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As roads go, it's legendary.

From the busy city of Sydney in New South Wales to the busy city of Brisbane in Queensland, the Pacific Coastal Highway is a 960km stretch from leafy suburbs, rising high through rocky mountains, weaving through dense rainforests, gliding beside golden sands and sidling along blue seas and white surf.

Its reputation stretches further than its distance, with hundreds of thousands of backpackers travelling from the world over to make the run up the coast. Who can blame them? There's sparkling sea, luxuriant greenery, and soft sand so alien to many who have spent their formative years cooped up in a grey school building in rainy northern England.

But what if you're not a gap year student, and the age of eighteen is far behind you - are the gems of this destination forever closed, or is there more to it than meets that young eye? Whether you've done it once at a younger age and now feel you can't go back, or have never done it and now feel it's a backpacker cliche, it turns out that you're wrong -  as I set out to discover.

Sydney:

Just because you've started to appreciate the joys of afternoon tea and biscuits, you enjoy going to bars where you can hear yourself speak, and are prepared to shell out more than $5 for a bottle of wine, doesn't mean that you've completely lost touch, and so the social media savvy will want to check themselves in and check themselves out at 1888, the latest addition to the 8 group's portfolio. It's billed as the world's first Instagram hotel - anyone with over 100k followers who posts a snap gets to stay for free.

Aside from the playful nature, it's a quirky aesthete's dream, all sepia prints, sleek chrome, renovated wood, 50s chaise lounges along side 60s era mirrors, with sleek and minimal bedrooms. Situated on Darling Harbour it is an easy walk to any number of restuarants and bars, although you may want to get involved in Sydney's small bar scene and investigate some of those more delicately sized watering holes with a tour with Two Feet - and then keep investigating afterwards. Whatever age, however many sights you may have seen, and no matter how many times you have seen this particular one, Sydney Harbour Bridge never fails to stun. You might as well do the tourist thing, especially now that you can afford its rather high price tag, and climb that Coathanger. Since 1998 people have been (legally) able to climb the widest bridge of this kind. It doesn't matter what time of day you choose to make your ascent - watching sunlight by day and city lights by night flickering across the sea that spans the 18 different bays of Sydney Harbour, you will marvel at the arched tent of the Opera House, leap at the views of Manly, and look back longingly at the sandy-coloured streets of the city.

 

Image credit: pacificcoast.com.au


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The East Coast for adults: Getting to grips with the the Pacific Coastal Highway
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