We were lucky in that we had some extra time to explore Sydney rather than just 36 waking hours but here is a bit of a guide to what we did and what it would be possible to fit in. We have spent nearly a week up in Cairns and are only just starting to catch up on our sleep. For us Sydney was one of those cities you fall for hard and fast.
What to do:
With 36 waking hours you’re always pushed to fit in everything in a city. Normally a good way to get a grasp on the place is by doing a tour. Our plans for a cycle tour unfortunately fell through, although the weather that day was a blistering 38 degrees so it might have been a blessing in disguise. You have a range of options if you fancy the bike tour with Bonza, Bike Buffs and Sydney bikes all offering options. If you’re booking last minute like we did, just make sure you call the company to make sure they are actually running the next day. If you don’t want to take a tour and just want to see the highlights then walking from Darling Harbour down through The Rocks to Circular Quay is a great start. From there you can go to the Museum of Contemporary Art and then past the Opera House onto the Botanical gardens (there are free guided walks around the park each day).
Our splurge was to climb the Sydney harbour bridge. Luckily I actually got this for Pinion’s birthday last year so it did not come out of our budget. We went for the nighttime walk and it was fantastic. We started out just as the sun was setting and ended up with the city lights illuminating our way. Starting at AUD$228 for the full climb this isn’t a cheap activity. I think it was worth the expense, a once in a lifetime opportunity and we got some awesome views of the city at night. We purchased a couple of the cheesy photos but fortunately for you they are contained on a disc and I only have a laptop with no disc reader! With your ticket you also get free entry into the pylon lookout, it offered some good views if the bridge climb is beyond your budget.
Pylon lookout views:
The Sydney Opera House is probably the most iconic building in Australia and so we wanted to get inside it! Unfortunately for us there wasn’t too much on that we fancied and so instead of attending an event we went on a tour. The whistle stop tour only lasted an hour but it gave us a good insight into the history of the building and its day to day running. Going to a gig there is high on my list of things to do when we return.
Escape the city:
If you need a day out of the hustle and bustle of the city the the Blue Mountains are the perfect choice. We caught the train the Leura and then spent a few hours walking along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk before we reached Katoomba, the Three Sister Rocks and Echo Point. There were some lovely views and just a few sections of stairs that left us out of breath. If you get an Opal card then your train there and back will be covered by AUD$15 maximum daily fare. Not bad for a 60 odd kilometer journey each way. There is the option to go to Scenic World if you have time and extra money. If you don’t fancy it then you can spend your time looking around the little shops in the towns or in the cafes and pubs. There are a range of longer walks available if you have a bit more time then staying up here for a couple of days is a great option for escaping the hustle and heat of the city.
The 3 Sisters rock formation:
If you’re short on time but still fancy a walk then the Bondi to Coogee Coast walk is excellent. It only takes a few hours and you get to either start or finish at the famous Bondi beach. I you get good weather then you can make a day of it and go swimming or snorkeling off some beaches. Clovelly beach is one of Sydney’s top snorkeling sites. We managed to go on a day that would not be out of place in England during winter. Well maybe it was not so cold but with us being too lazy to bring jumpers it was certainly a bit chilly.
Pinion braving the cold:
We didn’t feel like going for a dip:
Get yourself an Opal card, like London’s Oyster card this is the best method for paying for your public transport journeys. It has benefits like a $15 a day cap and cheap travel on Sundays ($2.50 for the whole day).
We found that Airbnb was the best option for accommodation. It was a lot cheaper than hotels and we even got to explore the awesome Glebe area, which we probably wouldn’t have if not for Airbnb. If you haven’t used Airbnb before then sign up with this link and we both get £13 credit :D.
Going to Manly is a great way to combine viewing the harbour from a boat and a beach trip. Despite having more than 36 hours in Sydney we ran out of time and didn’t get to visit. Like always, it has been added to our list of things to do next time!