New website coming

newwebsite

It’s almost time.

I’ve been working on my new website design and functionality over the past few months (hence the silence on the blogger front) but I am happy to announce it will be launching in April!

I will be migrating over all my lovely subscribers but just in case you get lost along the way, please  head over to www.theblondetourist.com and subscribe there if you haven’t already.

My new website will be more engaging and informative , and will include a range of new things such as destination features, accommodation and product reviews, top tips for travel, and more foodie adventures. As I chase my own 30 Before 30 list, I hope my blog will inspire you to get out there and travel or try new things in your city and beyond.

Thanks for following – see you on the other site! 😉

BT xx

PS. I am pretty active on social media still so follow me on instagram and twitter in the meantime!

 

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Looking at 2014 – A year in review

Wow. How is it already the end of the year?!

I have been so busy in the last few months working on a new website which will launch  in the new year, working my 9-to-5 job and spending quality time with those that I love that I must admit it’s been tough keeping this bloggy up to date.

This year has been amazing, unbelievable, momentous and magical. I have been chasing my 30 Before 30 List like there is no tomorrow and have ticked off so many things – exploring New York City, Ireland and Barcelona plus watching my university bestie marry the love of her life in Thailand were all highlights.

Looking back, I can’t believe I did all this in just one year.

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I’ve run amok across my city and the globe, and have been putting all my new stories into the website which is more modern and fun so keep an eye out on the switch. I can’t wait to make this blog bigger and better than ever in 2015!

And now it’s time to head off to my secret Sydney harbour location to watch the epic #SydNYE fireworks. Wishing all my lovely followers a very safe and happy New Year!!

How and where will you be spending NYE?

BT xx

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Guerilla Eats Food Crawl in Redfern

There’s no better way to learn more about a suburb then by exploring it on foot; so last month when the opportunity arose to go on a progressive food crawl through Redfern with Guerilla Eats, I jumped at the chance to explore my partner-in-dine’s local haunts.

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The process of the food crawl is a simple one: once you decide on your location to explore (they also run food crawls through Surry Hills, The Rocks, Darlinghurst and more) you receive your treasure map of dining locations a few days prior to your tour and your starting time. Each venue will be expecting you.

Our ‘Blackbird in Paris‘ Redfern food crawl begins at 6pm just near the train station at a cosy bar known as The Angry Pirate (125 Redfern St).

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The tour gets broken into three stops where you show your treasure map and are awarded your ‘booty’ (usually entrees and drink at stop 1, main and drink at stop 2 and dessert/nightcap at stop 3).

Decked out in pirate-y paraphernalia it is reasonably quiet at this hour and we manage to grab a wooden plank to sit on at Stop 1. The friendly barman brings us tasty popcorn and takes us through the drinks menu. We decide to go with the Guerilla Eats special which includes Angry Pirate rum made on premises, fresh ginger, pineapple, lime juice and angry bitters (also house made).

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 It is indeed a tasty beverage.

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Impressively, our “entree” turns out to be a full sized woodfire pizza. I go for the favourite spicy Hispaniola whilst my partner-in-dine tries a chicken and mushroom combo. They’re both tasty but mine wins with its quality chilli kick in the Chorizo Pamplona.

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With our bellies full and the clock ticking we take a brisk walk around the corner to the Pitt St Diner (96 Pitt St, Redfern).

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A complete change of pace, we now find ourselves within a quaint french-inspired cafe. Noting this destination for our next brunch adventure, our attentive waiter seats us and brings us the menus.

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At Stop 2 we have the choice of main with a beer or glass of wine. I select the Ragu whilst my partner-in-dine is tempted by the fish-of-the-day special: Crispy skinned Salmon with squid ink pasta. We let the waiter decide our wine which is paired perfectly with our mains.

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I feel bad that I could not eat all of my main. The huge bowl of pasta is hearty and the meat slow-cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection. We note next time not to eat anything prior and bid our new friend ‘adieu’ (goodbye) as we head onwards to the last stop for the night… The Dock (182 Redfern St)

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The Dock is pumping when we arrive. The small bar is three people deep and all seats are taken. As we wave our treasure map at the bartender we are told to select any of the cocktails on the board as our final tipple for the evening.

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Note the $6 Havana shots!

A well made golden mojito and a tasty alcoholic mocha on steroids cocktail later and the night is starting to kick off.

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It’s hipster central here and it’s super loud but the the party atmosphere is contagious. Everyone, including the bearded and long-locked owners are enjoying themselves, and we soon find ourselves making friends with our new neighbours at the bar. A free Havana shot with the burly bloke beside us ends a great food crawl and starts a great Friday night out in local Redfern. Salut!

