Sydney

18 08 2011

I was studying in Sydney and hence had many opportunites to wander around this nice city. Yes I know that many people will prefer Melbourne to Sydney, but I love Sydney. Melbourne is just too quiet (compared to Sydney) for me.

In terms of tourist attractions in Sydney, there’s the Hyde Park, the Opera House, the Sydney Bridge, the famous Bondi Beach, Blue Mountain, Hunters Valley, etc. The best way to enjoy Sydney is to really slow down your pace and just soak in the “feel” of this nice city with its wonderful beaches.

Tips:-
– Do attend a concert in the Opera House. The acoustic is really superb.

– For Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, it is really expensive (cost A$200). If you are the type that just want to check off the box that you have done it, go for it. Otherwise, a cheaper alternative is to go for the Pylon lookout, which gives you similar view. Also, Pylon lookout allows you to take your own photo there (unlike the bridge climb where cameras are not allowed)

– For a tour of the harbour, a ferry is a must. Forget about those expensive sightseeing cruise. Rather, hop on to the Manly Ferry which will take you out of the Harbour to Manly (which is a nice beach and less crowded than Bondi) and also take another the other ferry which heads from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour which will go the other way down the Bridge. These 2 ferry rides will cover the whole harbour so no need to pay extra for the harbour cruise. If you are getting the My-multi day pass, it will include the ferry. If you are in Sydney for a week, you may want to consider getting the My-Multi weekly (which includes Ferry, train and bus) and depending on your needs, you can choose zone 1, 2 or 3.

– Bondi Beach is like a must-go destination in Sydney. Aussies love the sea and their beaches like how British loves their tea (or Singaporeans their food). I will highly recommend that you do the Coogee to Bondi walk (I suggest you walk from Coogee to Bondi even though you can do vice versa as Coogee is more quaint so when you reach Bondi you get this vibrant feel – at least it’s better for me to walk this way than from a more happening place to a quieter place).

– Blue mountain is a day trip from Sydney. There are many tour agencies offering 1 day trip there if you do not want to self-drive. However, for me I took the public train from the Central station to Katoomba (around 2 hours train and the train departs hourly) instead of joining the tour. Just buy a unlimited ride day ticket (My Mutil day cost around A$20) which entities you to travel all the zones in Sydney. At Katoomba, there are public buses which takes you round blue mountain (with the unlimited ride ticket, the buses are FREE so no need to buy the “hop on and hop off blue mountain bus ticket”). Personally, I do not find Blue Mountain beautiful but I guess it is a must go place if you have not been there so that you can check off that box.

– Accessing Hunters Valley via public transport is possible but a bit tedious unlike Blue Mountain. So I suggest that you either join the tour or rent a car. I love Hunters Valley, admiring its beautiful wineyards while having some nice wine and food 🙂

– Newcastle is a nice 1 day getaway. Buy the unlimited ride day pass and you can use it for travel to Newcastle and local transportation as well. From there, you can either roam around the city or make a short trip to Port Stephens which has nice beaches and to see some dophins and sand dunes, etc. 

– Shopping at Paddy’s market and the factory outlets on level 2 and 3 are great and have great bargains. If you like to shop for some nice ladies clothings and dresses, head down to Paddington market on Saturday whereby many Australian labels will setup stores there to showcase their designs.

– Getting from airport to city (and vice versa), I recommend 2 ways to do it:-

  • The fastest & cheapest way is to take the airport connect train. Takes around 15 – 20 minutes (depending on which part of city you are staying). I usually will take this if I arrive in the day or if I am travelling very light.
  • If you are arriving at night, I suggest you take the airport shuttle (which brings you to the doorstep of your hotel). Reason being the lifts/elevators & escalators are usually closed after 8.30pm (some may be slightly earlier). So if you are carrying big luggages, it can be a challenge to carry those lugggages up the stairs. However, do note that airport shuttle basically once moves when it has enough customers and will be picking/dropping people off at various hotels in the city. Hence, do budget in more time if you are taking the airport shuttle (I suggest at least 30 to 45 minutes more just in case).

Food:-

– Quay is a “die die must try” fine dining 3 hats restaurant. Reservations are crazy with long waiting list and typically requires at least 3 months of booking ahead! But if you can’t get yourself in for dinner, try the lunch which is easier to get in.  

– Bills breakfast is really good and something that I always look forward to when I land in Sydney in the morning.

– Rockpool on George is another 3 hats restaurant which I love. The food is really good and I will say one of the best in Sydney.

– There are many other nice fine dining places. A good guide is the Good Food Guide which can serve as your bible to all the nice food. You can’t really go wrong with that guide 🙂

– For Korean food, Ceci at Stratfield is really good and cheap (accessible via the train which takes around 30 minutes or so from the city center). There are also many Korean restaurants in Stratfield so you can take a good pick. It’s really like a mini Korea there.

– Another nice place I will like to recommend for seafood is at Doyles on the beach. Yes, like the name suggest, the restaurant is right on the beach at Watsons Bay. You can get there by taking a ferry from Circular Quay (take the northern suburbs ferry). This restaurant has been around for the longest time and has been voted one of the best ones in Sydney. The food is good and of course, dining on the beach is cool!

– If you are looking for Chinese food, a friend recommended me to one called “Chefs Gallery” at Regent Place near townhall area (just beside the KFC). It serves pretty nice Chinese fusion food. China Lane at 2 Angel Place is another nice Chinese fusion food with really nice presentation of the food. If you are near Chatswood, why not go for the Congee at 375 Congee & Noodle House in Chatswood (375 Victoria Ave). This shop serves congee whole day so will be a good place if you are sick, seedy or ridiculously hung over lol. For cheaper options, Chinatown offers many cheap alternatives (a meal can cost less than $10 each) so if you are on budget, this is a good place to eat but don’t expect fancy things though.

– Chocolates lover: Do try Bon Bon Cafe and Lindt Cafe. Nice coffee with chocolates! For Lindt Cafe, they always have specials for each season so check that out 🙂

– For ice-cream lovers, there’s a new Gelato bar in Chinatown selling homemade gelato where you will get gelato straight from the base ingredients and into your hands in 10 minutes. It’s called N2 Extreme Gelato which makes the gelato on the spot. The queue can be really long though especially on Friday nights and weekends. Address of this new kid on the block is 43/1 Dixon St, Haymarket.

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