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Sydney staycation

Thursday, March 18, 2010
This week Catriona Rowntree sussed out a Sydney staycation — a holiday you spend in your own city, visiting places you've never been and saving yourself money on flights and accommodation.

Sydney Harbour

If you aren't one of those lucky commuters who take a ferry every day, now is the time to hop on board and take in the seriously beautiful sights.

Fort Denison

Also known as Pinchgut, Fort Denison is an historic landmark in the centre of Sydney Harbour. When the First Fleet arrived in 1788, it was a steep, rocky island, popular with local tribes as a fishing place. Convicts were confined to the island in leg iron and fed rations of bread and water. The Martello Tower was completed in 1857 from 8000 tonnes of sandstone and is the only tower of its kind in Australia.

Ferries from Circular Quay make the trip to the island and it's a bit of a secret that there is a great restaurant there. Enjoying lunch or brunch while surrounded by the city skyline and bustling harbour traffic is a fantastic way to spend a few hours of your staycation.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

If walking across the actual arch of the bridge isn't for you, why not visit the Pylon Lookout. It only takes 200 steps to get to the top of the southern pylon for some pretty spectacular views. A visit to the pylon is when many Sydneysiders find out that the four pylons do not support the bridge. They are there for purely aesthetic value.

The climb takes you 87m above sea level and there are three levels of exhibits on the way up. You will learn about the history and construction, the men who built it and the vision of JJC Bradfield, the chief engineer.

Sydney Olympic Park

Declared a suburb of Sydney in 2009, Sydney Olympic Park is a 640-hectare site with 425 hectares of parkland. It is officially Australia's largest sporting and recreational precinct.

Sydney Olympic Park is easily accessible by road, rail or ferry and it's constantly buzzing with something new to see and do. It has man-made and natural attractions and a wide choice of leisure, entertainment, eating, cultural, sporting, educational and nature-based activities.

The 550m Ring Walk is open from sunrise to sunset. It's an elevated walkway giving access to and views of the Brickpit and is the habitat of the endangered green and golden bell frogs. It rises 18.5m above a sandstone floor and its viewing platform was built with the area's fragile habitat in mind.

Sydney Olympic Park has more than 35km of cycling pathways and trails. If you don't fancy taking your own along, there is a great range available for hire, including mountain and hybrid bikes, bikes with child carriers, tandems and children's single speed bikes.

Viva Sydney Card

Tourism NSW has recently launched a free Viva Sydney card which allows you to take a guest to more than 80 attractions, hotels, restaurants and more in Sydney. If you pay for one day's bike hire at Sydney Olympic Park, your friend gets a free bike hire of equal or lesser value.

The card is available until the end of June for the bike hire, and until the end of the year for most other activities. You can download it from the Internet at or receive a Viva Sydney SMS to your mobile.

To redeem offers quote "Viva Sydney" when booking if required, or simply present your Viva Sydney card or show your SMS on arrival.

Shangri-La Hotel

Level 36 of the Shangri-La Hotel is where you will find the Blu Horizon Bar, the perfect place to end a day of Sydney staycation. With fabulous views and cocktails to match, the New York-inspired bar is an attraction in its own right.


Around Sydney on a staycation.


Fort Denison Restaurant & Café is open every day between 10.15am and 3.30pm. Main meals cost between $10 and $30. Wine is available by the glass and there is a children's menu.

Pylon Lookout visits cost $9.50 for adults and $4 for children. It's open between 10am and 5pm every day.

Sydney Olympic Park bicycle hire is available every day from Bicentennial Park between 8.30am and 5.30pm. Prices start at $15 for one hour or $40 for a full day.

Prices correct at March 18, 2010.

For further information

Viva Sydney Card

Fort Denison
Sydney Harbour 2000
Ph: (02) 9247 5033
Fax: (02) 9241 3303

Pylon Lookout
Ph: (02) 9240 1100
Fax: (02) 9241 2151

Sydney Olympic Park Bicycle Hire
Australia Avenue
Sydney Olympic Park
Ph: (02) 9714 7517

Shangri-La Hotel
176 Cumberland Street
The Rocks 2000
Ph: (02) 9250 6013

To find out more about the hot deals mentioned on the show, check out Holidays for Sale.

User comments
For more information on disc golf as shown in the Sydney staycation episode please see

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