Seeing more of the city’s best-kept vacation secrets

Category Archives: Things to do in Sydney


Seeing more of the city’s best-kept vacation secrets

Posted by in Things to do in Sydney,Tours From Sydney | June 4, 2014

The Hidden Treasures of Sydney
Seeing more of the city’s best-kept vacation secrets

Sydney’s famed Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Luna Park, and others grandeur establishments such as these, are so recognisable as Sydney’s most prominent landmarks would make any trip eventful, to say the least. Of all the cities in Australia, Sydney is arguably the most visited, meaning that its tourism industry is an important factor in its overall economy. As reported by the city’s government-sanctioned official info hub, Sydney was the destination of more than 10.5 million visitors in 2012 alone. Economy-wise, the city’s tourism industry was responsible for more than $5 billion of the total revenue.

The growing number of international travelers in the last year – spearheaded by China’s emerging upper-middle class – was reported by the UNWTO to have increased by 5%. That translates to 1.087 billion travelers, or roughly $1.5 trillion. Given all these figures above, Sydney would do well to uphold its reputation as a prime tourist attraction.

Getting More Visitors In
Other major metropolises have already been keen on the uptake. Airport parking service site Parking4less reports that London’s Heathrow is nearing the completion of its Terminal 2 expansion. And on the other side of the world, GulfNews.com documented on Dubai’s expo, which showcased no less than 30 technological innovations projected to bring the UAE’s airports one step closer to the future.

And to keep up with the pack, Sydney is taking a cue from these cities and ramping up its airport capabilities in an effort to accommodate more inbound tourists. The NSW government has been hard at work to lift the flight curfews at Sydney Airport to get more planes in and out the city. Moreover, the long-gestating plans for a second airport in the city seems to finally be going somewhere.

Exploring More of Sydney
There is however the need to direct travelers towards more of the attractions available in Sydney aside from the more acclaimed landmarks.

One such spot is the abandoned shipwreck of the SS Ayrfield just off the coast of Sydney’s Homebush Bay. Originally a steam collier used in the 20th century, the SS Ayrfield now rests idly on the Parramatta River. The shipwreck is viewed best during sunset, when the rusty exteriors of the ship sit against the reflective orange waters of the Homebush Bay.

ssayrfield

SS Ayrfield near Sydney’s Homebush Bay

171 miles north of Sydney, the fishing settlement of Seal Rocks prides itself of a picturesque rocky coast and virgin shore where the Australian fur seals occasionally seek refuge. An added attraction in the Seal Rocks coastline is the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, a 19th century colonial icon that continues to guide sailors and fishermen up to this day.

Seal-Rocks

Seal Rocks’ picturesque rocky coast

Finally, the Myall Lakes National Park offer travellers opportunities to camp, trek, fish, and explore the park’s wildlife. In keeping with the town slogan “The Last Frontier,” Seal Rocks’ population of about 131 people has committed to preserve the unspoiled charm of this fishing town.

Wildlife in Myall Lakes National Park

Getting the Most Out of a Trip to the City

Sydney is a world-famous commercial centre, an Olympic host city, and an undisputed surfers’ paradise. But while it doesn’t seem to be in short supply of people and events in every nook and cranny of the metropolis, Sydney still boasts of breathtaking yet unperturbed spots that are not to be missed.

Small Group Tours, Guided Tours from Sydney

Posted by in Ecotourism,Farmstay Blue Mountains,Guided tours,Outback Australia Tours,Small Group Tours,Things to do in Sydney,Tours From Sydney | February 13, 2014

Ever been on one of those huge tourist buses with 65 other people?

They pull up at some sight or attraction “OK, you’ve got 30 minutes, if you’re not back, we leave without you!” the guide barks.

Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventure tours are NOT like that. We cater for groups from 2 to 11 people, in comfortable vehicles with a guide who gets to know you and who caters the visits to what you want to see and how long you want to stay.

Small group tours are the popular way to travel these days. Travelers invest a lot of time, effort and money getting to places where they will be immersed in a different culture, see interesting, spectacular or beautiful sights and meet new, different and fascinating people. Therefore they want to ensure that they receive a personalised experience to make the most from what they have invested.

Sally leads a small group on a bush walk in the Blue Mountains National Park

Sally leads a small group on a bush walk in the Blue Mountains National Park

On an Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures tour passengers are more than just part of group, they are individuals who have a say in the progression of the tour. At every part of the itinerary, from visiting the wildlife parks, wineries, caves and villages to experiencing horse riding or bush walking, the scope of the activity and time spent enjoying it are entirely up to the customers. Not interested in fossils? OK, we can leave earlier and move on to something else. Need more time patting the kangaroos? No problem, we always have some time to be flexible.

