About New South Wales
The world’s first koala hospital sits in NSW, Australia, and comes packed with the cuddliest creatures, their amusing antics, and moving facts of their vulnerability. By Kiran Mehta
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit New South Wales is from February to March and from July to August
New South Wales
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House is one of the most historic architectures around the world due to its shell like structure. Stroll around the Opera House for perfect clicks and for a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is recommended to take a guided tour if you are really a person of historic monuments and culture to know more about it architecture. Also, if possible try to attend a performance at the Opera House to treat yourself.
Sydney was our home base. We started the trip with a week here and ended it here with a week too. So there are a couple of things that I absolutely must recommend: 1. Hogging on lamb chops and red wine at the Opera Bar, at night, when the city's lit up and a chilly breeze gently inspires you.... (and you don't have to fight the annoying birds for your food) 2. We went for skydiving with Sydney Skydivers. One could probably choose a more scenic Byron or Cairns, but in all honesty, as you plummet to your death from 14000ft, you tend to forget about the hills and the meadows and the ocean divine. It's all just spit from your mouth all over your face. 3. Pubs & Bars- The Blue Ivy, Bavarian Beer House on Manly wharf, The one tiny dance place in Darling Harbour (It's the only one, on the first floor, with blazing red lights- You can't miss it), and Kingscross (if you dare). The best thing to do would be to walk around on the streets and meet other people and just make new friends and go where they're headed. 4. Ferry to Darling Harbour. 5. Also take the train to Milsons point from Circular Quay and walk to the wharf next to Luna Park. That point is THE ULTIMATE view point of The Harbour Bridge and The Opera House. 6. I didn't go to Bondi beach. On principle. I'm hipster like that. But I hear you must.
Darling Harbour is one of the iconic spots for both tourist and locals. It houses a number of attractions like Madam Tussauds, Sea Life Aquarium and National Maritime museum. With an array of wine and dine options with multi-culinary options housed along both the sides of the shore makes it an ideal place and busy place for hangouts and catch ups on weekends. If you are ready to spend more on dinning, try the cruise dining options for an exemplary experience. Grab a coffee and take a walk on the Prymont Bridge to catch a glimpse of whole of Darling Harbour.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
You have to get onto the famous bridge in one way or another: by walking, driving, or even climbing. While the pylon climb may be unforgettable (I know a couple from England who did it and raved about it), if you’re on a budget you can forget it: it runs you roughly $300. Instead, simply walk across it. And I’m not talking about joining one of the preorganized walking tours (they also charge you) – you can do it for free. Head out to the Rocks and find the launch point where the tours depart, then look for the partially hidden staircase that looks like it was built into a wall. Climb a few flights to bridge level, then the rest is yours. The view of the harbor and Opera House are breathtaking.
Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk The walk itself only takes about 1-2 hours (3-4 hours return), but you could easily stretch it into a day-long adventure. This gorgeous stretch of coastline on Sydney’s outskirts is especially enjoyable on a warm summer day, when the sun drenches the craggy cliffsides and the ocean seems impossibly blue. Start in either Bondi or Coogee and end up at the other, where you can catch public transport back into the city or walk back to your starting point. The trail is paved and well-posted, passing through several smaller beaches along the way. You can walk the entire length or just sections of it; and be sure to bring a lunch so you can stop and picnic along the way. Also required: camera, hat, sunglasses, and lots of sunscreen.
Sydney Cricket Ground
6. Sydney Cricket Ground: For all the cricket fanatics-need I say more? Take a tour of this historic ground and get entry into the hallowed dressing rooms, the Bradman bar and other iconic areas in the vicinity. The world famous Allianz stadium is in the same campus-the mecca of football fans!
