Travel in Australia: Sydney Australia Excursions, Day Trips, Resort Vacations

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Sydney Australia
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Travel Destinations in Australia - Sydney Australia

Sydney Australia Excursions and Day Trips - Wollongong, Australia

Renewing the Spirit
by Bruce Holmes - Part 1

Where pioneering inventor Lawrence Hargrave's kite first lifted him five meters off the ground in 1894, brightly colored hang-gliders now soar with the birds over sea and hills not far from Sydney Australia.

This is Bald Hill lookout at Stanwell Park from which the Sydney Hang Gliding Center offers tandem flights for those with no experience and extended courses for others wanting more.

Fitzroy Falls excursion from Sydney Australia
South of Sydney, Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park plunges off the plateau into the rainforest below, its 81 metre drop making an impressive sight.
Photo copyright © Bruce Holmes

The lookout offers spectacular views of the North Illawarra toward Wollongong. This seaside city is undergoing a resurgence, with booming conference facilities, a new Entertainment Center and substantial growth in tourism. To see the vastness of Lake Illawarra take the heritage train, the Cockatoo Run as it winds its way up the side of the Illawarra Escarpment along the steepest section of rail in Australia.

The train passes though littoral rainforest with tree ferns, ash and cedar, over a sandstone viaduct, through tunnels, then stops at Summit Tank Lookout for the view before proceeding to the township of Robertson, where the movie Babe was filmed. Converted diesel locomotives haul the old style carriages, except in summer. A relaxing trip, back to a time long past.

What else does the region offer to escape the hassles of daily life? One place that's easily accessible is Minnamurra Rainforest Center, winner of Environmental Tourism Awards from 1993-5. Located in a sandstone canyon Minnamurra enables people to see different types of rainforest and two thirds of the fern species in NSW. Its raised boardwalks protect the rainforest from intensive use while making it easier to get around.

There are two walks, a rainforest loop and an extension up to Minnamurra Falls. Allow about two hours for the combined walks. Other spectacular waterfalls can be seen in the area. Carrington, Belmore and Fitzroy Falls offer dramatic views, and the latter boasts a substantial information center, which catered for over 400,000 visitors last year. Fitzroy Falls, with its 81 meter drop, is truly an impressive sight.

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