Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’

40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 4!

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

4. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Affectionately known as the Coathanger, Sydney Harbour Bridge is a defining symbol of Australia. Along with the equally iconic Opera House, it is the centrepiece of Sydney’s skyline and arguably the best lookout point in the city!

Opened in 1932, this engineering masterpiece was created to link Sydney’s business district and the North Shore. With admirable foresight, planners created a huge bridge which today bears eight lanes of traffic and two railways.

It’s an impressive construction from any angle, though it photographs particularly well from certain spots; the Rocks, the Manly ferry, and Mrs Macquarie’s Point near the Royal Botanic Gardens.

But there’s another view worth considering – the one from the top of the arch!

Since 1998 it’s been possible for visitors to climb all 134 metres of the bridge itself, including celebs such as Bill Gates, Kylie Minogue, Usain Bolt, Steve Irwin and Daniel Radcliffe. We’re sure Sydneysiders wish the latter could magic away the Queensland state flag, which gets flown on the bridge if rivals Queensland defeat home team New South Wales in rugby league’s State of Origin!

The view from the top is breathtaking – look south and skyscrapers spike from Sydney’s CBD; to the southeast the Royal Botanic Gardens sit lush and green behind the inimitable white curves of the Opera House.

West lies the Parramatta River, its estuary pooling around fingers of developed land; to the north are the wealthy suburbs of the North Shore, while eastwards the world’s largest natural harbour gives way to the Pacific.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a truly impressive landmark in a magnificent city, one which literally brings the citizens of Sydney closer together. And if you ever get the chance to be in Sydney for New Year’s Eve, then you’ll see it play a pivotal role in the legendary fireworks display.

Who knew that setting a Coathanger ablaze could draw such a big crowd?!

Topdeck top tip: A sunset or night climb can be particularly memorable, offering a different perspective of Sydney’s cosmopolitan metropolis.

Have you climbed all the way to the top?
Tell us about your experience!

Other Sydney Harbour Bridge Media

Celebrity photos from atop the bridge:

New Year’s Eve celebrations:

Top to Bottom / Sydney to Melbourne

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

People often say that Australia is lucky to have two of the world’s best cities separated by a one hour flight. Many, however, may not appreciate the quality of the experiences offered by the journey between Sydney and Melbourne. Sure, you would be forgiven for hopping on a plane to reach your destination, but let’s not forget that travelling is just as much about the journey as it is the destination, and if you fancy the fun and frolics of a road trip then jumping on a Topdeck trip definitely won’t disappoint! The major cities of Sydney and Melbourne may hold the cultural delights, but this is ‘Straya!’, and there are some fantastic coastlines and some seriously scenic roads with geological wonders if you just look out the window!

The great thing about taking a Topdeck trip is that you will meet a great variety of people with similar interests but very different backgrounds. To give you an idea, a recent group on a ‘Top to Bottom’ trip comprised of 8 different nationalities. It’s fair to say that the bus ride alone, despite everything you’re seeing and doing on the way, is bound to be an interesting experience!

Day 1: Sydney to Snowy Mountains

If you’ve ever taken a road trip before you will know that there’s always a chance that you will see something completely unconventional, completely amazing, or something that will add to the overall trip experience. To everybody’s surprise, the group on a recent Top to Bottom trip were stopped for petrol where Peter Garrett, one of Australia’s most renowned musicians (lead singer from Midnight Oil), and now a Politician, was also filling his tank. The group were able to have a chat, take a photo, and be welcomed to the country by a Politician on behalf of the Australian Government! Something unconventional to put in the travel diary!

When arriving in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, the group ventures 842 metres above sea level to Mt. Ainslie, experiencing complete 360 degree views over Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. After taking in the history, visiting the iconic Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and a number of Foreign Embassies, you’ll be keen to explore Australia’s capital! After having enough time to explore Canberra, you will be back on the road seeing more beautiful landscape and scenery, starting to realise how big Australia really is.

Arriving in the Snowy Mountains you should prepare yourself for a few things. Amazing scenery, great accommodation, delicious food, a whole lot of bonding time and maybe even a 6 pack of abs from laughing the night away! Invariably, it doesn’t take long before you start to feel as though you have known your new Topdeck buddies for years..

Day 2: Snowy Mountains to Gippsland Lakes

A word to the wise for day 2 – EAT, EAT, EAT at breakfast time. You will need the energy!

Australia’s highest mountain peaks at 2,228 metres above sea level, but don’t let that scare you, it’s a fairly non stressful hike and will be well worth the sweat once you have reached your point on the mountain. This experience will truly take your breath away (nothing to do with the air being thinner at 2,000 metres above sea level!) as the scenery is magnificent. Depending on what time of year you visit, you could also be surrounded by snow!

