Our time in Sydney has been absolutely amazing it is such a beautiful city and we both fell very in love with it! On the day we left Napier we flew to Auckland at 7am and arrived at 8am, the next flight through to Sydney was at 9am. To say we had a dash was an understatement I have one piece of advice if you have an hour transfer be prepared to run! We then flew to Sydney arriving around midday jumping on our airport shuttle and arriving at our backpackers right in the city centre – Siesta Inn. It was great for what we needed vey central, clean and quiet (grandma). It was based over 5 floors and each floor had a bathroom and kitchen.
We got changed and freshened up and then headed down to Circular Quay where the famous Opera House and Bridge view is and it is spectacular. I cannot describe how beautiful it was, we wandered round for a few hours just looking at all the lovely little restaurants and cafes (Sydney has so many chocolate cafes I was in heaven!). We then settled on Opera Kitchen right next to the harbour bridge and just had a few drinks and some burgers waiting for it to go dark. At night the place looks completely different again, I always think cities look so beautiful at night and this certainly didn’t disappoint! After another wander around we went back for an early sleep, I have also failed to mention that for two out of four of our days in Sydney it rained constantly, but that didn’t bother us!
The next day it was still raining so we wrote a list of rainy day activities in the back of the Lonely P and set off to our first stop. Now as backpackers we are always trying to save a bit of money and usually have breakfast at the backpackers, but the day before I saw something I couldn’t resist- a Guylian (my favourite ever chocolate) cafe! We had breakfast here and I had a macchiato which was just melted chocolate with coffee over the top! A great start to the day!
Next on the agenda was a tour of the Opera House, we got kitted up with our headphones and had an hour tour of the inside of the building. I must say it is a beautiful building, so much time and work went into it. It’s so much bigger than it looks too, we got told that 1 million tiles were made in Sweden for the roof and imported over and the power supply to the Opera house could power a village of 25,000 people! We were taken to some amazing views and got to sit in some of the opera theatres. One thing we found quite sad is that the architect (Jorn Utzon) who designed the building never got to see it finished due to disputes with the engineers! Chris kept shouting as he forgot he had his headphones on, so I think we may have spoiled the ambiance somewhat but we had fun.
After the tour in a break from the rain showers we had a little wander round the botanic gardens and then across to the Contemporary Art Gallery at the other side of the harbour. We never pretend to be art experts but we enjoy wandering around looking at the ‘interesting’ pieces – my favourite a battered umbrella robot. Just down the road from the museum is an area called ‘The Rocks’ where the convicts first settled when they were brought to Australia, this area is very interesting and some brilliant stories to be told. We grabbed some street food (me some Gyoza and Chris Okonomiyaki ) and then the plan was to do the lonely planet rocks walking tour which started us off at the rocks museum and then on around interesting features. One of the most impressive was a tunnel cut through the rock by the convicts called the Argyle cut, it was done completely with pick axes. Another cool point on the walk was the YHA building which actually had an archeological dig underneath! After our tour we had a drink at the famous Australian hotel before setting off for the next destination (it really was a tiring action packed day).
So if you are still with me we then went to Darling Harbour, a gorgeous harbour down from Circular Quay lined with cool bars, apartments, attractions it’s a really lively area. We had a cocktail in the Hard Rock Cafe (or Rock Hard as Chris once called it by mistake and it’s stuck ever since). After this a jaunt to china town for some more dumpling street food. It was still torrential with rain at this point so, we decided to call it a day when I stood in a puddle up to my ankles (it soaked right through). This was by far our busiest day and by the time we got back my whole little toe was a blister! Who cares though we were in Sydney!
Sooo, on our second proper day in Sydney the weather had brightened up (woohooo). Those of you who know me and Chris know we love a sightseeing open top bus ride, so we bought a ticket which gave your access to the Sydney Explorer and Bondi Explorer! We spend the morning on the Sydney explorer which took 90 minutes round the city. We had already seen quite a lot of it the day before but it was nice to have the commentary and learn some history. Although the weather was fine we were freezing when we got off so went for a little lunch by the Harbour Bridge. Next stop was Bondi beach! There isn’t much to say about Bondi apart from the fact that it is a gorgeous city beach, golden sand, turquoise water and amazing surf (apparently). It was boiling by this point so we did the cliff top walk which was beautiful and then headed back to the bus. I was later to find out that my Great Grandad actually lived in Bondi Beach for a few years so it’s cool to say I have been there 🙂
On the bus back to the city there were some beautiful views from the hills above Bondi across the city. That night we ended up in Rock Hard Cafe again for a meal which was lovely and it had an amazing atmosphere!
Day 3, which was yesterday was the big bridge climb day! We had changed our booking from Friday to Sunday due to the weather and we are so glad we did it was such a sunny day! So as we got to the BridgeClimb Sydney, we had a wander around the museum and then went to meet our group. A lot more time goes into the preparation for the bridge climb than I thought actually. We were taken into a room had to sign a form and breathalised (must say we were a bit nervous as we had a few cocktails the night before)- all clear though thank goodness. We then got our overalls that were like giant onesies. We were then harnessed up, Chris pulled his way too tight, nearly suffocated and had to have the guide slacken it off for him (who happened to be a woman, I think he did it on purpose haha). You weren’t allowed anything on the bridge apart from sunglasses which you had to clip on a string, then if you wanted hankies, hats or fleeces you had to use theirs which were all designed to clip on the suit so nothing flew away.
We then had to have a practice climb, the whole bridge works on a system where you clip yourself onto a wire and it just followed you as you walk, Chris volunteered me to go first which was kind of him. We donned our headsets and off we went. We started by walking along the bottom of the bridge which was quite high up and then we came to these huge set of ladders and if you looked up you couldn’t see the top of the ladder, and we were climbing up in between the traffic it was so cool. We stopped along the way for pictures and then started to climb the arch to the top, it wasn’t as strenuous as I though it would be but very high up. You could see right down to the 8 lanes of traffic, 2 train lines, cycle lane and pedestrian lane. It’s quite funny to think that such a huge bridge was built when there were only 12 cars registered in Sydney! At the top the view was breathtaking and if I remember rightly we were 134m above sea level. Chris loved it he was in his element as a structural engineer and was a bit of a geek answering all the questions ‘does anybody know what these are?’ ‘RIVETS’. The bridge is massive though and to give some perspective it takes 33,000 litres of paint per year and there were 6million rivets used in construction (apparently there are quite a lot at the bottom of the harbour too). The whole experience was perfect.
We followed this with a kangaroo, emu and crocodile pizza (kangaroo and emu are yum but crocodile is a bit chewy). We then spent our last afternoon looking around the Hyde Park Barracks museum, a museum about where the convicts used to live and be brought when they first came to Australia. It was a perfect last day.
Finally if any of my Opus friends are reading this for the first time, my blogs aren’t usually this long, I just had a lot to write about! I can probably say Sydney is one of my favourite cities I have ever visited.
Anyway I wrote this at the airport after a big coffee and bowl of muesli, as we were waiting for our flight to Alice Springs for our Uluru trip! I actually post this blog whilst we are in Alice Springs, eating dominos watching ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ on wait for it….VHS.