Our Sydney adventure started with an 24+ hour journey from Bali, travelling for hours in the wrong direction, an uncomfortable layover and five modes of transport. Sleep deprivation killing us slowly. I mean, any normal man would have just turned up his toes and died. But not us. No.
Thousands of miles…
Shattered beyond belief…
On our hands and knees…
We crawled right into Sydney…
Straight past the hostel…
and into the first pub for a beer.
Welcome to Australia!
After a first afternoon down the boozer and a good sleep we were ready to hit the sights the following day.
Our first day was spent getting our bearings in this new exciting city. We walked around Darling Harbour and explored the main business district. The first thing which struck us was the amount of space – something that tends to be lacking in big cities in Asia. But here we found huge parks, wide open spaces, big sidewalks and calm (by Asian standards) motorists. Plus all along the harbour were bars offering happy hour deals – what’s not to like! To end the day we met up with some of Rob’s old uni friends for a proper Aussie BBQ. Welcome to Australia indeed!
In the following days we did the classic sights of Sydney. Whilst Sydney is a huge city we found that the main sights were very much walkable, and we would definitely recommend doing it on foot as we often stumbled across good bars, street markets, good bars, street performers, good bars and good bars. This led to a very relaxed tour of the city over a few days.
Our favourite sights were:
The Opera House
The quintessential Sydney tourist monument. Whilst potentially not as big as you might expect it is still an absolutely stunning building nestled within a fabulous backdrop. The design itself is very elegant and get up close to explore more of the detail and look up to appreciate the gentle white curves against a clear blue sky.
What a great place to stroll around and crawl from bar to bar. The skyscrapper backdrop is phenomenal and it’s a super place to watch the sun drop behind the city. Watch out for the sea gulls though – we saw one take off with a whole battered fish from someone’s plate. Most of the restaurants will give you a water gun for trying to fend them off, great fun.
The Harbour Bridge
A beautiful steel arch bridge that is fantastic to walk over and enjoy the view across the water of the Opera House and city and the view up of the steel towering overhead.
Viewing the whole city from the Sky Tower Buffet
We enjoyed a lunchtime buffet at the revolving restaurant which offers great views across the entire city. It was the first revolving restaurant that we’d been to and we were impressed. The food was pretty decent too!
The Botanic Gardens
After the Opera house it is easy to walk into the gardens and enjoy a bit of nature. Beautiful trees and gardens and some mad-ass birds in the wild.
The State Library of New South Wales
Aren’t libraries cool?! No, well, this one is. This was the first library in Australia and dates back to 1826. On the floor of the Mitchell Building entrance is a copy of the Tasman map of Australia dating from 1644. It’s interesting to see the big swathes of land uncharted at this time.
General Street Life and Architecture
Whilst there is plenty of space in Sydney there are also plenty of people. This gives a great opportunity to simply enjoy life itself – from great street artists to big dick himself. Also, if you look up, there is historic and modern architecture to admire.
Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk
We actually did this on our second visit to Sydney after travelling 15,000 km (~9,500 miles) around Australia in our campervan. We stayed at an AirBnB in Coogee and spent a day doing the coastal walk from Coogee to the infamous Bondi Beach and back. The coastal walk was great – passing lively beaches and dramatic coastal views. Bondi itself has cool street art and what could be a lively scene. But we felt it was a little overhyped. It wasn’t a terribly sunny day when we went so that may have impacted the vibe slightly, but the place came across a little grotty. We actually preferred Googee Beach which we thought had some good bars and a lively scene.
The Colourful House of Surry Hills
Wow – look at this amazing house in the Surry Hills Art District. Guess what?! We actually helped world famous street artist Thierry Noir paint this! More on this experience in our next blog…
We loved Sydney. It had a lovely feel to it and as soon as we landed it felt like a place we could easily call home. There is a huge mix of life and culture here and space for it all to co-exist brilliantly. Sydney ended up being our favourite Australian city and is up there in our list of top cities in the world. Thank you Sydney!
Stay: Staying in hostels/hotels in Australia is expensive and Sydney is no exception. We stayed in a few different places. Firstly, The Lord Wolseley Hotel which is a pub and hostel. This was in a nice neighbourhood, a short walk to Darling Harbour, clean and a decent pub. This was a decent hostel with friendly hosts but it is fairly small so if you are after a social scene you’d be better off going to one of the mega hostels near the train station. We also spent time in some AirBnBs. For a couple these offered great value compared to hostels so definitely worth a look if there are a few of you staying.
Pre-Arrival Homework: If you are bit perplexed by the start of this blog it was a little homage to Crocodile Dundee. If you haven’t seen the Crocodile Dundee movie then it is definitely worth a watch before heading over to Oz!