Sydney - a breath of fresh air

Sydney Travel Blog

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Zoe at the Opera House
I can't emphasise enough how nice it felt to be in Sydney. It's not that we didn't have lots of great experiences in our eight months in Asia, but I suppose we'd forgotten about some of the home comforts to which we are used, and hadn't really realised that we had been missing them. Although geographically almost as far from home as we could get, Australia is undeniably culturally much more similar to the UK than any of the other countries which we had visited thus far on the trip.

We revelled in such simple pleasures as walking on a pavement, and wearing shoes, long trousers and fleeces. We were also rather spoilt by virtue of the fact that we had booked ourselves a free four-day stay in the Sydney Harbour Marriott using loyalty points which I had been collecting while travelling with my job.
Me enjoying breakfast, with a great view of the harbour
They even upgraded us to the executive floor which meant that we could get a free buffet breakfast in the breakfast lounge with views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. This was definitely a step up from the cheap guest houses which we had been frequenting in Asia: the bath tub; the large bed with excessive numbers of pillows.

The flip side of all of the comforts was the traditional Yorkshireman's refrain on heading out to buy lunch on the first day there: "how much?!". (I'm allowed to say that, as I'm the Yorkshireman in question.) We'd forgotten not only how life was lived in our country, but also how expensive it is (as things in Australia were certainly no more expensive than they would have been back home). The money which we withdrew from an airport cash machine on arrival was gone in two days, and the trend continued.
Fish & Chips, Bondi style.
The thing is, there were lots of restaurants that tempted us with their advertising, and the lure of home comforts was too much to resist at times. We'd been living on something like 10 pounds a day in Asia, and nothing of the same order of magnitude was going to cut it in Australia.

It's funny how it affects you, though. The fact that we couldn't live as cheaply as we had been had the strange effect of making us spend more than we otherwise would have done: if I wasn't sure whether something was worth spending money on, then I'd find myself thinking, "Everything's expensive here, so a little more spending won't really hurt". It was a great attitude to have, as it meant that we did lots of different things. It was to be the theme for our time in Australia; barely a day went past without our doing something new and exciting.
George Street


On our first day in Sydney we had to do the obvious. We were staying right by the harbour, so it was a short stroll from our hotel down to the Opera House, and up onto the Bridge. We also walked around the Rocks, including a look at the oldest house in Sydney, Cadman's Cottage. We kept our sightseeing low key; we mainly enjoyed just strolling around with nothing much to do. We headed up the Sky Tower for a great view over the whole city.

Another day we headed over to Manly beach, where we had an ice cream, and strolled along the sea front. We didn't find much to do in Manly, but it was pleasant just to walk along. The ferry over affords wonderful views of the harbour.

Another afternoon we hopped on a bus down to Bondi Beach.
Up on the Bridge
We didn't get into the water ourselves, but there were a lot of people being thrown around by the waves! We headed up to the golf course to see some aboriginal rock carvings, and were treated to a fantastic sunset silhouette of the Sydney skyline.

We had factored in a six day period to do some further exploring in New South Wales. We had no plans about where exactly to head to, but the time was meant to be spent travelling on public transport. However, in the spirit of spending more money, we decided to hire a car, which would enable us to see more places in the short time available to us. And so, armed with the phrase "what's the cheapest car you've got", we approached the AVIS desk at the hotel and we were sorted for the next week.
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Zoe at the Opera House
Zoe at the Opera House
Me enjoying breakfast, with a grea…
Me enjoying breakfast, with a gre…
Fish & Chips, Bondi style.
Fish & Chips, Bondi style.
George Street
George Street
Up on the Bridge
Up on the Bridge
Fashion show in the lobby at the M…
Fashion show in the lobby at the …
Old meets new in downtown Sydney
Old meets new in downtown Sydney
Zoe enjoying the bed at the Marrio…
Zoe enjoying the bed at the Marri…
A church is dwarfed by modern Sydn…
A church is dwarfed by modern Syd…
An old sailing boat moored across …
An old sailing boat moored across…
The Harbour Bridge, as seen from t…
The Harbour Bridge, as seen from …
Gulls flocking on Manly beach
Gulls flocking on Manly beach
Art deco style in Manly
Art deco style in Manly
Manly beach
Manly beach
Zoe at the top of the Sky Tower
Zoe at the top of the Sky Tower
A view from the Sky Tower
A view from the Sky Tower
A view from the Sky Tower
A view from the Sky Tower
Zoe at Cadmans Cottage!
Zoe at Cadman's Cottage!
Bondi beach
Bondi beach
Bondi beach
Bondi beach
A sunset silhouette of the Sydney …
A sunset silhouette of the Sydney…
Zoe on Bondi golf course
Zoe on Bondi golf course
Aboriginal rock carvings on Bondi …
Aboriginal rock carvings on Bondi…
Aboriginal rock carvings on Bondi …
Aboriginal rock carvings on Bondi…
Sydney Hotels & Accommodations review
This is a tough review to write, as in a year travelling this was the only big expensive hotel we stayed in, and we had a free stay so I can't really … read entire review
Sydney
photo by: Sunflower300