I walked across the Harbour Bridge, with the soft evening breeze and all the little lights, ferries sailing to their destination and people making their way home. It was one of those normal unplanned Saturdays- I met a friend and we wandered around for a while. It was getting dark when we decided to walk across the bridge. We didn’t know how to get there, so we were roaming around in the hope we would eventually find it. While walking among the crowds in the Rocks, we found the stairs that lead to the bridge. It surprised me how few people were walking on the bridge. The bridge is long and because it was a bit late, we decided to walk only halfway up. The view on the Opera House took my breath away. The building is so much more beautiful in the night. I’ve always loved the night more than the day- everything is so peaceful and quiet. While enjoying the stunning view, I realised how amazing the harbour is. I’ve already spent so much time there and it never gets boring.
1. Visit the Rocks
The first time I planned to go to the Rocks, I didn’t know what to expect. My friend told me that it’s the old part of the city- as far as I knew, Sydney isn’t really old. As I got there, I was quite impressed by the buildings. I found myself comparing it to Amsterdam- what’s a bit unfair. What I love the most about it, are the markets at George Street. You can find a lot of cool stuff up there- boomerang beer openers, a whole stall full of Christmas presents, jewellery and much more. When you’re making your way through the Rocks, different scents will enter your nose- cinnamon, flowers, food… The first time going there, we ended up in a German cafe called Löwenbräu Keller. We soon found out that it was a bit expensive, but totally worth it. We were sitting there for quite some time- let’s say two and an half hours. The waiter was getting impatient and asked us if we were done every five minutes. A sign to leave. My friend and I are pretty good at spending too much time in cafés. Another example: We spent three hours in Pancakes on the Rocks. This cafe is amazing. The pancakes are delicious and it’s open 24 hours! For the non- pancakes lovers; they also have pizza, nachos and more.
2. Walk through the galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art
If you make your way from the Rocks to the wharf, you will pass the Museum of Contemporary Art. The entrance is free and the exhibition changes every now and then. The art is lovely, although I didn’t understand most things. There’s a café located at the top of the museum. I didn’t eat there yet, but the food smelled delicious. You can enjoy your coffee and an amazing view on top.
3. Go to a musical/concert/anything in the Opera House
The Opera House, one of first things people thing about when they talk about Australia, besides dangerous animals. The building is quite impressive, I only expected it to be bigger. I haven’t watched a show in the Opera House yet, I only went to the toilets (I have to say, the toilets are pretty fancy). It would be lovely to go to a musical there, if I had the time (and money). Every now and then, there is an open day at the Opera House; you can enter it for free and see the inside without going to a musical. Unfortunately, I missed my chanche to go there. My work needed me
4. Have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Next to the Opera House, you can find the Royal Botanic Gardens: one of my favourite places in Sydney. I adore plants and nature, so this is a great park to visit. There are so many different kinds of plants and a lot of cute little spots to have a picnic. There’s this spot in the park where are a lot of cockatoo’s hang around. If you bring some bird seeds, they will sit on your arm, shoulder, head, anywhere… They won’t harm you, the only thing is that their claws are sharper than expected.
5. Go for a a ride in Luna Park
Even the kids can have the time of their lives at the Harbour. Take a ferry, walk across the bridge or take a train to Luna Park. I went there a while ago with my best friend and my previous host family. I suppose it’s great fun for the younger ones, but I wasn’t amazed by it. The entry to the park is free, you can walk in and have a look without paying anything. The rides are however pretty expensive. As two broke backpackers, we only went into two rides. The rollercoaster was hilarious, bumping from one side of the cart to the other side while enjoying a great view. There’s also a ferris wheel, which should be nice. The park is fun to go to for a few hours, but I would not go there again.
6. Grab a book/iPod and enjoy
It’s great to chill at the Harbour, with some music, friends or a good book. There are a lot of different kind of street artists. From an aboriginal man playing a didgeridoo to a man covered in gold pretending he’s floating in the air. My favourite street artist is a guy called Jack Dawson, who plays guitar and sings. Unfortunately, I didn’t see him very often. Once there was this woman who was putting herself in a tiny box. It looked impossible but it actually worked! Her show was hilarious and I loved watching her.
Another tip I got is going to the Harbour in the night. I went there at 3 AM. My friend and I just got back from Pancakes on the Rocks and the Harbour was abandoned… Usually, the harbour is crowded. The silence was calming and we would definitely do it again if we had the chanche.
If you walk across the bridge in the early morning, you can enjoy a beautiful sunrise (if the sky is clear).
The Harbour of Sydney is a place with something to do for every kind of human being. Nature-lovers, artistic people, kids, active ones, calm minds… So get out on a train/bus/whatever and have a great day!!