Jason Dundas and Dermott Brereton agree that a good day trip can be had by travelling a maximum of two hours from home. Together, they have come up with a few great things to do in two hours or less from Sydney
Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk
Around 90 minutes south of Sydney in the Southern Highlands is an attraction taking going for a walk to a new level in every sense.
Illawarra Fly is a fantastic experience in temperate rainforest. A 500m walk in the treetop canopy 20m to 30m above ground culminates in Knights Tower, 45m above the forest floor. The tower has 106 steps and opens to breathtaking views from the escarpment over the Illawarra. On clear days, visitors can make out views across the national park to Bass Point near Kiama.
Springboard cantilevers suspended 25m take visitors to the edge of the escarpment. Be careful if you jump on them they move around a lot.
A pleasant drive north along Sydney's northern beaches to Dee Why takes you to Deck 23. Owner Steve Buckles thought the beachside suburb needed a venue for great food and music for everyone, so he opened his restaurant, café and bar.
It's been voted the Best Family Establishment in Australia by the Restaurant & Catering Association in Australia, so it's the perfect place to take the children.
Deck 23 offers two levels and styles of alfresco dining and entertainment six nights a week, topped off with fantastic views of a long stretch of beach and Pacific Ocean. Downstairs is the place for seriously good pizza and a drink or two. Upstairs is for a more substantial lunch or dinner. Deck 23 is the only venue in the area with a fully licensed bar.
While Dee Why is part of Sydney, Dermott said he felt he was far, far away from a city and that Deck 23 is the ideal place to chill, eat and take in music and views.
Bells Line of Road
Jason fancied a drive and headed to the Bells Line of Road. The drive over the Blue Mountains takes its name from Archibald Bell Jr who marked it in 1823 with the help of Indigenous Australians. He was just 19 years old and wanted an alternative to Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth's road, now known as the Great Western Highway.
Bellbird Lookout is a good place to stop. It has endless views across the mountains and Hawkesbury River. Locals go there to see Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks.
Don't even think of driving straight past Tutti Fruitti in Kurrajong Heights. Enjoy a Devonshire tea, fresh coffee, home-cooked country pies and quiche, cakes, desserts and real fruit ice-cream. You choose the fruit you want and they add it to delicious vanilla ice-cream. They make jams and preserves from their own fruit and produce from neighbours.
It's family-owned and run in conjunction with Glenwood Orchard and Mountain Fresh Roses and there's fresh produce and heavenly, fragrant roses available in season. They host Rosearoma on December 27 and 28 each year.
Dermott drove north for an hour to the Glenworth Valley on the Central Coast. Most people head up the coast for a relaxing break. Not our Dermott. He'd heard about Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures.
It's Australia's largest horseriding and outdoor adventure centre on more than 1200 hectares of pristine wilderness, lush valleys and ancient rainforest. There are natural rock pools and Popran Creek meanders down the valley to the Hawkesbury River.
Apart from horseriding and agistment, they offer abseiling, kayaking, fishing, laser skirmish, school holiday camps, bushwalking and camping, but it was the quad bikes Dermott was itching to try.
A 90-minute quad bike adventure gives riders the chance to thrash out as many laps as they want on a custom-made course. When confidence is up, you can hit the open trails, and if you don't mind getting dirty, tackle the water crossing.
Dermott's best time was 43 seconds and he reckons quad biking is the best fun you can have on four wheels.
Great places to visit two hours and under out of Sydney.
Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk costs $22 for adults, $9.50 for children six to 16 years and $55 for a family of two adults and two children. It runs every day between 9am and 5pm.
Deck 23 is open Monday to Friday from 11am to midnight and 7.30am on weekends.
Tutti Fruitti is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures quad bike rides are $90 for 90 minutes. There's a minimum age of 12 years. Experienced guide, bike and helmet are provided. They run every day at 10am, 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm year-round.
Virgin Australia has one-way flights to Sydney from:
- Melbourne and Brisbane $109
- Adelaide $139
- Perth $219
There are limited seats, which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at June 18, 2011, and are subject to change.
Hertz has a great range of vehicles and rates. Log on to www.hertz.com.au.
For further information
Ph: 136 789
Ph: 133 039
182 Knights Hill Road
Knights Hill, NSW 2577
Ph: 1300 362 881
2/23 The Strand
Dee Why, NSW 2099
Ph: (02) 9971 0744
1917 Bells Line of Road
Kurrajong Heights, NSW 2758
Ph: (02) 4567 8436
Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures
Glenworth Valley, NSW 2250
Ph: (02) 4375 1222
Blue Mountains Tourism