From Sydney's biggest event ever staged in the city with the Pope in attendance to new sightseeing tours and quirky festivals; Sydney and the surrounding state of New South Wales offers a wealth of things to do this July.
World Youth Day, 15th "“ 20th July
This week will see Sydney host the world's largest youth event, World Youth Day, being held from 15 – 20 July. Pope Benedict XVI, on his first ever visit to Australia, will attend this week-long celebration along with thousands of young people from all corners of the globe. The World Youth Day programme includes the Vocations Expo, film screenings, workshops, forums and live performances. Up to 500,000 people are expected to attend the Final Mass led by the Pope on the 20 July, whilst over 225,000 Australian and international visitors have registered as pilgrims. For more information, visit www.wyd2008.org .
Byron Bay Writers Festival, 21st "“ 27th July
Budding poets and authors should head to northern New South Wales from 21 – 27 July, where the Byron Bay Writers Festival will take place. The festival will host workshops over the first four days, with the weekend programme featuring interviews, talks and panel discussions with some of Australia's top writers. For more information, visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au .
Yulefest in the Blue Mountains, July
In the southern hemisphere, Christmas falls over the summer, so in order to experience a traditional European Christmas celebration, Blue Mountains residents established Yulefest, a festival which celebrates Christmas in the coldest month of July!
The Yulefest Christmas festival has been running for over 20 years and promises warm hospitality, open fires, sing-alongs and hearty Christmas feasts. Perfect for a day or weekend trip, the Blue Mountains are easily accessible by train, coach and car. For more information, visit www.yulefest.com .
GUSTO – a Regional Exploration of La Cucina Italiana, September
Food lovers can sample Italy's diverse culinary heritage at 'GUSTO', a festival of regional Italian food and wine being held throughout September in Sydney. GUSTO organisers will treat foodies to a month-long celebration of Italy's culinary delights, including tasty Italian regional degustations in more than 20 leading Italian restaurants throughout the city.
The festival culminates on Sunday 21 September at the annual 'Gusto "“ an Exploration of Italian Regions' at the Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont. The event features food and wine master classes, kids cooking and delicious food tastings as well as an exhibition showcasing Sydney's leading Italian chefs, producers and importers. For more information, visit www.cira.com.au .
Australian Eco Adventures
Australian Eco Adventures has just announced a new tour, which combines its luxury lunch cruise in Sydney Harbour with a guided tour of Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs. Guests will cruise past Darling Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House before anchoring in a beautiful bay and enjoying a lunch selection of fresh local seafood with a glass of premium Australian wine. Following lunch, Australian Eco Adventures takes guests on a tour around Sydney's land-based attractions such as Watson's Bay and Bondi Beach. For more information, visit www.ozeco.com.au/.
Whale watching with Carecat Cruising
Carecat Cruising has launched a unique luxury whale watching cruise on a 5-star sailing catamaran from the port city of Newcastle. Departing from the new Crowne Plaza Hotel Boat Dock, the catamaran sails to Redhead Buff, where more than 6,000 Humpback whales migrate north to breed from May to August. This is an opportunity to get up close to the endangered whales. For more information, visit www.carecat.com.au .
Kings Cross Hotel
Sydney's Kings Cross Hotel has recently reopened its doors after a major refurbishment project spanning six years. Now, for the first time in 96 years, all five levels of the iconic establishment operate simultaneously. Kings Cross Hotel also features a restaurant, cocktail bar and stylish nightclub. For more information, visit www.kingscrosshotel.com.au.
Tourism New South Wales' family travel to Sydney campaign has received a boost with Australia's best loved children's entertainers The Wiggles recently joining forces with the tourist board to promote their home state to British travellers. The Wiggles were recently in London for their UK and Ireland tour, and made a special appearance at Australia House to spread the message about Sydney as a family-friendly travel destination.
For more information on Sydney and New South Wales visit www.sydney.com.