Thursday, 21 August 2014

Australian Adventure - Beach Baths

I loved the beach baths on the Aussie beaches - here are a few:

Pearl Beach - Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, Central Coast, NSW

Bondi Beach, NSW

Bronte Beach, NSW

Clovelly Beach, NSW

Cronulla Beach, NSW

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Australian Adventure Post 5

Friday 8th August

We left the lovely Fairmont Resort after a hearty breakfast and headed off towards Sydney again for the last leg of our tour.

This time were staying south of Sydney at the Avonmore on the Park in Randwick. I booked this because it looked like an interesting boutique hotel, also it was near Bondi and Bronte beaches, well placed to get to Botany Bay and twenty minutes from the airport. However, if I were to return to my booking stage I would go for the Novotel at Brighton-le-Sands, also very well placed. The reason being that despite friendly and helpful staff the room was cold (there was an oil filled heater to be fair) but the bathroom was freezing. In addition Randwick wasn't the best place for tourists, I think Brighton would have been better.

Anyhow - after checking in we went off to Bondi for a walk around.

The Bondi crescent of sand.

Bondi in winter

The famous Lifeguard Club

Following our walkabout we headed back to Randwick but took a wrong turn and ended up in Rose Bay and Watson's Bay - what lovely places to live for Sydneysiders:)

Saturday 9th August

Following some shopping we decided to do the Coastal Walk, we parked at Bronte beach and walked along the coast to Clovelly. One of the things I love about Australian beaches are the baths and bronte's baths were in a stunning and dramatic location.

The waves trickle over into the pool - it looked so refreshing. 

Please note the surfer about to hit the surf. 

The clifftop walk goes past several little beaches, a bowling club (where we stopped for a drink to admire the view), a rugby club and a Victorian cemetery. We walked to Clovelly and then returned.

Clifftop Cemetery at Clovelly


Clovelly Beach

Sunday 10th August

For our last day we decided to end where the British involvement in Australia began at Botany Bay. As a historian myself, I found this a very philosophical and bittersweet place. We arrived at Kurnell Park in Botany Bay and began with the Burrawang Walk, this takes you along a path that has several monuments to Cook and his colleagues from the Endeavour. It explains what happened on the first meeting with the Aborigines and it puts into context the Aboriginal experience following Cook's landing.

There is a huge emphasis on the atrocities suffered by the Aboriginals and a pledge to move forward together (from my brief observations during our stay I would say there is still a lot of work to be done but there is a commitment to do it). There is also a museum at Kurnell and it puts more context around the area for visitors - very interesting, we spent ages in there.

Whilst standing at Cook's monument an Aboriginal guy offered to take our picture - a lovely moment.

Kurnell, Botany Bay, Cook's monument and the plaques telling the Aboriginal story. 

Following my history fix and a very deep thinking morning we drove off to Cronulla for a coastal walk to finish our Australian Adventure. Cronulla Beach was lovely but stunning at sunset.

Cronulla Beach at sunset

The sunsets on our Australian Adventure

Australian Adventure Post 4

The Blue Mountains

Tuesday 5th August

We made our way over to the Blue Mountains - stopping to have breakfast in Windsor.
Our first port of call was the Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens. Despite it being winter is was still worth spending time there and having a look at the wonderful gardens and views.

A word of warning about the Blue Mountains in winter - a lot of the restaurants and bars were not open - or they were empty and not appealing. We tend to favour pubs with dining areas and these were difficult to find in the Blue Mountains.

That evening we went into Katoomba for something to eat and decided to try the Harp and Fiddle - all I can say is that this pub is best avoided really. That said the barman did make us feel welcome.

We stayed at the Fairmont Resort in Leura and I can thoroughly recommend it, the rooms were very comfortable indeed. Breakfast was included and it was a fabulous buffet.

Wednesday 6th August

Our first stop of the day was a walk around and across Wentworth Falls. This is definitely a walk I would recommend.

Wentworth Falls

All around the trail you will find stunning lookout points and beautiful scenery. This walk was quite busy in the middle of winter, so I should imagine that summer gets very crowded.

Walking across Wentworth Falls (there is a barrier don't worry!)

Using the camera self-timer at Wentworth Falls.

Leura Cascades

From Wentworth Falls we headed to Leura Cascades, another stunning beauty spot and trail.

All that walking of course made us hungry and this time we ate at The Yellow Deli in Katoomba. This is a cosy cafe with lots of nooks and crannies and booths made out of big logs. The owner was very friendly and the meals are all made using wholesome and natural foods.

Also in Katoomba is a lovely yarn shop called The Granny Square, very friendly and helpful staff, I could have spent hours in there.

Thursday 7th August

Scenic World in Katoomba was our main place to visit for the day and it was well worth it.

Here there are four main attractions:

The Skyway - across a ravine to Echo Point for a good view of the Three Sisters. This cable car is the highest in Australia.

The Three Sisters from Echo Point lookout.

Skyway Scenic World
Then there is the railway.

This is awesome. It is the steepest railway in the world and you really have to hold on tight going up and down - for the best experience get the front seats. It was originally the train down to the mine.

The benefit of going in winter is that we didn't have to queue for these rides at all.

The railway takes you down to the valley floor and a boardwalk trail - it was very cold down there the day we went and I felt quite chilled. However it was worth it and the Mountain Ashes are stunning. All around the boardwalk are information plaques to help you identify the trees, the plaques also tell the story of the miners who worked there.

Finally the forth ride is Australia's largest cable car - so if you don't fancy the railway you can take the cable car instead up and down the mountain.

I would also say that the staff are very friendly and helpful at Scenic World - well worth a visit.