Australia – you stunner. Of all the places I have visited, practically speaking, I feel like Australia boasts some of the very best quality of life. It’s incredibly safe. It’s clean, sophisticated and welcoming, while still feeling genuine and exotic as hell. The seafood and food scene in general is unreal. And, it still feels like a wild place. Kangaroos and kolas roam the coasts. Glittering lorikeets fill the trees. Fruit bats swoop over Hyde park at twilight. The thought of living in a tropical city, where you spend weekends exploring the dazzling coastline, glittering beaches and hidden coves, appeals to me like no other. A week visiting Australia and I was already scheming in my mind – how can I make this life change?!
Lounging with roos’, visiting koalas and other Aussie critters at animal reserves
The beaches – that first glimpse of iconic Bondi is such a showstopper
Top notch seafood – looking at you king prawns
Lorikeets chittering from tree to tree and fruit bats swooping through the night sky
Drinks at the Opera House and fireworks at Darling Harbour
What to Do:
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Oh, this wonderful place. We had a fabulous time feeding the little ‘roos and other Aussie creatures. We even held a koala. Buy the food as you walk in and feed the little creatures and wallabies. They eat from your hand 🙂 A friend from South Africa told us about this hidden gem. Better and less crowded then Taronga Zoo.
Koalas sleep for up to 22 hours a day – an animal after my own heart I must confess. I did a lot of research beforehand as I didn’t want to do anything that might cause an animal stress. All proceeds go to the animal sanctuary, and the koalas are treated carefully and respectfully.
Though cosmopolitan, Australia still feels like a wild place. I love it.
Happy Hour at The Rocks
The Rocks is the historic end of town known for it’s pubs. We stopped at The Argyle and loved it! It had great happy hour drinks/snacks and bustling atmosphere. We grabbed a couple of drinks, and lounged in the patio strung with twinkly lights enjoying the vibe. It’s a great place to take a wander, and it also has markets on Fridays and the weekend. Some background info: Circular Quay and The Rocks is where you will find most of the Sydney landmarks – the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
There are lots of places to take some greats shots of the bridge. We walked across it for a great vantage point, then had dinner on the other side. Plenty of choices including Thai, Indian, Asian fusion, you name it. We had a wonderful time walking around Hyde park and watching the massive fruit bats swoop around the trees at twilight. We couldn’t believe it when we saw a huge shape obscure the clouds for a moment and both thought – is that flying fox in downtown Sydney?! The trees are literally full of them. It’s amazing.
Ah, Bondi Beach. That cerulean water! The absurdly beautiful people! The frothy cotton candy clouds! There are several adorable cafes lining the promenade for lunch, we chose The Bucket List for fish and chips. We couldn’t believe the way beach goers just left their items on their towels while they went for a swim. This beach is SAFE. Note – that water is cold! We also took a stroll along the coast, beginning at Iceburg’s pool, and continuing along the path to Coogee. Highly recommend. You can do Bondi to Bronte (around 2miles) or walk the entire way to Coogee if you’re feeling energetic! Our friend recommended Coogee as one of their favorite city beaches.
Drinks at the Opera House
Stop and have a glass of bubbly and take in the iconic views at the Opera House bar. Take a moment and revel in the fact that you are visiting Australia! Toast the wonder that is Sydney.
Great way to see the harbour is by public ferry. Much cheaper than any of the private options and it’s the same route. Jump on any ferry to Manly from Circular Quay. Manly is a nice beach suburb so when you get off you can explore the area, have a swim, grab lunch, etc. Enjoy the great views of Luna Park: an iconic theme park that also has a nice bar/restaurant inside with a great view of the bridge. Note – I got a little seasick, which is insane because the ride was very smooth, but if you are sensitive, I recommend taking that into account.
Fireworks at Darling Harbour
Strolling home in the balmy evening after a day of playing with roos and sightseeing, we were surprised and thrilled by a fireworks display in Darling Harbour. Displays take place Saturday evening over Cockle Bay. Watching the sky explode into magenta and blood reds and fire oranges, listening to the water gently lap against the harbour we thought to ourselves – what a fabulous city!
Good eats/drinks in Darling Harbour: Everywhere is pretty good along the water. Some of our favorites include Crinitis (Italian), The Port (nice spot for drinks), Adria, and Nicks Seafood.
Aside: a seagull landed on my shoulder and tried to steal my fries in Darling Harbour. Fucking what?! I thought Fisherman’s Wharf had well prepared me for the most aggressive seagulls of all time!
All the food in Sydney is pretty to die for. Fresh seafood, great Thai and Indian and other Asian options. Of course, of course, we had to try the pies: this winner from Harry’s Cafe De Wheels was suggested by a friend who lives in Sydney. We went for the works: chicken & mushroom pie topped with a scoop of mash potatoes and mushy peas. Quite tasty. I still think South Africa serves the very best though. Shhhh…
Next – off to the Gold Coast for beach time, seafood and wild life galore!