Before I even get started, this post about my weekend in Sydney goes to my mom. I almost did not take this trip, but my mom said that I “could not go to Australia and skip seeing the Sydney Opera House.” I wanted to save some of the money I was making over here (I just graduated college, which is another way to say “I have no money”). Going to Sydney was going to be an expensive trip, so I was just going to do without. But my mom made a deal that if I bought the plane ticket then she would pay for my Bed and Breakfast and some of my meals as an early birthday present. So here’s to you mom: you are the best!
When I first arrived in Sydney, it was raining. I took the train from the airport to Surry Hills and had lunch at a cute café named Rustic Pearl. After the rain cleared, I headed for the Opera House. It was about an hour walk away from where I was at. I walked through Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens on my way there. They are absolutely worth the time to go through. I finally made it to the famous Sydney Opera House, and while it is a must see, it is also a huge tourist attraction. Crowds of people surround the area taking their photos and admiring the architecture while street performers are trying to make a buck. The Sydney Harbor Bridge is also in sight as well as many shops and places to eat. I stopped at Angel Place to see “Forgotten Songs”, a display of fifty empty bird cages hanging from wires in an alley. I fell in love with the display because I have always felt such a connection to the metaphor of an empty cage. After exploring around the city, I headed to Pyrmont where I was going to stay for the night.
I stayed at an AirB&B for the first time during this trip. My travel tip #1: book with AirB&B. It is a network of people around the world who rent out their houses or one of their rooms to travelers. It is much more comfortable than the typical hostel and way cheaper than a hotel. I rented a cute room from a French family who were going away for the weekend. I would definitely use AirB&B again.
That night I found a cute crepe place to eat dinner and walked around the city a bit before hitting the sack. Early the next day, I headed out on a tour of the Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves. On the way we stopped at Glenbrook, a town at the foot of the mountains for brunch. They were having their Saturday market, which was fun to explore and get a few treats from the vendors. Then we headed to the caves. The roads to get there were some of the smallest I have ever been on. We got there and almost immediately went on a tour of the Lucas Cave, one of the largest of the Jenolan Caves. While it was beautiful and had some impressive stalagmites and stalactites, I must say that I was not blown away. I have been spelunking several times, so I struggled to stay entertained through a detailed tour full of tourists who wanted to take a photo of every cavern. I might have enjoyed it more had I gone through it alone. After we finished the hour and a half tour, it was back to the bus to head to the Blue Mountains.
On our way to the mountains, our guide told us one of the folk tales of how the Three Sisters got their name. There were three sisters who were being pursued by a man their father did not like, so he turned the sisters to stone to protect them, but he was killed fighting the man, and no one else could turn them back. Once we got there we got to explore the area and go down the world’s steepest railway. There are waterfalls and neat rock formations to walk around. After some time there, we headed back to the city.
That night I hung out at Chinatown and ate some delicious Malaysian food. Travel tip #2: Go to Chinatown in Sydney! This Chinatown was one of the best I have been to and I wish I could have stayed longer. If you are in Sydney, you definitely need to check it out. After dinner, I went to Darling Harbor to watch the fireworks that go off every Saturday night.
The next morning, I got up early and headed to Bondi beach. It was about an hour and a half commute to Bondi, but totally worth it. Bondi beach is beautiful. You can watch the surfers catch the waves, admire the murals made by local artists, or just take in the beauty of God’s creation. After an hour at the beach, I grabbed some lunch and then headed back to the airport to catch my flight back to Melbourne.
I really enjoyed my weekend in Sydney. I honestly wish I had more time there and would definitely be up for going back again someday.