I love Sydney. It’s my favourite city to ever exist. I love hot weather, beaches and cities, all of which Sydney includes.
After travelling up the east coast, I decided to fly back to Sydney to spend an extra week here to do all the things that I missed out on doing the first time around (thanks to jetlag making me too tired to move). I had made friends in the outback and up the coast and luckily some of my new friends were in Sydney at the same time as me, which meant I could meet up with them all.
The first time I was in Sydney was over New Years, around this time I did the major touristy things that are absolute musts when visiting Sydney with limited amount of time. The second time visiting Sydney I did the other things that you need to do in Sydney but aren’t the main priorities.
The main things that I did first time around are as follows:
- Sydney Opera House. Obviously. This is the main reason anyone visits Sydney, to see this well-known icon. The nearest train station here is Circular Quay and from here its just a short walk around to the Opera House.
- Mrs Macquarie’s chair. This is a view-point in Sydney which is, in my opinion, the best view for seeing the opera house with the harbour bridge behind it.
- The Rocks. The Rocks is an area around Sydney Harbour that has been regenerated since the times when the convicts were sent to Australia. The area used to be a lower class with a lot of crime. Today the Rocks are lanes where people can buy street food, eat in fancy restaurants, look at local art work and drink at the oldest pubs in the city.
- Walk Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Harbour bridge is one of the main icons in the city and partly what the city is known for. There is the option to climb the bridge but this needs to be booked in advance and it’s quite expensive (around £150), so I saved my pennies and just walked it. On the other side of the bridge there is another view-point called Milsons point. Here, you are the other side of the bridge with the opera house in the background.
- Bondi beach. Bondi is one of the most famous beaches in Australia. It’s got crystal blue water, white sands and huge surf. On top of this there is a coastal walk you can complete from Bondi to Coogee which has beautiful views. I completed this walk around midday which wasn’t my best idea as this is when the heat peaks and there’s the most people. If I was to do this again I would do it first thing in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is going down so it wasn’t as hot. On top of this there would have been less people walking it along with me.
- Free walking tour of Sydney. These tours happen twice daily and is one of the best things you can do if you’re short on time. The tours last about 3 hours and take you all around the city teaching you about the history, it’s very informative. At the end of the tour they ask you to give a tip of how much you thought the tour was worth. The guides are locals and give you tips on eateries, things to do and how to make your money go further. http://www.imfree.com.au/
The second time around I was with my friends part of the time and still managed to get quite a lot done by myself. The other things I did include:
- Taronga zoo. This zoo is possibly the best zoo I have been to in my life. The animals are treated very well, they have large enclosures and there are so many varieties of animals. All throughout the day the zoo has talks on to raise awareness and showcase the animals. The giraffes here definitely have the best view in Sydney.
- Manly beach. I visited Manly beach to see my friend Moriah who is a Canadian I met in the outback. I met her and her family at Manly beach. Before meeting her I was panicking I wouldn’t be able to find her as she had no phone to contact me on and the beach was extremely busy. Luckily I spotted her walking past and I was able to spend the afternoon with them all. The beach is extremely nice and less busy to Bondi. We spent the afternoon bodyboarding the waves having fun. At Manly there is a promenade surrounded with shops where you are able to purchase souvenirs. To the right of the beach there is Shelly beach which is again lovely, this beach is again less busy which is good for relaxing. To the left of the beach there is a secret tunnel in the caves which is cool to visit.
- Tour of the Sydney Opera House. When in Sydney it is compulsory to visit the opera house. This time I decided to purchase a tour, which wasnt that expensive, and I was taken around being taught about the building and how it was built and designed.
- Watched a show in the opera house. I watched the show with my friend Nicola who I also met in the outback of Australia. We spent 4 days together and she booked herself into the same hostel and dorm as me to spend more time together. We decided to watch a show in the opera house so we were able to say we had watched something there. We watched a show called ‘Limbo Unhinged’ which was amazing. The show was a contemporary cabaret type performance which made us laugh so much. Limbo Unhinged isn’t in Sydney anymore and is now touring, so if you have the opportunity to watch it near you, DO IT. Everyone I’ve spoken to about it has loved it also. We had a great time.
- Climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge. This was another activity I did with Nicola, we decided to spend an evening climbing the iconic bridge. We had booked this only a couple of days in advance after checking the weather. You can book this weeks in advance if you really wanted to, however this probably isn’t the best idea because if the weather is pouring it down the climb still goes ahead. No matter the weather. For this reason we only booked a couple of days in advance so that we knew we would be able to enjoy it. We decided also to do a twilight climb at 6pm, doing this time made it slightly more expensive however it meant that we were able to see in the day light, sunset and night-time. At the beginning of the climb Nicola had mentioned nachos and from that moment onwards, food obsessed me craved them the whole climb. We finished on the bridge at about 10pm and were asking locals if they knew of anywhere we could buy nachos. No one seemed to know of anywhere so we were losing hope and decided to give up on the idea as it was getting late. We entered a pub to buy food, we went to order and bam, the kitchens were closed. Nothing was going our way. We were walking out of the pub, and as if by magic, to our left there was a mexican restaurant. In we went praying that the kitchen wasn’t closed. In the corner of the room, similar to a mirage in the desert, was a stand with FREE nachos. We couldn’t believe our eyes. We asked the bar staff what the catch was, there wasnt one. We were ladling all these nachos and dips onto our plates, bought our selves margaritas, wearing sombreros loving life. After a few hours we left to go back to the hostel and fate occurred once again. A man was on his own skateboarding and the next few moments happened so quickly. His skateboard was in front of me all of a sudden and then he was talking to us. He too was Mexican! Completely fitted in with our Mexican themed night. Before I knew it I was stood on his skateboard and he was walking me around the harbour teaching me how to skateboard. I love Sydney. The restaurant for anyone wondering was El Camino Cantina.
- The Blue Mountains. This is another one of the main things everyone should do when visiting Sydney, although I didn’t have enough time to view it the first time around. A whole day really needs to be dedicated to this wonderful place as there’s just so much to see and do. Again I went with Nicola (you can see a theme going on here) and we got the train from Central Sydney out to the mountains. The train ride took just over an hour to get there. We were slightly short for time as we had to be back with enough time to spare to get ready and go to watch our show this day. But we still were able to fit a lot in. We had enough time to view the three sisters, go on an hour-long hike and then get the worlds steepest train ride back up to the top of the hike. All of which I recommend.
- Soda factory. This was a bar/ nightclub which was a less popular place as none of the tourists know about the location. You entered the bar/club through a fridge and it was hidden in the back of the building. The place was filled with locals as they all knew of the location. My friend had heard of it through another person who lived in the area and recommended it. As we visited on a Tuesday there was $1 hotdogs which works out to be 50p. Traveller heaven.
- Bondi Icebergs pool. This swimming pool is for the Bondi Icebergs swimming club. The pool is a salt water pool and is located right next to the sea with waves forcing there way in. I found that the sea was far too rough/ dangerous to actually swim in so this was a great alternative.
- St George open air cinema. On the website to this cinema they claim to be the ‘worlds most beautiful cinema’, and I would have to agree. The cinema is located near Mrs Macquarie’s chair and in the background you can see the opera house and harbour bridge. Next to this you can also see the skyline of Sydney. It is best to get here as early as the gates open as the seats are first come first serve. You are able to reserve your seats and once this is done you are able to go off and buy a drink and sit at the bar. The price of this is a little bit more expensive than your average cinema but this is the price you pay for the ‘worlds most beautiful cinema’,
- Chinese Garden of Friendship. I visited this garden alone, ironic I know. From the outside you expect the garden to be quite small and nothing special, but on the inside its a huge oasis get away from the city. It’s very beautiful and very relaxing.
I could go on for hours about Sydney because of the amount of love I have for the city. I will leave it at this for now.
Next stop Fiji…