At last my long adventure had come to an end. First the South Pole, then a whole month in New Zealand, and I was finally headed back to the states. But first! A quick stopover in Sydney!
The way my flight scheduling worked out, I arrived in Sydney from Christchurch at about 6pm on a Friday, and my flight to Honolulu wasn’t scheduled until 6pm on Saturday! Meaning I had exactly 24 hours to enjoy this beautiful city. Now, I’ve read a lot of different blog posts about visiting Sydney in 24-48 hours, however after so much traveling and being organized I wanted a break from planning things and decided to wing it. In the end it was a perfect day!
For my one night in town I decided to splurge on an awesome hotel room at the Sydney Harbor Mariott, which was so nice and totally worth it. I was so sick of hostels. Also, everything else cheaper was booked because of yet another world cup cricket match. Jeez, always with the cricket! (Which I guess Australia just beat New Zealand in the final match yesterday.)
The night I arrived I got dinner with my friend Jenn from the South Pole and we walked up Pitt Street and ate at a really amazing noodle place while catching up on our travels. Afterwards we walked around a bit through the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) and then down around Circular Quay (pronounced “kee” which is entirely confusing). It was wonderful to see the famous Sydney Opera House all lit up at night, and only made me more excited to get out and explore the next day.
So the next morning at 7:00am, not wasting any time, I headed down to Circular Quay for a gorgeous morning walk to the opera house. Not many people out and about yet, so it was a peaceful way to begin the day! Pictured here is even the little café that I had lunch at later on…
And of course, gorgeous views of the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House!
After circling the opera house I headed south towards the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park and St. Mary’s Cathedral. The architecture definitely reminded me of my few trips to London, but at the same time it was a lovely, hot, sunny day with a more tropical feel. Gorgeous! I wandered around the park for quite a while looking at the cool surrounding buildings and many statues of dead famous people.
Then headed back into the city center and saw the Sydney Town Hall, another gorgeous building. At this point it was almost nine in the morning, I had been walking for two hours, and I was absolutely starving. Time for breakfast at the QVB!
I loved this mall. The swanky stores are on the top and middle, and the cheaper ones were on the bottom. And there are tunnels connecting all of the buildings! Can be confusing… And there’s this silly talking dog statue out front, which is kind of annoying.
Anyway, I had a delicious breakfast at the Parisi café inside the QVB. It was adorable and delicious and I could have stayed there through lunch, but there was so much more to see!
I went for a long stroll down George Street heading in the direction of The Rocks district. The Rocks is a historic section of Sydney with lots of old buildings, and being there on a Saturday I found a large market spanning several closed-off streets with crafts, gifts, clothing and foods of all sorts.
From there I climbed up and walked halfway across the Harbor Bridge for some more stunning views of the city and the opera house.
The city became more and more alive as the day progressed—in the morning it had been silent and now it was all hustle and bustle. And a cruise ship had pulled into port so now there were people everywhere. Down by the harbor bridge though it was relatively quieter.
After some more walking through the markets I headed back to Circular Quay for lunch at the Portobello Café, with an amazing view.
If I had more time to explore the surrounding area I would have loved to travel around by ferry to some of the other areas nearby. And I definitely would have gone to the famous Bondi beach! I’m really glad that I at least got to spend a bit of time here. Sydney was by far the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to!
Here is roughly the walking route I used for the day:
And now I’m finally home in California! Usually I’m a busy bee and I always have a serious case of the travel bug, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be home before. Ahhh…
…Now what do I do?