A trip to the city | Sydney
After being here for 3 weeks, we thought it was about time we hit Sydney. We booked a cosy city apartment on AirBnB which was perfect for our stay; central, spacious and had everything we needed. Catching a bus from where we were staying with family to the train station and then a short 45 minute train ride into the city.
DAY ONE - Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Mrs Macquarie's Chair & Darling Harbour.
We wasted no time on our first day and hopped straight off the train and headed to Circular Quay. Now, usually I build up an image of how I think a place or event will be and always end up being disappointed that it hasn't lived up to my expectations. This was NOT the case in this instance. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is ENORMOUS - approximately 1km long to be exact - and really is something to see with your own eyes. And when I saw the Opera House I cried - actual tears of happiness and perhaps a dawning realisation that we're actually here. In that moment I felt so proud of myself for all the hard work, planning and saving that got us out here and so grateful to be standing where I was.
The Royal Botanic Gardens were next on our list. Listed as one of the top free attractions in Sydney and a must see we took our time to wander around and take in all the beautiful plants and flowers. It's amazing how something so green and luscious can exist in harmony so close to the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest cities on earth.
After our walk around the gardens we headed to Mrs Macquarie's Chair, another view point that was recommended to us for fantastic views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. This was also listed as another free thing to do in Sydney which when you're travelling on a budget is a real must!
There was one more place we had on our list to visit on day one, Darling Harbour. Many people who had been before us suggested that we go in the evening for a drink or to grab a bite to eat. We decided to walk as it was only 20 minutes from our apartment and we could take in some of the Sydney nightlife along the way. As we approached the harbour we were met with the most stunning skyline and the harbour all lit up - a sight I will never forget. We settled on a cosy Italian restaurant called Olivo and were lucky enough to get a table right by the water and sat outside in the still 24 degree balmy Spring evening.
They do a dinner menu which is $37 per person and you can either choose starter and main or main and dessert which comes with a house beer, house wine or tea and coffee. We fancied a bit of everything so we shared a starter and a dessert and had a main course each. In addition James had a Corona and I had a pink lemonade bringing the total bill to $87 which in GBP came to £46 - not bad at all for a 3 course meal out with a drink and a stunning view!
DAY TWO - Sydney Harbour Bridge, Luna Park, Lavender Bay.
Day two consisted of a later start due to a late night in Darling Harbour so we enjoyed the AirBnB for a little longer before we had to check out. We couldn't leave Sydney without walking across the bridge and didn't have the budget to spend $250 each on doing the bridge climb - Thank you Beth Sandland for clueing us in on the real experience through your own experience! First stop was Dawes Point, a lookout underneath the bridge which had a giant picnic bench with a beautiful backdrop of the harbour, a must take photo spot!
We strolled the 1km long bridge taking in the harbour in all it's glory, it was a scorching 32 degrees by 11:30am so we took our time to cross as you can imagine. I would highly recommend walking across the bridge if you're visiting Sydney, you really do get the most amazing views!
Once we reached the other side, after a quick sit down in the shade and a break for water and a snack, we made out way to Sydney's famous Luna Park. I have got to admit it was a little bit of an anticlimax. It was much smaller than we expected and the rides only seemed to cater for young children/teenagers. Due to the time of year there were a LOT of school kids roaming about, something to bear in mind if you take a trip here. Entry to the park itself is free of charge but you have to purchase tickets to go on any of the rides. Just around the corner you'll reach Lavender Bay, a little bay with some boats bobbing on the ocean, a little beach and a few houses dotted around. Not much to do here but nice to walk through and get some good pictures of the other side of the bridge.
Next stop, lunch! At this point in the day we were both hot and bothered and fed up of dragging our luggage around behind us so we went in search of fuel and settled on Lavana Blue up the hill in McMahon's Point. They did a lunch deal which was $20 for a glass of wine or soft drink and a main course of which they had 6 options to choose from. We both chose an ice cold Fanta orange and a classic Margarita pizza - simple yet delicious.
30,719 steps over two days and hundreds of photos and memories made. Sydney, you were beautiful, we'll be back for more soon!