Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Sydney. If ever there was a shock to the system, it was arriving in Sydney at 9pm local time after 26 hours of travel. As we flew into Sydney, it was so exciting to see the landmarks that we'd only ever seen on TV. However, by the time we landed and were in the taxi queue, I had started to panic. We had flown to Australia with three nights accommodation booked and a return flight six weeks later. I'm a planner...and this was the opposite! However, once the jet lag and shock (and swollen ankles - thanks to a fourteen hour flight!) Sydney became a firm favourite. We flew back to Sydney for a few days before flying home at the end of our trips and it was like coming home!

Where did we stay?
We stayed at Big Hostel, in Surry Hills. It was right by Central Train Station, which was great for when we needed to go back to the airport.

How long did we stay for?
At the beginning of the trip, we stayed for five nights and then three more nights at the end of our trip.

What is there to do?
There is SO much to do in Sydney.

See the sights...

Obviously the big ones - the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It was very surreal standing next to such famous landmarks that I'd only ever seen on the TV. Every time we turned a corner and could see the Opera House it was fabulous. You can also climb over the Harbour Bridge. I didn't do this, but my cousins have and really enjoyed it.

We went across the bridge to Luna Park. Walking over the bridge you get a wonderful view of the harbour. If you're scared of clowns, entering Luna Park might be slightly tricky. Luna Park reminded me of a slightly old fashioned amusement park/fair ground. We didn't go on any of the rides, as we were trying to keep our budget tight, but it was still fun to visit.

For a bit of culture...

We visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Admission is free, and is a good way to spend a rainy afternoon.

We also went to the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park. If you do get a chance to visit, make sure you look up when you go into the memorial. The roof is full of thousands of little gold stars. You can still buy and dedicate a star to somebody.

We spent an afternoon at both Manly and Bondi Beach.

The ferry from Manly leaves from Circular Quay in Sydney. You get two in one - a boat trip through the harbour and a trip to Manly. I have to say, perhaps it was just the day that we went, but I wasn't overly taken with Manly. We did go for a walk around the headland though.

We were definitely more impressed with Bondi. It was easy to get to on the bus and there is plenty around the beach in the way of coffee shops/shops etc for grabbing stuff you need when you're there. Bondi has free wifi which is great for when you're travelling!

We spent the first day walking the length and breadth of the city. This is one of my favourite things to do in a new place...find your bearings and you also get to see a lot of the city.

We met up with a friend of mine whilst in Sydney and she took us to The Rocks. This is a great neighbourhood in Sydney for an afternoon of exploring. It has great places to eat, interesting shops and art galleries.

Take a visit to The Royal Botanical Gardens.

Paddy's Market. If you want souvenirs or just to marvel at it all, you could spent an hour or two getting lost in this bazaar.

Darling Harbour. An ideal location for sitting in a bar, people watching and enjoying the view.

If you have time...
During one of the days at the end of our trip, we took an organised trip to the Blue Mountains. It was booked through Peter Pans, which is where we booked all of our organised trips. I think that our tour was with Barefoot Downunder, but I'm not 100%.
*If you're unsure what to do like we were, I'd recommend visiting Peter Pans for some ideas. They are very helpful, but beware, they do try and get you to commit there and then. If you're unsure, don't book!! You can always go back and book with them once you've had time to think through what you want to do and whether it suits your budget.
We had a crazy tour guide called Smokey. During the trip you go for a hike, visit a cultural centre and get fabulous views of the Blue Mountains.

Food and Drink
We were watching our money at both ends of our trip, but did manage to splurge a little. We visited China Town in Sydney - which is worth a visit even if you don't want to eat there.

The Rocks has a lot of choice. I think at the time my friend was vegan and she had no problem finding somewhere to eat.

On our last night in Australia, we went to a bar underneath the Opera House. There are lots of bars in that area, and it doesn't get old seeing the Harbour Bridge lit up.

I've tried to include as much as possible. I'm so excited to finally get around to writing up about my Australian Adventure.

Next: Coff's Harbour.

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