Where do you start with such a cosmopolitan city like Sydney? I mean, can any single review tick all the boxes and provide you with the “real” insiders guide to one of the best cities in the world.
Likely not, but let’s give it a whirl just for fun. Now, consider that I’m traveling with Sam (my almost 18 year old daughter), and therefore no bar, nightclubs or party scene per see, however, that being said there is a ton of great stuff to do.
I chose to stay somewhere central, this is important as Sydney is huge, and although their transit system is very good, especially the ferry service if you’re outside the city center then you’re missing some of the great energy that this city has on offer.
We stayed at the Shangri-la (176 Cumberland Street), mostly because it’s so close to the Sydney Bridge Climb (yes, I’m getting to that!), the bridge itself as well as The Rocks and Circular Quay. There are tons of great hotels in the CBD (Central Business District) so find something in your price range and centrally located. I use Booking.com to find the best hotels when I travel, including some last minute deals and bonus offers – just need to do your homework in advance. 🙂
The Shangri-la was a lovely hotel, and although a bit pricey, but to be fair the price was mostly due to the harbour view which I had requested that provided an unobstructed view of both the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera house. 🙂
See and Do:
Sydney Bridge Climb was great, we had a climb time of 7:00 am, which in reality meant we got to actual the bridge after being kitted up and having our safety briefing by around 8:00 am. A perfect time to climb in the summer heat by the way. And the views! No words can describe the views…
This is a must do when you’re in Sydney, no if’s, and’s or but’s. 🙂
Take a Ferry to Manly and see the sights of the harbour in all its glory. Sam and I took the slow boat to Manly, which stopped at a few places along the way. So lovely to sit out on deck in the sunshine and check out the harbour properties…
Once we arrived into Manly we headed up Wentworth Street (directly adjacent to the ferry terminus) for a little R&R where we spent a rather lazy afternoon reading and snoozing on the beach before a gelato called our names. It truly is the best on a hot summers day!
My favourite early morning activity while Sam slept was to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Milson’s Point on the north shore. This colourful neighbourhood is home to Luna Park which has served as Sydney’s main amusement park since 1935. In addition, it’s also home the North Sydney Olympic Pool. More world records have been set in that pool than anywhere else in the world, however because its a salt water pool none of the records stand…bugger!
Lastly, my other favourite place to visit is Bondi Beach. A mere 10 kilometres from the CBD, Bondi is one of the most famous beaches in all of Australia. If you’re afraid its too touristy (you’d be right by the way), the two things I love to do in Bondi are (1) to eat at Icebergs and watch the swimmers in the ocean fed pool swim laps while breakers smash into the pool wall and refill the pool with fresh salt water. (2) then walk the path south from Icebergs to Tamarama Beach around the coast. This 25 minute walk will help you walk off the fabulous lunch you just had! 🙂
Places to eat:
Australia has an eclectic palate, but what I can tell you is that if you’re near the ocean then the seafood should be your number one choice. Sam loves her oysters (au natural of course!) and so we found our way to the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, which by its very name oozes yummy delights.
We were not to be disappointed as Sam had the Tasmanian Pacific oysters to start followed by Blue Swimmer Crab in its shell.
Me, well I had the Kilpatrick oysters (seared with bacon and Worcestershire sauce) followed by Spanner crab on toast with candied lemon, and finally salt and pepper calamari (so soft and delicious it melted in my mouth). I like the small bites so I can try a few different dishes…what can I say?
Now of course this was all topped off with a Royal Copenhagen waffle cone ice cream on our walk back to the hotel. Delish!!!
On our final night in Sydney before leaving for the next leg of our adventure we went (at Sam’s request) to the oldest pub in Sydney – the Fortune of War in the Rocks precinct, adjacent to Circular Quay.
This hotel dates back to 1828 and is chock full of Australian charm and history from a bygone era that I had thought was gone forever. For starters the dining room is upstairs (very old school), with a rowdy heritage style bar downstairs that was packed with both tourist and local alike all chatting and drinking amiably in a crescendo of noise not witnessed since the 1960’s.
If you don’t go there to eat, stop by at least for a drink to soak up some of the atmosphere. I quite enjoyed my Chicken Parmigiana while Sam had the burger and fries.
The best part about trips like this is that you try foods and restaurants that perhaps in everyday life you may not choose. Sydney was no exception for us in that Sam found us some absolute gems.
Clearly, we packed a lot into three days in this beautiful city…literally just dipping our toes into the water so to speak but, not surprisingly we both fell in love with this incredible city and can’t wait to visit again.
We’re now off on the next segment of our Aussie adventure, so until next week.