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Active Weekends in Sydney

1024px-Sydney_Opera_House_-_Dec_2008

Loved by its citizens as well as international tourists, Sydney is a true cosmopolitan. It is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, world-class shopping, top restaurants, captivating beaches, national parks, and many more breath-taking attractions just waiting to be rediscovered by you. With its packed calendar of events, this vibrant city offers many ways to explore it and have fun all year round.

Here are some ideas for an active weekend in Sydney:

active weekends in sydney

Hug the Harbour

This is one of the must-do Sydney tours. Sydney Harbour, with its 240 kilometres of shoreline, is regarded as one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world. Walk the harbour shoreline, or embark on a charted ferry passing by some of the most famous landmarks, and enjoy the scenic views. Cross the much loved Coat Hanger on foot, or climb it. Sydney Tours R Us organise tours with a stop at Milsons Point for another magnificent view of the iconic Sydney Opera House, and city skyline. Watch the sun set over the harbour’s sparkling waters from a beachfront restaurant.

 active weekends in sydney

Hyde Park

Australia’s oldest park is home to hundreds of exotic and native trees and several monuments, including the Archibald Fountain, ANZAC Memorial, and the Pool of Reflection. It is a perfect spot for a picnic, or to take a seat and have a breather, or to sunbath lazily on one of the many benches. Don’t miss St. Mary’s Cathedral on the edge of Hyde Park.

 active weekends in sydney

Bondi Beach

Australia’s most famous beach was added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2008, but it has been a hub of entertainment in Sydney since the dawn of time. This kilometre long expanse of golden sands attracts tens of thousands of people each year, who come here to walk, jog, surf, or simply relax in numerous cafes, bars and seafood restaurants. Swimming is permitted, water temperature is around 21 degrees in the summer months, and there is a shark net to keep swimmers safe.

active weekends in sydney

Step Back in Time in The Rocks

Since 1788, when the first settlers stepped ashore, the birthplace of modern Sydney, The Rocks, has transformed from a convict-built settlement into a thriving neighbourhood featuring many sleek hotels and funky bars. Discover the heritage sandstone buildings, cobblestone streets and monuments . The precinct is also an arts and cultural hub, so be sure to check out some of the art galleries or museums it offers. Visit The Rocks Weekend Markets, with over 200 stalls selling anything from designer clothing to cookware, but most importantly – delicious food.

How would you spend your weekend in Sydney?

Featured photo credit: By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sailing Spots Around Australia

Over 70% of our blue planet is simply water. However, not all of it is sailable. Sailors rely on good winds and navigable currents, which are rare enough, when you look at the big picture. Things are easier near land, and the horizon is certainly lusher. Australia is a large country, but a small continent, and the majority of its coastal transportation is done over water. You can trust any Aussie to be in touch with all the best places to spend a weekend sailing.

sydney harbour sailing

Most Australian sailing is done around the densely populated east coast, and Sydney is the largest city on the water’s edge. Obviously, most sailing trips start there. Sydney Harbour is a magnificent sight of man-made construction blending into the vast ocean. The city is best approached from the Harbour, for the full experience. And setting off from the Harbour is the first step to exploring one of the many popular sailing nooks nearby. Starting with Manly Heads and then the bays, Watsons, Vaucluse, Rose Bay, Double Bay, Rushcutters bay and then Sydney Cove, before finally returning to the city and the Circular Quay. It is a very busy Harbour, for the better and the worse. A lot can happen there to the unwary foreign sailor, not all of it pleasant, so it is wise to be careful – though this is the same advice you can give anyone, at any given port, or larger city.

A two hour flight from Sydney would get you to the sailing heaven of not only Australia, but the world – the Whitsunday Islands.  The best thing about going for a day trip to the Whitsundays is that the quality of the trip does not depend on the quality of your vessel. You could be on a custom built boat or on a chartered boat with a group of other tourists, but the Whitsundays will remain as beautiful. They were not named for the fine white sand that covers them, but they might as well have.

