Sydney…..where to start with Sydney? Some people love Sydney, some people hate Sydney. The Marmite of Australia if you will. I myself aired on the side of loving it! Our apartment block (The Meriton Serviced Apartments Campbell Street) was right in the middle of Thai Town, bordering China Town and right opposite the Capitol Theatre (which is currently showing Wicked – saw it on Broadway in 2009 – flying monkeys – A-MAZ-ING!). It is also conveniently located a mere 10 – 15 minute walk away from Darling Harbour which is where we migrated to the second we reached the city. We landed in Sydney mid afternoon, dumped the backpacks and hit the bars, of which there are plenty on Darling Harbour. We decided on the Cyren Bar (big Seafood restaurant on the corner next to the Hard Rock Cafe). Cyren offer a Happy Hour every day between 3.00pm and 6.00pm offering a number of drinks for $5 and cocktails for $10 followed by dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe – yes I know it’s a chain restaurant and surely when visiting somewhere you should eat local cuisine but hey what you going to do I’m a sucker for their Twisted Mac and Cheese.
So what is Sydney famous for? The first thing I think of is the Opera House shortly followed by the Harbour Bridge and if you head down to Circular Quay guess what……you get to see them both at the same time.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House sits on Bennelong Point, Sydney Harbour. It was officially opened in October 1973 and was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. The Opera House hosts many performances each year including ballets, orchestras and of course operas. The Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and the North Shore. The Bridge has been given the nickname ‘The Coathanger’ because of its design and was the world’s widest long-span bridge at 48.8 m (160 ft) wide until the Port Mann Bridge was built in 2012 in Vancouver, Canada. Did you know 16 people died during the construction of the bridge?
We were also lucky enough to be in Sydney for the Rugby League Grand Final which was held at the ANZ Stadium. My husband and I are massive rugby league fans so this was a no-brainer for us. Tickets are not cheap and must be booked early to ensure a seat. It is not something you could simply rock up to for a day out – the Aussies take their ‘footy’ seriously! But if you are a fan of the game and happen to be in Sydney on the first weekend of October – this is a MUST! The atmosphere was electric and we got to see Slash play the axe, what’s better than that(!).
This is where I normally do my top 5 things to do in the City but with Sydney, I’m struggling. This isn’t because there isn’t anything to do but the majority of attractions are out of the city. So here goes……
My Top 5 Things to do in Sydney (CBD) – in no particular order!
1. Hang out in Darling Harbour. As mentioned before sooo many bars and restaurants, I’m sure there is something here to suit all tastes and most budgets. Also, if you are travelling with kids you could check out Madam Tussauds or The Sealife Aquarium.
2. Eat Thai food. We grabbed a Thai takeout from the restaurant next door to our apartment block and I’ll be honest it was delicious! I imagine many of the restaurants in Thai and China Town offer mouth-watering offerings if the smells (and queues at a lot of them) are anything to go by.
3. Wander around the Rocks. The colonial buildings are beautiful and you would never believe this area used to be considered a slum attracting sailors and ladies of the night in their droves. Again bars and restaurants are plentiful together with small boutique shops and art galleries.
4. Grab lunch at one of the cafes at Sydney Harbour. Or if on a budget why not take a picnic and sit on the harbour wall. This is a great place to people watch – the backdrop is immense, providing a massive cruise ship isn’t blocking your view!
5. CLIMB THE COATHANGER!!!! You’ll regret it if you don’t!