hiking in a movie set … please read on for our five favourite walks in New Zealand.

emerald lakes, tongariro crossing hike

Lake Tongariro

ABEL TASMAN COAST TRACK

Get going on a three- to five-day tour (51 km/32 m) on the coastal track of the Abel Tasman National Park. Walk like Robinson Crusoe along unspoilt beaches bordered by lush vegetation, passing by lagoons of turquoise water, all part of what you will experience on this coastal hike. If you’re tempted by a taste of heaven, go right ahead, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is suitable in any season.

The accommodation available along the path works on a reservation system: huts and camping sites must be booked beforehand throughout the year. However, day walks are free and to get an idea you can go for the 2-3 hour stroll from Tonga Bay to Bark Bay, which is stunning.

 2. Abel Tasman Coast Track

Abel Tasman Coast Track

TONGARIRRO ALPINE CROSSING

This hike is composed of 18 km throughout volcanic landscapes, alpine vegetation and the forests of  Tongariro National Park. Rated as “the best one-day hike in New-Zealand”, the Alpine crossing passes through a breathtaking volcanic landscape – active caldera, smoking chimneys and beautiful coloured lakes.

Although theoretically doable in one day, this exhausting trek should not be taken lightly. The weather can change in suddenly so equip yourself carefully. If you aren’t at your best physical condition, take two days to do the trek and overnight at Ketathi refuge. The path is easy to reach from Mangatepopo Road close to the SH47 and Ketetahi Rd close to the SH46. Shuttles stop at both ends of the route. However you will need to book first and be ready to catch the bus to go back, because they don’t wait if you’re late.

MILFORD TRACK

This is a five-day trek (5 km/33m) through the rainforest and the hills of Milford Sound. This famous walk is generally considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. During the high season for hikes (end of October to end of April) the number of walkers is limited and you are required to book. You also must follow a specific 4-day itinerary. The accommodation is in huts and camping is not permitted. You can go alone or with a guide. Contact the Department Of Conservation of Te Anau or book online at www.doc.govt.nz.

Cruise ship in Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zeala

Milford Sound

QUEEN CHARLOTTE TRACK

You will need three to five days (71km/44m) to explore the amazing  Marlborough Sounds. This famous path from the historical Ship Cove at Anakiwa passes through private land and Conservation Areas, revealing a stunning coastal landscape. It is easily doable for those of average physical fitness. It’s possible to split the trek up by taking water taxis, or you can also walk the whole track (3 to 5 days), or combine walking, kayaking or cycling. The trek is serviced by numerous travel agencies and boat services, allowing you to start or finish your journey wherever you want on foot, cycling or kayaking.

Accommodation is a few hours’  walk away, but boats can carry your luggage along the path.

4. Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds

RAKIURA TRACK

Three days are needed to walk the Rakiura Track (37km/23m). It’s not a challenging walk, it’s doable all year round and the start of the walk is well indicated from Oban. It’s a unique opportunity to see several native birds, as well as beautiful beaches and native fauna. You will need to be of reasonable physical fitness but that’s all.

The landscape is spectacular and it’s one of the famous Great Walks, so it’s necessary to book the huts or camping sites in any season. Do this online at www.doc.govt.nz, or at the DOC office of the Rakiura National Park at Stewart Island.