Our Sightseeing in Sydney
Unreal is the first word that came to our minds as we arrived in Sydney. Sydney! With its famous Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. We’ve seen the pictures a thousand times, and we’re here now! Unreal. But true. Our Sightseeing in Sydney was about to start!
After the last few days of driving through the smoke from the terrible fires that are happening all over Australia, it was an even greater relief for us to have arrived.
A small suburb south of the city would be our home for the next few days, where we would house sit two adorable cats. After we settled, we made some plans of what we wanted to see and do in Sydney.
Sightseeing in Sydney
For our first day in Sydney, we planned to go to Manly Beach via the ferry. Afterward, we wanted to join a free walking tour for our sightseeing in Sydney.
So, after we took good care of the cats, we headed out.
We took the train directly to the Circular Quay Wharf where a nice lady at the information stand gave us the recommendation to go to Watson Bay and from there take the bus no. 380 to Bondi Beach.
She said that the ferry crossing should only take about half an hour. And then the bus from Watson Bay to Bondi Beach was just 15 minutes.
Tip: public transport is cheaper with the Opal Card. The card itself is free, and you can top it up at newsstands, vending machines, or 7/11. Sunday is family day which means you can use all means of transportation for the entire day for only $ 2.80!
So, we decided to postpone our trip to Manly Beach to the next Sunday and took the ferry to Watson Bay.
After the short ferry ride, we arrived at Watson Bay, a small town founded in 1788 and Australia’s oldest fishing village.
Tip: Doyle’s Fish’n Chips is well known and not only by tourists, as the locals seem to appreciate the food here as well. Unfortunately, we had just eaten, otherwise, we would have joined the endlessly long queue to try Doyle’s famous Fish’n Chips.
From Watson Bay, we could see the Sydney skyline, albeit in the fog that came from all the smoke in the area.
While here, you can do a small hike, the South Head Loop which is just 3 km.
From the harbor, the Loop takes about an hour and has spectacular views of Sydney and the Tasman Sea.
Getting a good look
We headed out and started taking some photos along the way. The loop will take you passed two bathing bays. The first bay is quite crowded and has a small kiosk where you can buy drinks and snacks.
The second bay, Lady’s Bay, is beautifully located, not overcrowded at all, and looks like paradise. On closer inspection we also knew why this dreamy bay is not overcrowded: it is a nudist beach. Here I don’t have any pictures for you ?.
It was fun to watch two tourist ladies closely inspecting this bay from above. They were really discussing something diligently, never looking away from the naked sunbathers. When an Aussie walked by and noticed them, he said with a big grin that there were more naked people further back. The two ladies giggled but never took their eyes off the “nature”.
According to our motto of slow travel, we had really taken our time. But, after checking our watches, we decided that we would have to postpone Bondi Beach as well so that we wouldn’t miss the Free Walking Tour to get our overview of Sydney.
Free Walking Tour Sydney
While we were in Melbourne, we joined the free walking tour from the same organization and really enjoyed it.
They take place twice a day, once at 10.30 in the morning and again at 2.30 p.m. The pace is very pleasant and the whole tour takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. In the end, everyone pays for what they thought that the tour was worth to them. We find that to be a very good principle.
The meeting point was at Town Hall and the tour covered all the highlights of Sydney, as it did in Melbourne.
We saw the St. James Church, the Queen Victoria Building, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Rum Hospital, Parliament House, The Rocks, Macquarie Street, and more. And, as the highlight, the tour ended with Sydney’s landmarks: the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
It was an entertaining and interesting tour, even if we were a bit tired towards the end. And afterward, we indulged ourselves with delicious ice cream while enjoying a view of the Sydney Opera House. Not bad!
Our impressive first day came to an end.
Shopping in Sydney
What was meant to be our own self-guided walking tour with a photo safari the next day ended up being a shopping madness in Sydney.
OK, I might be exaggerating, but after more than a year of traveling, I simply couldn’t resist the sales and bought myself a new dress, a blouse, and a new pair of Icebreaker underpants.
At the moment there are many sales and it’s fun to stroll through all the great arcades and shops.
In Sydney, there are beautiful arcades and shopping malls where you really can find everything your heart desires.
