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15 May 2019 15:33:18
There’s more to Sydney’s charm than the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. To get a real feel for the city, go beyond the obvious and iconic features and uncover the less mainstream locations that are the real heart and soul of Sydney. Here are some local favourites that will take you off the beaten tourist track to experience more unique places and spaces.
This place is a true gem. And to tell you the truth, it’s not really a secret; it’s a special place that Sydney has a soft spot for. Wendy Whitley lovingly created the garden as a way to deal with the grief of losing her husband and artist, Brett Whitley, who created incredible iconic images of Sydney. Without any horticultural knowledge, Wendy bought the garden to life using colour, shape, beauty and whimsy. Today, it’s a magical place with incredible corners and crannies featuring native and exotic plants, herbs, trees and twisting paths. Convene with the kookaburras, parrots and wagtails for glimpses of the cityscape from this other-worldly place.
This walking track is sublime, and not to be missed. Otherwise known as the Manly Scenic Walkway, you can walk this 10km track in 3.5 hours if you stride with intent, or up to 5 hours if you take it easy. Suitable for most fitness levels, it has several steep stair sections but is well worth the effort. Following the coast, this route gives you panoramic harbour and bush views as you walk through sub-tropical heath and beach environments. You can also set eyes on Aboriginal rock engravings, and ogle the harbourside mansions too. If you begin at The Spit Bridge, the best part is – you finish at the marvellous Manly Beach where you can go for a swim and grab a well-earned bite.
Yes, you can catch a ferry there, but for an unforgettable day out, how about kayaking to Cockatoo Island? Hire a kayak from Annandale and start on your urban escapade. Seeing the city from the sea is a sensation, and with a destination like Cockatoo Island, with an abundant and diverse history, it’s a day out like no other. When you get there, you can spend hours wandering around the ex-shipbuilding facility, convict barracks, cranes and industrial machinery. It’s easy to see why it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010. Don’t forget your sunscreen and H2O.
Sydney’s accessible foreshore is part of its charm, and Cremorne Point Walk is wonderful. You can get there on the ferry from Circular Quay and take the 2km walk where you can see the incredible houses circa 1910-1930. The views are outstanding, and if it’s a hot day, pack your swimmers so you can take advantage of McCallum Pool with its quaint picket fence; take a dip with a view. There’s also a stunning garden to explore, created by Lex and Ruby Graham in the 1960s. If you’re feeling hungry, pack a picnic or stop for lunch at Mosman Rowers.
Now you’ve seen the more eccentric side of Sydney, treat yourself to a 360-degree, bird’s-eye view of the city’s landmarks and icons from the sky. To enjoy the beauty of the cityscape from 250 metres above street level, there’s no better spot than the highest point in the city. You might even be able to see the places you discovered during your visit.