Once you head back down the mountain, have a little think about how you just climbed the highest peak in Australia! Something else worth putting in your travel diary, perhaps?

Hitting the road Topdeck style means more than just taking the direct highway route. On the way to Gippsland Lakes your trip will take a detour on some remote Australian roads. Here, the bus driver’s skills are truly challenged, driving through remote and unspoilt wilderness with outstanding views of Snowy River country and surrounding mountain landscape. If you’re lucky, you might even take a refreshing dip in one of the surrounding rivers!

It might be a little difficult to get your head around the fact that earlier on in the day you were climbing Australia’s highest mountain and now about to have dinner by the sea in the town of Lakes Entrance, but this is what travelling with Topdeck is all about! The Lakes Entrance town is situated on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach where the Gippsland Lakes meets the Southern Ocean. Another truly beautiful place to see…

Day 3: Gippsland Lakes to Melbourne

A word to the wise for day 3 – wake up early and see the sunrise!

From here you will again hit the road, making a stop in Forster, before heading to the relatively untouched and rugged wilderness of Wilsons Promontory National Park. The Park boasts beautiful coastal trees, banksias, and white sandy beaches known for making a squeaky sound when walked on barefoot. At this point it is quite common for Topdeck passengers to make some more new friends as it’s possible to get up close and personal with the Australian wildlife.

Arriving in Melbourne for the final part of the trip you will again be presented with some more Australian Wildlife – Melbournians. Here you can explore the culturally diverse city, commonly referred to as Australia’s little Europe, tackle the shops and travel around on the famous Melbourne trams.

Topdeck isn’t just about arriving to a destination; it’s about enjoying the journey between. Although only a 3 day trip, many people feel that they walk away from Topdeck’s Top to Bottom with greater knowledge and appreciation of just what an amazing country Australia really is.

“Although I have travelled a great deal of Australia, this was my first time travelling in this style, and the first time I had set off on a journey “alone”. It didn’t take long before I realised that alone I was not, and the next three days I was able to not only share these amazing experiences with like minded travellers but also come away with what felt like a little family. This was only a 3 day trip and I only left these guys a few hours ago but I am already missing them!” – Claire Harwood, Topdeck.

Like what you’ve read about our Top to Bottom trip? We have plenty more trips throughout Australia that are just as fun!

G’Day and All That!

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Topdeck’s Liana Szwajlyk pays homage to the motherland…

Simply searching for a new frontier and a practical launch pad for more travel, I didn’t give it much thought when I decided pack up and leave my homeland for the unknown. But, I’ve been travelling and living abroad for a while now and my time away has proved a great opportunity for me to reflect on the Land Down Under.

Without boasting, I’ve travelled to dozens of countries and while I thought all of them were amazing, there’s nothing quite like Australia anywhere else in the world. So, while I’m pining for home, I thought I’d share some of my personal highlights of living in the land of opportunity. There’s a load to mention, so without boring you, I’ll present my realisations and exclamations about Oz in a series of (hopefully) exciting instalments.

Now, where to begin? For one, we call it “The Big Country” and we’re not joking. Check it out on a map - it’s about the size of mainland US and 50 perfect larger than Europe.

We have very few major cities and they’re great distances apart. But, they’re BIG cities and you will find them full of a vibrant mix of people and filled with loads of breathtaking scenery in between. From beautiful ancient landscapes, as old as time itself, to the most modern of cities there’s something for everyone in Australia.

I’ll start with Sydney, Australia’s oldest city, the economic powerhouse of the nation, blessed with sun-drenched natural attractions, dizzy skyscrapers, superb shopping, and, of course the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, what more could you want? Oh, I forgot, there’s also the Sydney Harbour itself. If you’re flying into Sydney make sure you have a window seat, the view of the harbour alone is worth the price of your flight - it really is spectacular.

Let’s move on to Melbourne, the vibrant, cosmopolitan city that hosts an impressive combination of old and new architecture, elegant streetscapes, harmonious ethnic communities and lavish parks & gardens. The locals claim that it’s the most enlightened and liveable city in the world and being an avid Melbournian myself, I would definitely have to agree. Melbourne has a lively passion for social eating and drinking, which is reflected by the vast array of fashionable cafes and restaurants. The city also boasts a full program of festivals, varied sporting events and a crazy nightlife - Melbourne certainly has it all.

I could drone on about each sophisticated city or quirky country town, but you get the picture! Our metropolises are huge and there’s a lot going on - it’s best you check it out for yourself!

Stay tuned for Part Two…

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