Some time ago I knew I wanted to plan a big bucket list type. I knew when I was going to go and where I would stay, so I started my planning in early. Then, I came up with the idea that this could be an early birthday gift for myself and my mom since we share a birthday. I originally wanted to go to Seychelles, but when I couldn’t finance the trip for both of us, I settled on Sydney, Australia.
With Sydney, I would save on airfare for my mom and myself by flying standby and still have a decent vacation to pay for everything else without struggling. Since Sydney wasn’t my first choice, my mom and I both had a hard time getting excited about the trip. In fact, the excitement didn’t really hit until the day we were scheduled to leave. We flew standby from Houston to Los Angeles and then once we got to LAX, there were two flights going to Sydney. We got on the last flight from LAX to SYD by the grace of a much higher power. We barely made the flight, but something about potentially not making it to Australia got us excited about going. I remember thinking “It is meant for us to go on this trip!”. After a long flight, the flight crew gave us some tips as far as transportation and we took the train from the airport to the hotel which was centrally located in Circular Quay and just a few blocks from the Harbour. Here’s how we spent our time in Sydney.
The first day, we set out on foot exploring the immediate surroundings and took a ton of photos of the Harbour and the Sydney Opera House. We made it until 7 pm Sydney before we crashed, but we did make loose plans for the coming days.
The next day we purchased day passes for the hop-on-hop-off water ferry. Sydney is a city surrounded by water and water ferry/taxi was a fast and fun way to get around. It’s also a great way to check out the beautiful skylines and coast. One of the stops we made was Taronga Zoo. We went early in the day and all the animals were out and about. We paid a little extra and actually got up and close with two koalas. It was definitely worth the extra money and my pal River was very photogenic!
Our next stop was Watson’s Bay. The homes were lovely and we met a gentleman on our walk to one of the beaches who informed us his two-bedroom home, five blocks from the beach was worth four million dollars. Once we reached the beach, I could see why the homes were so valuable in Watson’s Bay. About 1/4 mile of the beach was a nude beach called Lady Bay Beach which was by far my favorite beach in Australia. We then hopped on the ferry again and headed to Manly Beach. As the day was winding down, we took a break and lounged by the water. The night ended by us hopping on the ferry to head back to the hotel. We caught a beautiful view of the skyline and Opera House under the moonlight.
Early on we realized how pricey Sydney could be in terms of eating out. Upon the recommendation of the concierge at the hotel, we checked out a place called Pancakes on The Rocks. It’s your typical diner-style food but it was good and reasonable. We hopped on the water ferry and headed to Darling Harbour where we shopped, took more pictures, and found a happy hour where we sipped Australian wine and munched on appetizers.
I’m a beach girl. I can go to a beach, lay out and play in the water all day. My mom, not so much. She compromised and we took the bus from the Circular Quay area to Bondi Beach. I’ll be honest, I did not like the bus as much as I liked the water ferry, but once we made it to Bondi, the long (and dull) ride was worth it. The bus did come with headphones and each seat was audio accessible giving random facts and history about the different areas of Sydney we passed through. But overall, Bondi was awesome. The Bondi to Coogee walk was almost too beautiful for me to describe, and the way the indigo water contrasted against the azure sky sans clouds was breathtaking. Even though I thought it was too cool (around 75 degrees) to get in the water, I couldn’t resist and it was enjoyable.
For our last day in Sydney, my mom and I decided we weren’t going to leave without one last adventure, so we bought tickets to tour The Sydney Opera House. Our tour guide Chris was very knowledgeable and my favorite fact was that there are only sixteen people worldwide who are trained to play the organ that is in the Opera House. We took entirely too many pictures but we still made it to the airport on time for our 2:45 PM flight.
Sydney was not my first choice for a “bucket list, treat yo’self, wait where did you go” type of vacation, but the time spent there was magical. It was a beautiful place and I plan to go back and explore different cities! My mom enjoyed Australia as well and I am very happy I got to treat her to a vacation since she has instilled the love of other cultures in me. Happy traveling!