Sydney: The Best of Australia, All in One

November 11, 2017

It’s taken me a while to write this blog post about Sydney, and not just because of the sheer volume of photos that I had to sort through and edit. I needed some time also to sort my thoughts and impressions of it. We spent 4 really full days in Sydney, in which we did and saw so much, that it left me feeling both totally excited and in love with the city, and a bit overwhelmed and definitely sad to leave.

Personally I could have spent those 4 days just looking at Sydney’s beautiful skyline from various viewpoints, but the city has so much more to offer than that. The CBD (Central Business District) of Sydney reminded me of Manhattan, with its high-powered, busy, fast-moving, ambitious feel. Manly and the eastern beaches (Bondi, Coogee, and those in between) reminded me of the beach towns on Australia’s east coast, like Noosa and Byron Bay. The quiet, peaceful suburbs reminded me of Brisbane’s suburbs. The zoo reminded me of our wildlife sightings in other parts of Australia. To put it shortly, Sydney seemed to bring together all our other Australian experiences into one.

Still, if I had to choose only one thing that I absolutely love about Sydney, it would be its skyline seen from various viewpoints, especially from the water. Most ferries in Sydney leave from the Circular Quay, which is located between the opera house and the famous Harbor Bridge. This means that, any time you take a ferry from the Circular Quay, you get amazing views of the iconic opera house and Harbor Bridge – and the same happens on your way back. So after a few ferry trips, we had quite a few photos of these buildings, plus of course the high-rises in the CBD, which is just behind the Circular Quay.

Another place we loved in Sydney (and we discovered it pretty much just by chance!) was the Darling Harbor, with its high concentration of skyscrapers, restaurants, bars, terraces, shops, and a bridge connecting its two sides.

Then there are of course the many other beautiful places in the city, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Observatory (with great views over the city), the Chinese Garden of Friendship.

We spent a day in nearby Manly, with its nice beaches and good waves for surfing. Although technically it’s a part of Sydney, Manly doesn’t feel like that at all – it feels more like a little, quiet holiday village.

We also spent almost a full day at the Taronga zoo. The zoo is beautifully located on a hill overlooking central Sydney – though the animals seemed completely unimpressed by the views. It felt most of the time like it was just us and a gazillion of kids there, running and screaming with excitement, but we still had fun looking at all the animals. I especially loved the cuddly koalas, and the funny tiger shown in the photos below (it’s a real tiger, although it might not look like it).

On our last full day in Sydney, it was my birthday. It was definitely the warmest birthday that I’ve ever spent. Seeing other people celebrating their birthdays with parties outside on that day, it made me think of how here it’s great to be born in November: it’s spring, so the weather is sunny but not yet hot, perfect for having a party with friends outside or for just spending a relaxed day outside.

We went to the famous Bondi beach, which, as the Australians like to say, is not just a place, but a way of life… I’m not sure that’s entirely true, but it’s certainly beautiful and it attracts, apart from the tourists, many good-looking, perfectly fit, perfectly tanned locals. A lot of them go surfing, some play beach volleyball, some jog along the beach, and many just hang around at the beach. We hung out in Bondi for a while, then walked the 6 km from Bondi to the Coogee beach on the coast, had lunch at the beach at Coogee, and then we headed back to the center.

We had dinner at a cheese and wine bar, which had a great selection of cheeses and wines, although most of them from Europe, so not very interesting for us, who wanted to try the Australian produce. With some flexibility from the restaurant, they put together for us some special selections, allowing us to try the Australian cheeses, together with a very good Australian cabernet that they recommended. Then we ended the day with a walk and some photos of Sydney by night.

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