Leave the technology at home and discover phenomenal natural wonders that can be found just a few hours outside of Sydney.
Picnic in Wendy’s Secret Garden – Lavender Bay
Hidden in Lavender Bay Parklands with close views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Wendy’s Secret Garden is a tranquil green oasis for readers, picnickers and tourists alike. Although there aren’t any signs to lead you to the garden, you can track it through Google Maps. It’s always open and entry is free, but make sure you’re respectful as the four-storey home you’ll find there isn’t a tourist information centre – Wendy still lives inside!
Fuelled by grief after the death of her husband, artist Brett Whiteley, Wendy cleared rubbish and laboured in the unused land below her house in the early 1990s. Not knowing anything about horticulture, she created a garden in the same way she created her art – by finding beauty and creating meaning on a blank canvas of land.
Explore Jenolan Caves – Blue Mountains
Only a three-hour drive from Sydney, the Jenolan Caves are a stalactite wonderland of limestone carved by underground rivers. Nine of the 300 caves are open for guided tours for all types of travellers – whether you want to bring the family, hear ghost stories along the way, or go on an off-track adventure equipped with a head torch and helmet.
You can even stay at the nearby Jenolan Caves House, which has housed explorers since 1896, or dine at Chisolm’s Grand Dining Room, which was designed in 1897 for wealthy landowners and is one of only two remaining grand dining rooms still operating in Australia.
Sleep under the stars – Capertee Valley
The Capertee Valley is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon in Tibet. It’s even bigger than Arizona’s Grand Canyon! Spend a night in a moonlit bubble tent with panoramic views of the constellations overlooking this wide expanse. It’s the ultimate glamping experience with a comfy bed, beautiful bathroom and even climate control. Each bubble tent comes with different features – you could snooze in a floating bed, hammock or love swing. Find patterns in the stars across the sky with the telescope that’s already there waiting for you, or sink into a Swedish wood fired hot tub. Wake up with the sun or pull over the shade if you want an extra sleep-in after all that stargazing.
Pictured is Three Sisters, Blue Mountains. Image courtesy of Destination NSW.