It’s begun. The exuberant, plastic melodies of Christmas have started calling from your TV with their bells and jingles… Whispering subliminal messages to your consumer psyche, they haunt you as the countdown to Christmas begins… Yes, It’s that time of year again!!
Christmas can be an incredibly stressful time. Estranged family, drunken uncles, dodgy gifts, food and booze and that’s all in one day! So, if you’re feeling like you need some time out this Christmas break, I’ve put together a list of top 5 quick Sydney escapes to get away from the chaos that is Christmas!
- Kangaroo Valley
Only 3 hours from Sydney, this beautiful country town will renew your stressed out city soul. Nestled deep within rolling hills, this quaint village offers picturesque scenery, boutique shops, a great local pub and plenty of outdoor activities. If you love camping but don’t want to completely bush it, Bendeela Camp Ground is the perfect spot. Bendeela is Only 10 minutes drive on paved roads from the main town (and the pub), so if you can’t get that fire started, don’t stress. Bendeela offers riverside camping where you will feel like you’re a million miles away! Watch the sun set as the fat wombats wander around grazing and grunting and wake up to the local kangaroos bouncing through the morning mist, then take a run into town for brekkie at one of the excellent local cafes.
- Flint and Steel Beach
We all love the beach in Summer, however treading the hot, squeaky sand looking for towel real estate isn’t exactly relaxing. ‘Flint and Steel’ is the ultimate hidden Sydney beach situated in Kurrungai Chase National Park. The park is close to Sydney city, yet its bushland, dramatic cliffs and rivers will have you feeling as though you’re on the First Fleet sailing in to Sydney for the first time. The beach itself is at the bottom of West Head. Take the ‘Flint and Steal’ track from West Head Road which peels off down the cliff about 1km before the West Head Lookout. Lie on the vacant sand and bob around in the gentle Pittwater waves as you look out at the sailing boats rounding the peninsula from the Hawkesbury river in to the Pittwater harbour.
- The Lost City
Do you really want to get away? I mean feel like you’re the only person on earth? Head to the ‘Lost City’ in the Blue Mountains. You will need a four-wheel drive to get there, but the Lost City is worth it. The ‘city’ is made from incredible, eerie rock formations that were carved by an ancient ocean long-gone. The tall, jagged formations really do look like an ancient city. You can climb and sit on the rocky cliffs, and stare out at the giant canyon below, imagining that someone has just pulled the pug on the ocean… True solitude. You can find the Lost City on the 4WD trails that lead off Bells Line of Road at the Zig Zag Railway, Blue Mountains. Visit http://www.mynrma.com.au/travel/holiday-ideas/nsw/the-lost-city-near-lithgow.htm for more information.
4 & 5 Wiseman’s Ferry & St Albans.
Wiseman’s Ferry is a picturesque town right on the Hawkesbury. It offers a great family-friendly pub with a beer garden that’s far bigger than most and overlooks the river. You can sit and sip a cool ale, much on a snitzel and bop to live music as you look out at the dramatic cliffs that surround the valley.
After a stop at Wiseman’s, why not jump on the free car ferry to cross the river and head on to a great old pub in St Albans? Only another 21kms, The Settler’s Arms Hotel in St Albans is one of the oldest pubs in NSW. Built by convicts in 1836 It’s a beautiful old sandstone building with dark, moody interiors and a shaded beer garden situated amongst the old trees. There’s also plenty to see on the St Albans road that connects St Albans to Wiseman’s as it hugs the MacDonald River, so don’t rush it… Stop and take a few selfies with the cows!
Remember to keep the anxiety low this Christmas. You can try to avoid the crowded shopping malls, even switch off the bad Christmas TV programming… But the family can’t be avoided… Keep this list safe and break glass in case of emergency!