The perfect combination of city to sea.
So when travelling the world and seeing amazing sites, experiencing culture and tasting some of the best foods in the world, it is easy to forget that you have it all in your own backyard.
After a good friend moved to Sydney in October, it wasn’t hard to decide where I wanted to spend the break between Christmas and the New Year.
After Christmas I flew up to become a tourist and spend a few days seeing the sights of Sydney and having a New Years Eve that I would never forget.
One thing I love about Sydney, before I’ve even made it to the city is the fact that there is a train to and from the airport!! Melbourne, please lift your game!
Also another great discovery I made in Sydney – thanks to my amazing friend – was the transport app called Transit. So you simply type in the location you want to travel to and your current location – if you location settings aren’t on – and it will give you all the ways to get there, including the Uber fee.
What a productive day spent discovering some incredible Sydney beaches and iconic landmarks.
Although Sydney is very expensive to live in, the public transport seems to be so much cheaper. If you are there on a Sunday – and not going to or from the airport – no public transport will cost you over $2!
First stop was a National Park called Nielson Park, and the views of the Harbour – wow they were spectacular!
Along the coast and around the park was some great walking tracks where you can soak up all the amazing views of the city – something Melbourne also lacks.
Milk Beach was an incredible spot to have a swim and get some much needed Vitamin D. The water was pretty cold, but the view definitely made up for it.
Along the way back up to the main road you can discover some more amazing beaches, but be careful of those hills on the way to the bus stop! It was very much like San Francisco that is how steep they are.
Circular Quay was our next stop, and although I’ve been there a few times, the bridge and the Opera House are just incredible structures and one of those landmarks you can’t stop taking photos of. Circular Quay is a great spot to take in the atmosphere and enjoy watching the ferries come in and out, and admire those massive cruise ships!
After being a tourist it is always time for food! On our way to find dinner it was a quick stop at Zumbo’s Patisserie to get some delicious macaroons. The butter popcorn, mango and passion fruit and fairy bread were phenomenal.
Chat Thai, just outside the docks of Circular Quay had really great Thai food. The Chicken Pad Thai (yum) and the crab spring rolls were mouthwatering! However, the coconut pawn dumplings, although they were nice tasted a lot like a dessert – they were super sweet, which was strange.
Our last stop, the Hard Rock Café for a cocktail is a must! Down in Darling Harbour is so gorgeous, there are so many bars around the area to sit back in and enjoy.
Who can go past a Sangria? Especially when the weather is so lovely!
Another very warm but very beautiful day in Sydney, and it was time for the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach!
But before even getting the bus to Coogee it was a must to get breakfast. Down at Broadway shopping centre is an outstanding cafe called The Gardens. The smashed avo had really great flavours, it even had pomegranate in it, which gave it a really nice sweet taste.
Okay, once we were fed it was time to head to the coast. The beaches along the way were Clovelly, Bronte, Tamarama and then Bondi. All of them were so stunning and the views from the cliff edges were just incredible. Even in the middle of the walk was a massive cemetery; buried in the cemetery were some famous athletes, writers and politicians.
All the beaches had their own unique feature that made them so beautiful. Coogee had the sea baths and the memorial on the Virgin Mary on the top of the cliffs – which was an interesting read click here to read more on that.
Clovelly was great for those who don’t like big waves; it has been made into a sea pool and is very calm. Along the way is a little spot called Gordon’s Bay, which is such a cute spot with the boats all beached on the sand and the water so clear and blue. Heading to Bronte was a hike and the cliffs are very steep (you can walk along the road, but that’s not fun), the views looking onto the shore are magnificent.
We stopped for a swim at Tamarama – known as glamourama – and the water was freezing, but so refreshing after the massive walk. Tamarama is a great spot for a weekend beach trip; they even have a beach volleyball net.
The walk is a great workout, especially with the pop up gyms along the coast. Once you get over that cliff and see Bondi you undertsand why so many people go there! It was so packed, no wonder they have a dedicated TV show to the lifesavers there!
Iceburgs, the Bondi famous pool and bar/restaurant was my personal favourite. For only $6.50 you get entry to the pool, which is worth it just for the views of the sea and the coastline and if you would rather not get crushed by waves.
The bar is also a great place to go after the pools, the views and the extensive drinks list is the main reason to head on up. Definitely worth going even for one drink.
Along the foreshore of Bondi is some really awesome street art, make sure you stop and have a look at all the different designs, the batman pug is actually the best!
Bondi has lots of bars and Bucket List is one to add to your list. It was right on the beach and had a really good vibe. The only shame is the music is mainly just a beat with no lyrics, which I can only deal with for so long. The food was really good though; the sweet potato chips are my recommendation!
If I was to make one negative comment about Bondi and what it doesn’t have – well not that we could find – was anywhere to actually go out!
A walk down to the Tramsheds in Forest Lodge is a great place for breakfast or lunch. An old tram depot, when Sydney used trams as a form of public transport, it has now been restored into a modern industrial food destination with great restaurants and eateries. You know you are looking at a place that serves great food when it has a Messina, and this place does!
