GETTING A TASTE OF RURAL AUSTRALIA ON A DAY OUT FROM SYDNEY
Just because you live in Sydney doesn’t mean you can’t get out and see the Australian countryside. I moved to the city when I finished school and had to find a job. Being from rural Australia and married to the outdoors I was worried I wouldn’t be able to escape. I thought the city would make me claustrophobic and I would be back in a few weeks. But I discovered it didn’t have to be like that. Plenty of Sydney-siders live in their bubbles and rarely leave the city, but there a whole host of rural day trips you can make just a short drive out of the city.
THE GARDENS OF STONE
The Gardens of Stone in the Blue Mountains have been on most climber’s radars for years. It is easily accessible and just a stone’s throw from Lithgow, but it hasn’t been overrun with tourists just yet, making it a bushwalkers paradise. It is full of wildlife and brimming with indigenous influences, particularly in its rock art.
BOODEREE NATIONAL PARK
Just a three-hour drive from Sydney, Booderee National Park is a nature walking paradise. The word Booderee comes from the Dhurga word meaning ‘bay of plenty’ and Booderee National Park is certainly that. The park itself has a host of walks, there is also a good surfing sport at Cave Beach, and Green Patch Beach has some beautiful swimming locations. You can also try your luck at whale watching from the Cape St. George Lighthouse.
Gosford has a lot of choices when it comes to a family day out, so much so that to see it all you need a few days. The Central Coast Reef has some top-notch fishing charters if you can sneak away, there are also stunning views along the Bouddi Coastal Walk. Somersby Falls is also nearby in the Brisbane Waters National Park; it makes the perfect destination for a bushwalk. For something to do with kids, you also have TreeTops tucked away in the Ourimbah State Forest. It is an activity-filled adventure park which has also earned recognition for its conservation and preservation efforts in the local area.
You can get to the Basin from a ferry that runs out of Palm Beach. Considering how accessible the place is I am always surprised by how few of my friends know about it. Just 20 minutes off our northern beaches and you have an unspoiled slice of tranquillity. It has pristine sandy beaches and a lagoon for swimming in, as well as cheeky rock wallabies and iguanas.
ROYAL NATIONAL PARK
The second national park ever created on earth (after Yellowstone in the states), Royal National Park has everything you could possibly need for a taste of the countryside close to Sydney’s outer limits. It has beaches, cliffs, swimming locations, bushwalking trails, parking and even a naturist beach if that is your thing.
Kangaroo Valley sits a short two-hour drive south of Sydney and is appropriately named for the abundance of kangaroos. But there are also wombats and platypuses for those with the patience and eyesight to see them. Take a kayak down the Kangaroo River and explore the lush rainforest surrounding the valley.
The beauty of Australia is that you can live in the centre of our largest city and still have the ability to take a day trip into a remote gem. I have lived here for five years now, and still find new rural experiences every year that give me my fix of rural Australia.
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