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All-in-all, the food crawl was great. We found the places pretty easily (all within a 5 minute walk of each other) and the staff at each place were attentive and made some delicious food and drinks. When you consider how much you spend on a Friday night out usually, the $79 pricetag for 3 x high-end drinks (not the usual house cheapies) plus a full-sized pizza each and a main is well worth it (obviously you can buy more at each place as you please). My only thought would be to increase the times at each places – we were having too much fun and you can easily lose track of the time and overstayed.

The Guerilla Eats guys have created the perfect way for you to explore Sydney’s hipster eateries in one night – whether it’s your local neighbourhood or just a fun night out with friends for a group catch up, birthday or I guess heading into the festive season, a fun Christmas party, there’s lots to do. Now which tour do I do next – Surry’s Sexy Secrets or Darlinghurst’s Devil in Disguise?

Do you have a favourite suburb for Friday night food and drink – where is it? Share your Sydney secrets in the comments below!

Blonde Tourist and friend dined as guests of Guerilla Eats but as usual all views and images are her own.

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Where is the best place to celebrate New Years Eve in Sydney?

Where to indeed! With 50 days to go until the clock strikes 12 into 2015, the countdown is already on to find where is the best place to watch the fireworks in Sydney Harbour. Free or ticketed, this event needs planning.

best place to see the nye fireworks in sydney

Firstly, the best place to start hunting is the official City of Sydney NYE event website which has a handy map of all the vantage points for fireworks across the harbour city and tips on what’s available at each site, ticketing information and more. Some are so in demand they are sold out before you’ve even thought about what you’re going to be doing on 31 December.

But here’s my rundown of some of the best places to ring in the new year Downunder:

1. Fort Denison – A Black Tie Gala event – pricey but an experience of a lifetime. Unfortunately it’s already sold out for 2014

2. The Cahill Expressway – an expressway doesn’t sound like a fantastic (or safe) way to spend your NYE but RMS closes the road to traffic and allows up to 1700 families to set up a picnic roadside and watch the 9pm or 12 midnight fireworks from one of the best vantage points in the city (above Circular Quay train station) of both the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. They do this via a random ballot system. Get in quick!

3. Pull out your favourite Hawaiian shirt for Tropicana at The Opera Bar

4. Get fancy with a meal at Aria or Quay  restaurants which both have amazing views and sumptuous menus. Warning: tickets are priiiicey but I imagine it would be an unforgettable evening.

5. The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain, including Mrs Macquaries Chair – Lawn with a View, Midnight Oasis and The Point (all catered for with drinks options available).

6. Circular Quay…Join the masses on the morning of and grab yourself a free spot around the harbour. This involves a lot of planning and dedication though, once you’re in…. you’re in.

7. Island getaway – Shark Island, Clark Island, Cockatoo Island or just The Island – take your pick!

8. Or if being on water floats your boat, why not try a NYE Cruise on Sydney Harbour. Prices vary and tickets sell out quickly so check out Vagabond Cruises , Captain Cook Cruises or why not join the Harbour Parade of Lights aboard a Tall Ship!

Where do you celebrate New Years Eve? Share your best NYE location in the comments below.

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Bondi Sculpture by the Sea 2014

It’s my favourite time of year again  – the temperature is heating up, the sun is shining and the popular Sculpture by the Sea exhibition has returned to the shores of the Bondi to Tamarama walk from Thursday 23 October to Sunday 9 November .

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This time last year I wrote about the 2013 Sculpture by the Sea exhibition (one of my most popular blog posts in fact) and highlighted the best time to visit the sculptures – on a weekday, early morning, or generally anytime the crowds aren’t flocking to the 2km coastal walk en masse (steer clear on weekends if you want to avoid them!).

This year I again took a day off work midweek to stroll the footpath between Tamarama Beach and Bondi. Again, I’d recommend going this direction as it tends to be against the crowds that bus into Bondi for their visit.

And again, I was blown away by some of the creativity. Best sculpture at Sculptures By the Sea? Impossible to decide!

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Starting in Tamarama  you will find these guys marching towards the beach. Super cute reflective creatures, they remind me of a kids movie or book about aliens I once read.

The unmissable frying pan has been shown in every news story about the event so far. On this week’s menu was a horde of school children with a side of sunburnt backpacker.

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This beast was enjoying the heat of a 30+ degree day in Sydney – what better way to spend a day sunbaking at the beach? Slip, slop, slap people!

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And taking pride of place at the right end of Tamarama Beach stood another peacock preening before the crowds – last year’s wooden sculpture replaced with an intricate metal or steel design. This was one of my favs and the pictures of this sculpture on social media have been quite stunning – the sunset images in particular!