Queen Victoria Building (QVB)
Magnificent stained glass windows, 19th century staircases and the stunning central dome are some of the features of QVB that will leave you awestruck. As for the shopping, once you’ve had your fill of all that’s designer, look up kikki.K. It’s a boutique overflowing with beautiful knick knacks, must-have stationary and gifts that are going to make you reach out for the credit card, much more than you had planned. qvb.com.auOXFORD STREET
Royal Botanic Gardens
Most cities proudly boast their own botanic gardens, and I’ve been through many of them. Aside from lovely buds and sprawling lawns, I particularly enjoyed Sydney’s because you get the added bonus of a waterfront ambience mingled with the park setting. Stroll along the harbor promenade behind the seawall, and hike up to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for the best view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House together (just try to avoid mid-morning and mid-afternoon tour busses.) My favorite part was finding a quiet, secluded spot up on the hill and watching the sun set behind the bridge and opera house. You’ll even share the view with wild parakeets.
Just set back from Bondi Beach the 180 degree bi folding windows attract a crowd of ‘want to be seen’ during the day and in the evenings is packed to a maximum. The cocktail bar offers surprisingly good cocktails and with views over the famous surf the hotel has a relaxed feel but with all the elegance you would expect from a boutique hotel.
Summer Bay Bed & Breakfast
We have taken a trip to another beach today called Palm beach but most of you all know it as Summer bay from Home and Away. We have had a really fun day here today though, I was buried in the sand by Mike and Jay, clothes, money, cards and all... Then when I went to wash all the sand away I lost most of my bikini in the waves! I am just pretty pleased there is a dip in the sand to the sea is all I can say! Tonight we are going to the pub to watch the Tottenham, Villa match so looking forward to seeing how much its raining its home on the TV...
Overlooking Darling Harbor, the Star Casino is the second largest casino in Australia with two gaming floors, eight bars, seven restaurants, over 300 hotel rooms and more than 100 private apartments. The gaming area consists of the main gaming floor on level one featuring three major parts – Table Games, Electronic Gaming, and Poker, and the Sovereign Room on level three featuring four private gaming rooms and extra dining and lounge amenities. With over 1490 slot machines dotted around the casino varying in size, theme and bonus level, gamblers can easily stuck there for days in order to try each one of them. With such a great variety of dining facilities ranging from privately owned outlets to top dining restaurants, and numerous casino games ranging from traditional games to electronic gaming machines, one will find the Star Casino a great destination in Sydney.
Easily confused for a suburb in the Swiss Alps, bohemian cafes, boutiques, pubs and bookstores dot the charming Darling Street in Balmain. Known for its cafe culture, this is the place to stop by for a breather. Then drop by at Witchery, Punch Gallery and Hunt Leather (East Balmain).NEWTOWN’S KING STREET
This is no ordinary creek. Berowra is best known for its gumtrees including blackout, scribbly, peppermint and blue gums. There is a bike track for exercise and several spots to stop for a picnic. Located north of Hornsby, it takes about 45 minutes to drive from Harbour Bridge to Berowra Creek. Take your time as you follow the trail from the Saltmarsh Boardwalk to the Crosslands Reserve, or vice versa. Breathe in the fresh air, snap photos and enjoy the moment. If I did all five camping spots, this seems like it would be a great grand finale.
We devoted Amber’s last day to sampling Hunter Valley wineries with Activity Tours, which seems to offer the best prices for this day trip, and gave us a discounted rate for this tour. It’s a little rushed, but you get to see three or four wineries — this equals 30 or so wines — and go to a cheese tasting. We finished up with dinner on the water.
3. Blue Mountains: Home to some endangered Aboriginal tribes, blue mountains got there name due to the presence of Eucalyptus trees which emanate oil fumes which mixed wih air in the atmosphere tend to give out a blue hue to the surroundings. There is a Aboriginal show that you can catch which details there history and lifestyle. TIP: Make sure you stop by Leura- a fairytale village on your way back for a quick bite of the local cuisine and humongous helpings of locally made yummy ice-cream :)
The Strand Arcade
Having survived 118 years, two depressions and two World Wars, the Strand is arguably the most historic shopping arcades in Sydney’s CBD. Three floors of this Victorian-style mall caters to old-world coffee shops and several Australian brands and designers like Alannah Hill, Leona Edmiston and Sass & Bide. Our pick though is Andrew McDonald Shoemaker, for their hand-crafted high quality shoes. andrewmcdonald.com.au; strandarcade.com.au.QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING (QVB)
Hard Rock Cafe Sydney
I usually head to Cafe Sydney for dinner. Nothing beats rooftop venue with spectacular views of the harbour. It is on the rooftop of Customs House, which is right at circular quay, the outdoor terrace boasts giving you the promised view. Start off the evening in their relaxing lounge. Don't forget to get yourself a cocktail.
