I wouldn’t normally associate a weekend in Sydney with a “healthy getaway” – too many good friends and late-night cocktail bars there for that.
But when a two-day jaunt across the ditch presented itself in the middle of a recent alcohol-free month, I decided to give it a bash.
I had limited time for organising my weekend so I turned to expedia.co.nz to do all my booking in one swoop.
Not only can you get flights and accommodation with Expedia, but you can also easily book amazing things to do via the “activities” button.
I plugged in my dates, then checked out a guided sightseeing run of the city, the bike ride across the Harbour Bridge and the bridge climb.
Sadly, my recently broken arm precluded me from all those, but the fingers of one hand still got a good workout on the website and in the end, I managed to book and do the Skywalk on top of the multiply-named Sydney Tower Eye.
Where to stay
The Ginger and I opted for the QT Hotel in Market Street, right in the thick of the CBD’s shopping precinct.
I absolutely loved this hotel – from its Great Gatsby-style hidden entrance (there’s a funky café on the ground floor, while reception is one floor up) to its clever décor, to our fab corner room with ginormous bathroom.
Then there’s the spa. Don’t leave this hotel without a massage! And for your bloke, there’s a hipster barber if he fancies a wet shave and a snifter of whiskey.
Given my handicap, we decided to focus on walking during our healthy weekend.
The first morning, we set off to Darling Harbour and the new development, Barangaroo. Who knew it even existed? But with its dining strips and lovely outlook across to the Pyrmont Bridge and Balmain, it’s a great new corner to explore.
We kept going, past the Walsh Bay piers with their lively cafés, under the bridge and on to the Opera House. From here, you can go into the Botanic Gardens and on to Woolloomooloo or Potts Point, but we had other plans.
Taking it north
At Circular Quay, we jumped on a ferry to Taronga Zoo and, from there, set off on a three-hour hike to Balmoral Beach.
This was a lovely surprise because hardly anyone else was doing it.
We weaved along well signposted paths through native bush and past secluded bays. You needn’t pack lunch – Ripples at Chowder Bay looked like the perfect place to stop.
I swear I could smell the fries a mile off (although obviously, I resisted them). At Gunners Barracks, we admired the view all the way to Watson’s Bay and the Sydney Heads. And at Balmoral Beach, we shouted ourselves a coffee, with “skinny” milk, of course.
Despite best intentions, I couldn’t resist the deep-fried duck at Billy Kwong in Potts Point for dinner. It’s the signature dish!
Also, according to my Fitbit, I walked 24,500 steps that day.
The QT did an excellent egg-white omelette for breakfast, so that helped, and we also did our bit for ethical health by eating at Folonomo, a not-for-profit restaurant in Surry Hills.
If you want to do the Bondi to Coogee walk, the re-invented Coogee Pavilion has a great restaurant downstairs that the kids will love (fish and chips for them, sashimi for you) and if you’re there not in a non-alcohol month, the rooftop bar looks like the place to be. Next time ...