Sydney: Welcome to Australia!
January 1, 1970
I first started with Sydney for two weeks and this brought my very first big disappointment: it’s not always warm in Sydney! After travelling around Thailand and Bali for almost a month, I’ve lost approximately 20 degrees as soon as I left the plan.
But this did not stop me of enjoying the city. I took advantage of their « Free Tour » in order to visit the city and spot the places I wanted to go, or not! The tour lasted around 3 hours and I have to admit that we stayed in the most touristic areas like CBD and Opera House.
I have to admit that as soon as I saw the Opera House I was over-excited!! I kind of walked through different areas in order to have the different angles – I’m not ashamed!
What did I do during those 2 weeks?
Regarding the sightseeing, I’ve seen the following:
- The Rocks with the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge: you can walk through the bridge in order to arrive on the other side where you can find the Luna Park. The Powerhouse Museum which used to be a power house but they’ve changed it to a museum – not for free.
- Walk through Hyde park and see the ANZAC memorial building, the Cathedral, mean birds who steal your lunch!
- Chinese Garden of Frienship: Everywhere on the Internet I could see that this place was quiet and peacefull, but to be honest my experience was not quiet and peaceful. It might be the case when you don’t have those huge construction works…
- Ground of Alexandria: Thank you Instagram! I was planning to visit that area of Sydney but not this place in particular. You should really go there ! Easy going place, nicely decorated, they have a flowers shop, nice bakery with fresh bread, amazing juices and smoothies, and I’m not talking about their pastries! DELICIEUX
- Darling Harbor: shops and restaurants. But not only! Every Saturday at 8.30pm you have fireworks on the harbor which last for approximately 10minuts, be on time!
- Martin Place: Go there and take the hidden stairs which will bring you to this place where they’ve represented the birds’ cages with their sound.
You can have an amazing view of Sydney from the Sydney tower but it’s quiet expensive. Just go to a hotel close to it, which is as tall and you’ll only need to buy a drink!
What about the night life?
The bars close quiet early – between 2 am and 3 am, which is quiet helpful for Australians as most of them leave the office at 5.30 pm.
If you were expecting to go out like in Europe with your StanSmith on, forget about it! You will get the following answer « sorry you’re too casual for this event”.
What’s cool about Sydney is that there’s a lot of hidden bars. I discovered one bar with 1920s style, very nice which is on Abercrombie lane and is called ‘Palmer & Co’. There’s however one very interesting fact: if you order your drink at the table you’ll be charge an extra tax which is not applicable if you order directly at the bar – life is not expensive enough here!
What about the sporty people?
Well, in Sydney everyone is quiet fit, people wake up very early in the morning or just skip lunch break in order to go for a run.
If you want something smoother, there’s some nice walks to do around or close to Sydney.
I did some of them: Botanic Garden, Bondi to Coogee and Manly.
Beautiful place with a lot of flowers and trees. You can either run through the stairs and do some sit ups, or like me, find a shade spot and read with a view on the Harbor Bridre and the Opera House.
Costal Walk Bondi to Coogee
Very easy to access the place as you have buses leaving the City and in not even 20 minutes you are there. The walk is around 6km, and not flat! Again, sporty people run through it or exercise, but you can choose the easiest way of walking also. You have nice beaches all along the walk, the famous Bondi swimming pool is just at the beginning of it – be careful not to visit the place when it’s maintenance day like I did. Instead of finding the famous Instagram picture pool, I had an empty one, not that sexy! One weird thing about this walk is that at some point you need to go through the cemetery, not common but you get used to it.
Manly is such a nice place. Not too far away for the city, you can access that place with the ferry from Circular Quay. You can spot surfers who are not 25 years but way older and that’s just not common on the East Coast. If you were planning to go to the beach and be lazy all day, forget about it! People here play volleyball and other sports, and they have facilities installed for that. You can do 2 nice walks in Manly: The Spit Bridge walk and the North Head walk. I personally did the Spit Bridge Walk which was very nice, going through different areas and landscapes with incredible view over the place. It took us approximately 3 hours to do it. The only bad thing is that you end up in the middle of the bridge and then need to catch the bus to go back to the City. I’ve heard that the North Head walk was way better, will comment about it next time.
Some tips for broken travelers
Sydney is very expensive so you can find several gyms that propose free classes. For example, the Yoga Bar offers one free class, there’s a possibility to have 3 entries to the swimming pools and fitness centers if you can prove you currently stay in that area – just ask the reception of the hostel and they will do it for sure!
Also, public transports only cost $2.5 on Sundays, so personal advice go to Manly on a Sunday in order to avoid paying $15.
Where did I stayed?
First at the “Big Hostel”. This hostel is super well located on Elizabeth Street, people were nice, however if you’re looking for some crazy nights out forget about it. Here people are mainly workers so they go to bed early.
Then, I moved to “Railway Square YHA”. I have to admit that YHA hostels are more expensive but you have some comfort and they are quiet clean. My breakfast was included, the kitchen looked like a factory but again, very well located – close to Central station.