It’s these kind of specialised itinerary alterations that make Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures tours so personal and so special.

Special and personalised experiences make your tour unique and memorable

Special and personalised experiences make your tour unique and memorable

On the other hand, another feature that customers value in Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures tours is that everything is planned and organised. Travelers don’t have to make bookings, organise transport, reserve accommodation or buy and prepare food. Everything is done for you on tour, just sit back and relax and let Sally do the driving for you.

The venues visited have been hand picked by Sally to provide a varied range of genuine Aussie bush experiences. She’s done all the hard work in researching, networking and negotiating to come up with the best opportunities to see the real Australia. And her inside knowledge whereby you meet her family and childhood friends, gives visitors the kind of insider experience that few international visitors could ever hope to organise for themselves.

Meet Sally's family and friends - Real Aussies

Meet Sally’s family and friends – Real Aussies

So tours combine the perfect mix of a guided tour and a personalised experience. Every day travelers with Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures are given choices in the exact experiences available and/or the time spent enjoying each one, but once they decide all they need to do is relax and enjoy!

Off the Beaten Path

Posted by in Ecotourism,Outback Australia Tours,Things to do in Sydney,Tours From Sydney | January 21, 2014

Lots of travellers these days want to get off the beaten path and away from the usual tourist traps. Sure they want to see the iconic sites that a destination is known for, but they also want to see some of the things that run of the mill tours don’t include. They want to discover the type of experiences that locals enjoy.

Canowindra, a quiet country town full of history

Canowindra, a quiet country town full of history

Getting off the beaten track isn’t so easy though. Where do you get advice?

You’d have to ask a local!

And that’s where I come in. On an Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures tour I will take you off the beaten path and introduce you to things that normal tourists never get to experience.  Sure, you will get to see the most important and famous parts of Sydney and the Blue Mountains, but you’ll also discover some truly unique and personal experiences which will give you an insight into what Australia is all about.

Bill uses horses to reap his crop of oats on Inglevale

Bill uses horses to reap his crop of oats on Inglevale

Foremost on the list of Off the Beaten Path places we go is the Farmstay at Inglevale. This isn’t a dude ranch set up for tourists, it’s a genuine working sheep farm, where farmers Bill and Mary welcome visitors for a night of demonstrations and entertainment with themselves and other locals who turn up for the fun. My parents and Bill’s parents are usually among the locals, as well as various other family and friends.  Inglevale is an operation straight from the past where the cropping is still carried out using horse-drawn equipment. Learning about this unique farm and meeting with friendly locals around the campfire over a True Blue Aussie meal is about as far from the Beaten Path as you can get!

Stalactites in Abercrombie Caves

Stalactites in Abercrombie Caves

Other highlights on an Aussie Bush Adventure which are not offered by other tours include a visit to the magical Abercrombie Caves. These caves are just as spectacular as the very famous Jenolan Caves, though not as extensive and very much more remote. Jenolan can get tens of thousands of visitors each month making it the most visited attraction outside of a capital city in Australia. But Abercrombie is remarkably quiet. Sometimes our tour brings the only visitors and we have the entire area to ourselves. That’s probably why we so often see native wildlife in the Conservation area surrounding the caves, including kangaroos, lyre birds, echidnas, wallaroos and more.

Famous for its wines, Mudgee also produces great craft beer

Famous for its wines, Mudgee also produces great craft beer

The wine growing region of Mudgee is a favourite with local Sydneysiders who enjoy weekends there, but it is pretty well off the beaten track for international visitors. Only an Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventure tour will take you to Mudgee, to taste the wines from its dozens of vineyards, try the beer from its brewery and sample the wide variety of foods produced in the region including cheeses, honey, hazelnuts, olives and olive oil. Every day bus loads of tourist travel from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, another prime wine producing region, but Mudgee is off the beaten track, as are the regions of Orange and Canowindra which we also visit on an Aussie Bush Adventure.

Historic villages like Canowindra are full of stories, and in Canowindra’s case a world class exhibition of a local fossil discovery in the Age of Fishes museum. Hill End is a relic from the 19th century when thousands of prospectors flocked to the town in search of gold. To explore the village now is a very quiet experience given its remoteness.

It’s experiences such as these which enhance the uniqueness of an Aussie Bush Adventure and give the traveller who’s looking for that something special the type of Off the Beaten Path experience they could only dream of if travelling by themselves.

 

 

The Australian Museum

Posted by in Things to do in Sydney | November 20, 2013

While you’re in Sydney there are more things to do and places to visit than you could possibly fit into any holiday visit. So you will have to make some choices about what sort of things you enjoy the most. If you have come to Australia from overseas, chances are you may want to find out something about Australia’s Indigenous culture and history.

