Sydney is One Sexy City

Within about an hour of landing in Sydney, I was already devising a plan of how to move there. The big city, the views, the people, even the cleanliness [I’ve never seen a cleaner, big city] – Sydney has it all, and I’m obsessed. Seriously. The gardens, the parks, the harbour, the way the city lights up at night, the amazing restaurants, the list goes on and on. It was always so lively – maybe because I was just so in love with it – but still, Sydney’s definitely got it going on. Not to mention, Mad Max actors and cars took over Circular Quay one day, and we casually dined next to Iain Glen of GOT another night.

Sydney is the place to be.

A few days in Sydney is never enough, but here’s what we did, why it’s amazing, and why you should book a flight right now.

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  1. Bottoms up at Opera Bar

    • The bar with the best views, and heaters keep you warm all year round. Slightly expensive, but all of Sydney is, and this comes with jaw-dropping vistas. I opted for the bubbly because just sitting looking at Sydney’s harbour is a reason to celebrate and because sparkling wine is always a good idea.
  2. Dine at Aria

    • Mind-blowing restaurant overlooking the harbour and Sydney Opera House.
  3. CLIMB HARBOUR BRIDGE

    sydney harbour bridge

    Don’t mind my crazy hair

    • We were back and forth on this because of the price, but in the end, we went for it and were so glad we did. Definitely worth it, and definitely made me feel like Mary Kate & Ashley in Our Lips Are Sealed. I’m not terrified of heights, but I’m not great with them either. Luckily, you really can’t see beneath you during the climb. There’s only one part where you can see far down directly below your feet, and when trains passed I held on a little tighter. [16 people died during the building of the bridge, but don’t worry, they don’t tell you that until the end.] Other than that, it was great. You can choose to climb at dawn, day, twilight, or night, with night being the cheapest. We went the night route, but I like to think we got the best of both worlds. We got to see the city in daylight, still caught the sunset and saw the city lit up at night from the top, all for the cheapest price. Granted, we were the first night climb at 4:00pm so it worked out perfectly [although it did get a wee bit chilly and windy near the end]. Our guide, Mandy, was awesome, and the views from the top were insane. Our jumpsuits were pretty awesome, too. The bridge climb takes 3 hours total from the time they suit you up, lead you to the bridge, take the lovely pics climbing, and then descend and return your gear. Don’t miss out. Do it.
      • You have to fill out some general info, take a breathalyzer [don’t get drunk beforehand], get your wind suit, rain pants, head set, learn how to climb the ladders, etc… They give you hats, gloves, a fleece and anything else you might need during the climb. Everything is fully attached to you so nothing can fall – don’t worry. That would be bad. Unfortunately, you don’t get to take anything with you [minus your sunglasses if you wish] so purchasing photos is where they get ya. They do give you the group photo for free plus a free 8 second video. Everything you need to know you can find here.sydney harbour bridge
  4. Stroll the Botanical Gardens

    • So many cities have incredible parks & gardens, but how many come with views of Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House and are located right next to the sea.
  5. Snap photos at Mrs. Macquarie’s ChairIMG_2088

    • The best lookout point in Sydney – just follow the path through the botanical gardens. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you can see the Sydney Opera House and the bridge in all of its sparkling glory. Try and get creative with your pictures.IMG_2089
  6. Ferry across to TARONGA ZOO

    • This zoo is amazeballs, even though you can’t feed kangaroos or hold koalas – you’ve been warned. I was disappointed, too, but it’s still worth the trip. Plus you get to enjoy Sydney Harbour from the water which is half the fun. And, like so many places in this beautiful city, the zoo offers even more striking views – you don’t need to be a giraffe to enjoy them either, although the view from their habitat is one of the best. It costs $53, including the ferry to visit the zoo, and a ferry trip across takes less than 15 minutes. Ferries depart every half hour from Wharf 2, and there’s a ticket office right in front.sydney taronga zoo
    • Take your time in the Kangaroo Walk About, and they will hop right by you. You might even get a peak at some joeys 🙂
    • sydney taronga zoo
    • Don’t miss out on the shows! They have a seal show, a bird show, and other animal talks at no extra cost throughout the day. I wasn’t exactly dying to see the bird show, but it turned out to be extremely entertaining, until it started pouring down rain and we got soaked while sprinting back to the ferry.
  7. Explore Darling Harbour

