The next time you want a mini-break, skip the expensive interstate holidays and plan a sweat-inducing break in Sydney. Stunning harbour spots, hidden beaches and healthy restaurants, what else could you want? To find out how to plan for the best fitness staycation that Sydney can offer we got together with the lovely guys at expedia. They very kindly let us explore Sydney’s options, and this is the result! A step-by-step guide for the perfect stay-cation in the CBD.
STEP 1: Choose a central hotel
One of the most important parts of a stay-cation is where to stay. You’re probably only spending one or two nights somewhere so if purse-strings allow it needs to be comfortable and maybe a bit luxury. And for ease-sake it’s better for it to be central – that way you can catch a ferry or walk to nearby attractions. Our pick? Well, we think you just can’t beat location… so we stayed at the gorgeous QT Sydney; it couldn’t be more central. Located in the old Gowings building on the corner of Market and George street (around the corner from Pitt Street Mall and the QVB), the hotel mixes modern furnishings with vintage surroundings and the result is very, very fun. Plus, they’ve got an amazing spa on level one with some killer massages and facials to choose from, and a hip, modern restaurant serving up beautifully cooked dishes.
STEP 2: Book one intense activity
Even though you’re planning a fitness weekend, you don’t want to wear yourself out completely. So only book one really intense activity and if you can, pair it with some sight-seeing. It might be a running tour, a long hike, or an outdoor PT training session, and whatever you choose, make sure that you work hard so that you can enjoy a few extra wines at dinner. We ended up booking a Manly cycle tour from Bonza Bike Tours. Once we caught the ferry to Manly (which is actually really fun if you don’t catch them a lot), we hopped on our bikes and make our way to the north end of the beach. Stopped regularly to learn more about the area, we totally felt like tourists in our own city. Then we rode the whole length of Manly beach, to gorgeous Shelley Beach, before making our way up the first of a few very steep hills. This tour will burn your thighs, and make your heart race, especially as you ride up to North Head. The views are stunning though so once you get your breath back you’ll absolutely love it. It’s the perfect combo of fitness and sightseeing.
STEP 3: Book one adventurous activity
Part of planning a great fitness stay-cation is creating memories to tell your friends over a green juice later. So after your intense workout, book in something that will get your heart pumping – it could be a Jet Boat ride, a BridgeClimb, or a kayak on the harbour. We decided on an evening SkyWalk at Sydney Tower. Stepping out onto the glass (yes, GLASS) platform, 268 metres above the city you’re adrenaline levels will definitely rise. Sure, you’re strapped to the railing but halfway through the experience your guide will get you to jump up and down on the extended glass platform as the whole thing shakes. And you will be scared. But there’s amazing views, especially at twilight, and it’s something you’ll remember for ages.
STEP 4: Book one relaxed activity
Let’s not forget that this is a holiday and you don’t want to be wiped out come Monday morning. So make sure you book one ‘down time’ acitvity. This could be a yoga class, a long walk around the Royal Botanical Gardens, a stroll through the Art Gallery of NSW or a spa visit. Not suprisingly we chose the latter. We booked in to a 60-min relaxing massage at the QT Sydney Spa (you don’t have to be a guest to visit), and came out an hour later very, very chilled. You can find it on the first level of the QT Sydney building, but it’s popular, so don’t forget to book in before you go.
STEP 5: Plan your meals in advance
With a short stay-cation, you don’t want to be roaming the streets finding the right restaurant. To save time and to make sure you get a reservation at the places you really want to try, plan in advance! We made sure we had our dinner reservation confirmed at the QT Sydney so we didn’t have to worry or walk too far. For breakfast we loved the Find Food Store in the Rocks – amazingly healthy and tasty breakies; hidden down a back lane. And for lunch we ate at the amazing Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf in Walsh Bay (a short walk from the city). It has incredible views of the bridge and Luna Park. In the end, we didn’t want to spend any time trying to workout where to eat, we wanted to work it all out before we came! Easy.
STEP 6: Try to turn off your beloved mobile
It’s hard, some would say impossible, but if you can try to swtich off your mobile for parts (if not all) of the weekend it will make a huge difference. Spending time away from the screen, not to mention social media, is a really great way for your brain to swtich off. If you need to take photos with your camera, just place it on Aeroplane Mode. You’ll find you sleep better and you’ll (hopefully) enjoy the break.
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