How to Escape Sydney, Australia

Nelson Bay and the Blue Mountains are just two destinations on an extraordinarily long list of places reachable within a few hours of the country’s biggest city

Lush green parks, action-packed beaches, and every type of cuisine you could ask for… why would anybody want to escape Sydney?

Well, eventually the lure of the beautiful Australian countryside will take effect, and the bustling streets of Sydney simply won’t compare to the mountainous landscape, and those more secluded coastal hideaways.

Luckily, spending a few days away from the city couldn’t be easier. Central Station is well connected to destinations all over New South Wales and beyond, making that weekend getaway within close reach.

So, one hot weekend in Sydney, we decided to take advantage of the plentiful transport options and escape to two destinations – the Blue Mountains to the West of the city and Nelson Bay, located further North and just past Liverpool.

We lounged around the beach and sampled kangaroo pies (when in Oz)

Our first stop was Nelson Bay, where we had a quaint little beach-house booked for two nights, complete with its own private entrance down to the quiet beach. It was idyllic. Nelson Bay isn’t full of tourists, at least not as many as Sydney is anyway. We stumbled across the destination when looking for places to stay around the area, and chose Nelson Bay simply because of the cheapness of our accommodation (we paid around £30 for the two nights, pretty good for Australia!). We quickly fell in love with the place.

Besides a rather limited marina and some water-sports businesses, there isn’t loads to do. But, it was refreshing to be almost in the middle of nowhere, especially when compared to where I lived in Sydney, which was just a twenty minute walk from central station.

I actually don’t have much to report from Nelson Bay, apart from that we lounged around the beach and sampled kangaroo pies (when in Oz). We did even contemplate extending our stay, which we most certainly would have done had we not had our next destination booked. In fact, we’ve often (half) joked that we’d love to move there, when old age settles in and we seek a more idyllic lifestyle…although I’m secretly hoping this happens before I turn thirty.

So, we heavy hearts and slightly sunburnt backs, we left our Nelson Bay paradise. Getting home was just as easy as getting there, and we took full advantage of the Opal card travel cap. For those of you that don’t know, you pay for all travel around New South Wales with an Opal card (UK readers, this is essentially like the London Oyster card). However, it also has a daily cap of AU $15, meaning that no matter how far/much you travel in that day, you’ll never pay more than that. Nelson Bay is a good few hours journey from Sydney, and because we went on a Sunday (when the daily cap reduces to just a few dollars) we paid next to nothing for our journey of a train and a couple of buses.

Nelson Bay and the Blue Mountains are just two destinations on an extraordinarily long list of places reachable within a few hours of the country’s biggest city.

The same applied for our next, although somewhat nearer, destination – the Blue Mountains. After a night back at my apartment, we set out the next morning for the spectacular tourist destination. It takes a little under two hours on the train from central, but is miles away from the landscape you see in the city. It’s true, the mountains do have a bluey tinge, making them look even more magical and mysterious. The green hills seem never-ending, and after walking the tracks for no less than eight hours, they felt it too.

There is a touristy attraction called ‘Scenic World’ at the Blue Mountains, consisting of various sky-walks, mountain trains, and walking paths around the area, however entrance to this is not cheap. Therefore, we decided to go it alone and get lost among the trees, which we certainly did. We went hours without bumping into another person, and had the beauty of a magnificent waterfall all to ourselves. Whilst wandering around with no WiFi, no signal, and no Google Maps was a little nerve-racking, it was also extremely refreshing. Besides, we eventually found our way back to the B&B didn’t we, even if our legs were about to drop off.

Of course, families and those less comfortable with aimless walking can take advantage of Scenic World, and it does have some really good reviews. However, I’d definitely encourage you not to! Luckily, the surrounding town is well equipped with an array of supermarkets and restaurants, meaning you don’t have to walk too far for food and drink. There is also a (seemingly) free bus running from the visitors centre back to the station, and the journey only takes around ten minutes or so.

Our few days exploring Sydney’s surroundings came to an end all too quickly, and it was back to the fast-paced city life for us. Of course, living in Sydney was hardly a chore, yet I’m thankful we took the time to get out and take a minute to appreciate Australia’s diverse landscape. Nelson Bay and the Blue Mountains are just two destinations on an extraordinarily long list of places reachable within a few hours of the country’s biggest city, and they are so much easier to reach and spend time in than you may initially think.

After all, we must always take a moment to cleanse our lungs with some fresh mountain air, and wallow in the beauty of a silent beach…for that won’t be happening down at Bondi anytime soon!

About Mariah Feria

Mariah FeriaI am a recent graduate, having studied American Literature with Creative Writing at UEA. In my spare time, I try to write as much as I can, focusing on travel, mental health, feminism and other social/political issues. I also have my own travel blog that I update regularly and am a keen creative writer too. I am lucky enough to have visited and lived in some amazing places, including studying abroad in both Arizona (USA) and Sydney. I hope to continue my passion for living abroad and am off to Vietnam in August 2017 to live and teach there for five months.

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