We arrived in Sydney at 11:45am very tired and a little grumpy after the flight but excited for the few days ahead. We had done some research about how to get to our hotel which involved getting the train but decided against it and got a taxi. We arrived at our hotel at 12.30 pm paying $30 and went to check in. Unfortunately our room wasn’t ready so we left our luggage and went out to explore. We decided to head towards Bennelong Point where the famous opera house and bridge were located. We saw a few interesting sights on the way.
It wasn’t long before we saw the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge which were both impressive and it was strange being there after seeing it for so long on television and in photos. We had to do take the obligatory photos!
What was more noticeable here was the temperature… coming from Dubai and Fiji it was pretty darn cold at 14 degrees and it looked like it was going to rain too… We spotted an unusual site whilst at the Opera House, a lost seal who was under observation…he wasn’t looking well so we hoped he was ok.
We headed back to the harbour which was bustling with people. The ferry port was busy and there were plentiful shops, cafes, restaurants and street performers to keep us amused. There were also some strange beauty products in the stores that I was not particularly keen on trying…
We headed next to a bar recommended to us by a friend of Nigel’s. The Fortune of War is in the heart of the Rocks and is the oldest pub in Sydney dating from 1828. We participated in a couple of beverages …well it would be rude not to!
The hospitality in the pub was really nice and it had a really friendly feel to it; definitely worth a visit if you are in Sydney. Whilst we were in there it started to hammer it down with rain and we realised we were going to have to find somewhere to invest in some warmer clothing! We tried desperately to find a shop which just sold a jumper or a hoodie but were really quite out of luck! we were pointed towards a department store called David Jones but didn’t quite find it. We did however find a millets type store and get a cheap hoodie…phew finally warm! We headed back to the hotel to check in freshen up and then went out for a bite to eat.
Quite knackered we checked out the hotel restaurant but it was pretty overpriced and a bit too fancy for our tastes so we had a look locally and found an amazing burger restaurant just next door called Chur Burger. It had a really lovely ambience with rock music playing and an amazing choice of burgers. The hospitality was great and we really enjoyed our food. Much appreciated and welcomed after our long day.
We headed back next door and off to bed as we had an early start the next morning. With our viator vouchers we booked a day trip to the Blue Mountains which meant we had to be collected at the Capitol Theatre at 7.05am urgh! It wasn’t cheap at £127 each but it was a full day itinerary including lunch and a river cruise so we hoped it would be well worth the money.
I woke up with my alarm at 6 to realise Nigel wasn’t there..some quick investigations via phone determined that he had left at 4am due to being a little out of kilter with the time zone and visited the SCG cricket ground and Allianz Stadium. I was quite relieved I missed this particular tour but he took lots of pictures to ensure I didn’t miss out entirely!
We got a $1 coffee each at the 7/11 on the corner of the street and went and met our coach. This was no problem we found the coach and our guide Smokey and set off for our day out. We headed out of Sydney and had an unscheduled stop at Orchard Hills where our guide wanted to show us some kangaroos in the wild.
We continued on our journey for an hour or so and then stopped in Leura for a coffee and a snack at a coffee shop called Loaves and the Dishes. A welcome stop but we headed off again after about half an hour and headed to Katoomba for the next part of our day. In Katoomba was Scenic World, a privately owned attraction which boasts the worlds steepest funicular railway, a skyway cable car and a scenic cableway. In addition to this there was an elevated trail through ancient rainforest.
Our first stop at Scenic world was the Scenic Skyway. The Skyway travels across a gorge 270 metres above the ground but gave amazing views of the Blue Mountains including the 3 sisters, an unusual rock formation which according to aboriginal legend depicts 3 sisters who were turned to stone. The legend states that the 3 sisters belonged to the Katoomba tribe and fell in love with 3 brothers from the Nepean tribe and were forbidden to marry. In order to protect them a local witchdoctor captured them and turned them to stone but died before he was able to turn them back again.
The Skyway arrived at the opposing rockface which had a gift shop, some food and drink and also access to the elevated trail. We had a short walk on one of the trails and took in some of the art work and learning about the latex trees in the rainforest.
