Visiting Vaucluse in Sydney’s east, has never been on my to-do list and I must admit, until recently, I never really knew a lot about this beautiful, Sydney suburb. You see, I grew up in Adelaide but moved Sydney when I turned 21 for a year or so. I lived the other side of the bridge in Sydney’s North Shore and so I never really explored the eastern suburbs – with the exception of visiting Bondi. Even when I’ve visited Sydney on holidays, I never considered visiting Vaucluse.
This year, Julien and I were in Sydney to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Being there during such a busy time of year, meant most central hotels were booked out and so we ended up staying in Rushcutters Bay (I’ll talk more about this in a later next blog post). Sometimes being forced to stay in an unfamiliar location is a blessing in disguise. We had so many lovely walks in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and got to take in the city skyline and views of Sydney harbor from a whole new perspective. We also saw that Vaucluse wasn’t too far from where we were staying. Without any expectations, we jumped on a bus and spent the day exploring. After walking a few meters from the bus stop, we discovered just how beautiful Vaucluse is.
The area we walked through was surrounded by lush and somewhat wild growing gardens that reminded us a lot of the tropical parts of Northern Australia we’d previously visited. We found small waterfalls, wild turkeys and as we continued walking, we discovered Vaucluse House, a 19th century estate surrounded by its original garden and grounds. We never went inside the mansion but were sufficiently impressed by the exterior and gardens. It was so peaceful with barely a person in sight. We joked that if it was located near Paris there would be a line circling the building to get in. We took a million photos, and continued our walk to Shark Beach.
Being New Year’s Day, the miniscule beach was too crammed full of sunburn and oiled-up bodies to be enjoyable. We decided to avoid the crowds and take the Hermitage Foreshore Walk along the coast. If you have the opportunity, make sure you do this. It has the most incredible views of the harbor and city. You’ll also find a few small beaches along the way where you can cool off. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the end of the trail. From there we walked up and took the bus back to the hotel.
As you can see from our little adventure in Vaucluse, it really is worthwhile taking a risk here and there and visiting an area you really know nothing about. For us this was an unexpected highlight of our trip to Sydney and an outing I could not recommend more.