For our "Best things to do in Australia" program, Catriona Rowntree was asked to experience a couple of totally different locations in New South Wales. The first assignment was to camp in a national park and then stay in one of Sydney's five-star hotels. She thoroughly enjoyed both.
Catriona set up in Rummery Park campground in Nightcap National Park, 45 minutes from Byron Bay on the far north coast of New South Wales. It's on the southern rim of the caldera of the Mt Warning shield volcano. Local vegetation has been influenced by past basalt and rhyolite lava flows.
The camping site has basic amenities in cabins and cottages, and sites for caravans and tents. There are barbecue facilities, camp kitchen, open fireplace, toilets and picnic tables. You need to take your own firewood and water. It really is all about getting back to nature and it's hard to beat a night in the wilderness.
The area is surrounded by dominant massifs, sheer cliff walls, lush green gullies and beautiful waterfalls. Minyon Falls is one of most spectacular with a 104m drop. There's a small, deep plunge a few metres away, perfect for a dip on a hot day. The park provides habitat for significant animal species little bent-winged bat, wompoo fruit dove, masked owl, Stephen's banded snake and the red-legged pademelon all live there.
If you don't have a tent to take with you, pop into Coffs Harbour Disposals & Tent City. They will help you choose one just right for your needs and give you some pointers about pitching it.
Do some searching and you will find caravan parks and camping grounds right across this vast country, some close to home and others taking you on a drive to new places.
Park Hyatt Sydney is on some of the most valuable real estate in Australia. It is literally on the shore of the harbour, stretching along the coastline in Sydney's historic Rocks area.
One of Australia's foremost hotels, it's a long way from camping out. Each of its five stars has been well earned and if views were awarded with stars, Park Hyatt Sydney would be a 10-star hotel.
There are 12 room choices. Italian marble bathrooms have a full size bath and separate walk-in shower.
Harbour Kitchen & Bar has views across the harbour to the Sydney Opera House. It's open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and high tea where guests enjoy sandwiches, sweet delights, scones with jam and cream and tea or coffee, or possibly a glass of champagne.
Chef's Table offers an intimate harbourside dining experience.
There's butler service, valet parking and everything you might need is taken care of in a wink.
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