Sydney is a wonderful city, but sometimes you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle, and head into the wild, beautiful nature. Luckily, here in New South Wales, we have that in abundance. The area surrounding the city is full of wonderful destinations and hiking trails for all tastes. However, spending time in the nature brings its own requirements too. Let’s take a peek at the best spots around Sydney for hiking enthusiasts, and what indispensable items you shouldn’t leave home without.
The Blue Gum Walk
The Blue Gum Walk is an excellent first choice since it’s right at the northern outskirts of Sydney and fairly easy to reach. The 4.2-kilometer route around Joe’s Mountain will take you through the greenery of the local forest. The pretty great thing about it is that it’s circular, so you will end up only 400 meters from the place you started out. This fact makes transportation to and from the trail a breeze. Along the walk you will have the opportunity to explore a few sandstone caves, and enjoy the sound of Waitara Creek, which even has some beautiful cascades.
The Kiama Blowhole
If you don’t mind heading a bit further from Sydney, make sure you don’t miss Kiama. This gorgeous town is located approximately 120 kilometers from the city, but the trip is well worth it. Actually, Kiama makes a wonderful destination for an extended weekend. If you can organize your friends or family, it could be worth it to hire a coach from Sydney and spend a few quality days in the area. Kiama is probably best known for its Blowhole – the biggest of its kind in the world. However, the spectacular attraction is far from the only thing worth seeing and doing – there are some stunning hiking trails around, as well as excellent fishing opportunities.
The Royal National Park
If you head down around 30 kilometers south of Sydney, you will come across the Royal National Park, the 2nd oldest National Park in the world (Yellowstone in the US was established earlier). The favourite destinations of all those who wish to escape the city for the day, the sprawling park is home to some endangered communities, and pretty fascinating and diverse flora and fauna. Depending on the area, there are different types of terrain, forests, heaths, coastal cliffs, beaches, lagoons and river valleys, to name just a few. Apart from hiking, the area is a wonderful choice for other activities as well, such as kayaking, swimming, mountain biking and whale watching.
Oh, and, don’t forget to bring…
It’s best to make a checklist of all the stuff you need, before you leave. Having the right items when you go hiking will ensure your comfort. First and foremost, you need to dress for hiking. Shoes are particularly important, because if your feet hurt, the whole trip is a bust. The proper hiking boots need to offer excellent support for your ankles. In a pinch, and if your route isn’t overly long, your sports shoes should do the trick too. Whatever you do, don’t wear brand new shoes, as they can give you blisters. Your clothes should be soft, made from breathable fabrics, and be just thick enough to absorb the extra moisture. Of course, what clothes you choose depends largely on the weather too. To protect yourself from the sun, always bring sunscreen and a hat. Take enough water (2 l), and some snacks – for instance a sandwich, some nuts, and a few energy bars. Remember to take a bag for your rubbish, so you don’t litter. Depending on your route, you might need to bring a paper map (phones aren’t always reliable), a pocket knife, and insect repellent.
The pristine wilderness of Australia can be gorgeous, but don’t be fooled. Always go prepared. That way you can enjoy your hiking trip to the fullest, without a care in the world.
Roxana Oliver, globetrotter at heart and lifestyle consultant and travel editor at highstylelife.com.