When I went there: November 2013
Sydney was my first stop on my year adventure back in 2013. It will always hold a special place in my heart. I knew the city centre like the back of my hand and felt very at home there.
I stayed when I first arrived in Wake Up Hostel, excellent location in the CBD, only a 30 min walk right to the harbour straight down Elizabeth Street. I also stayed in Bounce just on the other side of the train station, another excellent hostel with a roof top terrace.
Well, of course one of the main sites in Sydney is the Opera House. I saw it for the first time from afar at night and it looked like a giant space ship. It was stunning and I couldn’t stop looking at it. The best view of the bridge and the Opera House together is from the Botanical Gardens, be prepared for some great pictures.
I spent a lot of my time in Sydney at Bondi Beach. I used to go with friends via the train and we would hang out there all day getting a McDonalds for lunch for the cheapness. It was always so busy at Bondi which caused the free beach WIFI to constantly break down and the queues to get back to the CBD were always far to long. Occasionally when Bondi wasn’t calling me I took the ferry trip out to Manly to enjoy the beach there. One thing I wish I had experiences was the Coogee beach, I heard it was really pretty.
While I lived in Sydney I did all my food shopping mainly at Coles or Woolworths. If I didn’t cook I mainly ate fast food for the cheapness. Sometimes for a treat I went to a pancake house in Darling Harbour, the place always had a queue out the door.
The most depressing day I had in Sydney was Christmas Day. I had tickets to go to Bondi Beach music festival thinking it would be a scorching day but the weather was awful and it rained all day. The mood was dire and no one wanted to be there. My Christmas Dinner was a McDonalds Big Mac, that says it all.
I spent New Year in Sydney which is something I have always wanted to do. Me and the friends I was with had discovered that to get a good viewing point we would needed to be early and in the queue for entry to the Botanical Gardens. The queue was ridiculous, people had queued since 6am and the doors did not open until 10am. Waiting in the heat was awful, we sat struggling and getting bored. Once we did eventually get inside we found a terrific spot and started counting down the hours. I had taken goon, which is wine in a box, goon is named after the bag inside the box. It tastes disgusting, like vinegar but it’s cheap. The day was so long waiting around till 12am, I eventually ran out of food and drink which resorted to me taking a nap. 12am finally hit and the fireworks were spectacular, was it worth waiting over 12 hours for? I would say no but this for me was something I wanted to tick off my bucket list.
The nightlife in Sydney is dotted all over the city with mostly bars being where I stayed and the clubs mostly were in Kings Cross. I didn’t head over that way much as it was a pain to get to.
To try something different we walked to an outdoor film festival, it was rather cold as it was venturing into night time but this was something I had never done before. Hundreds of people sat round large TV screens watching short clips that were up for awards. As we sat and watched into the night bats flew above up, they were the size of sea gulls. We also walked to a comedy night (it took 2 hours longer to get there as we went the wrong route) it was really good to hear some Australian humour and something totally different then just getting drunk.
One day trip that must be done is the Blue Mountains. This is only 1 and a half hours away and is a totally different world to the city. The area is full of flies in the Summer so this is a major pain but the views are worth seeing! As we only had a day we only saw the three sisters and Wentworth Falls.
The shopping in Sydney is great, there are chain stores all along the main streets, George Street and Elizabeth Street. I was always a regular in Cotton On. There is also a huge indoor market which sells bargains, it runs in the morning everyday.
A lot of the people here are backpackers and Sydney is such a backpacker friendly city. There are so many bars and restaurants offering deals for backpackers which so handy when you are short on money. Some nights we would all eat out and other nights we would cook together like a family, I loved it.
Verdict: I love Sydney. I felt at home here and the knew place so well. I was sad to leave and really want to return. Go Back? For sure.