With it being our first winter spent in Australia we were a little unsure what to expect. People kept saying that it would be similar to an English summer, but as the weeks drew by it seemed unlikely it would get that bad! It certainly did at times though, and we had some severe storms in late autumn (the sort with hail so bad you’re glad you don’t own a car!), but this still left us with lots of nice sunny days to continue exploring Sydney and surrounding New South Wales.
On the first weekend of June we decided to go along to the Sydney Vivid festival, an annual outdoor lighting festival with immersive light installations and projections. It is mainly centred around the CBD, and makes good use of the Opera House and the Harbour bridge as a backdrop. Some of the installations are interactive, with probably the most impressive being one where we could control all of the coloured light projections in the whole circular quay area using a control panel we were provided with.
Later that weekend we decided to take our first proper trip into the Blue mountains. They’re easily reachable on a day trip from Sydney, so we hired a car and got an early start to make the most of the day. We decided to focus on the area around Katoomba, and began our visit at Wentworth Falls where we followed a small section of the National Pass walking trail, something we will definitely be returning to in order to complete. We also stopped off at Leura Cascades as well as admiring the view from some of the numerous views along the Cliff Drive road which skirts the outskirts of Katoomba.
As well as exploring more of New South Wales, we also continued to make the most of what is available a bit nearer to home in Sydney. One Saturday in late June we decided to revisit the Coogee to Bondi coastal walk, and with the surf being particularly impressive that day we ended up spending some time at Bronte watching the surfers. On another weekend we decided to head over to the north shore and take in another one of Sydney’s great coastal walks – from Manly Spit to Manly. This turned out to be one of the best walks we had done in Sydney yet, and had the added bonus that with it finishing in Manly we had the perfect excuse to head to the Four Pines brewery for a few beers whilst we waited for the ferry back!
At the end of July we decided to take another weekend away from Sydney, this time heading South to Gerringong. Gerringong is a small seaside town, popular in summer, but at this time of year made the perfect getaway for a quiet weekend out of the city. On our first day there we mainly spent it relaxing, and it was a sunny warm day, so we headed down to the cliff-top and spent some time sat in the sun, keeping an eye out in the hope of seeing a passing whale and finished the day with a great meal at a vineyard on the edge of town. The next day we decided to walk the coast path from Kiama to Gerringong, so in the morning we headed over to Kiama on the train, grabbed some breakfast and set off. The walk was really pleasant, although there were lots of ups and downs on the way, so we celebrated on arriving back in Gerringong with fish and chips on the beach.