Sydney is a beautiful city surrounding the harbor and definitely worth visiting. We were told that it was a super busy city, with tons of people, traffic and therefore not fun to visit, however we found plenty of fun things to do. We had 4.5 days in Sydney and easily could’ve stayed here for a few days. During our time in Sydney I was battling a cold, so the heat wave was very welcomed, the average of each day was high 80s.
The first day we arrived we decided to do the free Walking Tour (http://www.imfree.com.au/sydney/sights/) to get better acquainted with the city. They have the city tour twice a day at 10:30am and at 2:00pm, they’re 2.5 - 3 hours long.
We started at the Town Hall, walked through Macquire Street, Hyde Park, the Rock’s district, and ended up at a scenic overlook at the Harbour. Our guide covered Sydney’s beginnings and development from it’s early days as a convict colony right up to the major developments that have made Sydney the world city that it is today. We learned that the Australians coat of arms include a kangaroo and emu because those are two animals who can’t walk backwards, symbolizing the forward movement of the country.
Then at 6pm we joined their second free walking tour at The Rocks. This was a short 1.5 hour tour where they delved deeper into the history of The Rocks, the site of Australia’s first European settlement. We explored its lane ways, pubs, and historical buildings and learned about murders, muggings and mysteries.
The next day we visited the Taronga Zoo across the bay. We purchased the Captain Cook combo pass and we found an Optus customer discount, so it was only $50 for the adult pass to the zoom and a 48 hour ferry access (adult zoo entry alone is $49). The zoo had so many animals that we ended up staying for 5 hours. I highly recommend this zoo to see all the different types of Australian marsupials.
We ended up taking the last ferry back at 4:30am and did the full ferry experience seeing all 10 harbor stops with the audio tour commentary. We finished the day at the Sydney opera house, watching the free projected light show at 7pm, and caught a symphony at 8:30pm. If you have a student ID card you’re able to have a tremendous discount on the shows. I highly recommend a show for the full Opera house experience.
We started the morning with a free 10:30am tour of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Our tour guide Lynn covered so much in 1.5 hour tour. I highly recommend this tour, because she covered more then what was on the informational plaques. The park is also so large and I wouldn’t have known to visit the things she pointed out. There is also a helpful brochure that points out notable interesting plants.
After this we took an Uber to Bondi (bond-ai) Beach which was less then 30 minutes away. We stopped off and had a deliciously healthy poke bowl lunch at Speedo Cafe. Then we spend the next few hours relaxing on the beach, watching some locals volleying a soccer ball. Then we started the beautifully scenic walk from Bondi to Coogee, but the walk was so beautiful we ended up taking lots of pictures and only made it halfway to Bronte Beach.
On the way we passed by the Bondi Iceberg sea bath, this has to be the coolest pool in the world. I really should’ve taken a swim here, but I wasn’t prepared for a really Olympic distance pool. I recommend you to pack goggles and a swim cap and trying out the pool.
We finished the evening at a restaurant called the Three Blue Ducks and had a delicious candlelight meal.
On this day we visited the Blue Mountains, we purchased the sunset tour from Wildlife Tours which was $89 and included lunch. The Blue mountains are about 2.5 hours away and I highly recommend paying for the tour instead of doing it yourself. There are a lot of things to see, different trails and I don’t know how we would’ve found our way around by ourselves.
We learned that the abundant Eucalyptus trees release an oil into the air and with light refraction from the sun, it makes the mountains look like a hazy blue. We took a 1.5 hike to see a few scenic vistas, two beautiful waterfalls and stopped off at a cave to hear about the aboriginal origins.
We returned back right before 8pm and had dinner in Chinatown then strolled through the night market. We walked to Darling Harbor where all the night life was. There were kids playing in the fountains, acrobatic street performers, lots of night club, and a giant Ferris wheel.
The last half day in Sydney we visited the harbor one last time to soak in the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. Then we visited the Museum or Contemporary Art of Australia which is free to visit. They had fantastic exhibits and if you’re a museum fan I recommend a visit. At 2pm we headed to the airport for our flight to the Gold Coast.