The next part of our tour involved having a ride on the Scenic Railway, as previously mentioned the steepest funicular railway in the world. This was quite something as you went backwards nearly vertical but not quite a roller coaster ride!
At the top we then got the Scenic Cableway which gave amazing views across the Blue Mountains including Echo Point and met the coach again outside. We headed off for our lunch stop at the Conservation Centre at Wentworth Falls; a lovely little spot with amazing views and the food was ok too!
After lunch we stopped at another lookout spot called Jamieson Lookout which was just down the road and again more gorgeous views.
Back in the coach again refreshed and ready for more we drove for an hour and a half and then arrived at the Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside. This was unfortunately a fleeting stop as we were running quite behind so only had less than an hour here. Nevertheless we saw loads of native Australian Wildlife and had our picture taken with a koala!
We left the wildlife park and headed back into Sydney to the Olympic Park for the final stop of our trip; the sunset river cruise. We bid goodbye to Smokey and headed off onto our boat. It was a little crowded once everyone had got on however we settled down with a beer and enjoyed the views.
We docked back by Bennelong Point into the harbour and headed back to our faithful bar Fortune of War before heading back quite merry to our hotel, stopping for a Hungry Jacks on the way. Nigel is a Spurs fan and we had seen a bar called Ozbar which was decicated to Spurs, unfortunately probably due his singing (see below!) we weren’t allowed in… we headed back to the hotel for some well earned zzz’s. A long but lovely day 🙂
The next day we had one of the highlights of our trip planned; a helicopter tour of Sydney! We were up and about ok considering the drinks of the night before and grabbed a taxi to the hangar at Sydney Airport excited for what was about to happen. We werent disappointed! This tour was booked through Viator for £110 each. We were given a drink, weighed, given our safety instructions and then loaded up into our helicopter. The views were amazing!
After the helicopter trip we grabbed the bus to the airport terminal and got a train back into Sydney which was $12 dollars each and got the ferry across the water from Sydney Harbour to Taranga Zoo. Neither of us are particularly keen on zoos but we had seen amazing pictures of the Sydney skyline from here and felt it was worth a visit. The ferry ride itself was really pleasant. We got the cable car up to the entrance.
Again we had booked this through viator for £33 each although we did have some trouble here at the entrance because we didn’t have a printed ticket despite the fact it said we could use an electronic ticket on our phone. Nevertheless after a short break we entered the zoo.
The zoo itself was really like any other zoo to be honest but the views across the harbour were definitely worth it; especially the giraffe’s with the backdrop of the opera house and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
We headed back by boat and decided to go and visit the Sydney Tower for sunset. Despite its height it was not that easy to find but we made it and managed to get there just as the sun set. This cost us $28 each but was a different view of Sydney and worth it for the views.
We grabbed a taxi back to the hotel and got changed, deciding to spend our last night in Darling Harbour, somewhere that we had been informed was lively and full of bars and restaurants. A taxi back again and we reached the harbour at 9.30pm. It was quite lively but a lot of places were starting to shut when we got there. We had some cocktails and then managed to find a pizza restaurant and a bowling alley open but it wasnt quite as wild as we imagined our last night might have been. Nevertheless it was enjoyable but we headed back to our hotel at midnight to get ready for leaving for home the next day.
The next morning we took it easy, packed our bags, grabbed a massage at the thai massage shop down the road and then headed for the airport for 1pm for our flight home. It was the end of an epic 3 week adventure and we were really sad for it to all be over but it had been one hell of an adventure!
Sydney itself was a lovely place, very multicultural and lively with lots to do and see. We did only have a few days here and both wished it was longer but nevertheless managed to pack in a lot here. The helicopter ride was definitely a highlight although very expensive as was the Blue Mountains trip. We were fortunate enough that many of our trips were covered by kind gifts from our wedding as we would have not been able to have afforded to do everything we did. The Blue Mountains trip was definitely worth it and was an enjoyable day out giving us more of an ‘aussie’ experience than we would have had in Sydney itself. All in all we were both impressed by Sydney, it was more expensive than the UK especially for cigarettes and alcohol however if you shopped around you could get cheap coffees and food. We both agreed we would like to see more of Australia and would love to come back.