National Gallery of Australia
Next stop after Manuka Oval at your itinerary is the National Gallery of Australia. Witness the largest museum of Australia at the capital of the states. With over 1.6 lakhs of artwork the museum stands tall since 1982 and is a must visit. Might get a glimpse of your favorite cricketers at this classy palace.
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
Sydney’s famous aquarium is huge, filled with a million fish, penguins, and turtles, as well as special exhibits for deep-sea creatures like transparent jellyfish and seahorses, striped reef crustaceans and the biggest crab I have ever seen (it takes up half of a floor-to-ceiling tank wall). Best of all are the underwater tunnels through the shark enclosures: walk beneath Jaws’ cousins, saw-nosed sharks, and manatees. (Buy a ticket in combination with the Wildlife World and you’ll save.)
Honeymoon Island is a flat sand bank that was recently created by the wind dragging sand inside Aitutaki Lgoon, in the tiny Pacific territory of the Cook Islands. The sandbank is populated by a few bushes and several palm trees grown from the coconuts planted by the many couples that make the trip down here as a sign of their eternal love. The whole island can be walked in fifteen minutes and reached by a 45 minutes boat ride from Vaipae, Aitutaki's main town. It is said that couples used to come here to get married, hence the name. There are various arch-like structures made of bamboo and local flowers under which couples exchange their vows. 7) Aileen from I am Aileen: White Beach, Boracay, Philippines
Everything that stings, bites, and kills is found in our country,” said Tim, my taxi driver from the Sydney airport to the hotel when he heard I’d signed up for a nature-driven holiday. There was some truth to his words: the deadliest spider (funnel web) and the top 10 killer snakes in the world are all proud Aussies. But I was there on a different mission: to track down the cute critters on the island continent. If penguin parades amuse you, head to Phillip Island at dusk to watch the smallest penguins in the world, aptly named Little Penguins, waddle their way out of water and into their sandy nests on the beach, or spot the endangered cassowary while on a stroll along the beaches of Northern Queensland. And in Land Down Under, thousands of sprightly kangaroos with little joeys peeking from their pouches are a delightful sight for animal lovers. My favourite, however, is the teddy bear-like koala for which I headed on a four-and-half-hour drive from Sydney to the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. After signing up for the complimentary walk-and-talk tour that takes place daily at 3 pm, I entered the open-air hospital to the refreshing scent of eucalyptus and a screeching sound of cockatoos, and camouflaged against the brown barks, were the sleepy little saints I had come for. One was busy biting into leaves, as another, a baby, clung onto its mama. “They look like they were made to be cuddled,” said a voice behind me, as if reading my mind. This was my guide on the group tour, a pioneering volunteer at the Koala Hospital, Mick Feeney. He quickly added, “Wild koalas on’t like being touched. They’ve got claws!” And with that, our tour began.The Koala Hospital, the first of its kind in the world, began operations when animal-lovers and local shop keepers, Jean and Max Starr, came across one-too-many injured koalas. The couple wanted to care for the animal, and in 1973, launched the Koala Preservation Society, a non-profit that runs the Koala Hospital. Even today, the hospital remains an organisation that functions on the might of volunteers and donations, sans government funding.To volunteer, one needs to fill forms online and pay a fee of AUD100 for a monthlong specialised training programme that covers insurance. A sweet deal that hasn’t yet been lapped up by an Indian.The InhabitantsOn the tour, one gets to meet a few koalas. Ian is a 17-year-old koala and a senior citizen, easily recognisable with his dull brown coat. Mick explains, “With advancing years, they wither away.Sometimes they come down to move to another tree but are too weak to get back up.” This inmate was saved by a passerby as he sat helplessly at the bottom of a tree in the forest, in clear view of predators like foxes, dingoes, and pythons. “Most of our rescues take place