We spent ten days in Sydney in 2014 during our eight month trip around the world. It was a time of rest, recharge and relaxation. We were extremely grateful and fortunate to be able to stay with a friend of mine and her parents. Their home was two blocks away from Coogee Beach and an easy 20 minutes ride via bus and train to downtown Sydney.
Overview: we arrived in Australia the end of February, after four months of Asia, ready for a little break. Since our blog is not in order, let me quickly explain the order. After Portland and Seattle, we went to Dubai for four days, Seoul for a week, Taipei for a week, Chiang Mai for a month, Myanmar for about two weeks, South Thailand for a month, Indonesia for a month, Singapore for a day and then Sydney. Phew! As you can see, it was time for a break.
My friend was also in rest mode, so all of us enjoyed staying at her house: cooking, eating, watching movies, going for long walks along the ocean (when it wasn’t raining), and doing a little sightseeing. After a month of rain in Indonesia we were excited about some sun in Sydney, but we brought the rain from Bali with us. The day after we arrived the sky turned grey and it rained on and off the rest of the time we were there! The locals were happy about the rain (it had been a dry summer) and we decided it wasn’t too bad, since after all, rain is a good excuse to not do much.
Here are some of the things we did when we weren’t lounging:
If you are looking for some art and culture this is a great place to go. It is free of charge and in a lovely park near the Sydney harbor. The Museum has a nice range of art from renaissance to modern and showcases some Australian artists as well. After visiting the museum you can walk around the park, see the Royal Botanic garden and walk along the harbor with a stunning view of the famous Opera house and city.
Walking is simple, cheap, a great way to see the city and good for your health. There are many amazingly beautiful walks/hikes right in Sydney. The walk I enjoyed the most was from Coogee beach to Bondi Beach. You walk along the water at the cliffs edge, going down to beaches and up over cliffs. It 6km (4 miles) long and takes about an hour and half (you will go slower because of hills). It’s somewhat strenuous, since you end up climbing a lot of stairs, so plan accordingly.
I was impressed by amount of people outside exercising. Every day thousands of Aussies take their dogs for walks, go for runs or grab their surf board to catch some waves. Also, the Australian surfer guy stereotype is real. Many of the guys walk around shirtless, with chiseled abs and a nice tan. Hmm…now if only Aurelien had grown up there. 😉
We couldn’t resist the chance to go see some cute animals at the zoo. While I normally don’t love seeing animals in cages, the Sydney Zoo is doing a lot of work to help animals in need. To get to the zoo you need to take a ferry from the Circular Quay. It is a lovely ride because you go right by the Opera house and get to see the city. The zoo itself has a stunning view of the city skyline and harbor, so not only is it fun to see the animals, but it’s a beautiful sight.
Admission is $46 (Aus) per adult. Pricey but a fun place to visit for a day.
We went on a mini trip to the Blue Mountains one day by train. It took about two hours and is an easy train ride. Once there you can enjoy the cute mountain town with many shop and restaurants. The main attraction of course is the blue mountain. There are many hiking trails (with maps and signs) as well as view points and cable cars for those who don’t want to hike.
We didn’t have much time, so we did a short hike from the town to the visitors center. It was wonderful being in nature again, I realize now that we spent too much time in big cities and not enough in nature. Next trip I want organize more nature spots on our itinerary. The Blue Mountains reminded us a little of the Grand Canyon. As you stand on the edge, the view is very expansive and breathtaking.
The buses in Sydney are clean, easy to use and a great way to get around the city. We paid $60 (each) for a weekly transportation pass. We didn’t add up how much money we saved, but after the train to Blue Mountains, the ferry to the zoo (which would have cost $10 on it’s own), the bus ride to the airport ($5) and many bus and metro rides we were happy we bought the pass.