Unfortunately due to flights back to England tripling in price during the Christmas period, I only had a couple of days in Sydney. My time here was short but sweet.
As previously mentioned, I had been advised by many of my friends that Sydney is very different from Melbourne and that most people tend to prefer one or the other. Having had a great time in Melbourne I was ready to pronounce myself a Melbourne Fan...until I got to Sydney.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved Melbourne but I found it very European. Sydney on the other hand reminded me that I was in Australia, and I loved it.
So, with limited time this is what I got up to over the two days:
We used Airbnb to find an apartment in a central location and couldn't have found a better place. The apartment was a 5 minute walk from Darling Harbour, right on the outskirts of the central CBD and at the heart of countless shops, bars and restaurants.
The apartment itself was a dream clean, stylish and cozy, our host really went above and beyond to make us feel welcome.
Our host left us clean towels, toiletries, bottles of water next to the bed, milk in the fridge as well as a bottle of wine and chocolates. These touches made our stay extra special.
The entire apartment was incredibly well presented and stylish. The host's good taste and keen eye for design is apparent as soon as you walk in.
DARLING HARBOUR BY NIGHT
When we first arrived we ventured out for a walk around Darling Harbour. It was very lively with everyone enjoying the warm evening by walking around, having drinks and dining at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront.
GEORGE'S MEDITERRANEAN BAR & GRILL
As we walked around we built up an appetite so decided to stop at one of the restaurants by the harbour. We liked the sound of the Mezze Banquet at George's Mediterranean Bar & Grill and ended up having a Greek feast!
DARLING HARBOUR BY DAY
The next day we walked through the Harbour in the day and caught the Ferry to Manly Beach. The Ferry is a brilliant way to get a free tour of the city by water....You don't need to pay extra to do it by boat!
On our ferry ride to Manly Beach we went passed the Lunapark, the Harbour Bridge and of course the Great Opera House!
Manly Beach was not what I expected...but not in a bad way. As you leave the ferry it feels like you have disembarked in a little seaside village.
Cobble streets lined with shops and palm-trees lead you down to a beautiful sandy beach where boys and girls with golden tans and laid back attitudes enjoy the sun and the sea.
The beach is big and sandy and although it was busy it wasn't overly crowded.
We also visited Bondi Beach and found that the best way to get there (at least from where we were staying) was by Bus. The drive takes approximately 40 minutes but it is pleasant and you get the opportunity to see parts of residential Sydney.
Bondi Beach was also sandy and beautiful but I found the surrounding area not as picturesque as that of Manly Beach.
The vibe here was artsy, quirky & relaxed - to be honest, it was what I expected an Astralian beach to be like. The restaurant scene also seemed to be on point - so of course I stopped somewhere for lunch!
....On cue, Restaurant blog entry to follow
We came across this restaurant whilst walking down to the beach from the bus stop. As I looking at everyone enjoying their perfectly presented brunches, my mouth began to water so an hour later when I was hungry we promptly came back asking for a table!
The design and layout of the restaurant was clean and airy, the food was absolutely delicious and although the price of our lunch was't exactly backpacker friendly, it was good value for money and as it was one of our last meals in Australia we weren't too strict on our spending!
HOW TO GET AROUND
Below are a few examples of the Fairs for Buses and Ferries. You can find more information here
The rest of my time in Sydney was unfortunately spent packing 1 year worth of travels back into my backpack and getting ready to head to the airport at 3am to begin a journey back to England which would last 25 hours (not fun!)
I really wish I had had more time here, especially because I actually ended up liking Sydney a lot more than I thought...I even liked it more than Melbourne.
Had I had more time, I definitely would have liked to do a couple of walks like the Manly to Coogey walk or the Manly Beach to Spit Bridge walk (Time out has a great list of walks you can do).
I also really wanted to do a day trip to the Blue Mountains, Climb the Harbour Bridge and much much more. But hey, I am grateful for all the amazing things I got to do in the short two days and I look forward to coming back and doing the rest!