If that’s the case then you can’t go past a visit to the Australian Museum. The Australian Museum is Australia’s oldest museum, having been first established in 1827, only 39 years after the first Europeans settled in the city. For it’s first 30 years it was housed in various Sydney locations, then it settled into its own purpose built home. Situated on the corner of William Street and College Street in the centre of the city the original building has been added to many times because the work of the museum and its vast collection have continuously outgrown the space.

The Australian Museum on College Street across from Hyde Park

The Australian Museum on College Street across from Hyde Park

The history, art, culture, traditions , medicine and foods, dreamings, political struggles and almost anything else you would like to know about Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is thoughtfully, comprehensively and expertly displayed and explained in the Australian Museum’s cultural exhibitions. As well as collections of many specimens of indigenous tools, artifacts, paintings and carvings there are displays and multimedia exhibits and demonstrations to entertain and educate.

Aboriginal paintings in the Australian Museum

Aboriginal paintings in the Australian Museum

There is also a very large section of the museum dedicated to the Australian environment and the types of plants and animals that have evolved there and survive in it. And also the plants and animals  which have not survived and have become extinct, like the Australian megafauna. The different types of habitat found in Australia and all the weird and wonderful Australian animals that exist there and nowhere else in the world are showcased, especially all the deadly and dangerous animals that intrigue overseas visitors so much!

Life size model of a diprotodon, an extinct hippo sized wombat

Life size model of a diprotodon, an extinct hippo sized wombat, at the Australian Museum

But that’s not all you get at the Australian Museum. Spread over three levels in it’s huge sandstone edifice are exhibitions on minerals, dinosaurs, Australian insects and birds, skeletons and amour. There’s a space for hands on investigations and an opportunity to see what sort of research the many scientists working at and for the museum do. There’s a shop to buy literature relevant to the museum’s collections and other souvenirs . at Museum these days doesn’t have a cafe, and the Australian Museum’s is a nice one!

So while you’re in Sydney, if Museums are your cup of tea, the Australian Museum is a good choice.

 

 

Sculpture by the Sea 2013

Posted by in Things to do in Sydney | November 10, 2013

With its mild weather and beautiful surroundings the city of Sydney specialises in large free outdoor events. One of the most popular is Sculpture by the Sea which finishes up today after 2 & 1/2 weeks of its 17th annual exhibition. With more than 100 artworks spread along the coastline between Bondi Beach and the sand of Tamarama beach, the exhibition makes the already spectacular coastal track even more special and never fails to amaze.

rainbow by Chen Wenling

rainbow by Chen Wenling

Works are made from metal, plastic, wood, stone, glass, fabric and found objects. They can be suspended from poles, hung from the cliffs, attached to boulders in the sea, dug into the sand, or placed on the grass in the park. There are massive works, delicate pieces, all shapes and sizes, colours, textures. Many of the sculptures are designed to move in the breeze and fascinate with their ever changing form, others are made to be touched and intrigue with their texture.

snake by Phil Price

snake by Phil Price, constantly changes as it moves with the wind

In recent years there has been a temporary pavilion placed in Marks Park on the headland where smaller pieces of sculptural art can be displayed in conjunction with the outdoor event. Unfortunately I missed this part of Sculpture by the Sea this year because I only visited the event once and that was at sunrise one morning during the week before the pavilion was open. I and my friends make a point of going to see the sculptures at sunrise because the morning sun makes the very best light for viewing the sculptures and at that early hour of the day there are not the crowds which now mass at the event during the days.

oshi-zokei 2013 2 rings by Keizo Ushio

oshi-zokei 2013 2 rings by Keizo Ushio

I also ride my bike to the coast, because Sydney is beautiful for cycling, and getting a car park in the streets near to the beaches is very difficult at that time of the morning when ll the residents are still at home. Of course there is public transport you can take, which has the added advantage that you can start at one end of the exhibition, walk to the other, then leave from there, instead of having to return to your bike, but of me the ride in the crisp morning air is on of the joys of the event!

red centre by Carl Billingsley

red centre by Carl Billingsley

If you missed Sculpture by the Sea for 2013 have a look at some of my other photos here, and try not to miss it in 20141

Join Us on Social Media with Facebook Twitter & Pinterest

Posted by in Ecotourism,Farmstay Blue Mountains,Social Media,Things to do in Sydney,Tours From Sydney | July 3, 2013

One of the best ways we connect with people around the world who are interested in travelling both to and around Australia is through our social media portals.

