Everything in Sydney just clicked.
The city has everything, shops, bars, restaurants botanical gardens and possibly the best harbour in the world. Sydney is happening – the vibe is vibrant, the sun shines bright and the Sydneysiders really know how to have fun.
We stayed at the YHA Glebe Point Road. Although a little of out town, Glebe Point Road is a bohemian oasis of laid back cafe bars and food outlets which was welcome after busy days in the city There were lots of interesting “long term” residents in the YHA. The hostel has a discount weekly rate which includes three free meals during the week, the offer seemed to pull in lots of semi permanent mature travellers each it seemed, with their own interesting life stories of they became to be living on the road.
Over 4 days we did everything that we wanted to but we still could have stayed longer. We had such a good time, we are going to reproduce our itinerary in the hope that others visiting on a short time scale might find the post and use it:
Visit Darling Harbour taking in the shops before waking along the quayside to the lighthouse. Go up the lighthouse and take panoramic photos of the skyscrapers which stand proudly over the yachts in the harbour.
Take a ferry from Pyrmont Bay to Central Quay. This is a must do, It would be such a shame to stumble upon the Opera House. We didn’t get the ferry knowing that it was so good for the best views of the iconic sights but in hindsight it is one of the best things we did. The ferry leaves Pyrmont and slowly as you edge out of the Harbour, the grand Sydney Harbour Bridge comes into splediferous view.
Sail a little further and the Opera House can be seen nesting under the Harbour Bridge in the distance. Best of all, the ferry then sails under the Harbour Bridge towards the Opera House enabling photo opportunities of a vista that you wouldn’t get if you approached by land. I really enjoyed that ferry ride, it was special seeing the Opera House with my own eyes after seeing it so many times on television and I can’t imagine there is a better approach than that cheap public ferry from Pyrmont.
Alight the ferry and walk to the Opera House, walk around and inside the Opera House. The Opera House for me had something magical, we spent a bit of time sitting on the pavement outside just marvelling at it.
Walk from the Opera House through the Botanical Gardens to the New South Wales Art Gallery. After a meander around the art gallery walk on to the State Library of New South Wales to check out any temporary exhibitions. We were lucky enough to see an extensive display of photojournalist, Don McCullins work titled “An impossible Peace” – as we say, everything just clicked in Sydney. The English landscape photographs were a welcome relief amongst the harrowing war photographs that have been skilfully shot in conflicts all over the world.
Go for a drink in the early evening business district and learn what a Schooner is – I had no idea.
Finally we caught the bus back to YHA Glebe where we enjoyed a barbecue, one of the free meals for long term residents but at a cost of only £2.50 to us. I spent an entertaining evening hearing one of the semi permanent residents life story, she had travelled all of the world even managing to raise a child whilst travelling.
Catch the bus to Coogee and walk along the cliffs to Bondi Beach. There was a sculpture exhibition when we walked and brilliant artistic sculptures lined the route. We also saw two drones hovering about in the sky taking pictures of the sculpture viewing crowds. The drones were operated by tourists, a sign of the future maybe?
After the 5km walk, swim, surf or sunbathe on Bondi Beach taking time to observe the ‘beautiful people’ topping up their tans and pruning their pectorals. Get a bite to eat at a cheaper takeaway set back from the sea front.
In the late afternoon take the ferry from Pyrmont but alight at the Lunar Park stop. Walk around Lunar Park and then across the Harbour Bride around dusk to watch the natural light fade around the Opera House below. At the other side, walk around the city taking in the vibrant atmosphere before settling in one of the many bars underneath the Opera House. Sit outside among the hundreds of well dressed revellers, people watch some more, It seemed the ‘beautiful people’ from Bondi had also relocated to the same bars. Splurge on a cocktail or two – There can be no better setting to drink cocktails than under the wing of the illuminated Opera House with the similarly glowing Harbour Bridge in the foreground and the shimmering silhouettes of the skyscrapers in the background completing the vista.
Catch the ferry to Manly, this time the ferry moves in the opposite direction to the brilliant Pyrmont crossing enabling further Opera House and Harbour Bridge photos from the other side. At Manly walk through the surf shops to the surfers beach. Take a surf lesson at Manly surf school and spend the rest of the day lazing about on the beach. In the late afternoon return by ferry to Central Quay. As we approached the Harbour Bridge, Sydney decided to click for us again – – a massive Cruise Liner was leaving its berth affording a different perspective on that oh so impressive harbour.
We spent the night of day 3 back at the YHA enjoying another £2.50 meal of pasta put on by the staff before an early sleep , ahead of an early rise for Blue Mountains the next day.
Catch a train from Central Station to the Blue Mountains. The train takes 2 and a half hours and it was fun to walk against the pedestrian commuter traffic in the station all heading to work.
Do Blue Mountains independently to save money its an easy trip from Central station to Katoomba Station and if, like us, you buy an Opal card (Sydney’s Oyster card) it works out much cheaper. The Blue Mountains were fun, you don’t really get into the mountains but the views are worth it and there are three sky rides you can choose to take, a cable car, a skyway (like a cable car but straight across a ravine) or the world’s steepest train. We took the world’s steepest train, it was a frightening ascent up a cliff, near vertical at times.
Take the train back to Sydney and spend the early evening in China Town before a final walk through Darling Harbour. We walked from Darling Harbour back to the YHA past the fish market and along some of the other harbour sides. If you stay at YHA Glebe it is well worth the walk into town. Turn left when leaving the hostel, follow the road downhill to the water and turn right all the way past the fish market into the City.
Sydney’s is great, we loved it there.