We spent a total of 5 days exploring Sydney, with our friends James and Kat kindly agreeing to host us for the entire time in their flat in Newtown. This meant we even had a few nights out of the van for the first time in over a month! With lots of other friends to meet up with as well it was quite a different experience to the other cities we have visited.
Our excitement to visit Sydney was tempered by the awful weather forecast in the week leading up to our arrival. With reports of over a months worth of rain expected in just a few days we weren’t sure what to expect. However we arrived on Thursday afternoon to glorious sunshine, and immediately got started on the main tourist attractions. Arriving into the Circular Quay station, we were immediately greeted by the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
With these being two of the most recognisable structures in the world, and after seeing countless photos of them, it was a strange feeling actually seeing them in person. For what it’s worth we thought the Bridge looked far bigger than we expected, while the Opera House is actually a strange off-white colour and looks like it needs a good clean.
We walked along the edge of the harbour and around to the recently opened Barangaroo Reserve. Previously a vacant wharf, the headland is now a large park which is very popular with runners, and provides great views back across to the bridge.
We decided against climbing the Harbour Bridge, put off by the ridiculous $293 (£185) cost per person. Instead we crossed using the pedestrian walkway on one side of the bridge, and climbed the 200 step to the top of the Pylon Lookout. For just $10 (£6.30) each we were almost as high off the ground, and still got very impressive view of the harbour.
On the north side of the bridge we again walked around the harbour’s edge before taking a short walk around Luna amusement park, with its well known and slightly scary looking entrance.
Given we were staying in Newtown, it was only right that we made time to explore the suburb. Similar to some of our favourite areas of Melbourne, it is home to lots of coffee shops, bars and restaurants, with most of these centred around Kings Street, just a two minute walk from where we were staying.
We had a great breakfast at Brewtown Newtown, which included a salted caramel ‘cronut’, a mix between a croissant and a donut. Even more unusual was the ice cream at n2 Extreme Gelato, which as the name suggests is made with liquid nitrogen. However, to us the end result tasted very much like normal chocolate ice cream.
There was plenty of lively bars for us to spend our Friday night, with good drinks and music at both the Marlborough and the Bank Hotel, and we also enjoyed the food at Sushi Season so much that we found time for a second visit before we left Sydney.
Unfortunately my photos of Sydney are limited, but other areas we visited included Darling Harbour, which is just a short walk from the city centre, and is one of Sydney’s most popular destinations for eating and drinking. We joined the large number of tourists waking along the waterfront, before stopping for a very good coffee at Campos.
We also enjoyed our short visit to the Rocks, the city’s historic precinct, which is again located close to the centre. We managed to get lost in the cobbled laneways, before enjoying a drink at the rooftop bar of the Glenmore Hotel. We then walked back round to the harbour, and made it to the Opera Bar just in time for the sunset.
We had a great time in Sydney, but unfortunately didn’t have enough time to explore as many of the suburbs as we wanted to, although we will definitely be planning another visit soon. With the weather turning out far better than expected, we did spend lots of time visiting the beaches, so much so that they deserve a blog post of their own.