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Moving away from the beach, we come across this little fellow and his birds guiding the way towards Bondi.

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Marks Park again home to the creatives, the wooden whale was spectacular.

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The pair of pears hidden within the bushes was another piece of fun that reminded me of a Dr Suess story where all the little creatures lived.

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Strike a pose: I called her the Bondi Diva – gawwjus dahling!

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It IS mango season 😉

And one not to miss was the spectacular idea of a The Grounds of Alexandria in the thick of Marks Park – sculpture city – serving up fresh juices, burgers, fish and chips and all with eco-friendly packaging. I bet the locals are loving this being here!

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My favourite thing is to try and find the hidden sculptures.. these guys were super cute!

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And so another year passes by.. can’t wait for the next one already!!

Have you been or planning to go? What is YOUR favourite sculpture at Sculpture By The Sea Bondi 2014?

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upRAW Cafe & Juice Bar, Penrith

Wondering where is good to eat in Penrith?

Well I’ve discovered another great cafe that caters to the organic and health-concise of us, right next door to Penrith Panthers. The upRAW Cafe and Juice Bar  is inside the new iFLY Downunder facility which opened up earlier this year and I got to experience recently (check out my blog post on indoor skydiving!).

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Skip all the processed crap and fast food chains and try a cafe that is about all things healthy. It’s almost a revelation for the area!

Run by Nellie Barnett, who says she originally started the business driving around in a minivan selling her delicious food with her adorable daughter in tow, the cafe is now open 7 days a week and has marked itself as the place to go for vegetarian, gluten free and sugar-free foods in the area.

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Essentially the upRAW philosophy is to create delicious food using fresh ingredients and as little processing as possible. Check out the delish menu.

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If she can get away with it, like she does in the raw veg salad and raw berry cheesecake, Nellie creates meals with  ‘minimal processing and maximum nutrition’. Amazingly there is no refined sugar used in any of her products which these days is a feat in itself!

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All I know is I am starving after my bodyflight experience and the fresh juices and healthy food is filling me up!  My favourite was most definitely the sweet potato fries which we are told will use an air fryer to further reduce oil use in the cooking process but all the options were super tasty.

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Great to have another Penrith cafe on my list if ever I’m out west again. You should add it to your list too. Oh and yes, they do make a mean coffee too 😉

The Blonde Tourist was a guest of upRAW Cafe but all views and images expressed are her own.

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Flying high at iFLY Downunder, Penrith

With the notion that life is short and there is always an adventure to be had, my 30 before 30 list has seen me running across the world to experience things like Spanish cooking classes in Spain , booking a trip to Uluru next month and most recently getting invited here to tick off #18:

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iFly Downunder is one of the newest action sports to hit Australian shores and this facility is the first of its kind in Sydney. Known as a ‘vertical wind tunnel’ this is where you can go to try your hand at indoor skydiving.

Best described as like a giant air conditioner with enormous fans pushing air around you, the cushion of air system allows you to experience the exhilarating feeling of flying with 380 km/h winds without the whole ‘jumping-out-of-a-plane-at-15,000-feet’ scary thing. And it is AMAZING!

With fellow bloggers ready to rock and roll, we  were taken behind the scenes to see what actually goes into running such a facility, starting with power. LOTS of power.

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The 5 metre-wide glass chamber is one of the world’s largest vertical wind tunnels and runs from the basement to the the ceiling of the entire building.

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And as we get to see, it doesn’t discriminate against age ( 3 – 103 age is no barrier), gender, skill level or even weather (it is windy and raining on the day we go which would normally postpone a normal skydiving activity).

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With the tour over we are taken through the safety video and introduced to our guide Tim who reassuringly is a world champ at bodyflight or ‘indoor skydiving’ and will be by our side in the wind tunnel the whole time.

With our goofy goggles and flashy safety attire on, we enter the tunnel and get a short introduction to weightlessness as the tunnel starts its engines. Say cheese!

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Then one by one, we entered the tunnel and get taken through our paces for a 2 minute bodyflight experience. What. a. RUSH!

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Such a great experience and the fact kids as young as three years old have already mastered it just blows my mind. Imagine your kid doing this for their birthday party (yes, they do that..) or even for a team bonding session.

And when you’re finished and starving (like we were!!) there’s a great little cafe on site called upRAW Cafe & Juice Bar. I’ll do a separate post on the foodie options there too so keep reading.

The Blonde Tourist was a guest of Missy Mischief PR and iFLY Downunder but all views and images expressed are her own.

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