Sydney is Australia’s oldest city and is home to the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge. Between visiting the Blue Mountains, wine tastings, and checking out Bondi Beach and Manly Beach, and exploring the city, we quickly realized why Sydney is such a popular destination for travelers. We spent a week in Sydney and thoroughly enjoyed our time here.
Check out our posts about the mountains and wine tastings:
Day Trips from Sydney: Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley Wine Region
It wouldn’t be a visit to Sydney without seeing a show at the Sydney Opera House. We knew we would be in town during Valentines Day and booked tickets to see Limbo Unhinged a few weeks in advance. The show was full of live music, acrobats, comedy, and a girl who could swallow flaming swords. It was very entertaining show and the perfect Valentines date night.
If you plan to visit the Opera House, stop by the Opera Bar beforehand for dinner and drinks. It is situated on the edge of the water, and has great views of the with the Sydney Opera House in the background. We had appetizers and drinks here before our evening show.
If you don’t make it to the Opera Bar, I’m sure you’ll find yourself somewhere just as good. When it comes to restaurants and bars, there is no shortage of good culinary experiences in the city. Our best dining experience in Sydney was at Cafe Sydney where we celebrated Casey’s 31st birthday. It is a fine-dining restaurant known for it’s fabulous views of the Sydney Harbor. As we sipped cocktails and ate an exceptional meal, we watched as cruise ships and ferries came in and out of the port.
Sydney also offers great shopping. There are many malls within walking distance to the Sydney Harbor and Opera House. We did some shopping before walking to Cafe Sydney for dinner. Sydney's tallest building, the Sky Tower, is located in the Westfield shopping mall. It offers nice views of the city and is a nice way to break up your afternoon shopping. There is also a bar and restaurant at the top of the tower. We attempted to grab a drink from the bar, but closed toe shoes are required and we were wearing flip flops.
If you’re looking to escape the fancier things in Sydney, head over to Newtown or Marrickville. These diverse, bohemian neighborhoods are south-west of the Sydney central business district and are full of hip breweries, cafes, bookshops, live music venues and thrift stores. As you might imagine (for those who personally know Casey and I), we felt right right at home. We continued Casey’s birthday celebrations spending an entire day eating and drinking our way through the neighborhood. We have a few favorites from the day and Casey plans to share more about the breweries we visited in a future blog post.
An activity we didn’t get to do in Sydney but wanted to was the Bridge Climb. It’s quite pricy (around $270), which is one of the reasons we decided not to sign up. It offers 360 views of Sydney and I’m sure is an unforgettable experience.
WHERE TO STAY
During our travels through Australia, Casey and I usually opted for camping or staying in hostels. My parents joined us in Sydney so we upgraded to a two bedroom, splitting our time between Bondi Beach and Darlinghurst. Bondi Beach is a popular surf spot in Sydney. It’s very laid-back and a great place to soak up sun on the beach, watch the surfers or catch a wave yourself. Darlinghurst is a bustling neighborhood full of restaurants, bars, boutiques, cafes and galleries. In Darlinghurst we felt like we were in the heart of the city and it was very easy to get around from our apartment.
As you can tell from this post and our others about Sydney, we really enjoyed our time here. There is something for everyone and while we did a lot, our favorite thing was spending quality time with my parents!
Wear sunscreen when you're out exploring the city, even on days when it's overcast. Australia has one of the highest levels of UV exposure and highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
Did you know?
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the tallest steel arch bridge and widest long-span bridge in the world.