Clean, Green Fun!

Residence Manager of Somerset Darling Harbour, Marco Cocurullo, offers a guide to an eco-tour of Sydney where Earth Hour began

Issue: Mar 2011

Royal National Park
The Royal National Park is a slice of Nature, Australian style, carefully preserved for visitors to savour
Picture Courtesy of Tourism Wollongong

Although I hail from the Amalfi Coast, one of the first of four Maritime Republics in Italy, I have called Sydney, Australia, home for the last four years. I love this city. I enjoy the space and the way nature and modern architecture interact here. I especially love the scenery. The locals here feel the same way, too. In fact, they have such a love for the natural beauty of the city that in 2007, they initiated Earth Hour.

Sydney during Earth Hour 2010
Sydney before and after Earth Hour
Picture Courtesy of

For one hour, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned off their lights as a stand against climate change. The sustainability movement has since turned global and the last Earth Hour was observed in 128 countries and territories by hundreds of millions of people.

Somerset Darling Harbour
Somerset Darling Harbour will observe Earth Hour on 26 March at 8.30pm (local time) switching off all the lights in the development and lighting the lobby with candlelight

Earth Hour 2011 in Sydney

This year, as with the previous Earth Hours, major landmarks and buildings in the city such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, restaurants in Circular Quay, The Rocks, Bondi, Coogee and Manly will stand in darkness in honour of Earth Hour. The serviced residence I take care of, Somerset Darling Harbour turns off all its lights every Earth Hour. The residents, who come from all over Australia and the world, say they like doing their part for Earth.

And when the lights go out, I will sit at my apartment balcony with candles all around, enjoy a glass of wine with my wife, Mary, and soak in the beautiful view. It’s our annual ritual. Without pollution from the lights, the sky is so much clearer and it is perfect for star-gazing. But if you’re more serious about taking the opportunity to enjoy a star-lit sky, you can go to the Sydney Observatory. There will be a talk an hour before Earth Hour. Then, promptly at 8.30pm there will be a telescope viewing of the planet Saturn and Orion and other constellations.

Sydney’s many beaches
Marco, who recommends strolling along Sydney’s many beaches as one of the best eco-activities to indulge in, is seen here practicing what he preaches

Get In Step With Nature

Apart from Earth Hour celebrations, there’s a lot to do in and around Sydney for the eco-tourist. I highly recommend going about on foot, which is Earth-friendly, because it reduces carbon footprints. It is also a great way to take in the sights and the Australian way of life.

The walk from Bondi to Coogee in the city’s eastern suburbs is one that I like best. It’s a six-kilometre stretch that will take you to some of the loveliest beaches Sydney has to offer – Bondi Beach, Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach, Gordons Bay, and Coogee Beach. If you like dolphins, try a walk through the Northern Beaches. On many occasions I have spotted these gentle, intelligent mammals.

Somerset Darling Harbour
Hyde Park with the Sydney Tower in the background – one of the city’s attractions you can visit on a bike tour
Picture Courtesy of Tourism NSW

Marco Cocurullo
Marco Cocurullo, seen here with the Blue Mountains, enjoys spending his weekends exploring the natural wonders of Sydney, Australia

Trekking through the Australian bushland is another great eco-activity. For this, I recommend the Royal National Park, what I consider one of the city’s best-kept eco-tourism secrets. The park on the southern border of Sydney is the country’s first National Park. Offering a wide range of ecosystems from rainforest to wetland areas, cliff-top heaths to Eucalypt forests, the park also has an impressive array of native wildlife.

Eco City Tour

For a green way to do the customary city tour, try exploring the city by horse-drawn carriage. A sunset ride with the city bathed in a golden glow is romantic and environmentally friendly.

I personally like to cycle around the city on my own bicycle. It allows me to take in the sights at a pace that I can enjoy. But if you don’t fancy exploring the city alone, there are lots of guided bike tours you can join. The most popular ones will take you past the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, Royal Botanic Garden, Hyde Park, ANZAC Memorial, Chinatown, Sydney Tower and Queen Victoria Building.

The weather in March is particularly beautiful – warm and sunny but not too stiflingly hot, which makes it perfect for picnics. I like to pack some home-cooked food for my picnics. I love seafood because it reminds me of home and one of the best places to get fresh seafood is at the Sydney Fish Market. I fish a lot when I am in Italy. Coming from the Amafli Coast, I have seen most types of seafood. But the Sydney Fish Market boasts some of the largest fishes ever in the southern hemisphere. The selection and size of the oysters are also incredible. I like to pick up some octopus to barbecue.

You can also get some absolutely delicious organic foods at Pulse Foods and Health, an organic bar and café, for your picnic. The eatery is housed in a gorgeous old building in central Sydney and they specialize in takeaway orders. Their selection of soups, salads, burgers and juices is quite impressive. The burgers and salads are made with organic, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, nitrate-free meats, poultry and fish. The burger buns which are baked fresh are also yeast-free. There are even wheat-free, glutten-free options or you can go bun-less if you’re cutting out your carb-intake. Relishes and dressings are hand-made and the fruit blends, juices and smoothies are 100 per cent natural. It’s hearty, earthy food that is as good for the body as it is for the Earth.

Somerset Darling Harbour
Take in a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House while on a picnic
Picture Courtesy of David Druce; Tourism NSW

When your picnic basket is full, head on down to the stretch on the northern side beneath Sydney Harbour Bridge. From there, you can see the Sydney Opera House and all of Syndey Bay. The view is not to be missed. My wife and I like it so much, we had our wedding pictures taken there.

For the eco-tourist, Sydney provides many gems to explore not just the city in a clean, green way but also to get in touch with nature and enjoy it as it was meant to be – untouched and absolutely natural.

Stay with us in Sydney at…

Somerset Darling Harbour Sydney

No 252Sussex Street, Darling Harbour
Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel: (61-2) 8280 5000
Fax: (61-2) 8280 5050

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