Australian Experience with John Vlahides

Blue Mountains National Park, NSW. © Destination NSW

Sydney and the Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Australia’s first city, Sydney holds many of Australia’s icons. It’s also a short drive from the magnificent natural landscape of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, as John Vlahides discovered on his visit. First John toured the Sydney Opera House, swam an outdoor Olympic salt-water pool at the edge of Sydney Harbour, took a ferry across the harbour, and wandered the historic Rocks district. Then he drove to the Blue Mountains, where he rode the steepest railway in the world and hiked around the eucalyptus forest. “It’s hard to believe this vast wilderness is just over an hour from Australia’s biggest city,” John said.

Make John’s Trip Your Trip

The Sydney Opera House, a World Heritage Site and one of the world’s finest architectural landmarks, hosts 1600 performances of all kinds every year, and offers tours every day.

Take a ferry ride across Sydney Harbour. Sydney’s ferries are an integral part of the transit system and will take you to several of the area’s iconic beach destinations.

The North Sydney Olympic Swimming Pool opened in 1936 and was at the time one of the most advanced in the world. Eighty-six world records have been set at the pool. You may not set one of your own, but you can still enjoy the spectacular views of the bridge and the harbour.

Climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. On a clear day you’ll be able to see all the way to the famous Blue Mountains.

The first European settlers in Australia settled at The Rocks. Learn about the area’s history as an open-air prison at The Rocks Discovery Museum, then shop for souvenirs or dine at one of Sydney’s best restaurants, all located in some of the city’s most historic buildings.

Visit the Blue Mountains and see the Three Sisters rock formation at Echo Point in Katoomba.

Take the Katoomba Scenic Railway, located at Scenic World. The railway descends through a tunnel into an ancient forest. Then wander the wooden boardwalk through the rainforest.

Other Sydney Experiences

Visit iconic Bondi Beach, where the natural views vie with the people-watching for your attention.

Learn about Sydney’s original inhabitants, the Cadigal people, on a tour with an Aboriginal guide through Sydney Harbour National Park.

Tour or camp overnight at Cockatoo Island, a former convict prison and dockyard.

Kayak at Rose Bay, a sheltered cove off scenic Sydney Harbour.

For more ideas on how to explore Sydney, browse a sample five-day Sydney itinerary.

Other Blue Mountains Experiences

Tour the Blue Mountains with a Darug guide and learn about the Aboriginal history of the area. You can visit caves that have signs of Aboriginal habitation from around 12,000 years ago.

Walk the tracks and trails of the Blue Mountains, which range from easy strolls to the challenging National Pass.

Explore the underground rivers, huge chambers and rock formations of the Jenolan Caves, the world’s oldest underground cave system.

Tour the area by car on the Greater Blue Mountains Drive, one of the world’s beautiful scenic drives.

For more ideas on what to do at the Blue Mountains, read this seven-day Blue Mountains itinerary.

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