Places around Sydney for Day Trips
April 17, 2011 9:21 PM   Subscribe

[SydneyFilter] The Easter holidays are upon us, and we aren't going anywhere. Right now, it seems likely that we'd only be able to do day trips (same day return, no overnight stays) to places around Sydney. Where should we go?

We = self and wife. We've been to a couple of beaches around Sydney (up and down the coast) and done things like whale-watching and dolphin-watching before. But apart from that, we've been too busy with our work lives to go anywhere.

We are both expats without any real friends in Sydney (not sure if this is relevant, but we've found it difficult to make new friends here, a problem we didn't face in Russia and UK before). As a consequence, we don't want to go to places where "the silence is deafening" (as one place was described on the NSW tourism website). We get enough solitude on regular days, and would prefer places that have some people around, even if they are not our friends.
posted by vidur to Travel & Transportation around Sydney, Australia (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Royal Easter Show is fun with lots of everything.
posted by taff at 9:29 PM on April 17, 2011

Oh, just read your tiny remark. Sydney is a notoriously hard city to make friends in. I suggest another AskMe to address that. And a meetup!
posted by taff at 9:31 PM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you want to stay in Sydney: Archibald prize exhibition is on at the moment if you like art. One of my favourite day activities is to take in the NSW art gallery followed by a walk through the Botanical Gardens to the Opera Bar. The Justice and Police Museum is also nearby and is surprisingly good.

Take the train up to Katoomba, easily done in a longish day. Heaps of bushwalking, cafes, art galleries etc.

Have you been to the Royal National Park yet? There are a lot of walks, and you are guaranteed to have people around. If only the weather holds out.
posted by arha at 9:37 PM on April 17, 2011

Oh, and me-mail me if you want more ideas. Lurking from work and I should get back to it.
posted by arha at 9:50 PM on April 17, 2011

Best answer: Bowral is lovely too. The southern highlands are really nice. Where do you live-ish in Sydney? Can we suggest within-Sydney places too?
posted by taff at 10:46 PM on April 17, 2011

Response by poster: arha, I think Blue Mountains (Katoomba) will certainly be one of the places. But we aren't keen on bushwalking for now, as it seems to be one of those "deafening silence" type things here in Australia (a consequence of having lots of trails and a very small population, I guess) without having a group to do it with.

taff, we live in one of the Northern Suburbs. We have a car, and are happy to drive around to get to places. Within-Sydney places are certainly welcome. Bowral looks good too.

One day each for Blue Mountains and Bowral will leave three more days to plan. Thanks for the ideas so far!
posted by vidur at 11:18 PM on April 17, 2011

> Sydney is a notoriously hard city to make friends in.

Who says? And why do they say so? It's not really a derail as it's part of the OP's question.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 11:40 PM on April 17, 2011

Best answer: If the weather stays this lovely, you could spend an afternoon wandering around The Rocks area. Lots of places to eat, The Rocks Markets, and many of the pubs down there have music on the weekends. You could also walk around Circular Quay to whatever takes your fancy: the Opera House, the Botanical Gardens, or the Museum of Sydney.

Have you been to Taronga Zoo? It's the best urban zoo in Australia.

The Chinese Gardens of Friendship is one of my favourite places in Sydney. Walk to Chinatown afterwards for some Yum Cha, or walk in the other direction for Darling Harbour and the Sydney Aquarium.

Sydney has lots of weekend markets. Apart from The Rocks, there's major markets at Glebe and Paddington (which tend to be alternative/arty) and Roseville (secondhand/vintage and lots of cheap plants). There's also a bunch of farmers' and organic markets around the place, like Orange Grove Public School.

Seconding the Royal Easter Show. You've got to go in with the right spirit, and it's a strange sort of mish-mash of ruralism and commercialism, but I went about five years ago with friends and we had a lot of fun. Get a map and make sure you check out the smaller things like the displays where they make huge dioramas out of local produce. (Seriously. It's dioramas made out of produce. How can you not love that?)

Berry is on the way to Bowral. I recommend stopping there for lunch or at least a coffee and a wander, it's quite charming.
posted by Georgina at 12:18 AM on April 18, 2011

The Annie Liebowitz (sp?) exhibition at Circular Quay ends on Monday or Tuesday. If you like photography, its worth a visit, there are some great shots even though I am not an AL fan. Bonus: there will be queues, and you will have plenty of time to chat to people around you. Last time I queued at the ANG, I met the neighbor of a neighbor of mine who had moved away!!

Georgina, not sure where you are coming from, but Berry is not on the way to Bowral if you are coming from Sydney - perhaps you are thinking of Berrima?
posted by GeeEmm at 12:57 AM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: There are two quite good farmers' markets on in the inner west.
Saturdays at the Carriageworks in Everleigh/Redfern - I haven't been yet but it sounds like there are some amazing food stalls. It's also apparently pretty crowded. I don't know if it's on this weekend, but I suspect it is.
Sundays at Addison Rd in Marrickville/Enmore. That is fairly crowded but not unbearably so, and I can vouch for it having lots of yummy food, produce, good coffee, and a few little second hand clothes and bric-a-brac stalls too. It's definitely on this weekend - I saw signs there yesterday.

I totally agree with the comment above that Sydney is a hard place to make friends, especially if you haven't grown up here. This time around we're finding it a little easier due to having had a baby, but even so most of our good new friends are also foreigners or from interstate.

MeFi meetup - for sure!
posted by 8k at 1:12 AM on April 18, 2011

GeeEmm, I was indeed thinking of Berrima. Thank you for correcting me!

(More on the Southern Highlands, which includes both Berrima and Bowral.)
posted by Georgina at 1:13 AM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: Actually, Berry *is* on the way to Bowral, if you take the coast road down past Wollongong, then turn inland & drive via the Kangaroo Valley. The distance is about the same, whichever way you go, but the freeway (on the way back) is faster. On the way down, drive through the Royal National's a really pretty drive with some great lookouts.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:51 AM on April 18, 2011

For Katoomba, I'd suggest driving up the Bell's Line of Road (yeah, that's the name of the road, don't ask me why), which - like the Royal National Park one - is a favourite for weekend drivers in their convertibles or mid-life-crisis Harley Davidsons. Nice scenery, and you can stop off at the Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens if you like.

The road will bring you to Blackheath, just west of Katoomba. Those two places & Leura are dotted with galleries, antique shops, cafes and fine dining, and you can take a peek at the wilderness without stepping far from your car or being surrounded by too much silence.

On the way back down the highway, the Norman Lindsay Gallery is worth a look.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:06 AM on April 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, folks. I think I'll add Wollongong (and perhaps the Kiama Blowhole) as a destination because the Grand Pacific Drive looks interesting.

Will probably keep ANZAC day for intra-Sydney stuff, as I need to be at Martin Place in the morning for some work-related stuff.

That takes care of 4 days out of 5. Pretty cool.

Will propose a meetup for May/June perhaps. But that'll go on IRL, of course.
posted by vidur at 4:30 PM on April 18, 2011

Whole hearted support for the meetup. Please do. And in the mean time...have a Hoppy Easter. Ha, ha, ha. Hilarious, I know.
posted by taff at 2:09 AM on April 19, 2011

Afterthought: you want to do everything you can *not* to be driving back to Sydney on the afternoon/evening at the end of a long weekend. Trust me. See if you can plan to spend the Tuesday in town instead.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:53 AM on April 23, 2011

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