Morning!! What a lovely weekend it’s been. So……like many, I travelled to Sydney last year to embark on a 4 week journey up the East coast of Australia. With only 4 days to see this wonderful city (whilst dealing with my first jet lag experience), I wanted to see as much as possible. If you’re anything like I was – Unprepared – and travelling/planning to travel to Sydney, then read on and see my little list of the top 8 must do’s in Sydney. As usual I have tried to go a little off the radar (the Opera House is definitely an iconic landmark to go and see), so I’ve included some well known places, and some you may not have heard about before. Of course, there are lots of nature/outdoor hot spots included! I have also included links to trusted booking, travel and tour companies – Links are all in bold italics!
1. Darling Harbour – This lively harbour brings the night time in Sydney to life. With endless options of restaurants and bars to choose from, it’s a great place to get dressed up (and by this I mean in anything you have in your backpack) and enjoy a glass of wine! Hundreds of people flock to the Harbour every Saturday to see the weekly, fantastic firework display – yes EVERY Saturday. So if you’re about, don’t miss out!
2. Manly – A 20 to 30 minute boat ride from Circular Quay, Manly is a beautiful green area North of Sydney. This is the Manly Fast Ferry time table, Which takes around 18 minutes. Once at Manly Wharf, there are plenty of restaurants and bars to sit and enjoy the sea view. If you’re keen to get on with the day, and with just a short walk to the bay the other side of the pier, you will be greeted by plenty more restaurants and bars, and a beach! This lovely beach is scattered with Pine trees and endless Ocean views. If you head South along the Coastal Walk, there is a tiny beach called Shelly Beach, hidden away. The name, I will assume, comes from the beach being made from millions of tiny shells, rather than sand. Along the Coastal Walk, you’ll see lots of Lizards, Water Dragons, and information about the wildlife there. It’s a great day, with lots of nature and sea views, and is very easy to get to from Sydney.
3. Bondi beach – Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Bondi beach is a surfers paradise. Well known for it’s beach life reputation, Bondi really is it’s own part of Sydney. I was so happy to meet my friend Lauren from back in the UK here. We caught up and chatted for hours. It’s so wonderful how you can meet someone, after years apart and feel as though it were yesterday you saw them last. I was amazed to hear how, like her, so many make their way down to the beach to catch the sun rising at 5am for a morning surf, and how relaxed the life is there. Just IMAGINE finishing work and heading down to this beautiful beach, to catch some rays and surf. What an amazing life ey.
Travel – To get to Bondi, it’s very easy to catch the train to Bondi Junction, followed by bus 380, 381, 382 or 333. HUGE tip – When leaving the beach, make sure you get the bus back from the north side of the beach. If you attempt to travel back from the South side, you will be getting on the bus with everyone whose been picked up from various stops along the beach.
4. Blue Mountains Rainforest Day Trip – During our time in Sydney, we booked a few day trips to keep us busy. The rainforest trip was incredible! We started off by getting picked up from our hostel (Base backpackers), and travelling 1.5-2 hours by mini bus. I couldn’t believe how close Sydney is to the nearest rainforest. Over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and about 10 minutes north, we were surrounded by tall eucalyptus trees and vegetation. The tour guide was great, giving us a long informative talk about Australian history and the indigenous communities that lived there in an earlier period. Once we arrived, we were taken for a hike around the Blue Mountains, along high orange cliffs and down to the river below. The whole day is worth every penny. You’ll do lots of walking and lunch is provided. For more info on day trips in Aus, go to backpackers world.com.
5. Royal Botanic Gardens – Located South East of the Sydney Opera House and surrounded by the city, these stunning gardens are are the icing on the cake for me. Founded by Governor Macquarie 1816, the gardens were created as a place for people to relax and see a natural collection of plants from Australia, and from all over the world. I really could not believe this stunning natural area existed within this amazing city. It takes a good few hours to walk around, so give yourself enough time. If you’re keen to see beauty in the form of themed gardens, such as the Rainforest Walk, Australian Native Rockery, and Palm Grove, then the Royal Botanic Gardens are a great place to get lost in. They are free to visit, so make sure you don’t miss them off your ‘To do’ list.
6. The Art Gallery of New South Wales – Located in the South East corner of the Royal Botanic Garden, this beautiful Gallery of Contemporary, modern & indigenous art is displayed in a classical-style building, which was founded in 1871. It’s huge, so give yourself some time to spend a few hours there. There is no entrance fee to the main areas in the Gallery, and there are options to see additional exhibitions, some at a price depending on the exhibition.
7. St George Open Air Cinema – A breath taking view of the Sydney sky line, within the comfort of the beautiful Gardens. You can watch the latests films, outside, for a price of AUD $36 (around £19). To find out more, head to the St George Open Air cinema webpage.
8. Hyde Park – If reading a book and watching the clouds go by is what you like lots, Hyde Park is a great place to visit. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the park with a strawberry shake, after a long day of walking around the city. The Australian White Ibis birds roam the park around the Anzac Memorial. The park is located in the centre of the city, south of the Botanical Gardens, and is a great escape from the city.
So, there are my top 8 things to do if you’re heading to Sydney and want something a little different to do. It’s often hard to discover nature in a huge city, but as always I’ve tried to discover as much as possible.
Thank you for reading, go see SYDNEY!!
Peace and Love, Nicola xx