Currently you can find us on the following social media platforms:

tours from sydney blue mountain tour travel industry social media australia facebook

Facebook

Of course! It’s been a great platform for sharing the best images of the Australian bush with the most Likes coming from countries beyond Australia – as we’re exotic to foreign nationals while often being humdrum to the locals!

tours from sydney australian travel industry social media twitter

Twitter

We’ve been doing twitter for four years and recently cracked our 16,000th follower! All organically developed, have never bought any followers – we have a fantastic rate of engagement going on.

australian travel industry social media pinterest tours from sydney blue mountains itineraries

Pinterest

Pinterest is another great way of showcasing the simple glories of the Australian outback. Some of the boards we’re developing are things to do in Sydney and Blue Mountains tours while we find our best images regularly experience (modest admittedly) small bursts of viral sharing.

Instagram?

Sorry call me a Luddite but I don’t have a smart phone!

A Return on Investment

The truth is that our social media activities have not yielded a massive return for the hours and content that we’re published.

However what they have done is help us sharpen our wits around what messages we’re putting out there – the images we publish, the albums we create, the words we use to convey what we’re about as a small boutique Australian tour company.

Pinterest in particular is great as a way to publicly catalogue our images. There are times when I’m out on a tour and thinking gee I need to access our logo to send to a magazine manager needing our logo for an ad, and suddenly I remember I can grab the logo straight from Pinterest!

Inevitably social media is an investment in creating your own magazine so give me another 2-3 years and I should have my own little small-magazine-audience – lots of work ahead of course.

Happy travelling!

- Sally.

Most Searched Terms: Australian Travel Industry, Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tours From Sydney, Blue Mountains Tours, Horseback Riding Blue Mountains, Things To Do in Sydney.

 

 

Things to do in Sydney

Posted by in Ecotourism,Social Media,Things to do in Sydney,Tours From Sydney | May 31, 2013

When you come to Sydney for your tour to the bush, you’ll want to explore the city itself because it has a wealth of natural, cultural and historic attractions to discover.

Here’s my tips:

Coastal Walks:

There are several opportunities to take scenic walks along the coast in Sydney. My favourite is the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Track. This is a long walk, but can be broken into many small jaunts if you don’t want to do th entire length because there are many public transport links to the several beaches along the way.

Starting from the famous Bondi Beach walkers will pass through Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly beaches on the way to Coogee Beach. You also traverse rocky headlands over Gordons Bay and several cliff top parks, not to mention the beautiful and historic Waverly Cemetery. All within sight of the glistening blue sea and never too far from cafes and public amenities.

The baths at Bronte Beach

The baths at Bronte Beach

Another great walk is the Manly to Spit walk

Sydney Living Museums

This organisation was until recently called the Historic Houses Trust. They operate several exquisite historic museums and properties in and around Sydney. They’re small museums which focus on particular themes or areas. For example The Museum of Sydney is an expose on the history and culture of the city itself, the Museum of Justice and Police tracks the history of law enforcement in NSW (and considering the city stated as a penal colony, there’s a lot of history in that field).

Susannah Place Museum

Susannah Place Museum

My favourite Living Sydney Museums property is Susannah Place, a row of terraces in Sydney’s Rocks area which traces back through the layers of history of the occupants of the houses from the early 1800s. But if you’re interested in knowing about Sydney’s history there are 12 museums in their care and all are fascinating.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

It’s pretty hard to avoid the Harbour Bridge, but there is more to do than just look at it. If you want to invest the money, as well as 3 hours of time that you’ll never forget, you can do the Bridge Climb. This is one experience you can brag about! The views from the top are outstanding and the commentary your guide provides on the way is informative as well as funny at times.

You won’t regret having climbed the bridge, but if your finances don’t run that far you can always walk across the Bridge for free. The Eastern footpath provides spectacular views of the harbour and the city and on either end of the bridge there are interesting neighbourhoods to explore and accessible public transport links to take you back to where you started.

Sydney Harbour Bridge during Vivid Festival 2013

Sydney Harbour Bridge during Vivid Festival 2013

Or if you want the experience of seeing the Western Harbour views you’ll need to get yourself a bicycle as that path is for bikes only, and provides a wonderful cycling experience.

Chinatown

I’ve been around the world and I can honestly say that Sydney’s Chinatown is the most vibrant I’ve seen outside of Asia. There are the Chinese Gardens right on the edge in Darling Harbour, there are more restaurants, cafes and grocery and produce stalls than you can poke a stick at and there are dozens and dozens of other stores selling everything from Asian travel to oriental artefacts.

Dixon Street in Chinatown Sydney

Dixon Street in Chinatown Sydney

The busy Markets which have operated in the area for decades provide lively shopping from food to fashion, electric goods to eclectic jewellery. If you’re a shopaholic you can’t fail to be excited. And when you’ve finished browsing or shopping you can enjoy an Asian feast from one of the many food outlets, fine 5 star dining to street stalls.

Of course there are one hundred and one other things to do before you head off on your tours from Sydney, but let that wet your appetite and add to it soon!

Sally