Meet the Sydney and New South Wales suppliers - part 2
by Laura Gelder | 23 July 2020
Did you catch Destination NSW's webinars this June and July? No? Well, as the Aussies say, no worries. And even if you did, here we recap it all - everything you need to know about some of the state's most iconic attractions, destinations and activities:
Hunter Valley Resort
This independent resort has been family-owned for two generations and the owners still live and working in the resort every day. The resort was refurbished in 2019 and sits in the middle of the Hunter Valley, surrounded by beautiful 50-year-old shiraz vines. Guests have a range of four-star rooms and cottages to choose from and it’s the only place where motorhomes can stay and plug-in within.
The surrounding area has 150 wineries and cellar doors, 35 restaurants, four golf courses, the Hunter Valley Gardens, cheese and chocolate factories, a shopping village and many other tourist attractions and activities including hot air balloon rides.
In the resort itself is a brewhouse, restaurant, winery, the Hunter Wine Theatre and a massage centre. Wine and cooking schools and candy-making classes are available and there is an Adventure Centre offering activities like horse-riding, Segway back country tours and electric bike hire.
Hunter Valley Resort offers many packages and activities, like The Hunter Valley by Wine Train package which includes the journey by the daily express Wine Train from Sydney and meet-and-greet transfers to and from the hotel.
Picture Me Sydney Tours
Picture Me tours cover Sydney and beyond, visiting special locations and creating unique moments for photos with the help of local, experienced professionals. All trips involve small groups and air-conditioned executive transport.
The full-day Illawarra Kiama South Coast tour visits the Royal National Park (the second oldest in the world after Yellowstone) to explore the rainforest and beaches. It includes a sunset walk, the chance to see Aboriginal engravings and a gourmet barbecue lunch.
The ten-hour Blue Mountains Bushwalks, Waterfalls, Lookouts and Sunset tour avoids the crowds by starting 12pm and includes extended bush walks to Wentworth Falls and Leura Cascades, stops at remote lookouts and an Aussie pub dinner.
City tours include the four-hour Sunset Sydney Harbour tour, which aims to teach advanced composition techniques and takes photographers to the city’s best vantage points like Mrs Macquarie’s chair for views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Picture Me Sydney also offers a special Vivid Sydney Photo Walk class which teaches how to effectively shoot in low light conditions and offers access to view points without crowds during the popular festival. For keen amateurs there are bespoke private scenic tours with an Aussie local and photographer. And for those who want photos of themselves - honeymooners, for instance - Picture Me Sydney offers professional photography shoots lasting two hours and finishing with 12 professional shots.
Scenic World Blue Mountains & Sydney Zoo
These sister attractions are just two hours from each other. Sydney Zoo is set in 41 acres of lush bushland with harbour views and home to over 4,000 animals. It has four zones: Australian Animals, African Highlands, African Grasslands and South East Asian Tropical. There’s also an aquarium and a nocturnal house.
The zoo prides offers a safari-style experience using elevated boardwalks, water features, technology and other clever designs. It prides itself on its indigenous focus and is developing an integrated aboriginal and cultural heritage programme which offers an insight in the Darug people of western Sydney and the city's natural heritage.
Scenic World in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains is a top attraction made up of four different but connected experiences which soak up the unique mountain and rainforest scenery of this area.
The Scenic Railway is the world’s steepest passenger railway, passing through the rainforest, and a 310-metre cliff tunnel, at a 52-degree angle. The 545-metre Scenic Cableway is the steepest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere but its enclosed cabins gently glide between the Jamison Valley and the top of the escarpment, passing iconic rock formations like Three Sisters, Orphan Rock and Mount Solitary.
Passengers can disembark the Cableway onto the Scenic Walkway among temperate rainforest. This 500-metre elevated boardwalk is an easy 10 to 20 minute walk past native flora and fauna. Up the top, the Scenic Skyway glides between cliff tops with the best views of Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, Mount Solitary and Jamison Valley. Suspended 270 metres above ancient ravines, it offers breathtaking views of rainforest canopy through the electro-glass cabin floor (seating and solid flooring also available).
Sydney Opera House
One of the world’s most iconic buildings, the UNESCO-listed Sydney Opera House is as fascinating and stylish inside as it is outside, but visitors can’t go in unless they purchase a performance ticket or a tour, from $42.
On the one-hour Sydney Opera House Guided Tour, visitors are able to explore the World Heritage-listed building with knowledgeable guides, stepping beneath the sails and uncovering the stories, history and magic of the Sydney Opera House.
The Backstage Tour grants VIP access to go behind-the-scenes of the Opera House. Visitors meet at the Stage Door and get to see the orchestra pit, explore a dressing room and hear insider stories and secrets from the tour guide. The experience is completed with a hot breakfast in the Green Room — the exclusive domain of crew and performers.
There are other packages offering the chance to hear the stories of the Sydney Opera House and then sample top Australian cuisine. On the Tour and Tasting Plate, guests enjoy an indulgent grazing platter for two at Opera Kitchen, whilst Tour and Dine offers the opportunity to enjoy a main meal overlooking the harbour at Opera Bar.
For the ultimate experience, the Gold and Silver Experience Packages combine an intimate VIP tour with a two-course dinner and matching wines at a choice of three restaurants, with the option to add a ticket to the opera, ballet, symphony, or another performance.
It’s just a 12-minute ferry ride from the city to reach Taronga Zoo, which is home to around 5,000 animals from over 350 species, many of which are threatened - from Sumatran tigers to gorillas; sun bears to tree kangaroos. The zoo is situated amongst 41 acres of lush bushland with stunning harbour views.
Taronga Zoo offers two tours for those looking to get up close and personal with Australian native animals. The Taronga Wild Australia Experience, hosted by a Zoo Keeper, gets guests behind the scenes to meet native residents including koalas. The Aussie Gold Tour offers the chance to walk through the Australian animal area and learn more about some of its unique residents — plus a Koala Encounter.
Guests can even stay overnight at the zoo. Roar and Snore is a safari-style experience featuring intimate animal encounters, feeding experiences and fascinating keeper talks as well as enjoying accommodation with spectacular harbour views. The Wildlife Retreat at Taronga is an elegant Australian eco-retreat nestled within Taronga Zoo with rooms overlooking the bushland, the harbour, or the Sanctuary, where iconic Australian animals roam, plus Treetop Suites with panoramic views.
Taste Food Tours
Taste Food Tours is currently the highest-ranking food tour company in Sydney, offering unique, small-group, food and culture tours. Local guides share Sydney’s tastiest dishes along with stories of food, history, and culture and introduce the best places to eat and shop in the city that only locals know.
Its Taste of Sydney and Taste of Chinatown tours provide a perfect introduction to Sydney. Taste of Sydney covers the best dining in Barangaroo and The Rocks, Sydney's newest and oldest suburbs, and includes Australia's favourite Italian and Thai classics, fresh gelato and a locally-brewed beverage at one of Sydney's oldest pubs overlooking the harbour. Taste of Chinatown takes in award-winning restaurants, Asian gelato, modern Korean fried chicken and a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
Other tours cover lesser-known suburbs - including the Taste of Afghanistan, Syria and Persia in Merrylands; Taste of Greece, Lebanon and Vietnam in Bankstown; Taste of Vietnam in Cabramatta; and Taste of Asia in Chatswood, with authentic dishes brought to Australia from the Philippines, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan.
A social enterprise and charity, Taste Food Tours prides itself on celebrating a diverse Australia and supports independent family-run businesses. All profits are invested in tour guide training and employment programmes for young people, new refugees and migrants.
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