If you're anything like me, you probably spend your week cooped up in an office, waiting for the weekends to come around. When they do, you suddenly feel like doing something, but you're not too sure what to do because you haven't quite planned it. By the time you get out of bed and make breakfast, half the day has passed. Now, you want to regain the control of your weekends. You want to explore this wondrous city in which we live. You want to do it outdoors, so that you feel free. You know that going on a mini-break might cost you an arm and a leg unless you get a fabulous last minute Wotif deal or find a fancy Groupon voucher, so you find yourself with limited options.
That's why I'm here, to tell you that there are actually a few fantastic options. The last time I was in this predicament, I found five easy activities that are far cheaper than a mini-break, but still make you feel like you're doing something different enough from your day-to-day to avoid insanity. Best of all, most of them are accessible by public transport (because not all of us currently have cars).
1. A day of bushwalking and canoeing at either Lane Cove National Park or Royal National Park, depending on whether you're closer to the North or South of our glorious city. If you're heading south to the Royal, you'll be visiting the Audley Boat Shed. If you're going up north to Lane Cove, you're looking at the Lane Cove Boat Shed. Boat hire at Lane Cove starts from $30 an hour, and at Audley, $20. Not bad if you're going for a row, followed by a picnic (for which you can easily grab some lovely supplies from a nearby Supermarket). Take a picnic rug, and you can laze around and enjoy the nature around you.
Beautiful animals at Taronga Zoo to look at after you've finished your ropes course
2. Do you remember when you were in school, how once a year you'd be sent off to camp with your friends? Aside from the unpleasant culinary memories, if you rewind back to the activities you did; I'm sure I'm not the only one who found the high ropes courses the most intriguing experience. Now, you can go back in time and visit that place again. Except now, you can actually combine it with a fantastic zoo experience. If you visit Taronga Zoo's Wild Ropes, an adult can actually complete two courses and gain entry to the zoo for only $69. That's a whole outdoor day for you.
3. Take your precious sweetheart on a romantic date over the bridge to Luna Park. If you really love it there, you can purchase an annual pass with unlimited rides for only $99. If you're only looking to visit for the day, you might be lucky enough to grab a ticket for $35 with unlimited rides. If you missed out on the fun of the Easter Show, you can have many sweet adventures at this Milson's Point classic.
4. If you don't quite feel up to getting down and dirty in a canoe or even the liveliness of Luna Park, perhaps you're looking for somewhere a little bit more tranquil to spend your afternoon in the outdoors. Some fantastic places to enjoy the Sunday sun include Sydney's lovely floral settings, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens or the Centennial Park Rose Garden. You can bring your home-made delicacies to these places in a classical basket and drift away for a nap after reading your favourite book.
5. Sometimes, you don't even need to leave the city to experience something wild and special on a Saturday. If you catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour and sit outside, you can enjoy the view of the harbour as you take the time to reflect on the rest of your week. Once relaxed, you can immerse yourself in the wilderness of the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. If you're really brave, you can even snorkel with the sharks and other creatures for $85.
As you can see, there are plenty of special outdoor activities that you can do over a weekend. If you choose to spend your Saturday snuggled up in the warmth of your blanket, that is indeed a fine way to spend your resting time. I just hope that if you ever experience that nagging in the back of your mind about doing something outside, that this article inspires you to explore our magnificent city.