I almost skipped Sydney on my trip to Australia. I didn’t think there was anything there that I wanted to see (other than the Harbour Bridge and Opera House), so I settled for two and a half days. SO DUMB. I promise that if you go to Sydney, or really any other place for that matter, you will always find more things that you want to do, so plan for a couple days more than you think you need unless you’re strapped for time.
I left Cairns in the morning and arrived at the airport in Sydney around noon. By the time I took the metro to Central Station (close to my hostel) and I actually found my hostel after wandering around (my phone’s GPS hated Sydney), it was 2PM. I was so tired, but there was not time to waste, so I set off on foot to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge to see that iconic view with my own eyes.
I always like to walk in a city to get a genuine feel for it, but that was quite a walk, probably because I got lost a lot (again, thank you GPS). I eventually made it at 3:30ish and took a stroll on the bridge. Since I was already there, I decided to stay for a tour of The Rocks, which was a free walking tour that shared stories of the origin of Sydney, as well as some darker stories of its past. The tour lasted until about 8PM, which is when I began the trek back to the hostel, stopping for a delicious lentil burger and a beer on the way.
I had booked a tour of the Blue Mountains before I left, and made my way to where it picked up (Sydney Central YHA) for a full day on the road. First stop was at Featherdale Wildlife Park, where we saw real-life quokkas (heart eyes), touched a wombat, and paid $20 to touch a kangaroo’s leg (kinda worth it?).
From there we got back on the bus and headed to Katoomba to get a view of the famous Three Sisters, which, by Aboriginal legend, are three women who were turned to stone. You’ll have to visit to hear the whole story (or just click the link I added above).
After everyone got their shots of the mountains, we headed down into them for a good hike. Our tour guide taught us about how the Aboriginal people would use the surrounding rocks to make paint, and how they would communicate between the mountains. The hike itself was physically demanding, but it was well worth it to experience the nature and culture away from herds of other tourists.
We headed back to Sydney and after a drink with some new friends from the trip, I called it a night and walked back to the hostel
The following day, I made it in time for the free walking tour of Sydney and spent a few hours learning more about its history and seeing more attractions. Afterward, a woman who was on the tour and I decided to try and make our way to Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, but by the time we got out there, it was raining and had gotten chilly. We still managed to dip our feet in the water before heading back to our hostels.
I had plans to meet up with a friend on my final night in Sydney. We went out for a drink (or too many) in Newtown, an area that was filled with restaurants and bars and was really busy for a Wednesday night. It wasn’t too late of a night though, because I had to be up early to check out of my hostel and get on a train for my trip to Melbourne.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sydney, but wished I had spent a few more days there. I would highly suggest making sure you check out the beaches on a nice day– maybe even take the Bondi to Coogee walk and get some exercise to walk off the calories you undoubtedly consumed the night before. If you only have a few days and can’t extend your time in Sydney, definitely check out the walking tours!