when people who are out on their walks or hikes spot an injured koala and call our helpline,” prompting the team of koala-messiahs to rush out in an ambulance for rescue. The good Samaritan who calls in, gets to name the animal. Zenani, another inhabitant, is a feisty three-year-old who has a human mother. She was brought to the hospital after surviving a bush-fire where she lost her mother. Baby koalas need their mamas perhaps even more than we humans do.In only 35 days after conception, the little jelly bean moves from the birth canal to the pouch where it develops for the next seven months. At about one year, the joey is much too big to fit into the pouch and climbs out, still clinging to its mama’s belly, back, or chest, till the age of three. Zenani didn’t get that. Having lost her mum, she latched onto her caregiver, Barbara. Within the hospital, it is only her human mother that Zenani will rush towards, hugging and clutching as she cradles Zenani, wrapped in a blanket, and feeds her through a milk bottle—a most heart-warming sight.We then walked into the ICU to meet Nick, a young koala who was hit by a car that left him with a damaged paw. “At first, it looked like we might need to amputate, but managed to save the limb.” In another bed lay ‘one-eyed Jack’ who had contracted chlamydia and subsequently lost one eye.Some can’t defend themselves in the wild and live out their years at the hospital; others recover and are rehabilitated. Mick ends the tour with John Williamson’s lyrics, a well-known Australian singer whose donations helped build the ICU. He sang Goodbye Blinky Bill decades ago and warned the world, ‘Our koalas are all dying, can it really be. A national disaster, a world catastrophe.’ As I left the hospital, I thought about our future generations which may never know this unique marsupial. Williamson’s song sums up the sentiment, ‘What would we tell our children about this little mate.’Plot The Cute Critters1. Run alongside an Emu at Wildlife Currumbin Sanctuary, GOLD COAST2. Cuddle a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, BRISBANE3. Watch the Australian Sulphur-crested cockatoo at Australia Zoo, QUEENSLAND4. Hand feed kangaroos at Featherdale Wildlife Park, SYDNEY5. Watch the bearded dragon at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo SYDNEY
The girls went on their secret shopping adventure, so I went over to the park with the boys, played cricket for the first time in my life and soaked Grant in the pool of reflection at Hyde Park, which gained me a soaking in return of ice cold water. Had the best Spaghetti Bologenese cooked for us for dinner by Mike tonight too, it was delish!
Glebe Point Road
Not all streets have to be noisy and chaotic and while I enjoy the hustle and bustle I also love the occasional long stroll through a quiet lane. Glebe point road is not exactly a quiet lane but it’s slightly hippie and colorful character make for a wonderful walk. When I was studying in Sydney I would often wander through this quaint neighborhood and get lost with my then Greek boyfriend. Known for its largely ethnic restaurants and bohemian shops, the main street is filled with writers, musicians, artists and urban hippies. Glebe has a lovely weekend flea market as well that takes off on Saturdays and the mood is festive and wild with musicians , tarot card readers, writers all making merry under the sun.
The tour starts at The Glass Dome at Wynyard Park. This small park is closely connected to the history of the city. and was made a public park in 1887. It was earlier a part of the Soldier’s Parade Ground and Barracks that was used by the guards of the many convicts that arrived in Sydney till 1840. The Dome Glass has an underground lavatory that was built in 1912. A small, pleasant place to start this evening walk.
To get acquainted with you fir side, enroll in the biathlon that takes place from Andrew Boy Charlton Pool in the Domain every Thursday night between mid October and March. It’s a 4 km run and a 300 m swim. You run past Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and break into an uphill run to the turning point by the entrance gates. You will be greeted with the breathtaking views of Harbour on one side and the Opera house and Bridge on the other. Trust me the vista holds power to distract you from your sprint. The return 2 km is all downhill and finish off with a pool swim.