On the train from the airport to the city I felt like I was in England: it was grey and raining, and the red building bricks made me think of London . I arrived at my hostel, Base Backpacker, but couldn’t check-in until the afternoon so I walked around the city. I walked through Hyde Park and heard all the bird singing. I stopped for a few minutes to listen because they sounded like nothing I have heard before. It was then I fully realized I was in Australia! The trees looked different, the birds sounded different; it was beautiful. I spent the rest of the day exploring and by the end I was so tired I felt asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow.
Sydney is a city with a good vibe that makes you happy and I will write about the city the way I experienced it.
Things to do in Sydney
The first thing everyone probably wants to see is the Sydney Opera House. It is a short walk from the city center. I arrived at Circular Quay and walked around the waterfront. As expected, it was really full of tourists, and ferries kept getting in the way of my photos. But it was so worth it! The Opera house looks beautiful and majestic. It was strange seeing with my own eyes a landmark I have seen so many times on TV or in photos. It seemed surreal. It was also strange seeing it in its environment with the Sydney skyline behind it. I didn’t imagine Sydney to have so many tall buildings.
The second thing I did was to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens. I love parks in cities, but these gardens were spectacular and it is a must thing to do in Sydney. It was a beautiful sunny day and everything looked so green and alive. I immediately put on sunscreen because the sun feels so strong in Australia. I strolled around the gardens, taking random turns, enjoying the beauty of the trees and the flowers. The vegetation here is so diverse. From the gardens there are beautiful views of of the city skyline, the Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The Royal Botanic Gardens would be a great place to have a picnic and a lazy afternoon. Next time I am in Sydney I will definitely do that!
Bondi Beach is also a must do! You can catch the bus from the city center so get an opal card when you get to Sydney. You can get the opal card in a lot of places including in 7 Elevens. It is free you just need to put money your card. The bus will take you directly to Bondi Beach (I took the bus 333 from Hyde Park). Again when I got there, it was surreal to see a beach I have seen so many times on TV. It is a big beach and many people surf there. Some waves seemed big and they keeped coming continuously, so it must be good for surfers. Surfing gets me all anxious so it is not for me. I simply enjoyed the warm water.
From Bondi you have to do the Bondi to Coogee walk. You follow a path on the seafront from Bondi all the way to Coogee Beach. It took me over an hour to do the walk. The views of the coast are lovely! On the walk you will pass a cemetery that faces the ocean. What a nice place it is to rest for eternity!
During my five days in Sydney, I also went to the aquarium and the Australian Museum. The aquarium was nice! I saw many Doris and Nemos 🙂 I loved seeing the sting rays; they are very impressive. After the aquarium I walked along Darling Harbour.
I enjoyed the Australian Museum very much! At the moment they have an exhibit about Australia’s 50 greatest explorers. What I found the most fascinating was the exhibit about the gemstones and minerals. I am getting more and more interested in crystals and minerals, and crystal healing. They have such a beautiful collection there, it was very impressive. They also explain how crystals are formed which I found very educating. I would highly recommend the museum to anyone visiting Sydney.
Food in Sydney
I am a vegan who loves food, so before leaving for Australia I looked online for vegan places in Sydney and this is what I recommend:
- For easy, not too expensive and fast food go to Iku. It is a vegan chain fast food; it is absolutely perfect! You can find one in a lot of food courts over the city. I have had a rice bowl wrap which so delicious, and a banana bread which was also very satisfying. This is a good place for lunch and light bites.
- One night I had dinner at Mother Chu’s vegetarian kitchen where I had a delicious vegetable curry with rice.
- For a different lunch experience I tried Bodhi restaurant. They serve vegan yum cha. It was my first experience. So you sit down but you don’t order anything. The waiters come to you with different choices of small tapas-like bites and you choose the ones you want. I like the concept and the food was good too! The price is a little high though.
- One day I walked to Glebe because I wanted to go to the Cruelty Free Shop! I heard about these candy similar to m&ms but vegan called No No’s. They have chocolate and chocolate and peanut butter (nut free peanut butter called peanot). My favorite was the peanut butter ones! It is a great shop as everything is vegan!
Overall, I really enjoyed Sydney. It is a great city with many things to do and places to hang out. It has a good vibe and a good energy. I can only recommend you to go there and experience the city for yourself!