This was my third time in Sydney and Charles’ first. Of course, it was the first time I was seeing the city as an adult, and was looking forward to how my new perspective would change my impression of it. I also wanted to ensure Charles’ didn’t miss out on anything just because I’d seen it before. We’d already spent a fair amount of time in Australia on this trip, and lots of our Melbournian friends had proudly challenged us saying we’d still return to Melbourne as our favourite Australian city. They were right. Read on to find out why:
We were staying in Cabarita a suburb a good half hour away from Darling Harbour. We’d already seen the highlights on a quick drive through the area the day before. Unfortunately parking is a bit of a problem in the CBD area so we couldn’t get off and wander around on foot. That’s why we had returned. If you’re interested in staying closer here, check out HotelsCombined’s blog on the top 28 Sydney Hotels With Perfect Harbour Views – The Ultimate Guide for more of Sydney’s iconic attractions.
We took the ferry from Cabarita, enjoying some wonderful sights on the way. Read about our ferry ride here. [coming soon] Getting into Darling Harbour, we passed from under the Harbour Bridge and then saw the Opera House sparkling under the morning sun. Our ferry bobbed up and down with the gentle waves, as Charles tried to steady himself to get a good shot of the all white structure. Did you know there’s a beautiful white on white geometric design on the roof?
We got off the ferry at one of the wharfs on Circular Quay. Neatly lined up along the other wharfs were ferries, cruise ships and catamarans bobbing awkwardly in the water as it lapped noisily against the platform. I remembered the Quay’s greedy seagulls and they didn’t disappoint. Right outside the entrance we saw a homeless guy feeding his feathered friends. Every time he threw a morsel into the flock, there was a flutter and squawks as they fought over it. We decided to walk back in and stroll towards the Opera House that sat at the very end, passing tourist filled cafes along the way.
Sydney Opera House
We stopped at the last café before the Opera House and enjoyed a coffee and the sun. We had a great view of the Harbour Bridge across the water, and if we squinted (or zoomed in on the camera) we could see people doing the famous (and rather scary) Harbour Bridge Climb. We could just make out the outline of groups of figures, all tethered to one another. Walking towards the Opera House, we looked up and saw the curved arches meant to resemble ship’s sails. We were tempted to go in, but seeing as we didn’t have too long in Sydney, we decided to carry on towards Macquarie Street.
From the Opera House we trudged up the slope of Macquarie Street, passing some beautiful hotels and suites. We could tell we were in a historic part of town, by the old sandstone buildings all around, like the State Library. It was a pretty steep climb, and as always I was way out of breath, se we took a break on a park bench, opposite Hyde Park watching office workers, joggers and security guards walk past. We passed a beautiful fountain where we decided to have a coffee.
Queen Victoria Building
I remembered the QVB being a beautiful structure with some stunning glass windows. And it didn’t disappoint. We rushed in and ran straight for the loo. Naturally, there was a line. (Doesn’t that always happen when you really need to go?) While waiting outside, we discovered a wonderful store in the basement. Loads of kitchen and dining ware from some really special brands. Stocking up, and as always wishing we had more luggage space, we worked up a bit of an appetite. Settling into bar seats at a pop-up restaurant in the heart of the building, we ordered some pretty average pasta. But the view more than made up for it, all the pretty shops, and beautiful glass roof, absolutely stunning. While walking out, we passed a dessert stall, with a logo that looked familiar. Oh wait, No! Oh my god. It was Adriano Zumbo. Yep the same terror that sets the most impossible challenges on Masterchef Australia. So we dug into dessert, not because we had any space in our tummies, but because well, how can you pass up an Adriano Zumbo dessert. It tasted even better than it looked! And there’s always another stomach for dessert isn’t there?
Royal Botanical Gardens
A definite must visit on any traveller’s Sydney list; we walked on down to the rocks. This was where Sydney’s first European settlement started, but while this historic area has its museums and such, it’s also a great place for some expensive tourist shopping and restaurants. Unfortunately we weren’t around on the weekend to visit the Rocks Markets which I recollect being very colourful and exciting. We walked around, watching shops close for the day, ambling aimlessly till we caught the next ferry back.
We did return on another evening to watch a musical spectacle of one of my favourite childhood cartoons. The Lion King was anything but childish with its sophisticated sets, costumes, choreography and song. We enjoyed it in an equally stunning venue. The Capitol Theatre was large, grand and felt just a teeny bit like we were going to the opera.
Have you been to Sydney? What did you think of it? What are your favourite spots in Sydney?