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Sydney — Wonder down under

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Australia's most populous city, Sydney is home to more than four million people. Established in 1788 it has grown around Port Jackson and is known for its incredible beauty. It is a popular tourist destination, thanks largely to its beaches and cosmopolitan appeal. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House are internationally recognised landmarks and the view from the top of the bridge is breathtaking.

BridgeClimb is a three-and-a-half hour adventure for groups of 12. Dawn climbs run on the first Saturday of each month and let you see the city coming to life. Day Walks operate every day and you look across the busy city, west to the Blue Mountains. Evening climbs offer two choices — Early Twilight and Late Twilight, and whichever one you choose, the feeling as you reach the top may never be surpassed. All walks begin with a safety demonstration and briefing.

Once you have taken it all in from on high, another option is with EastSail Yacht Charters. They have morning adventure cruises and evening sunset sightseeing cruises aboard modern, luxurious yachts. If you wish to participate, the skipper will show you the basics. If not, just sit back and soak it all in as you learn about the harbour and the sights as you sail by.

Cruises depart from Rushcutters Bay, home of the Cruising Yacht Club, and you sail into Farm Cove, under the Harbour Bridge, past the smiling face of Luna Park and the heritage Walsh Bay Docks. The return journey takes in Kirribilli and Admiralty Houses to Point Piper and towards The Heads. On the way back to Rushcutters Bay, your yacht circumnavigates Shark Island, a National Parks protectorate.

Yet another option is the Federation Cliff Walk from Vaucluse to Dover Heights in Sydney's eastern suburbs. The three kilometre walk takes around two hours and if it's views you want, this is the walk to do. Much of the walk is through a series of grassy reserves, but where the ground is uneven or steep, boardwalks and steps have been added.

Highlights include Diamond Bay with its 20 million-year-old sandstone cliffs, previously inaccessible to the public. Geckos live in the native fauna and when you reach Raleigh Reserve there is a playground for the children.

The walk links up with the well-known Bondi to Bronte walk which means you can have an uninterrupted walk along the coastal headland from South Head to South Coogee.

If your EastSail past Luna Park has been tempting, why not take a ferry ride to Milsons Point and enjoy the fun. The park was opened in 1932 and Coney Island is as it was then. A ferris wheel ride gives superb 360 degree views across the city and west to the Blue Mountains.

Ripples Café is close to Luna Park and is open all day. It offers relaxed dining and, if you can stand it, more magnificent views of the busy harbour.

While you're there …

Just so you know not everything about Sydney revolves around its harbour, a trip along the peninsula to Palm Beach is a wonderful way to spend a day. Hire a car or take a bus all the way and enjoy a walk in the sand before stopping for lunch or a coffee. Why not pack your swimming gear and take a dip in the ocean or the calmer Pittwater.

A great day trip from Sydney is to the Blue Mountains, around 100 kilometres along the Great Western Highway. The sandstone plateau reaches 1190 metres above sea level and has rugged eroded gorges of up to 760 metres deep. The area has seven national parks and a conservation reserve.

Thought to be impenetrable by early settlers, they mountains weren't crossed until 1813 by Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson who, unlike previous unsuccessful explorers, followed the ridges to reach the plateau.

Some of the things to explore are The Giant Staircase which leads to the Jamison Valley beside the Three Sisters, the Katoomba Scenic Railway — the world's steepest — the Scenic Flyway, the Zig Zag Railway and the limestone Jenolan Caves. There are many attractive towns with plenty of eating places. A special treat is a Devonshire tea.

Location

The gateway to Australia.

Cost

BridgeClimb dawn climbs are $295 for adults and $195 for children.

EastSail two-and-a-half hour trips are $95 for adults and $48 for children.

Luna Park entry is free. Unlimited ride passes are $39 for adults and start at $18 for children.

Ripples Café is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Virgin Blue has one way flights to Sydney. They are on sale from 8.30pm August 03, 2006 until midnight August 04, 2006 for travel between November 1-30, 2006.

One-way fare from;
  • Brisbane, $69
  • Melbourne, $79
  • Adelaide, $89
  • Perth and Darwin, $149

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way 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 August 3, 2006, and are subject to change.


Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

For further information


BridgeClimb
5 Cumberland Street
The Rocks 2000
Ph: (02) 8274 7777
Fax: (02) 9240 1122
Website: www.bridgeclimb.com
Email: admin@bridgeclimb.com

EastSail
D'Albora Marinas
New Beach Road
Rushcutters Bay 2011
Ph: (02) 9327 1166
Fax: (02) 9328 1118
Website: www.eastsail.com.au

Federation Cliff Walk
Off South Head Road
Vaucluse 2030

Luna Park
1 Olympic Drive
Milsons Point 2061
Ph: (02) 9922 6644
Website: www.lunaparksydney.com

Ripples Café
Olympic Drive
Milsons Point 2061
Ph: (02) 9929 7722
Fax: (02) 9929 6821
Website: www.ripplescafe.com.au
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