Getting to Sydney was a bit… unexpected … in case you missed it, check out our impromptu trip The Cebu Stranded does Manila. You may be wondering, after all that, was heading down to Sydney only for a few days still worth it? YES. Yes, yes, yes!
Welcome to Sydney, Australia! (and get ready for a lot of pictures)
Landing in Sydney was a bit surreal. It technically took almost 3 days to travel there from Hong Kong, so we were super excited to finally arrive. We booked an Airbnb downtown in Darlinghurst (I highly recommend the one we stayed at so if you are going soon, let me know!). Our host greeted us with Aussie snacks & wine – already off to a good start!
Day 1: Fish & Chips & Bondi Beach
Australia is south of the equator, therefore on opposite seasons to the US. As it’s January now, they are in the middle of their summer, so what better way to start off our vacation than to head directly to world famous Bondi beach.
The area around Bondi definitely has a great beach town vibe. We explored a bit and ended up in a local shop to get a must-try order of fish & chips. It was great, and even better eating it with the view of the beach.
After a quick lunch, we headed down to the beach and soaked in the sun for a bit. Now, I’m quite fair skinned and of course I’m at my whitest being in the middle of winter. I was a bit worried about getting burnt (the sun in Australia is quite strong) so after a short time we packed up decided to do the cliff walk from Bondi to Coogee beach (about an hour walk along the coastline). It was absolutely beautiful!
Day 2: Downtown, Sydney Opera House & Meet Up with Guy
I loved walking around in downtown Sydney. After a stroll, we started off with a view going up Sydney Tower Eye, which stands almost 900 ft over the city and offers 365 views all the way to the Blue Mountains. It gave a great first look at the city and Sean enjoyed using the telescope 🙂
Next stop: heading to “the Rocks”, which is the oldest area of colonial Sydney harbor and the center of many tourist attractions: i.e. great views of Sydney Harbor bridge and access to the Opera House.
We had intended to climb the Sydney Harbor bridge, but I’ve unfortunately hurt my knee running and I wouldn’t be able to make it up a few hours of stairs. We saw great views from the Tower Eye, so I figured we didn’t miss out on too much (and plus now I’ll have to travel back to make sure I check that off my life’s bucket list! #winning). We did however do both a tour of the Sydney Opera house as well as book tickets to a show later that night.
The Sydney Opera house is stunning. If you go to Sydney, take the tour. This building is really a work of art all the way down to the smallest details: the beautiful woods that cover the theaters for acoustics, the exposed cement and glass that so beautifully decorate the hallways and walls, the self-cleaning exterior of the shells and the way the water drains through the floors of the side walks. I don’t know much about architecture, but I completely appreciate the beauty of this building.
Between the time we took the tour and the start of our show later that evening, we took a walk through the Royal Botanical gardens. It was the most direct root to our next very important destination. Even though we were just passing through, it actually turned out to be a great site and the gardens were huge and perfectly manicured. It took us 40 minutes to walk across. Plus it was the first time I’ve seen wild Cockatoos.
Our destination after the gardens: Harry’s pie stand in Woolloomooloo. We saw this on an Anthony Bourdain show.. and you know if Anthony Bourdain put’s his stamp of approval on it, it has to be good. Sydney is famous for meat pies, which you can top with mashed potatoes and mushy green peas. We accompanied our treat with a Ginger Beer. This was living life.
We headed back toward the Opera house for a pre-show drink on the water and then headed into our theater. We bought tickets to a show called Club Swizzle which was a circus/burlesque show. It was phenomenal – really well done. Plus everyone was giving it their all as it was their final show on closing night. Show at Sydney Opera House: bucket list item checked.
After the show, we had plans to meet up with Guy, my exchange brother from Thailand. How funny life is the way you cross paths with people and reconnect in places you never imagined. Guy is studying English in Australia for a few months before he returns back to Thailand to take his law exam. He is doing so well and I was so happy to get to connect with him!
In order to not write a novel, I’m splitting this up into two parts. Stay tuned to read about our Australian road trip!