It’s easy to rely on old favourites when it comes to exploring Sydney City and its surrounds – and while there’s nothing wrong with well-trodden paths, the beginning of a new year represents a time for all of us to embrace change. To help you take the leap, here are some short trips that will send you to some of Sydney’s lesser-explored scenes.
1. Circular Quay-Eastern Suburbs loop
If water views with a touch of history thrown in sound appealing, this one is for you. Jump on the Watsons Bay Ferry from Circular Quay; sit at the back of the boat to get some great shots of the city as the vessel makes its way out of one of Sydney’s major transport hubs. After an up-close encounter of the Opera House on your right and dazzling display of Sydney’s most expensive suburb, Point Piper, you’ll pull into Watsons Bay.
A five-minute walk north to Camp Cove Beach is a must, with the option to take on the half-hour loop track along South Head Light House Walk for those wanting to reach the entrance to the harbour. Once you’re back at Watsons Bay, you’ll find a range of food options on offer – from fish and chips at Doyles, which can be enjoyed at Robertson Park, to the waterside garden bar at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. Or, if you’re looking to jazz it up, the neighbouring beachside restaurants offer a great selection of fine cuisine.
From Watsons Bay, the 325 bus to the city will take you through the leafy suburb of Vaucluse, offering sporadic harbor views past historic Vaucluse House (where you can make a booking for High Tea) and Strickland House Estate, before winding you down a very scenic Old South Head Road into Rose Bay. From there, you can jump aboard the ferry, which will zip you back to the city in less than 10 minutes.
Where: Watsons Bay / Camp Cove beach / Vaucluse House / Strickland House Estate / Rose Bay
When: Ferries depart 7 days a week, but weekdays are ideal to avoid the crowds.
Getting there: F4 Watsons Bay Ferry departing from Circular Quay
More info: transportnsw.info/trip#/ vauclusehousetearooms.com.au
2. Sydney’s culture tour (Saturdays only)
For those with an irrational love of coffee, markets and live music, this one’s for you. From Central Station, hop on the light rail, which will give you a glimpse of Pyrmont, an area that’s experienced a dramatic transformation over the past 10 years. Once you pull into Glebe (the onboard display and announcement will make this easy), take a 12-minute stroll through the colourful neighbourhood towards Glebe Markets.
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After you’ve rummaged through second-hand clothes, bought your share of eclectic crafts and filled an enviro-friendly bag with some tasty treats , jump aboard a 433 bus to Balmain East. Fling out a picnic rug and your market treats at Illoura Reserve for an uninterrupted lunchtime view of the city. To top off the trip, board a ferry to either Darling Harbour or Circular Quay and enjoy the breeze as you acclimatise back to the hustle and bustle of the city.
Where: Glebe Markets
When: Saturday 10am – 4pm
Getting there: Take the Light Rail departing from Central Station
More info: balmainmarket.com.au
3. Blue Mountains walk (without the extra travel)
Katoomba is more than 100 kilometres from the city, but it’s worth the journey if you’ve never been. So what if we told you that you could get to the Blue Mountains in just over an hour, and take a bushwalk that’s gained quite a reputation for its stunning views and lack of crowds?
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Departing Central Station, the Blue Mountains train will have you racing towards the bush. Alight at Warrimoo Station and take the pedestrian overpass into the sleepy streets of Warrimoo along The Boulevarde, which will lead you towards the beginning of the Florabella Pass. This 90-minute walk will take you down to the creek-side canopy, where you’ll be reminded of how good it feels to be surrounded by fresh air and nature. The walk finishes in the neighbouring suburb of Blaxland. Refuel your body at one of the welcoming local cafés before your short stroll to Blaxland Station – one stop earlier than where you began your bush journey – for your return train home to the city. Once onboard, you’ll have plenty of time to talk about how you want to buy a house in the mountains, raise chickens and grow all your own vegetables.
Where: Florabella Pass, Warrimoo
When: Services operate 7 days a week
Getting there: Take the BMT departing Central Station
More info: Wildwalks.com
Plan your trip
There are several ways to quickly plan your next trip around New South Wales using public transport. These handy travel apps are available for both iPhone and Android smartphones. Each uses real-time data to give you up to the minute travel information at your fingertips.
Plus you can always use our Trip Planner tool below to see the different routes and services available to you.