By some chance, I ended up in Sydney for a weekend, arriving late on Friday (at 21:30) and leaving Sunday late (at 19:00).
I flew from Brisbane to Sydney for 168euros (Tigerair to go and Virgin to go back to Brisbane).
Of course I bougth my tickets at www.skyscanner.com.
From/to the Airport
There is a train from the Airport (International and Domestic) that takes you to the center (The Rocks district) for 17.5AUD (one way) and 30minutes. It is very easy to find it in the airport and you can pay by credit card or cash in their machines at the station. The hostel I stayed is walking distance from the Wynyard station.
On my way back, I was coming from Coogee and I decided to use Uber (24AUD) to go to the airport. If you have never use UBER and you want to try, download the app and use the code 3hbey94due to get your first ride for free.
Where to stay?
Siesta Inn. Prices in Australia are far from prices in India (my previous trip), and this hotel had the best quality/price relation. I paid 187AUD for 2 nights in a private room (double bed) with shared bathroom. The location was excellent, I didn´t need to take any transportation around the Rocks, also it was clean and it has just what you need, nothing else. The train goes from the airport to the station next to the hotel.
Bondi Beach House. I didn´t stay in this hostel, but it was my second option since at first I wasn´t sure if I wanted to stay in the center of the city or near the beach. Both of them are great locations, but for a first time in Sydney I would recommend staying in the Rocks (center).
Here is the map I created with MyMaps that includes all the places I went to, the hotels and the top 20 restaurants in Sydney according to TripAdvisor.
After a nice sleep in Siesta Inn, I started my day early (7:30am) walking to Queen Victoria Building to have breakfast in this little neat place called Kikko. There are 3 or 4 places to have an early breakfast in this beautiful building, all of them seem very nice, I chose Kikko because it was the only one that didn’t have the food already cooked and exposed, and definetely it was a good choice.
From there I used Uber (it was late so I didn’t have time to walk), to be at 8:50am in the Opera House to start the tour I booked the night before.
I totally recommend this tour, it is beautiful in the inside and pretty nice to hear the story about it while watching the preparation of the night shows. I never imagine it was that beautiful in the inside. Also the lighting is amazing, I would say it’s good to book the tour early in the morning o for the sunset (they offer it daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm in english, check there web to find info about the tour in other languages).
You get 10% off if you book it through there web page. I paid 33AUD for the single tour and it last 1.5hours.
Once the tour was done, I went for a walk around The Rocks (where I was staying) to see Cadman’s cottage, which is the oldest surviving residential building in Sydney, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (free).
I took a look at the Custom House and then I had a quick lunch in one of the restaurant (called City Extra) in front of the station. They all seem OK to have a quick bite.
I was so anxious to go watching the whales, since it was the time of the year they are around this area, so I booked a tour a couple of days before with GoWhaleWatching from Manly, and I took the fast ferry from Circular Quay (17.4AUD return) to Manly to start the tour very close from where you arrive with the ferry (started at 13:20).
The ride to Manly is really good because you get a nice view of the city and the Opera House.
We weren’t lucky, although we saw some whales, we didn’t get to see them jumping. Also I especially asked for the tour on a small boat but I guess they didn’t understand me. We were on a big boat, where people was actually fighting to get a chair in a good spot. I ended up standing up for 2hours and once we were very close to see some whales the captain decided it was time to go back.
With the online discount I paid 55AUD, but I personally won`t recommended. If you decide to do it, be sure you wear good winter/water resistant clothes.
Once I went back to The Rocks (central district of Sydney), I walked to the Mrs Macquaire´s Chair, passing through the Botanical Garden, to get this amazing view of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge while enjoying the sunset. This spot is outside the Botanical Garden, but if you want to go through the garden (shorter way), do it before 17:00, since they close at that hour.
My next destination was Hard Rock Cafe to buy a present for one of my friends. Which was a very good idea cause I had to cross the entire district to get there so I got the chance to see St Mary´s Cathedral, Sydney Town Hall, Parliament of New South Wales, St Andrew´s Cathedral, Hyde Park and Sydney Tower, and ended up having a small dinner in the mall where HRC is. It was a long walk so I went straight to bed.
I woke up a little late (around 9am) to have breakfast at Soul Origin and take bus 333 to Bondi Beach.
To use the buses you have to have the Opal Card, tapping in and out. I could not find a place near to where I was so when the bus came I asked the driver if I can pay in cash…after a good scolding because he thought I was a student trying to be “smart”, he let me in without paying. I tried to explain him that I wanted to pay just didn´t know how, but he was an Italian grumpy old guy that didn´t want to listen, and I didn´t what to get more attention from all the people in the bus, so I just sat down and enjoyed my 30minute free ride to Bondi Beach.
Once in Bondi, I took my time to walk barefoot on the sand, take photos of the surfers and the beach and then I started my walk from there to Coogee. It´s around 5km walk, with some stairs and some steep parts, but totally worth it. It is beautiful and peaceful to get to see all this coast and little towns. According to google it takes around 1 hour to do it, but I did it in 2 hours, I guess because of all the pictures and my calmed walking.
At about 15:00 I was having lunch in this crowded but very cozy place called Coogee Pavilion, very close to Coogee beach. I had the fish of the day (barramundi) and a pineapple crusty desert with coconut ice-cream and caramel, delicious, an appropriate lunch after a long walk, especially since I was carrying my backpack to catch my flight later on.
Just after this amazing lunch I went to have a well deserved nap on the beach to ended up using Uber to go from Coogee beach to the domestic Airport (24 AUD).
Amazing weekend in Sydney, better than expected. Email me if you need any help planning your trip.
What did I miss?
- Something that I always look for it in the big cities is the walking Free Tours, that aren´t actually free but you decide at the end of the tour how much you thought the tour was worth. Usually they last around 2 hours and are perform by locals. In this case, they meet everyday at 10:30 and 14:30 at George St between Sydney Town Hall and St Andrew’s Cathedral. You don´t need to book but find more info here
- Blue Mountain. It´s not in Sydney, but close to it. So, if you have an extra day, it´ll be good to take a day tour or rent a car to visit this place
Total Expenses (3 Days / 2 Nights)
|Tours (Opera house + Whale Watching)||59.67 €|
|Flight (from Brisbane)||168.00 €|
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