Sydney was by far our favourite place in Australia. We could have spent a lot longer here, last time we were over we based ourselves here for four weeks, jumping on a plane for short breaks elsewhere.
We’ve always felt like it was a place you can really settle, there’s so much to do combined with plenty of places to relax. From its diverse culture and lively atmosphere it reminded us a lot of London – however slightly better with its addition of sunshine and beaches!
However, we made the most with what we had and crammed in as much as we could, still leaving time to read our books on Bondi Beach.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Surrey Hills, it was a great location as it was only a few minute’s walk from Central Station, yet we will admit we did catch a few Ubers during our time here, including one from the airport. However, if you’re keeping an eye on the purse strings then you can grab the Airport Link which goes to various locations around Sydney – including Central Station at $18.50 for a single trip.
Top tip: If you’re planning to take a lot of trains around the city then we’d suggest getting an Opal card as this will save you money!
On our first day in Sydney we headed straight to Manly. Last time we were in Australia we spent a lot of time here so it’s our semi Australian home. Manly is the sort of place where you take your shoes off as soon as you get off the boat. It’s got a hippy relaxed vibe that will always draw us back, along with the day time drinking establishments!
We caught the ferry from Circular Quay, you can opt for the express ferry however we decided to go for the longer one so we’d have more time to take in the view. That view of course including the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Seeing the stunning view of the Opera House and the Harbour literally made us giddy. Hey honey we’re home!
The ferry takes around 30 minutes and drops you off at Manly, Wharf 3. From there we walked down to the Manly Beach, relaxed in the sun and explored the surrounding areas. When the sun started to set we felt like we needed a good old G&T and headed to The Bavarian Manly Wharf – make sure you grab a seat outside, it’s truly stunning watching the sun set over the water.
Afterwards, we walked all of 2 minutes to reach Chica Bonita, a Mexican which serves amazing tacos. We can highly recommend starting with Carne Fries (grilled steak, cheese, guac, salsa on chips), then the Baja Fish tacos and Chickpea tacos, finished off with a margarita or two. We have to say if you’re craving a Mexican then this is the place for you!
We had a very early start on our second day in Sydney as we had booked tickets for Sunrise on the Steps – a new series of fitness and wellbeing classes on weekday mornings by the Sydney Opera House. We’d signed up for the yoga class and we have to say we’ll never do another yoga class like it!
The class lasted for 60 minutes and was set in a stunning location, right next to the steps of the Opera House, overlooking the Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour. Starting at 7am the class takes you through a variation of yoga poses for both beginners and professionals. There are two instructors, one who talks you through the different positions and one who demonstrates.
We have to say it’s the perfect way to start the morning, stretch out those muscles and watch the sun rise over Sydney.
After the class, we headed back to our Airbnb, stopping at Woolworths on the way to picking up some eggs and avocado to make our breakfast before getting ready and heading out – as they say when in Rome…
Now, as we’d done our exercise for the day it was time to relax… right? We jumped in an Uber and headed straight for Bondi Beach. We spent the rest of our morning reading our books, admiring the surfers and trying to catch a tan. However, if you feel like you’re about the burn you can rent an umbrella on the beach – we definitely needed it by mid-day. Pale girl problems!
For lunch we went to Bondi Fresh a few minute’s walk from the beach. They sell great fresh salads, wraps and fruit, we opted for the pesto pasta and greek salad, with some watermelon for desert. The great thing about Bondi Fresh is that it’s all take away, meaning you can pick up your food and head back down to the beach so you don’t miss any of that key tanning time – did you even go on holiday if you didn’t come back with a tan?!
In the afternoon, we packed up our bags and walked along the coast from Bondi to Bronte Beach. The walk takes around 30 minutes along the coast, you get to see stunning views over Bondi Beach from the top of the hill, also passing Sydney’s famous Bondi Icebergs Pool. We’d highly recommend the walk as it’s truly beautiful and gives you an opportunity to see more of Sydney’s beaches. We have to say we found it slightly hard to believe the it was all part of the same city!
Later that evening, after we’d washed the sand out of our hair, we headed back into the city centre to have dinner at Ripples. Ripples at Milsons Point is an amazing restaurant set under the Harbour Bridge with views over the water onto the Sydney Opera House. It serves delicious Italian food, we ordered the steak and it may have been the best we’ve ever had, plus it’s BYOB (bring your own bottle) – so take your appetite and grab a bottle of your favourite wine or beer, we obviously opted for a bottle of red.
One thing you can’t miss when in Sydney is taking a day trip to the Blue Mountains! You can book onto a trip or like us you can jump on the train.
You can catch the train from Central Station which takes around two hours to Katoomba station. The first stop we’d recommend is Echo Point which is the lookout point over the Three Sisters, a 30-minute walk or 5 minute bus ride from the station. The view is absolutely stunning and will truly take your breath away.
From here you can walk further down into the mountains, to the waterfall and explore this amazing National Park. There are many different routes depending on your fitness level and what areas you would like to see. We’d recommend doing some research beforehand to find your perfect path. After a few heavy days/ nights we were probably a little ambitious but hey ho it’s was totally worth it!
We spent all day walking and exploring the Blue Mountains only stopping off to eat our packed lunch and obviously to take in the amazing views. It’s somewhere like we’ve never been before and couldn’t recommend it enough!
Top Tip: Take lots of water, snacks and wear comfy shoes – there’s a lot, and we mean a lot, of walking involved.
Once we’d made it back to Sydney and had a little nap on the train we we’re absolutely starving. So, from Central Station we walked 13 minutes to Spice Alley. Spice Alley is a market full of Asian street food. From ramen to dumplings, curry and chicken satay there is so much to choose from. It’s a lively atmosphere and the perfect place to stuff your face after a day full of adventure. We’d highly recommend spending the evening here – of course sampling more than one cuisine!
A couple of side notes from our previous trips, which we didn’t get around to doing again…
– Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge! Yes, it’s not the cheapest activity to busy your afternoon with but my golly gosh is it amazing!
– Check our what’s on Australian Broadway. Last time we were here we saw Wicked and it was absolutely fab. We might have already seen it in London a couple of times, but can you ever see it enough?!
– Spend an evening drinking by the Harbour. It has such a beautiful atmosphere. The vibe during the sunset is perfect and it’s difficult to find a bad cocktail. Lychee Martinis were our drink of choice.
– Dine at Sydneys 360 Bar and Dining Restaurant. It is a beautiful restaurant (with maybe the best mash potato we’ve ever had…) with the spinning 360 view over literally the whole of Sydney. Do we need to sell it anymore? We went for the full restaurant (the location of the said mash potato) but there is also a cheaper buffet option too!
– Attend a festival! Harbour Life fell perfectly during our dates last time and it could have been one of the best days of our lives (we are throwing out a lot of bold statements with this and the mash potato.) But, with the stunning setting of the Botanical Gardens overlooking the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The energy was amazing and from what we’ve heard it’s hard to find a bad festival in Sydney.