Though we were sad to leave Queenstown, we were both really excited to see Sydney. What we weren’t excited about, was how we only had 1.5 days there. There’s so much we weren’t able to see and do because of our short time in the city. However, we both feel like we literally could not have jammed anything more into our time there. So…this will be a long post 🙂
We arrived late afternoon on a Saturday. Our hotel was in the Darling Harbour, which was a great location for us to get to everywhere we wanted to go. We were only a block or so from the ferries leaving the harbor, there was a bus stop a block away, a five minute walk to the metro, and within a 20 minute walk to the Rocks and Circular Quay (pronounced “key” and not “kway”).
We got checked into our hotel and walked around Darling Harbour, which was plenty active because of the Fiesta Festival that was going on. The harbor is lined with restaurants, along with an IMAX theater, the Sydney Convention Center, a shopping center and the Australian National Maritime Museum. I could understand why it was such a popular spot with tourists. We learned that there was going to be a fireworks show that evening, so we grabbed a couple drinks and an appetizer and waited for the sun to go down. Apparently the city of Sydney lights off fireworks every chance they get.
After the fireworks show, we continued our journey around the harbor, stopping for gelato and more drinks.
Our only full day in Sydney was jammed packed—we wanted to see as much as we could! We still didn’t everything crossed off our list! Our morning started bright and early—we walked to the metro where we each purchased a MyMulti pass (highly recommend if you’re going to be using the public transit system a ton for just one day), then walked back to the ferry in Darling Harbour and rode that over to Circular Quay. This ferry ride was the first chance we got to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Check out the groups of bridge climbers in the fourth picture below.
We hopped off the ferry and headed to the Sydney Opera House for a tour that was included in our trip. My next post is going to be about the tour, so I’m saving all the good stuff for that post. 🙂
After the Opera House tour, we hopped on the ferry at Circular Quay and headed up to Manly. It’s about a half hour ride between the two points. We had heard good things about Manly from several people we had talked to throughout our trip, so we made it a point to go. We actually opted to go to Manly instead of using our Hop-On Hop-Off Sydney Harbor Express passes that were included in our trip. Manly is a stop with the passes, but we didn’t feel like hitting up some of the other stops. We didn’t go to Sydney to spend an afternoon in a zoo looking at animals. This also means that we never saw kangaroos or koalas while in the land down under.
Once to Manly, we stopped at Benbry Burgers for lunch and headed to the beach. Since it was a Sunday, the beach was full of people. We had debated on what to do while at Manly (hang out at the beach, hike around, rent bikes and ride to North Head), and decided beach time and walking around. We changed into our suits, spent some time on Manly beach, and then headed over to Shelly Beach. We hiked up behind Shelly Beach, which wasn’t the most enjoyable for me at times because I had either flats or flip flops to wear. We found an old stone brick wall that was part of a military fort back in the day. We ended up having to turn around not too far after the wall because there were signs forbidding people to go further because of the dry bush and possible fires.
We made our way back to the ferry and left Manly. We really wanted to head up to the Pylon Lookout for Habour Bridge views, but didn’t have time before needing to head back to our hotel. We had plans that evening! So instead we walked through The Rocks neighborhood a bit and headed back to our hotel. It was definitely a cute part of town, but everything seemed so expensive because it’s a favorite tourist spot. I didn’t really take pictures of this part of town (not sure why), but you can tell it’s a historic part of town that resembles the UK.
Once we cleaned up, we headed to Hyde Park to meet up with our friend Melanie’s cousin Jeff, who moved there a couple years ago. He wanted to take us on a 6km (3.7 miles) sunset coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. The views were great, and we even got to see dolphins swimming in the wild! We passed by the Waverley Cemetery during the walk, which was neat and creepy at the same time. At the end of the walk, we got some fish and chips from this placed called “Chish and Fips” and sat on a ledge on Coogee Beach. Jeff said he ends every meal with dessert, so we took a bus to the Surry Hills neighborhood for gelato from Messina. It was so good! Probably my favorite gelato of the entire trip. The three of us walked back to the Darling Harbour area and made a pit stop in China Town. We saw the biggest lobster and crabs I had ever seen and this creepy alley behind the restaurants with these hanging lights (the picture is below). He showed us so much in that evening! I know Tim and I both enjoyed it a lot.
It was after 10 PM when we got back to our hotel that evening. We were being picked up early the next morning to board a flight to Caines. We both wished we would have gotten another full day in Sydney! Oh, and I can’t forgot to mention their crosswalk signs…I thought they were hilarious. We referred to them as the “Michael Jackson” signs.
My overall opinion on Sydney: I really liked Sydney! It’s just another big city with lots of stuff for tourists and locals alike. People also seemed very friendly. I’m glad we opted to walk through several parts of town without stopping to do the tourists things. If we would have had more time, I would have wanted to explore the surrounding suburbs more, used our hop-on hop-off pass, and walked through the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Places we ate/drank:
– Red Tape Brewing Co / We grabbed a pint of beer and an app here our first night in Sydney, and it wasn’t our favorite. They were out of almost every beer and the service was awful.
– Gelatissimo / More gelato! The gelato was good for a chain, but nothing overly exceptional
– Benbry Burgers / This burger joint in Manly was good! I opted for more of a classic burger, but the whole menu looked good! It’s a take-away place, so there’s only a few seats available.
– Chish & Fips / This food shack right on Coogee Beach has huge portions of fish! The food was simple, but tasty. They also charge for sauces—lame.
– Messina / Gelato! Can you sense a theme of the trip? My favorite gelato of the trip. They have the classic flavors and their own creations.