    • This harbour needs love, too. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs, attractions – whatever you’re in to. You can take a ferry here, but walking is just as easy. It’s the perfect spot to sip a coffee, grab lunch, or just people watch.

      sydney darling harbour

      Sneak Peak at Darling Harbour

  8. Brunch at BILL’S

    • Their scrumptious ricotta pancakes will start your day off right. Order a side of bacon to add a little savory to your sweet.

      sydney

      nom nom nom

  9. Sip coffee at BUNKER

    • Because Australia has the best coffee.
  10. Go for a walk

    • For such a big city, it’s really very walkable. Wander around Paddy’s Market, Chinatown, Queen Victoria Building, The Rocks, and more to see all that Sydney has to offer or do some shopping. It’s good to get some exercise even though it can be tempting to drink at Opera Bar all day.
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  11. Hyde Park

    • If you’re galavanting around, don’t miss Hyde Park located in the CBD [aka city center]. If staying in Darlinghurst, this park gets you a good part of the way down to the Harbour, so you can walk with a purpose if you need more convincing. It’s especially pretty at night. IMG_2062
  12. Eat ice cream at MESSINA

    • Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to do this, so I can’t speak from experience, but I heard from quite a few sources this is the best ice cream. So if you try it, let me know how it is because I regret missing it.
  13. Sit at Opera Bar and take in the views.

    • Did I mention this already? Seriously, just sitting, drinking [or not drinking], and hanging out by the harbour was glorious. It’s the best atmosphere day or night, so at least once every day you should find yourself in this area. There are lots of bars and restaurants on this strip, so take your pick.

IMPORTANT:

You need an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) in order to travel to and enter Australia. It is electronically linked to your passport, and all it asks for is basic passport, criminal record, and health info. If you hold a passport from the USA, Canada, or a few other countries, you may apply online. It costs $20 online or $50 at the airport. It is usually an instant process, which is fortunate considering we applied about half hour before boarding our flight – don’t judge. Learn more and apply here.

Where to Stay?

If you can’t stay on the Harbour at Circular Quay

This place is only $17,000/night for the top floor rooms (according to our Bridge Climb Guide) – not too shabby.

I really liked Darlinghurst. It was a short walk [20 minutes] to Sydney Harbour & Opera House through Hyde Park, close to the Botanical Gardens, and it’s pretty centrally located, whether you want to explore Surry Hills, Darling Harbour, or head out to Bondi Beach. And, since it’s not right on the water, it offers cheaper accommodations.

Getting Around?

First things first, getting to/from the airport:

  • Airport Link – train that gets you to/from the city center in about 15 minutes.
    • Price: $17.80 AUD/person one way (return fare is available but is only valid same day).
    • Timetables: Check here, but pretty much every 10 minutes or less, unless traveling in the middle of the night.
    • Sydney Airport signs are easy to follow and lead you right to the train and ticket offices.
    • Know which stop you need to get off at beforehand [Central, Museum, St. James, Circular Quay, etc…]

Taxis

Everywhere you look you can find plenty of taxis, and surprisingly, they’re not too expensive. If traveling with 2-3 people, it’s the same price/cheaper to take a taxi to the airport. On the way back to the airport, we took a taxi because we had to be there really early, and it was about $35 total – and very convenient. [Taxis are everywhere in the city, too, if you just don’t feel like walking.]

Walking

In my opinion, the best way to get around. Like I said, Sydney is a very walkable city [for the most part] and walking allows you to enjoy even more of it – and obviously, it’s free 🙂

Ferry

Being right on the water means you can travel by ferry, too. Ferries can take you to Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Manly, and more. Entry to Taronga Zoo + Ferry is $53, and other trips cost around $6.20-$7.60 one way depending how far you’re traveling. Return fares are between $12.40-$15.20. There are also day passes and multi-day passes depending how much you plan to move about and how long you’ll be in Sydney. [Passes can be good for all trains, ferries, buses, etc…] I never personally used the buses, and only took one ferry to the zoo, but this site has all the info you need.

Day Trips?

Unfortunately, I only had a few days in Sydney so I didn’t get the chance to make it on these day trips, but I’ve heard nothing but good things, and I definitely think they’re worth looking into…

sydney

Always windy by the harbour.

Sydney rocked my socks, and if you’re going, take me with you. Or maybe I might just move there…

 

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