Broadway is the closest big shopping centre in the Forest Lodge area. For the location it is in, the place is very big and has a Victoria Secret and H&M, definitely a win in my eyes.
This was the day we discovered James Lafferty – Nathan from One Tree Hill – was in Sydney, any One Tree Hill fans would agree with me, that news was amazing, but shattering because it was very unlikely we would see him.
For dinner it is all about the Mexican at The Rocks called El Camino Cantina. This place was definitely a win with half priced margaritas between 6-8pm and free nachos, now that was my kind of Mexican. The vibe at the restaurant was so great, super colourful and the decor was so amazing, even the menus were extremely detailed, printed on vinyl records. So the chicken quesadilla were delicious and cheap, just how food should be!
If you are in Sydney and want a great experience, you need to head to O Bar, that was our after dinner spot and the views were sensational. When you get into the building you will need to head into the lift going to floor 47. O Bar is really nice so make sure you dress nicer than you would for the average bar or pub. Don’t worry if you get seated in an area without the view of the harbour because this place is a rotating restaurant, so you will get there slowly. O Bar is a great place to go for a couple of drinks just to experience that stunning view; I think dusk would be the best time to go.
Want to hit the town? I have been told Cargo in the Darling Harbour is good, but on this occasion we headed to The Argyle. This club had a really awesome atmosphere with a huge outdoor area before you even head inside, which has an outside bar so you can enjoy the warm nights. Then they have an RnB room and a huge top and bottom area for dancing until your feet go numb in those heels. Just a quick tip, if it is a warm night be warned that it is super hot inside. My last visit to Sydney disappointed me regarding the nightlife but this place was really big and has a great selection of music.
New Years Eve!!! What better way to spend the early afternoon than by the pool??
Then the most important thing, getting ready! I was seeing in the New Year at Opera Bar, right at the Opera House. It was an expensive ticket at $440, but I 100% recommend it if you want the full experience.
When you arrive there is so much going on, I don’t know where to start. Well firstly, that view of the bridge! There is no closer full view than if you were on a boat, it was worth the money in itself. Then the attention to detail was just incredible, unlike any event I’ve been to.
So my ultimate favourite part at any good party or event, the photo booth! Being beach theme the props were so cute with ice creams and flamingos – it was the best. This photo booth was so great they even did boomerangs!
The food was just amazing. They had food stations around the venue, with tacos, snow cones, ice creams and some form of yorkshire pudding, but it was all about the tacos and the Canapés they were serving from 6:30 until about 1am! The food going around included sushi, pawn cocktails, fish burger and chips, koftas, tandoori chicken and so much more.
Now for the entertainment, they had a mixture of bands and DJs playing a mixed bag of music, which was great for all ages! I think my only criticism for the music was the DJ that played house music at the end of the night, it would have been more enjoyable for everyone if they played RnB and the latest hits. Also throughout the night the entertainment was hilarious they had people dressed as seagulls dancing with everyone, then the serious sharks who would synchronise dance through all the crowd, it was just the best. They also had those huge lifeguards on stilts, along with all that was girls on rollerblades and hula hooping around, it was just a great atmosphere! They even had a van where you could get flower crowns, glitter and jewels put on your face. A lot of the guys really got on board with that, which was great.
Last but not least those fireworks, I have no words! It was just incredible with a tribute to some who passed in 2016 including Prince and Gene Wilder. The finale was just an explosion of beauty and I just loved every minute of it, an experience and scene I will never ever forget! Please do yourself a favour, go see those fireworks.
I can’t explain the beauty of them so just look at these images, maybe it will give you a short insight into how amazing they are.
Although it was a very late night for NYE, there was still more to see before heading home.
So going full tourist before I left I headed on the ferry to Taronga Zoo. Being a Sunday in Sydney transport around the city doesn’t go over $2, so getting to the zoo on the ferry cost me 5 cents!
If you compare prices with the Melbourne Zoo it is around $10 more for an adult, however even the view of the city and harbour alone is worth the extra money. I really enjoyed the zoo my personal favourites were the elephants and giraffes, especially because they were so active.
To get the most out of the zoo, plan the talks you want to go to and pick the areas you visit according to what you want to see. A show you must see is the Bird Show! I got the last of the of it and it was really fascinating, plus the view definitely helped!
If you are catching the ferry, make your way to the top to get the cable cart down to the bottom; you get a bird’s eye view of the zoo and an incredible shot of that Sydney skyline.
The zoo is great and they are adding more animals in the future, including tigers! I didn’t buy food when I was there so I can’t comment on food prices, but there are heaps of places to eat and just relax. Enjoy the view and read all the information of these amazing animals!
A few things I learnt on the day:
- Elephants swim fully under water, they dive straight in
- Meerkats have a protective layer on their eyes that act as sunglasses
- Each Zebra has their own distinctive stripes
- Animals lower to the ground use Giraffes to tell them when danger is on its way
Then it was time to head back to Melbourne, I loved the beaches, bars and the amazing infrastructure of Sydney. So until next time.