A Holiday Weekend Away From Sydney
With Easter in the rearview, you might be looking at ideas for your next long weekend. It's the Queen's Birthday in case you're wondering, which will likely be the last weekend that is warm enough for camping before next summer. There are plenty of great trips leaving from Sydney that are great to get away and see some new things. Some even work for day trips. So, without further ado...
Sydney to Canberra is only about 3.5-4 hours from Sydney along the Hume Highway. Traffic can be tricky on public holidays so definitely use Google Maps to find the best route. Coming from Melbourne is also doable if you're in Victoria. Anyway, Canberra is not that exciting of a place, but there's still plenty to see in one day if you haven't been. We recommend spending the day checking out Parliament house, the War Memorial, embassy row (Perth Ave), and the Mount Ainslie Lookout if you have time.
As far as food and shops, check out Kingston or the area around Northbourne Ave in the town centre. Anywhere else is likely going to be fairly dead.
For accomodation, CamperMate is a great app to find a spot. Everyone at Lazy Rhino is especially fond of Cotter Campground though! No reservation required, it's in the bush so you'll likely get some good hiking in or maybe see some roos, and you can have a fire!
TIP: remember to get food and booze beforehand (especially if the next day is the public holiday). IGA is likely to be open if you find yourself needing groceries though.
Jindabyne is up next. Another couple hours from Canberra, Jindabyne is a quaint little mountain town right near Thredbo and Perisher ski resorts. Camping on the lake at the Holiday Park is a great spot close to the town centre (but does require a reservation). No fires unfortunately.
There's also camping in Kosciuszko National Park if you prefer something a little more secluded. Head to Thredbo early and take the chairlift up to do the amateur hike to Mount Kosciuszko (the highest point in the Australian continent). It'll take about 4-6 hours or 2-3 to do just the lookout. There's a raised path to make things even easier.
TIP: Dress warm if it's spring or autumn. It will be FREEZING at the top of the chairlift. If it's winter, camping is probably out of the question, but skiing is a must... obviously.
On your way back to Sydney, hit up Goulburn (a small true blue Aussie town) for lunch and some quick snaps with the giant Merino sheep, see the police academy, and the NSW super-max jail :o.
Really anywhere in the Blue Mountains is a great weekend or even day trip for any Sydneysiders. Leura is often referred to as the jewel of the Blue Mounatins for it's bucolic setting and for its myriad of mom & pop shops. Katoomba is the site of the famous Three Sisters rock formation (a sacred site for aboriginals) and a great spot for some nature walks or a cable car ride over the canyon.
Camping at Lake Lyell outside of Lithgow is easily the spot with the most to do. You'll be right on the lake and can have a fire, go kayaking on the lake, and if you're into hot springs, one of the best and one of the few hot springs in NSW sits right on the lake at the Japanese bath house called Sparadise.
On your way back, take the other route back to Sydney through Mount Wilson (especially amazing if you go during autumn as the leaves fall).
TIP/Photo Op: Pulpit Rock is a lesser known lookout that's a little harder to get to, but in our opinion... better than ANYWHERE else. To get there, take Hat Hill Rd east from Blackheath for about 4.5 km and take a right onto Pulpit Rock Rd. At the end of Pulpit Rock Rd, you'll have about a 10 minute hike down to the lookout.
Royal National Park
A popular day trip for locals, Royal National Park boasts some great ocean views, a plethora of wildlife, and plenty of bushwalks to keep you entertained for the whole weekend.
The easiest entrance to the park (coming from Sydney) is Farnell Ave outside of Loftus. It's the easiest access to the most popular spots such as Audley where you can rent Kayaks and is also one of the few spots to get food. From Audley you can head to wedding cake rock, the famous Wattamolla Beach, and the infamous Figure Eight Pools. Make sure to check the park's website for information and alerts on the Figure Eight Pools as they are only accessible at low tide during fair weather and flat surf. The walk to the pools can also be quite treacherous and/or strenuous.
Also check the website for the various camping spots around the park and their availability... and again, CamperMate for reviews and photos of each of those spots.
That's all for now, but let us know if you have any info or additional tips to add and happy trails!