Post-Run (Sydney Running Festival) account of travel adventures by FatBird Anthony

Following an exciting and fruitful Sydney Marathon where I broke my 8-year marathon Personal Best (PB) by 10min and Qualified for Boston Marathon (BQ), I joined the Media trip sponsored by Destination New South Wales (DSNW) for 3 days of post-race rest and relaxation (r&r) travelling around Sydney and along the many sights and adventures along the Grand Pacific Drive.
Sky Diving
In what was an unplanned item in my bucket list, I managed to do the exciting tandem Skydive Adventure at Wollongong.  I was with the media group of 4 led by our tour escort Sally from DNSW and driver Edmond on a 2-hour scenic drive along the Grand Pacific Drive to the tandem skydiving centre,  Sky Dive the Beach and Beyond.  There we filled in a few declaration forms and were whisked away to gear up, perform some safety drills and then met with our respective flight captains.

Mine was Ryan, a large stature of at least 1.5 times my size, who gave me lots of confidence he would be able to steer me easily while in the air.  We took a 20min bus drive to the airport and waited for another 30min before boarding the smallish plane.  As the plane climbed to a maximum height of 14,000 feet, we soaked in the pretty sights of the land below, with our crew entertaining us with camera and video shots.

And before we knew it, the doors opened up, and the first pair of Skydivers just fell off the sky.  This was followed by a few more and it was my turn at no. 5.  I did my drill before dropping off the plane, strapped on securely to Ryan.  I fell through the clouds in a very fast free-fall, spinning all around, with my mouth opening wide, screaming in delight.  The air was freezing cold, and in what seemed like eternity (about 30 seconds), Ryan released the parachute and we slowed down somewhat to enjoy the beauty of the glide and the sights below.

After some maneuvering and lots of aerial photo/video shots, we went for a smooth landing, capping one of the more exciting adventures I’ve had in this trip.  I didn’t feel scared at all, just lots of excitement and the feeling of freedom when falling through the clouds and the sky. 

We were rewarded with a Certificate and a nice compendium of photos and video capturing the whole sequence of events.  I would certainly recommend anyone coming to Sydney/New South Wales to do the tandem Skydive with these group of very professional and entertaining jump crew.
Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

After the exciting morning of Skydiving, we had a sumptuous lunch before proceeding to the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures for the Zipline Tour and Treetop Walk.  It is similar to what we have in Singapore as the Forest Adventure, so for me it is a refresher and opportunity to do it in a more cooling weather.  

As expected, the safety aspects and focus on eco-friendliness while enjoying the adventure was carefully explained in detail to us.  Because it was a weekday, we had almost the whole forest to ourselves, which we proceeded to complete this very fun and enjoyable activity in 2 hours flat.  There is also an iFly Adventure for kids, very apt for families  with young children.

After a tiring day, we checked into our accommodation for the night at Sebel Bowral Heritage Park.  I must say this was the most luxurious apartment suite I have stayed in, with very nice amenities and nice touches to the decoration.  Too bad we had only a few hours to enjoy before moving on to the next place in the morning.  Still, I managed to maximize the use of the in-room Jacuzzi as well as do a 30min run in the exclusive Gym all by myself.

Tulip Time & Mowbray Farm Stay

After an action-oriented day on Monday, the next day was one of visiting Tulip Festival & Gardens, Centennial Vineyards for wine tasting, a quaint restaurant in a book store called the Book Barn nestled in Bendooley Estate.  

The highlight of the day was the farm stay at Mowbray Park where we got to experience country life in a relaxed setting, making our own Billy tea and Damper bread (which tasted really nice).  I could still the warmth of the bread and tea glowing inside me, providing comfort to us in that very cold Spring day.

Although there were more programs arranged to the Bondi Beach the next day, I had to leave my media friends to return home for an important event on Thursday.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary and hospitality accorded to us by Destination New South Wales, with lots of great tasting food, cushy accommodation settings and thoroughly thought-out activities which ensured we never had a dull moment during the whole media trip.  

Adios With Fond Memories

With this post-run experience, I now am better able to appreciate and recommend to our marathoner friends how they can make the best of their stay in Sydney from pre, in and post-race.

With the ScootBiz seat booked, I was able to check into the Scoot Dreamliner rather smoothly the next morning in spite of the unusual airport strike by the ground handling staff.  

As I waited comfortably at the lounge composing this short summary of my trip, I looked back the past few days with good memories.  I was already planning on when I would be back to Sydney again to complete the many sights and tours, and to do the delicious-looking 9km loop at the Mowbray Farm which I missed, and meet with friends whom I have gotten to know.  Overall, it was one pleasant and productive marathon & media trip for me.