Homesickness struck during my first trip away from our new home in Australia. Sydney reminded me so much of Los Angeles. The sunny weather, the beautiful beaches, and the endless supply of fun and active things to do made our time in Sydney pretty amazing.
We stayed near the Darling Harbour, a central and convenient location to most things in the city. Unlike Melbourne, Sydney’s public transport didn’t seem very popular (remind you of L.A.?), so the central location made it easy to get around the main areas of town. You can also find the best lunch deal in Sydney (and questionably in all of Australia) at Darling Harbour… A main (entrées here are actually appetizers and mains are their entrée), wine, coffee or dessert, and a nice view for $20!
The Sydney Harbour and view of the Sydney Opera House
Pictures you have seen of the Sydney Opera House don’t do it justice. It is an architectural marvel! I didn’t get to do the indoor tour, but Amy recommended it as a must! The multi-venue performance arts center was designed in 1957 by a Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, and finished in 1973, ten years late and more than fourteen times over budget, costing a total of $102 million.
Sydney Botanical Gardens
The Sydney Botanical Gardens is an incredible place to see some of the impressive birds of Australia. A walk (or healthy jog) through the gardens unveils Rainbow Lorikeets (see it hiding in the tree?), Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, flying foxes (aka bats), other wildlife and native Australian plants. I wanted to take a cockatoo home with me!
Besides the great Harbour views on the ferry ride out to the Taronga Zoo, our trip out to the zoo fulfilled our need to see Australian wildlife (even if it was outside of the wild). My highlights: koalas, wallabies, (lazy) kangaroos, and cute meerkats.
Sunset bike ride at Manly Beach
We hopped on a ferry to Manly Beach, a fun surfing town across the Sydney Harbour. We arrived close to sunset and rented bikes near the ferry port and took off to bike along the coast into one of the national forests and then down to Shelly Beach.
Dine and drink musts
Manly Wines: On the Esplanade with a beach view. Don’t go without ordering the stuffed mushrooms, squid, bikini salad (prawns, beets, zucchini, and blood oranges)!
Ms. G’s: in Pott’s Point this modern Asian fusion restaurant is worth the nearly 2-hour wait! I don’t think they take reservations, so make your way up to their bar area for a cocktail or two while you wait for oen of the best dinners of your life (bold?). You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but order the Stoner’s Delight for dessert if you want to blow your brain with flavors that confuse your taste buds into thinking you are in food heaven.
Tio’s: A dark and hip tequila bar with free “spicy” popcorn… although our bag seemed to be missing the kick.
Baxter: An underground spot with 360 different types of whiskey! Vintage trendy scene.
The Ivy: Awesome vibe with cool décor by the same owners as Ms. G’s. An indoor/outdoor bar filled with beautiful people.
A trip back to this city is definitely in order!