After our diving adventure at the Great Barrier Reef and tropical conditions in Cairns, we continued our trip in Sydney where the climate was much more pleasant, especially because now it was spring. Ilinca and I liked Sydney a lot. It’s hard to name one factor why we liked it so much, I guess it is the combination of the harbor, the beautiful beaches, the modern skyline, clean suburbs, the multicultural gastronomy, the many parks and the fantastic weather during our stay. We were basically only in our accommodation for sleeping, the rest of the time we spent exploring Sydney. Unfortunately we only allowed ourselves four days in Sydney, there would have been so much more to do.
Downtown Sydney and the Harbor
The first stop when exploring Sydney was Circular Quay. This is basically the main harbor for passenger transport in Sydney and is located directly at downtown Sydney. From there ferries leave in all directions and pass directly beneath the famous Harbor Bridge and the opera house. It is a beautiful place for a walk either along the quay into the Royal Botanical Gardens, or for exploring downtown. Thanks to temperatures around 20°C and clear skies, it was very pleasant to go for a stroll around that area.
Another nice area close to downtown was Darling Harbor with lots of restaurants and an esplanade along the bay. Lots of locals meet here to get one or more after work drinks, visit concerts, or go to the movies. As we were on a tight schedule however, we only briefly walked through there, not even allowing us to get a drink at one of the bars. We only allowed ourselves time to visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Gardens, Parks and the Taronga Zoo in Sydney
Even though Sydney has a population of more than 5 million, there is plenty of open space in gardens and parks. The most prominent ones are the already mentioned Royal Botanical Gardens and Hyde Park. But one of the highlights of a visit to Sydney is Taronga Zoo. While I have already seen more generous zoos when it comes to space for the animals, it still is a very beautiful zoo that lets you discover Australia’s native wildlife. What makes the zoo unique is its location: a 10 min ferry ride from Circular Quay on a small hill with superb views of Downtown Sydney. The view alone almost justifies a visit to the zoo.
One of the landmarks of Sydney is Harbor Bridge. And apart from simply looking at it or walking on the sidewalk of the street, it is even possible to walk over the whole arch of the bridge. This sounded very exciting to me until I actually checked the prices for this: Tickets were up to AUD 380 for the dawn tour. This corresponds to almost 300$. A very steep price for a probably also steep climb. While this was way more than I was willing to pay for such a walk over the bridge, the tours seemed to be booked quite frequently, because we saw many groups walking over the arch of the bridge.
Unlike other city beaches, the beaches of Sydney are very appealing. They have great waves for surfing, seem reasonably clean, and can be reached within less than an hour from downtown Sydney. The Pacific Ocean in Sydney is not as warm as up in Cairns, but I guess in summer the temperatures will go high enough to fully enjoy beach life.
Eating in Sydney
The food options in Sydney are just endless. No surprise we did not eat one single meal in our Airbnb apartment. We had basically everything from super spicy Thai food to delicious Indian and Lebanese dishes and for Ilinca’s birthday some excellent Australian wines and cheeses. If we had had more time, we would have tried many more different cuisines. You can basically eat all around the globe in Sydney.