Enjoy a more eco-friendly stay in Sydney with our green guide to the city, taken from travel bible Great Escapes.
Many people think Sydney’s history began with the arrival of Captain Cook in Botany Bay in 1770. Take a boat cruise with Tribal Warrior (www.tribalwarrior.org) around the famous harbour, however, and while seeing the monuments from their best viewpoint, you’ll learn about the life of the area’s Aboriginal people, who were here for thirty thousand years before the arrival of the “whitefella”. You’ll also learn the original names for places – Botany Bay was once Kamay, and the land where the Opera House now stands was known as Jubgalee.
On board the ship, built in 1899 and the oldest working ship in Australia as well as the only Aboriginal-owned boat tour, the crew will explain about the fishing practices of a people better known for eking out a life in the dry Australian bush. The highlight is a stop on Clark Island, once a significant Aboriginal meeting place, where tribal elder Uncle Max and others will welcome you with a traditional corroboree dance. The sight of these millennia-old rituals against the backdrop of one of the world’s most modern skylines is one few forget.
Tribal Warrior runs Tues–Sat. To see the harbour on your own you can hire a kayak through www.sydneyharbourkayaks.com.au or an electric motorboat at www.ecoboats.com.au.
As the most populous city of one of the most outdoorsy and fitness-focused people in the world, Sydney is best seen on two feet – or two wheels. One of the most interesting routes is the 38km Green Ring that connects coastal trails, cycle paths and other green routes and includes some of the city’s highlights, including Darling Harbour, Cooks River, Botany Wetlands and Sydney Harbour at Cockle Bay. With several gentle hills around the harbour, you guarantee yourself a workout along with the iconic view.
The Green Ring can be found at sydneygreenring.blogspot.com. Info on walking the coastline is at www.walkingcoastalsydney.com.au. For info on hiring bikes, visit www.cyclehire.com.au.
With the perfect climate for farming, the Hunter Valley and other world-renowned wine areas a few hours away, and of course the vast Pacific Ocean to one side, Sydney has all the conditions for fantastic food, whatever your budget. There are nine branches of the whole food chain Iku, which serves biodynamic, organic and vegetarian food, such as mushroom, leek and thyme pie or spicy vegetable, tofu and lime-leaf laksa.
For a more special occasion, try New South Wales’ only climate-neutral restaurant, Billy Kwong’s (www.kyliekwong.org), where you can dine on organic dishes like seared calamari, rocket and Asian herb salad or Sichuan pepper beef with pickled cucumber and watercress. Slow Food fans should saunter over to Peasants’ Feast (www.peasantsfeast.com.au) or Danks Street Depot (www.danksstreetdepot.com.au), which both focus on providing the finest ingredients from nearby specialist farms and producers.
For those keen on cooking (or grazing) there are also regular gourmet food and farmers’ markets all across the city. Go to www.slowfoodsydney.com to find out when and where.
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