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Xmas in Sydney Area....

Oxfordshire
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64 posts
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Xmas in Sydney Area....

My partner (or husband, after we get married on Whitehaven beach!), and I are planning on arriving in Sydney for New Year, and have already booked our accommodation etc.

However, until we get there - 29th Dec - we will still have our hire car, and are now thinking of where to aim for for Xmas Day.

We are picking up our hire car in Brisbane on the 14th Dec, so will be heading down the coast, and inland, gradually towards Sydney. We want to spend a few days in the Hunter Valley, probably before Sydney - so will probably be roughly in that area (but are very flexible!).

Any suggestions would be hugely welcome!

Sydney
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1. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

There are any number of pleasant coastal spots between Brisbane and Sydney, and with that amount of time at your disposal, you can get to call in on several of them. The only thing that made me react when I read your post was your mention of the word "inland"; I instantly glanced at where you were coming from. If it was Nairobi or somewhere like that, I would have felt easy again, but Oxfordshire! My advice is to hug the coast. Not only do the temperatures soar in December when you get away from the coastal strip, but the flies and other summer insects will fray your temper to the point where your marriage might not last till the new year!

Accommodation, by the way, will be tight along the coast at that time of year, as the NSW school holidays start just as you are saying "I do". The best advice here is not to wait until late afternoon.... if you see a nice place to stay around lunch time, claim the room and then spend the rest of the afternoon exploring. Places like Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie are so filled with motels that they are probably your best bet if you can organise things to arrive there at around lunch time.

Good luck for your wedding!

Sydney
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2. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

A possible rather romantic and stylish alternative to spending Christmas Day on a beach (which I must admit is something I never really get tired of) would be to spend it having a decadent lunch at a great restaurant amongst the vines in the Hunter Valley. I'm sure that a number would be open for Christmas lunch and there is a wide variety of accommodation to suit most budgets nearby.

As AlanJ notes, anywhere away from the coast, even a short distance inland like the Hunter can get very hot, so you'll need a pool nearby !!

Otherwise (he says with tongue firmly in cheek since it is home) you could base yourself for the couple of days around Xmas on the stunning Central Coast around the Macmasters/Killcare area where there are loads of nice b&bs as well as hotels and terrific restaurants. If you search for Killcare on this site you'll see a review and pictures of the area. The beaches are sensational.

Oxfordshire
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3. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

Many thanks for your help and ideas. Would you recommending staying north of Sydney on the coast or try south?

Basically we've got from Xmas Eve to the 29th Dec free at the moment (when we go to Sydney), and would ideally like to spend Xmas Day on the beach, and we're hoping to get something booked up soon, so we know where to head!

It's our first time to Australia so any top tips hugely appreciated!

Sydney
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4. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

There are beautiful spots both north and south of Sydney, but seeing as you're coming from the north you might consider:

Port Stevens, either north or south (ie Hawkes Nest/Tea Gardens or Nelson Bay area)

Hunter Valley

Southern Central Coast around Bouddi Nat Park (ie. Macmasters Beach/Killcare/Hardys Bay etc)

If you do the Killcare/Hardys Bay thing then you could do the following:

Xmas Eve carols by Hardys Bay at 6.00pm - just a great start to the festivities. Bring wine and watch the sun set as you sing along with the kids of the local villages.

Xmas day on Killcare Beach (or any of the other 9 beaches walkable from the village).

Great meals at Yum Yum Eatery, Old Killcare Store, NW6, Heath all walkable withing the village.

Beautiful bushwalks to some of the East Coast's great beaches like Maitland Bay, Lobster Beach and Tallow Beach. Snorkel in the Marine Extension of Bouddi Nat Park over the wreck of the Maitland or take a dive with the outfits out of Terrigal.

Catch the ferry to Palm Beach and climb the lighthouse then take the Pittwater ferry to The Basin to see the local wildlife

See terrific art & sculpture at galleries all around this artistic community

Shop until you drop at the massive Erina Fair centre (okay, only in bad weather). Good ice skating there too, plus cinemas and the best yum cha outside Chinatown.

Check in with the locals who will ensure you have a memorable time.

It's only 90 mins to Sydney by road once you've decided to brave the big smoke.

Oxfordshire
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5. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

Many thanks for all your help. Have you any ideas of where to stay if we go to Killcare area? We will hopefully get something booked up this weekend, so we've got something to aim for!

Sydney
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6. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

There are some lovely B&Bs and rental houses depending upon your budget. Best positioned is McGregors on the Bay which is by the waterfront reserve (right where the carol concert is held) then there's The Bells on the Coast which is very ritzy. Salty Dog Beach House, Granny's Cottage (which is virtually on the beach), or the exceptionally upmarket Headlands (fierce prices but world leaders stay there) are all good too. They're all on the web and you can google them.

If you prefer larger hotels then the new Outrigger Resort on Ettalong Beach is right opposite Bouddi National Park across the water and you can get ferries back and forth. Ettalong is nowhere near as charming as Hardys Bay, which is like staying in a fishing village. The other villages which are all close together on the peninsula are Killcare, Pretty Beach and Wagstaffe. I'd stay in Killcare or Hardys Bay though.

You can check with araluencoastalproperties.com.au for more holiday rentals. You'll get some great views of the area as well. The Nat Parks website entry on Bouddi is also worthwhile.

Incidentally Susan Kurosawa who is The Australian's travel writer actually wrote a book called, "Coasting", just about life in Hardys Bay. She regards it, as I do, as one of the hidden gems of Australia and she has bought a holiday house there. Perhaps I shouldn't be publicising the place, but the lack of large scale accommodation will always limit numbers anyway.

There's a review of the Yum Yum Eatery on The Australian's web site. You can just google it. The Lizotte's website (www.lizottes.com.au) also has lots of info about the Bouddi peninsula as well as info about their live music schedule. Brian used to run a catering business for touring rock artists and so loads of them come to play at his restaurant, including Diesel, Jimmy Barnes, James Reyne, Wendy Matthews etc.

Oxfordshire
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7. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

Huge thanks for all your help - much appreciated. We are now definitely going to book something in the Killcare region!

Sydney
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8. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

I don't think you'll be disappointed, alnewell. Make a point of either walking to Maitland Bay from the NP visitor centre trailhead or even better walking from Putty Beach. You'll see tesselated pavements, coastal temperate rain forest, impressive cliff scenery and two great beaches with no car access.

If it's a relatively calm day then take your snorkels and fins and try the north end of Maitland Bay where the Maitland wreck (mostly decomposed now) is. There is often interesting marine life around there.

Also, make sure you take the Palm Beach ferry as I said before, and spend a day visiting the Lighthouse and The Basin.

If you want more detail info you could email me on the address given with the Killcare review on this site.

Oxfordshire
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24 reviews
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9. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

Your help/advice is definitely appreciated as our guide books don't seem to cover the area very well at all - so any top tips hugely welcome. Do you know of any sites where I can get maps of the area, as I have had difficulty searching for anything to show the local area?!

We will still have our hire car when we stay, and are thinking of going to the Hunter Valley for a couple of days before heading to Sydney for New Year.

Sydney
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10. Re: Xmas in Sydney Area....

If you go to www.whereis.com.au and type Hardys Bay and NSW into the search criteria you'll ge able to study the maps of the area at all sorts of levels of zoom.

The businesses in the local area are currently working on a site called Bouddi Online which will be focussing on the "eco tourist" ie. don't want huge resorts, delights in walking, cycling, fishing, surfing, kayaking, sailing etc. Since it isn't like the big resort areas we don't get the attention of the tourist authorities, but places like The Bells and Headlands are considered amongst the best places to stay in the state.