Our first afternoon in Sydney was spent wandering the neighborhood around the hostel and down to the harbor to get a view of the famous opera house and explore the city a little. For the first time in a long time, we ate at an Italian restaurant and we had noodles that weren’t fried with soy sauce.
Our accommodation in Sydney was certainty an interesting place. The bed had a fitted sheet with cigarette burns and a top sheet with mold, which we elected not to use. The room also had a large population of insects that loved to hangout in the mini fridge and scurry across the walls. It wasn’t a nice place by any means but was the most affordable we could find in Sydney ($60 USD per night) and offered free wifi.
One of the best parts of Sydney was the access to beaches and great walks. Our first outing was to Manly beach via a 10km walk along the harbor and through some great scenery. We took the bus to the Spit bridge and walked to Manly Beach. The beach was beautiful, had some natural shade and plenty of space to spread out. Wind was coming off the water which was blowing some “marine stingers” or jellyfish towards the beach and while there were many warnings from the lifeguards about the painful stings half of our traveling duo would not be discouraged.
We timed the ferry back to downtown to catch a glimpse of the sunset and to pass the Opera House when it was dark enough to be illuminated.
The next day in Sydney was more of the same in a great way. We took the bus to Coogee beach and started another well-known seaside walk along the ocean cliffs to the famous Bondi Beach. We stopped along the way to swim at Clovelly Ocean Pool which had no marine stingers and was like a giant concrete pool deck built around an ocean cove.
Our final full day in Sydney was spent doing some shopping and walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We did not do the bridge climb due to the cost prohibitive price tag but still enjoyed excellent views of the Opera House and the city. We also made an effort to get back to the ocean pool to swim but we were deterred by an approaching thunderstorm. After avoiding the rain by shopping in Target for some last minute items, we had another Italian meal (pizza) and called it a night, dropping the curtain on our Sydney time.
We both agreed that Sydney was one of, if not, our favorite cities we have ever visited. It has the feel and conveniences of a big city with a great public transportation system, easy access to outdoors activities, and beautiful beaches. We arrived at the airport excited for New Zealand but sad that we were leaving Sydney behind so soon.