Wow, what a week in Sydney we’ve had. I spent 5 of the days in a conference, but luckily the conference organizers had some fun and unique activities planned for us throughout our stay. We also spent a few days catching up with friends and seeing some of the sights on our own. Here are a few of my top picks if you have a few days in Sydney!
1) Taronga Zoo. It was my second visit there and went to Sydney knowing that I wanted to revisit it. It is a quick ferry ride from Circular Quay and it really is one of the best zoos in the world. You arrive at sea level and take a Gondola up to the top of the zoo. From there, you spend the day making your way down to sea level again to take the ferry back to downtown Sydney. The views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are incredible. They have a wide variety of local Australian Animals as well as African animals like elephants and Giraffe and other exotic animals like Tigers, etc. You could spend a few hours or a whole day, depending if you want to catch any of their shows. A family pass to the zoo including the ferry, etc for 4 people is $150.00 AUD.
2) Sailing on Sydney Harbour. You can learn to sail with an experienced sailing company right on Sydney Harbour. Your afternoon adventure with East Sail has you going on board with a skipper and your crew of new sailors-to-be. You learn a few basics, then you have two races against their other sailboats. You get to do everything from steering the sailboat to pulling and letting out the ropes (I wish I remembered what it was all called!) It was something I wouldn’t have done on my own but it was a blast – unexpectedly my favorite thing I did in Sydney. I am not sure the cost is as this was included in our conference rate.
3) Sydney Aquarium. We spent about 3 hours here with the kids and could have stayed longer if we weren’t all starving for lunch. They have tons of sea life – sharks, dolphins, Dugong’s (looks like a Manatee) Barrier Reef fish, all kinds of Sting Rays, octopus, Platapus, sea horse, penguins, etc. It was fabulous and the kids loved it. It was about $26.00 AUD for adults and $16.00 AUD for kids if you bought the tickets online – they were more at the door.
4) Darling Harbour. I didn’t go over to Darling Harbour on my first visit to Sydney and that’s a shame. It is a beautiful harbor with some excellent restaurants, the Aquarium, Sydney wildlife Park, shops, a large playground, the Maritime Museum and more. You could easily spend a day or two exploring this area and enjoying the views.
5) Manly Beach. This was also new for me. You can take a fast ferry – about 20 minutes – over to Manly Beach from Circular Quay. It is $12.00 AUD each way. When you arrive, you can walk along a pretty little street full of shops and restaurants over to Manly Beach. It is beautiful – stunning. Just what you think of when you picture Australian beaches. Sugary white sand and water that’s every shade of blue and green. You can learn to surf there, go scuba diving, find great shopping and restaurants, or just enjoy the beach. We walked along Manly beach to a second little side beach called Shelley Beach and had lunch at a restaurant called Le Kiosk. It is tucked out of the way with incredible views of the beach. The food was excellent, but just make sure you aren’t in a hurry as the dining process there is meant for you to take time to enjoy the food and views and not rush through. It was a very busy little spot – I think reservations would be a must.
Sydney remains one of my favorite cities. The people are welcoming, there is lots to do and it had a clean, safe feeling. It is also a very expensive city – quite a bit more than being at home and even quite a bit more than being in Hawaii. If you go, you will need to budget accordingly. It was hard to have a meal for 2 adults and a child that was under $100.00.
We are now back in Hawaii – our last night in Honolulu at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach, before we fly home tomorrow evening. I have the patio doors open and I can hear the Hawaiian band playing in our outdoor hotel lounge. I will be sad to leave and return to the -40 temperatures of Saskatchewan, but I guess no one can be on vacation forever….