Buckle up foodies and nature enthusiasts, we’re taking you on a five day road-trip adventure
Leaving the Hunter behind, our five day road-trip saw us devouring Vietnamese flavours in Cabramatta, enjoying furry animal experiences at Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park, kayaking around Bateman’s Bay, lounging in luxe accommodation and tackling exotic animal encounters at Mogo Wildlife Park using our Australian Wildlife Parks Ultimate Explorer pass.
Here’s how the first half of our trip played out…
Newcastle - Western Sydney
Heading south via the M1, across the Hawkesbury and through the brilliantly lit NorthConnex, our first stop was the quirky and award-winning Atura Blacktown, the perfect base to start our Western Sydney adventure.
Once checked in, we took a quick dip in the hotel pool to refresh, and work up an appetite before heading out to explore Cabramatta’s legendary foodie scene. Before we hit John St we took a short stroll from our Hotel to the heritage listed Royal Cricketer’s Arms Hotel. Serving locals since 1880, this charming pub does its best to persuade you to stay for more than one in its lively beer garden, however the streets of Cabramatta were calling us.
Atura Hotel: 32 Cricketers Arms Rd, Prospect
John Street - Cabramatta
With its large Vietnamese population, Cabramatta has earned the nickname of ‘Little Vietnam’, and with that comes a rich Vietnamese dining scene.
John Street was our destination, which is loaded with restaurants that either specialise in a particular dish, or simply Vietnamese cuisine as a whole. Don’t waste your time reading reviews, just pick a restaurant, you won’t be disappointed.
Where we ate: Pho Viet Restaurant, 11 John St, Cabramatta.
What we ate: Mi Quang Noodle Soup, Beef Pho and Springs Rolls.
One of Greater Western Sydney’s finest tourist attractions, Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park is best known for being able to get up close to the world’s largest collection of Australian fauna.
Using our Ultimate Explorer pass which allows you unlimited visits across each of the Australian Wildlife Parks locations – Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park, Mogo Wildlife Park, and Hunter Valley Wildlife Park, we spent the day getting better acquainted with some of the cute, and not so cute creatures.
Compact and easy to get around, the leafy, lush grounds make for a pleasant wandering experience, along the way spotting the huge variety of wildlife. Whilst the crocodiles provide the ooohs and arghs, feeding the kangaroos never grows old.
Koala Kindy Encounter
The highlight was without doubt the Koala Kindy animal encounter which gave us exclusive access to Featherdale’s koala enclosure. The private half hour interaction allowed us to help the keepers place the Koala’s daily diet of Eucalyptus leaves into their feeding pots, as well as the very special experience of patting the koalas. Suitable for ages 10+, all children 15 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
From quokkas, to wombats, penguins and lorikeets, there are eight animal encounters to choose from along with plenty of Keeper Talks and loads of enclosures for you to explore throughout your visit.
Featherdale Wildlife Park: 217 Kildare Rd, Doonside NSW 2767
To close out the day we made our way to George’s Pizza, a local institution in the area. Owners George and Kelly have been serving up your favorite pizza and pasta dishes for over 33 years.
Where we ate: Georges Pizza 1 Circa Boulevarde, Bella Vista NSW 2153
What we ate: Margherita and Circa Pizza + a Garlic Bread
If you plan on spending a few more days exploring Western Sydney, there’s plenty to see and do, here’s a few to consider.
Leaving behind Western Sydney behind, next stop is the stunning Malua Bay on the South Coast of NSW. The four-hour drive takes you through some of the state's most scenic seaside towns, including Batemans Bay, which is just a 15-minute drive north from Malua Bay.
For lunch we stopped at Mossy on Gardens, a delightful little cafe situated within the Eurobodalla Botanical Gardens. Our empty stomachs were taken care of with Mossy’s wholesome menu delivering the tasty goods.
Where we ate: Mossy on Gardens: Deep Creek Dam Rd, Mogo
What we ate: Pulled pork taco, garden bowl, lamb kofta, and Vietnamese caramalised pork bowl.
The legs were in need of a stretch so we took a wander around the Botanical Gardens before making our way to our next accommodation, The Bower at Broulee.
This beautiful and very private 4-star spa hotel is nestled amongst the dense Broulee Nature Reserve, and yet only a short walk from Broulee Beach.
Hosts Sue and Mark Berry’s 100-acre property originally opened in 1998 and has consistently delivered a unique accommodation experience, with every detail considered. The couple’s passion for The Bower is evident not only in their long history, but their tenacity to fight on following the devastating December 2019 bushfire, which saw their family home completely destroyed and each of the five bowers severely damaged.
A stay at The Bower requires time spent enjoying its surroundings, both outside of the cabin and within. Take in the local wildlife from your verandah, or from the oversized bath that comes with its own viewing window.
The Bower at Broulee: 2352 George Bass Dr, Broulee
Whilst it’s tempting to stay in, the local area has so much to offer, including the local Broulee Brewery. Only three minutes from our accommodation, Broulee Brewery is situated directly behind the dunes of North Broulee beach, delivering a perfect merging of beach vibes and craft brews.
Brewed on site Broulee Brewhouse has a long list of tap beer to choose from along with a hearty menu that can be enjoyed either in the brewery or in the outdoor beer garden.
Where we ate; Broulee Brewery: 71 Coronation Dr, Broulee
What we ate: Classic cheeseburger and hot wings.
Catch the second part of our journey next week …
In partnership with Ultimate Explorer Annual Pass
Caring for over 3000 animals across 400 species in three iconic wildlife parks - Mogo Wildlife Park on the NSW South Coast, Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park in Western Sydney and Hunter Valley Wildlife Park in the Hunter Valley.