Here are some exceptionally attractive malls:
Queen Victoria Building, also known as QVB. The QVB was completed in 1898 and replaced the Sydney markets.
Westfield Sydney is a shopping mall chain that we visited often while in Melbourne. It also offers a huge food court.
Town Hall Square
The Dymocks Building with an Art Deco Flair
And the Strand Arcade is a majestic beauty. Built in 1891, The Strand Arcade is home to many old-fashioned retailers and is now an institution in Sydney. If you are looking for something extraordinary and unique, you will find it here.
You will also find many shops all along the streets.
Tip: If you walk down George Street, you’ve covered most of the shopping malls listed above. You can then relax in the nearby Hyde Park.
One more tip: every day until 5 p.m. there is a market at the Circular Quay called “The Rocks”, which is an area with many individual small galleries and shops. We highly recommended “The Rocks”.
Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Who doesn’t know them, THE landmarks of Sydney: the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
Of course, we had to visit as soon as we could what we already knew from the millions of pictures we’ve seen.
And there they were. A short walk from Circular Quay and you see the two giants.
As you may know, we are UNESCO fans, and so we visited and photographed the Sydney Opera House from many angles.
Sydney Opera House
Tip: The best view we found is not from the Botanical Garden, which is so often recommended. But from North Sydney; and to be more precise, from McMahons Point. From here you have an unobstructed view of both landmarks, benches to sit and enjoy, and amazingly little to no tourists.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
We crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge twice on foot. And, in a moment of weakness, we even thought about taking the Bridge Climb.
But with a fee of $ 308.00 pp, this was too expensive for us, especially considering my fear of heights.
Even if the 360° view of the city would certainly have been unforgettable.
So, we decided to just walk across and were able to photograph the Sydney Opera House from another perspective. We enjoyed the beautiful view from the bridge and took a good look at the steel construction of the “Coat Hanger” as the bridge is affectionately called by the locals.
Luna Park in Sydney
In North Sydney, there is the Luna Park. Since we didn’t make it to the Luna Park in St. Kilda, Melbourne (yet), we wanted to have a look at the Luna Park while here.
Built in 1912, we learned that St Kilda was the first Luna Park in Australia. The Luna Park in Sydney was built in 1935. And the first Luna Park ever was built in 1903 in Coney Island, New York.
Unfortunately, there was no old rollercoaster here, so we decided to move on, and I had to promise James that we would go back to St. Kilda so he can ride the second oldest operating roller coaster in the world!
For our day at the beach, we didn’t choose the best day because it rained! But we were thankful that it had cooled down a bit, also in other parts of the country, and especially so that the people and wildlife could get a break from the devastating forest and bush fires.
Regardless of the weather, we still decided to go to Manly Beach, the surfer’s paradise, and take a walk on the beach.
What would a sightseeing trip to Sydney be without a visit to Bondi Beach! This world-famous beach was definitely on our list.
But we wouldn’t be golfabonds if we hadn’t visited the Bondi Golf and Diggers Club on this occasion!
A 9-hole golf club that offers insane views of the Tasman Sea AND of Bondi Beach. We played a round of golf here and it was so much fun. I must admit, we have already had many great views from golf courses of the sea, so I wasn’t super excited. But I will say that the view was jaw-dropping!
Bondi Beach itself was nice, but it was just too crowded for us.
Sydney and its neighborhoods
One day we went to hip Newtown, a trendy neighborhood in Sydney with many bars, restaurants, and cafes. There are also many second-hand shops, vintage shops, and a lot of shopping opportunities for vegetarians and vegans.
We finally saw “Star Wars”, had a smoothie in a beautiful corner cafe, and later enjoyed a vegan lunch.
At this point, James and I are trying not to eat meat.
And if we can get the food we love, like a burger, in a vegetarian or vegan version, perfect!
Our plant-based Bacon Burger tasted very good. This makes it easier to pursue our objective.
We liked Newtown very much. A cool place where you can easily spend a few hours.
What else did we do in Sydney? We had two house-sitting jobs, both with cats, and have really enjoyed having animals around us again.
If you have any questions regarding house sitting, please feel free to contact us!