fraser island beach sailing

The next destination is in Queensland, and it is the Great Sandy Strait – an estuary separating the World Heritage Site Fraser Island from the mainland. Though the name brings forth thoughts about shipwrecks, the Sandy Strait is more pleasurable sailing than sandy sailor-bait. Berthing on Fraser island does not come for free (it is around $25 per day), but it is a great way to explore its numerous inland lakes, mangroves and estuaries. The 325 different kinds of birds will keep an adventurer busy for a long time, but that is merely the start. Fraser Island is that is the famous home of the wild dingoes, echidnas, possums, wallabies and flying foxes.

tasmania sailing

Going further south, a willing sailor will encounter the island of Tasmania, or Tassie as the locals call it. There are more than a few nice spots in the region – D’entrecasteaux Channel is a real must for a serious sailor. Geographically, it is close to Bruny Island and it is heavenly. The waters around Bruny and D’entrecasteaux are most often tranquil. For some more action, however, February is the season for the famous Bruny Island Race to watch or participate in. Tasmanian beaches are less commercial and furnished than the ones on the mainland, which only means they are charming in a more natural way. And when company is needed, there is always a local pub to visit for a pint.

There are many more wonderful places to sail around in Australia, but the last destination on this list is on the other side of the continent, in the region of Western Australia. The glorious Geographe Bay is a place where the sky above is painted bright blue and warm, and sandy beaches are discreet and remote. Getting seafood anywhere in coastal Australia is a safe bet, the fish is always fresh. In Western Australia, however, the art of the seafood platter is mastered, and washed down with a fine vintage of Cape Mantel wine.

5 Things You Have to Try in Thailand

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Whenever you visit a new place, you find yourself overwhelmed with new locations to visit and new things to try. In a vast and culturally wealthy country like Thailand, prioritizing is the key to a successful visit. Among the stunning landscapes, from remote jungles to funky flat rice fields, archeological and architectural marvels such as old city ruins, Buddhist monasteries and royal palaces; it is hard to pick out what to see and in what order. In the delicious plethora known as the local cuisine, it is hard to determine what to try first, and what to try without exception. For this reason, we have compiled this short list, consisting of the 5 things everyone should do when visiting Thailand. Here’s to a great post-trip traveler’s diary, courtesy of you!

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image: https://flic.kr/p/6zHMS9

The first thing to visit when in the capital is The Great Palace. Situated in the heart of Bangkok, this remarkable structure, built towards the end of the 18th century, represents a true monument of Thai architecture and serves as a marvelous example of the skill of some of the best Thai craftsman. Within the high walls lie some of the most important ministries of the Thai government. Rare is the active bureaucratic center with entrance permissible to tourists, and The Great Palace is such a structure.

When in Bangkok, make sure to partake in its flashy nightlife. You will see Thailand in a whole new light, as a real 21st century metropolis. Beaming with great clubs, generous people and a streaming river of alcohol and tourists with one thing in mind – having a great time!

The next thing you should definitely do when in Thailand is to have a go at bartering in one of the floating markets. The boat merchants sell local goods, most often fresh fruit, coconut milk and a great variety of cooked meals. Elevate your stay in Thailand to a holiday of your dreams as you embrace the culture. Discuss prices with the merchants and learn a recipe or two, all the time sitting on a shallow wooden boat in the middle of a great river. What a sensory overload!

The Phi Phi Islands, located only an hour and a half away from Phuket by a ferryboat, are considered some of the most beautiful beach islands in Southeast Asia. They are reputed tourist attraction, visited annually by hundreds. With stunning rock formations decorating the classic tropical beaches and beautifully tranquil turquoise waters, and a spotlight in a James Bond movie, they truly are one of the most beautiful Thai jewels.

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image: https://flic.kr/p/6YHkTF

Last but not least, one of the more fun things to try out in Thailand: explore the jungle on an elephant! Sure you may have sat on an elephant when you went to the circus as a child, but the experience out in the wild, swaying under the lush jungle flora – something else entirely. These elephant treks are often parts of adventure packages, available with most tour operators, and they are often combined with rafting and a stay in wayside bungalows. And that is some Mowgli-style action right there!

Whatever you choose to do in Thailand with your own time is your choice. This list contains some of the better known, best rated experiences, in the words of Thai-trip veterans. Essentially, any exotic destination will leave you both relaxed and restless, and it is only up to you to decide how far away from the regular route you wish to step from.

Featured image credit: By Milei.vencel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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