We arrived in the homeland of Paul Hogan (Clair – who’s that?) at around 8AM. After about an hour delay on the tarmac we get off the plane. We picked up an Opal card (you’ll need this to use the transportation system) at the airport, and hopped on a train towards our Air BnB courtesy of Barb and Roly. They chose a place in McMahon’s Point overlooking the Sydney Harbour. One thing to note about their transportation system is that you have to ‘tap on’ when you get on a train/bus and ‘tap off’ when you exit. A little more complicated than other systems we’ve seen, but we made do.
We had an incredible stay at our accommodations in Sydney! The view from our balcony every morning was spectacular. It was made even more spectacular when we saw how much snow was back home (nearly — metres).
Day 1 – Overlooking the Harbour
We took it easy our first day in Sydney. Wandering around our neighborhood, grabbing a coffee, and finishing the evening with a bottle of wine on the balcony. We were stunned when we saw giant bats come out in full force as soon as the sun set. They are harmless to humans but much bigger and numerous than those from back home.
Day 2 – One of These Things Are Not Like the Other ♫
IT’S HOT. Like, we’re melting type of hot. So, we decided to do a quick tour of the botanic gardens and then head to the beach. Not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we hopped on a bus to Bondi Beach. Seriously, do only ridiculously fit and tanned people go here? We felt like two pale flabby balls of dough in bathing suits flopping around the beach. But the water was beautiful and the sun was shining, so we put on our SPF 50 and ignored all the rippling muscles and thong bikinis surrounding us. After a few hours lying on the beach, we took a walk along the coast to Bronte Beach. It’s a really nice walk with great viewpoints and you can see other beaches along the way. Feeling the back of our necks beginning to burn we hopped back on the bus and headed home.
That night Barb and Roly treated us to a dinner at a really fancy schmancy restaurant right on the harbour called Sails. Roly actually worked at this joint 30 years ago! It was a really nice opportunity to dress up and pretend we were fancy. (Clair – Thanks Mom and Dad!!! LOVE YOU!!!)
Day 3 – Water…water…
On a friends recommendation, we decided to get out of the city and head to the Blue Mountains National Park for a hike. We got off the train at Katoomba and walked down the main street to the popular Three Sisters viewpoint. It’s a really amazing place to explore! There’s quite the staircase from the Three Sisters leading down to the bottom of the valley. If you have mobility issues, be cautious. Once we made it down the staircase we walked through the forest, passing waterfalls and streams along the way. It was all pretty chill until we were reminded that what goes up, must go down. We had to now head back up the mountain. We thought Kik wasn’t going to make it up the final flights of stairs. With no water left and the sun beaming onto his big broad forehead, Clair was prepared to venture forward and seek help. Haha, JK. We made it, and had ice cream in town.
The train ride was about 2 hours one-way, if you’re tight on time, skip this. If you have a full day to explore this area, then we would highly recommend it.
Day 4 – Arrr…Matey
Kik had found a great deal on bookme.com for a tour on Tall Ships in the Sydney Harbour. The tour was 2 hours long and included dinner and unlimited booze. For $120 CAD for both of us, we were sold. We were mesmerized by the amount of sailboats in the Sydney Harbor. It was incredible…and slightly scary! There were so many sailboats, it was like they were doing a well choreographed dance with each other, coming so close and then turning at the last-minute. The tour guide for the night was also really knowledgeable about the history of Australia, he spent a good portion of the tour telling us fascinating stories. It was definitely one of the best tours we’ve done and would highly recommend you check this out. The tour we went on was Sydney Harbour Tallships.
Our good friend (see you soon buddy!) and world traveler Dylan seems to have friends all over the world. He was nice enough to hook us up with two of his good mates (look at us becoming all Australian!) in Sydney, Mitch and Lyl. They met us after our Tall Ship tour for drinks…and then more drinks… and then more! It turned into a really great night of bar hopping, finishing at the Opera House Bar and then finally at Hungry Jacks (Aus version of Burger King).
It was so nice to meet Lyl and Mitch, they were lovely enough to pick us the next morning to show us around their neck of the woods and eventually drive us to the airport. Their first stop was Gelato Messina for the best gelato in Sydney. Afterwards, they brought us to The Grounds of Alexandria for lunch. This place is a little off the beaten path of downtown Sydney but worth checking out! It’s a really cool restaurant that looks like it’s set up in the middle of a farmers market. Lucky for us it was also on the way to the airport. Although, Mitch was one minute late of his guaranteed 3PM arrival time, we think we’ll forgive him.
Off we were to Melbourne, but that’s for next time.