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Published January 5th 2017
Cure the Usual Ills with another Dose of the Unusual
Floating High (by Sydney Float Centres)
Sydney's Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Royal National Park and Bondi Beach are still jaw-dropping for first-time visitors. Although locals love our landmarks, how can we feel that same awe at discovering new wonders? If you've enjoyed the 10 picks in the first listing of unusual things to do in Sydney, read on for another 10 unusual outings.
Float Away – We all know the conventional advice for healthy living - meditation, yoga, quality sleep, eating more vegetables and avoiding cat videos on youtube. What if you can float away from the stress of modern life and achieve creative insights without Limitless-type nootropics? In the pitch-black darkness of a flotation chamber, you're immersed in a solution of saltwater, heated to your body temperature. Gently floating on the silent surface, your senses adjust to the lack of stimulus and your mind escapes in a deeply relaxing, spiritually enlightening experience. Try a float at Bondi Junction, Paddington or Brookvale.
Join a Big Dig - While backpackers slumber above ground in the Rocks Youth Hostel, our colonial origins are uncovered beneath them in the surrounding Big Dig archaeological site with thousands of objects and photographs painting the incredible stories of our ancestors. First inhabited by the Gadigal people, Europeans arrived in 1788, constructing tenements, progressing to terraces and finally iron engineering sheds in the 20th century. The inhabitants suffered through the bubonic plague, buoyed by an illegal store of liquor disguised as a water well, now exposed (minus the alcohol). Wander through our history at Cumberland St, The Rocks. During annual History Weeks, you can get your hands dirty with a day of amateur archaeology.
Sleepover at Taronga Zoo - If your current flatmates have bad habits, encourage them to spend a night with the animals, including lions and elephants, at Taronga Zoo's "Roar and Snore". It's perfectly safe, as dinosaurs aren't roaming the grounds to create a Jurassic Park sequel. Crisp linen, modern tents, and an all-you-can-eat buffet are provided for your comfort, as well as showers in the morning, meaning you won't have to rough it even though you're out with the beasts.
To be, or not to be (by Rookwood Necropolis)
Escape in 60 Minutes - Books, TV shows, console games and virtual reality invite us to enter fantasy fictional worlds. Put some skin in the game on an Escape Hunt. Switch off your smart phone, select your cleverest friends, choose from a list of adventures, including Robbery in the Cottage, Secret Service Mission, Assassin in the Pub and Extortion in the Dockyard, and put your thinking cap on. As the countdown begins, the fun starts. You'll need to uncover clues, solve puzzles and escape. Visit them at Level 4, 393 George Street, 7 days a week, 10am – 10pm.
Haunted Supper at Old Government House - The Old Government House in Parramatta Park is a 212-year-old Georgian mansion, hosting Sydney's governors until 1855. After dark, take a haunted tour by candlelight through these eerie halls and learn more about the history of paranormal encounters in each of the mysterious rooms. Debrief over a friendly supper in the dining room, with chicken sandwiches, wine, and a few invisible guests lurking over your shoulder. Get scared on the 3rd Friday of each month and Halloween at 7.30pm.
Enter the Sleeping City - Rookwood Necropolis hosts the Sleeping City Walk – a stroll through artwork exploring our relationship with death. While in the cemetery, walk amongst the memorials, crypts and graves of Sydney's vast collection of characters. The Necropolis holds the physical remains of the rich, poor, loved, feared, famous and infamous. Uncover their stories (without actually digging), learning more about Lilian Fowler, Australia's first female mayor, the outlaw Jimmy Governor, the eccentric Bea Miles, 17th century shorthand advocate (before the invention of texting), Jacob Pitman, and John Paton, awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry during the 1857 Indian Rebellion. Visit Rookwood at Hawthorne Ave, being sure to leave before sunset.
I hope she doesn't look over her shoulder (by Australian Museum)
Culture Vultures – Turn a Sunday stroll into a learning experience with a cultural guide. Local experts uncover the stories hidden in Sydney's streets, offering personal insights into the history, food, art, people, helping you find new favourite cafes, galleries, restaurants and shops. 4 themes are offered – Newtown and Enmore street art, Chippendale and Redfern industrial imagination, Surry Hills vintage clothes and brilliant breakfasts and the best art, shopping and food in the Inner West. Click here to book a tour.
Night at the Museum – Ben Stiller awakened the exhibits during his stay at a museum. What will you discover when the sun sets? Spend a night with Australia's wildlife, including reptiles, birds, mammals, fish and dinosaurs, dominated by the 100-million year old Aussie giant, the Muttaburrasaurus. Keep warm during your slumber beside a T-Rex, before sipping orange juice with breakfast on the rooftop. Sleepovers are held on selected Fridays, beginning at 6pm, costing from $120-$180. Click here to book.
I feel the need, the need for riding to the speed limit (by Troll Tours)
Head Out on the Highway - Grab your sunnies, leather jacket and 'Rebel Without a Cause' attitude as you roar around town on the back of a Harley Davidson. Whether you ride in a sidecar, a trike, or a regular chopper, you'll have a biker chauffeur shuttling throughout our city. Troll Tours offers 8 Harley Davidson tours, visiting sites around Sydney Harbour, covering the beaches, bridges and beauty of the waterfront. You can also design a custom tour or take a ride to the Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley. If you (and your partner) love motorbikes, you can organise a special wedding package. Prices start at $100 for 45 minutes. Visit the website for details.
Plane Spot - Love flying? A voyage skyward is a joy but there are hassles – jetlag, delays, bag searches, airline food, cramped seating, customs charges, regulations banning photogenic passport photos, etc. Take your imagination on holiday without the hassles at the water's edge at Lady Robinsons Beach. Tucked behind the old air-traffic control site, take the exit just south of the airport tunnel on General Holmes Drive, walk north along the coastline and through a sandy bushland to emerge beside the chain-link fencing of Sydney Airport, close enough to almost touch the aircraft either taking off or landing.
What's been your most unusual (and enjoyable) experience in Sydney? Please let us know with a comment.