I ended the first half of 2019 with an amazing trip Down Under. Six full days in Sydney, baby! I was still reeling from Maui two weeks before that so I wasn’t as prepared for it as I normally would have. It was a blessing that T, a friend we traveled with, planned it all in detail, and I mean in super detail, that I only had to show up.
I enjoyed Sydney so much that I daydreamed of moving there for further studies or for work. The city vibe is so chill and productive at the same time. The culture is diverse, almost everything feels so organized. If it’s possible to develop a city-crush, to me Sydney is it. I haven’t traveled to many places but before this, I only felt it once — towards Boston back in 2016.
I will now let photos give you a glimpse of this amazing trip!
We stayed in Surry Hills which was a great location — it’s within walking distance to train stations, bus stops, and the business district. I highly recommend this location; has lots of hotels in varying price ranges to choose from. The place has a bougie feel, so if that interests you, this location is definitely for you.
We went at the tailend of Vivid Sydney; it’s their light and music festival. Imagine vivid colors and lights reflecting on Sydney skyscrapers including the Opera House! It was amazing. It drew a lot of people, tourists and residents alike.
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We spared an afternoon to visit Sydney Fish Market. For someone like me who isn’t a big seafood eater, I was impressed by how it was setup. With almost empty tummies we settled in Peter’s as recommended by someone who was there a week before we were. The price was steep as most of them were cooked on the spot but it’s well worth the price tag!
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We also did a stroll in Manly Beach which was pleasant and calm. It’s 30 minutes away via ferry from Circular Quay. I haven’t been to the other popular destination which was Bondi Beach but they said it has more crowds and more windy. I could go there next time but Manly was something that worked for me.
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We also swung by Market City in Chinatown and Haymarket area of Sydney to buy pasalubong for people back home. Souvenir shops are everywhere in Downtown Sydney particularly near the QVB area but Market City can give Greenhills/Divisoria kind of discounts. The best kind of pasalubongs we hauled were from their supermarkets; we hoarded tons of varieties of TimTams, Cadbury, and Violet Crumble. Heavy to lug back but considerably cheap and “hard to find”.
One thing I experienced in Sydney was the sudden downpour of torrential rain. It lasted for 30 minutes which coincided with my morning walk to downtown CBD. I took shelter in nearby buildings but most of their awnings were short. It even flooded the gutters but the moment the rain stopped, water subsided as well. And locals treated it as if nothing happened even when they’re very wet. Had I stayed longer I would have gotten used to braving it more efficiently.
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We also did a full-day wine tour via Hunter Valley Wine Tours. We were picked up a few blocks away from our hotel early in the morning and went to six wineries and distilleries. I was giddy and excited in the first tasting and was woozy by the fifth! It was a diverse tasting experience, and I feel that if I were more knowledgeable about wines in general, I’d appreciate it more. The highlight for me was the wine and cheese pairing in Hermitage Road Cellars. They’re selling cheeses that are to die for! I took home a bottle of labna and one regret was I did not buy more of it.
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One of the highlights for me of this trip was the day tour up in Blue Mountains. From the Central Station which was a mere five-minute walk from our hotel, we took a train bound to Wentworth Falls which is about an hour and 45 minutes from Sydney. The ride was enough to make up for waking up early to catch the earliest train.We were picked up by R’s family as they are also working, lucky them, in Blue Mountains!
We had breakfast on the house in Parklands Country Garden then we had a tour of the Hydro Majestic, and the rustic Lilianfels. Before we wrap the morning, our hosts also drove us to Govett’s Leap and the Echo Point lookout.
In the afternoon, we went to Katoomba which is a very hippy historic town in NSW. You can feel its intimate town character the moment you begin walking its streets. It has family-owned shops, thrift stores (where I scored a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book for souvenir!), graffiti-lined walls, and an awesomely quirky small restaurant called The Yellow Deli.
The Yellow Deli is owned by The Twelve Tribes, a cult if you may call it, who subscribes to biblical teachings and a community-driven way of life. Besides that, the deli is simply a local tavern that attracts tourists! They serve mostly vegan food and pastries. We tried their vegan sausages and grilled cheese and were satisfied. The place was fairly small and reviews said there’s always a line to get in, so we’re lucky to get a small table for our group of five in the middle of the afternoon so easily.
If there’s another chance to explore Blue Mountains, I’d definitely stay longer than a day. There’s still a lot more we haven’t gone to as we had to catch the 3 pm train back to Sydney. Needless to say, that day was packed and was certainly a highlight.
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I explored the CBD on foot by myself when my travel buddies had to fly out before I did. That’s when I felt that the city is something I can get used to living in when a chance permits me. My trip had me so spoiled that up until the last day, I was hosted by R’s gracious aunt as she lives close to the airport. Six days weren’t enough, I’m definitely coming back in Sydney, and maybe swing by other cities, too.
Categories: Traveling Judie