Beaches and oceans everywhere. Australia, known for its sportiveness and wilderness, is brimming with a lot of activities for tourists and locals to do. Syndey is the capital of NSW(New South Wales) and one of the largest cities in Australia which houses the world-famous harbor-front Opera house. Various kinds of beaches, dainty forests, cultural mixture, world heritage centers, towering skyscrapers, water sports; you name it, Sydney’s got it! When I landed at the International Sydney airport, around 10 pm, it was relatively colder. After a 16-hour flight journey from Bengaluru, India to Sydney, Australia – my battery was pretty low. However, a dream was about to come true! the long-awaited trip to the land of Kangaroos was about to begin. I had read and heard a lot about the fun sporting activities to do and long, scenic walks to take in Australia and it was about to unwind during my 15-day trip.
1. Cozy living quarters:
My plan was to live with my sister Amy, in her 1 bedroom apartment, the quintessential home in Sydney, which was surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers. I had a to-do list prepared with landmarks, activities and long walks. I wanted to try the local cuisine, converse with a stranger and imbibe their lovely accent. Every change in Sydney was new and welcome for me; although drinking tap water from the bathroom was a no-no. I settled to drink water from the kitchen tap. There was no bucket in the bathroom but only a shower for bathing purpose. Somebody was practicing piano in the neighborhood. Coming from Bangalore, I was not very used to long walks. In Sydney though, there is a lot of walking involved. To reach any place, mostly everyone preferred the metro. Opal cards were used for metros, buses and many ferries. Walking to and from the Metro to home and back was a daily affair. It took a couple of days to get used to walking and matching pace with Amy, my sister. We boarded the train and I saw a plethora of people from different nationalities. Being Indian and a chatty girl, it took every ounce of energy to keep my mouth shut and maintain silence in the train compartment. During our commute, as we exchanged pleasantries with passers-by and other locals, we realized that it was difficult for them to grab our names. My sister Amrutha explained this to me and we shortened our names to Amy and Ana.
2. Must see in Sydney: Harbour Bridge
The Metro journey from Hornsby to Wynyard was delightful. I came across various suburbs like Gordon, Pymble, Waitara etc. These names were mostly influenced by the English or had the aboriginal background. We reached Milson’s point, which is one stop before Wynyard. As we embarked on a journey of walking across the most famous Harbour Bridge, Sydney, I felt jittery. This is famously known as the Bridge walk. No tourist will land at Sydney and never walk the Bridge Walk. My mouth fell open looking at the beautiful scenario, ocean cutting the city in two with the Harbour bridge-a two and a half km long bridge with 4 lanes, a walking track on one end and a metro line on the other. Walking on the Harbour bridge, I looked down at the Opera house, majestically perched on the wharf below. The 360-degree view of the city from the Skywalk is breath-taking; blues and greens around; clear sky, a few birds flying above Sydney’s most visited landmark which looked just a Hallmark card; my dream destination; my phone’s wallpaper over a year now.
3. A ferry ride to remember: Manly Wharf
Most places in Sydney can be reached via land transport or trough ferries. A lot of ferries frequent the mainlands throughout the day. At the Circular Quay, we found many stores lined across the port; candy stores, souvenir shops, book stalls and also some street artists playing instruments to entertain the crowd. A ferry ride from the Circular Quay to Manly wharf lasted about 20-30 minutes. We sailed peacefully across the ocean, a cool breeze blowing on our faces and Sydney’s skyline behind us, small boats and yacht’s looked like white blips on the blue ocean, international cruises were waiting at the port. We reached Manly wharf where throngs of tourists crowded the beach. The sun was out and it was getting warmer. I got my camera and clicked a million photos of myself with the Harbour Bridge and Opera house in the background.
4. The Bavarian bar:
A lunch always should have a beer
Bavarian is a chain of German-styled bar, spread across various locations in Sydney. We arrived at the entrance of one at Manly beach; groups of tall Aussie people were drinking beer from large mugs; beautiful blue-eyed women dressed in cute mini-skirts served their customers with a smile to go. We ordered some chicken wings and a couple of locally brewed beer. Initially, I couldn’t grab the local accent and found ‘mate’ sufficed at the end of every sentence; to save me from embarrassment, Amy placed our orders and the girl in the miniskirt left us with a high pitched ‘Thank you’. After ten minutes, we were served two large glasses of blonde beer and a large plate of chicken wings covered in Buffalo sauce and a side salad.
5. Fish ‘n Chips:
The Go-to dish in Australia is the most famous Fish n’ Chips where a boneless fish is deep fried with beer batter coupled with piping hot fries. A day in Sydney is not completed without savoring this delicacy which is preferred by locals and the tourists as well. Sprinkle a dash of lemon juice over the fish and you will find yourself falling in love with fish for life. While avocado is preferred for breakfast teamed with sourdough bread, fish ‘n chips are first on the menu for lunch and suppers.
6. The Walk:
Australians are known for their preference for outdoor sports; long walks through the beautiful countrysides, trekking on to mountains, surfing etc. After the scrumptious lunch, we headed to the Manly waterfront. It was drizzling slightly now. The long road along the beach was lined by beautiful, huge mansions with glass doors and white windows. Even though every mansion had a different architecture, most of them had a garden in the front yard, complete with a barbecue, a wooden table surrounded by some chairs. The 6 km long walk was tiring but the view was mesmerizing. The beach-side walk offers an expensive harbor view, lined with harbor-side homes with aboriginal sites. Sydney has one of the most beautiful golden sand beaches and the sunset here is a treat to our eyes. Around 5 pm, we were back to the ferry and made our way towards the mainland. Our fellow passengers on the ferry stood at the front deck, laughing and giggling every time the boat rose high on waves. I and Amy sat holding on to each other for dear life and prayed so that we don’t end up puking out guts out with seasickness. Back to Circular Quay, we walked the roads of Wynyard and made our way to CBD, the Central Business District where we could see all the business center building towering above us.
7. Lindt Chocolate Cafe:
On the other end of Wynyard, there is yet another famous destination, the Darling harbor; here, there are many recreational activities for the pedestrians. Cockle Bay Wharf, Paddy’s Market, Madame Tussauds, Sydney Aquarium life and Star of the show Ferris Wheel. Along the same side, there is a world famous chocolate store named The Lindt Factory, the ultimate destination for chocolate lovers. Below is a picture of me at the Lindt Factory with Darling Bridge in the background.
This cafe located on the Promenade, behind the Cockle Bay Wharf, offers a variety of chocolate coffees, cakes and other delicacies which can be enjoyed by the tourists with a view to the Darling Harbor and other yachts parked at the harbor. We indulged ourselves in hot chocolate coffee who’s consistency can be decided by us, as the cafe offers two cups; one with chocolate induced coffee and the other with warm milk. The fun-filled day ended with us dragging our tired feet across the Hornsby station, bellies filled with Chocolate from Lindt cafe and dinner at Mamak, a quaint Malaysian restaurant where the famous Mee Goreng was served hot.
There are still too many things to do In Sydney which we planned to cover the next day. For now, it was nightfall and a warm bed was waiting for us back at our apartment where we fell asleep in a matter of few seconds, slipping into dreams about Opera house and flying Ferris wheel.