Australia: Sydney

Over the long Easter weekend I finally got the opportunity to visit Sydney, which is a mere hour’s flight from where we are in Melbourne. I didn’t really know what to expect as I’ve found a lot of people tend to be either a Melbourne fan (the trendy, arty, ‘cool’ city) OR a Sydney fan (the glossy, international, touristy city), but rarely both, and there seems to be a dose of friendly rivalry between the two.

As an honorary Melbournite I know I shouldn’t say this, so shhhh, don’t tell anyone – but I bloody loved Sydney. The harbour is just spectacular; it’s hard not to be impressed by it. It felt a bit surreal to actually be there in front of the Opera House when I’d only ever seen it on the TV at New Year before. I was happily jostling with the other tourists for prime picture position (and only got poked in the eye with a selfie stick 5,431 times).

The Opera House site used to be home to an ugly old tram depot before the council realised this prime real estate on the harbour was deserving of something a little more iconic, so they held a competition for a new design. Although it took 16 years to complete and was well over budget, it’s become one of the world’s most iconic pieces of architecture. The ‘sails’ are actually covered in ornate ceramic tiles, which I didn’t realise until I saw it up close.

The weather was glorious, so after a stroll around the harbour and the Botanic Gardens we hopped on a ferry to Manly.

Manly has a lovely seaside resort feel to it, with hundreds of people soaking up the sun on the beach and catching the waves in the ocean. If you walk a bit further round the coast you’ll find Cabbage Tree Bay and Shelly Beach, where you can walk along the bush track for views across the ocean from the headland.

Ahhh sunset over Cabbage Tree Bay. There were loads of cockatoos there too just hanging out and stealing people’s chips etc, which pleased me greatly. They’re just as feral as pigeons deep down but because they look fancy they can get away with all kinds of bodacious behaviour.

Ooh it’s a swimming pool in the sea (otherwise known as Fairy Bower Pool).

The next day, as part of my I’m-going-to-do-loads-of-crazy-sh*t-before-I’m-30 pledge, it was time for us to climb over the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Not just across the bridge, oh no – right up to where that teeny tiny flag is fluttering away. Gulp. Yup, a great idea when I was looking at it in small scale on a laptop screen in advance, but when I got there I began to wonder (Carrie Bradshaw style 😷), would it be so bad to just amble into my thirties quietly and obediently? While it was pretty scary in parts, it was actually totally worth it for the epic views at the top.

After the stress of climbing a few cocktails were in order, so we made our way up the Sydney Tower to 360 Dining, a revolving restaurant and bar. The restaurant turns very slowly as you dine, giving you continually changing views of the city (at least I’m pretty sure it did – or it could have been the cocktails!)

The next day we decided to check out what is probably one of Australia’s most famous beaches, Bondi Beach, where as you’d imagine, the sand is pristine and there were surfer dudes galore. We then set off on the coastal walk south all the way to Coogee. The scenery was gorgeous and there are some incredible houses lining the coast, along with a hauntingly beautiful cemetery with headstones cascading down the hill overlooking the ocean.

The walk was long and hot, so guess what? On arrival in Coogee, a few cocktails were in order (pretty much my policy any time I exercise 👌).

We’d never been to an opera before, and whilst in the city of one of the world’s most famous opera houses, I thought it was the perfect opportunity. I found online in advance an open-air performance of Carmen held at Mrs Macquaries Point; a strip of land jutting out into the harbour from the Botanic Gardens named after the wife of Governor Macquarie in 1810, who commissioned a seat to be chiselled out of rock so she could sit and admire the harbour. As the gardens are locked at 6 we had to hop aboard a water taxi to get there, but it all added to the experience. The performance was amazing and the views beyond to the city, the bridge and the opera house were spectacular at night.

On our final day we decided to jump on the ferry to Taronga Zoo across the harbour. The views from the zoo are awesome, especially from the cable car which takes you up the hill to the entrance. It was fun, although naturally being Easter Monday it was absolutely packed.

Check out the view this giraffe has at the zoo – sweet! If I were a giraffe (something I often think about) I’d defo want this spot. Apart from all the pigeons, they would NOT be welcome at my gaffe. Cockatoos only 👊

Adios from Sydney! 💋

PS. as you can tell, I have just discovered I can add Emojis into posts, wow wow wow. I can now communiquer on a whole new level above and beyond mere words!

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