Sydney sydney SYDNEY. Yesterday we covered the beaches and today we are covering the city. Our hotel was in Woolloomooloo (try saying that three times fast) so we were fairly central to the main parts of the city. This guide will focus mostly on sights and restaurants in Woolloomooloo, Darling Harbour, The Rocks and Surrey Hills. Out of all of the areas, my favorite had to have been The Rocks (both of the above photos) for the architecture and walkability of the area. To give you a little layout help, Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Botanical Gardens were all within 15 minutes of each other which was a dream. YAY LET’S GO.
Our very first meal in Sydney was at Sienna Marina right down the street from our hotel in Woolloomooloo. It was a simple, no frills lunch restaurant that I was extremely American at and ate a burger and fries. This is also where I learned that there is no such thing as tipping in Australia. Yes I said NO TIPPING. Wild right?
Cyren sits right on the water in Darling Harbour and we managed to get there right in the middle of happy hour. One plate of nachos, one plate of calamari, two pizzas and six Coronas later, we emerged from Cyren as very happy and satisfied women. (Side note, if dining outside at Cyren beware of the seagulls who will stop at absolutely nothing to get your scraps.)
Toko was our Treat Yo Self meal of the trip. We all ended up doing the tasting menu which was about 12 different plates for $78 AUD each (plus lots of wine because treat yo self). I’m not usually a big fancy food person but this was delicious. It also marked the first time I ever tried oysters so YAY ME.
I must preface this by saying I had a horrible grudge against meat pies purely because meat and pies do not seem like they would go together. I now have to admit that I was horribly mistaken and I will never question a meat pie again. I went big and tried both the lean beef & curry chicken as well as the beef, cheese and bacon pie. I ate both of them and have zero regrets. (I miss you Harry’s.)
Sake was our final dinner in Sydney and it did not disappoint. We had an amazing assortment of sushi and sashimi and the overall atmosphere of the restaurant was very hip and cool. I mean, they had giant sake barrels on the main wall as decoration, how much cooler do you get than that?
Pitt Street is THE main shopping spot in central Sydney. There are department stores, single stores, high-end stores, chain stores, literally every single type of store you could ever want. Their department stores alone have six floors. SIX. FLOORS. It is an outside mall but most of the big department stores are connected by covered hallways inside so if you wanted, your skin never has to touch the sun/rain. I ended up buying a few things from H&M, Uniqlo, David Jones and kikki K. If you love shopping I highly recommend spending an afternoon on Pitt Street. (S/o to my beauty junkies, I also got a few Australian beauty products and will be doing a separate post on those in a few weeks after I’ve had a bit more time to test run them.)
The QVB mall is a much smaller indoor mall right next to the giant Queen Victoria tourist spot. I definitely had a moment when looking at the Queen Vic statue where I thought, “damn this is going to be a big ass sculpture of Prince George in 100 years” but that is besides the point. The actual building that QVB is in is gorgeous with tile flooring, gold railings and crazy beautiful architecture. Even if you don’t want to shop, I still recommend stopping by just to walk through the building.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
One of two main attractions in Sydney, the Harbour Bridge is a must see. The architecture, the structure, the SIZE, this bridge is fucking amazing. We passed it numerous times and drove across it twice throughout our Sydney stay and it never failed to make me feel like an ant.
Second only to the Bondi Coastal Walk, the Opera House was at the top of my list of favorite things in Sydney. You see pictures of the sails online and in photographs but nothing really prepares you for how massive they are in real life. I took a morning tour on our second day in Sydney that lasted just over an hour and cost $25 AUD (s/o student discount). We learned all about the original design competition, the architect, the building timeline, the materials, the structure, the maintenance and the programs that have shown at the Opera House. But the absolute best part of the tour was getting to spend a few minutes watching one of the symphonies rehearse. I actually cried a little bit because it was so beautiful. Completely worth the tour fee and experience, if you only could do one thing in the city I would recommend the Opera House. (Also can you DIG the 70s bright purple and orange carpet because I CAN.)
Y’all know I love a good botanical garden and apparently Australia is obsessed with them. OBSESSED. The Royal Botanical was only a 10 minute walk from our hotel so we walked through it a few times during our stay while on our way to other destinations in lieu of taking a cab. This garden is HUGE. So huge that we took different routes every time we walked through and still didn’t see all of it. It is beautiful and green and peaceful and I wish I could have spent an entire day lounging among the plants with a long novel.
That covers our journey through Sydney! Next up, a half day trip to the Blue Mountains.