It’s almost September! It’s a special month for Keith and I. It’s our wedding month. We can’t believe it has been five years since Our Tiny, Skinny Greek Wedding in Santorini. As we prepare to depart for our next anniversary trip, we fondly reminisce the wonderful trip we had for our first – in Australia. It seems like yesterday. Our first stop was Sydney where fell in love with its charming people, beautiful harbors, lovely surf beaches, its beautiful crazy sky, etc. Join us as we reminisce the things and places we enjoyed in Sydney.
1. The Rocks and The Rocks Market
We found The Rocks an interesting place to wander around in our first morningt in Sydney. It is the original European settlement in the city and is filled with architectural and cultural heritage.
We were delighted to stumble upon The Rocks Market, a weekend market selling a wide variety of local produce, wine, food, crafts and novelties. Set in beautiful cobbled streets, the market is a Sydney institution.
As fans of Australian wines, we were thrilled to find wine stalls at the market. We enjoyed tasting good local wines from boutique wineries in the New South Wales regions and chatting with the friendly vendors. This vendor not only informed us about the local wines but she also gave us practical travel tips around the city.
2. The Harbour, Cirqular Quay and the Opera House
Who wouldn’t be infatuated with the lovely view of the city skyline from the Circular Quay, the hub of the spectacular Sydney Harbour.
We liked the vibracy of Circular Quay. It is bustling with ferries sailing to different parts of the harbour. It also surrounded with wide array of excellent dining options.
Fun scene by the harbor. “We can’t believe you didn’t share some bits with us….:
The tantalizing Opera curves.
Soaking up the Sydney sunshine on the steps of the Opera House.
3. The Ferry Ride to Manly and the Sydney Sky
One of the tips that the friendly vendor at The Rock Markets gave us was to take a ferry to Manly Beach instead of taking one of the harbor cruises. She said that it was a lot less expensive and offered the same great view as the cruises. She was right.
Stunning Sydney sky!
Despite the spectacular view from the ferry, Keith couldn’t help indulging in one of his favorite pastime — napping. He may be a bit jetlaged but he really has a gift of snoozing anytime, anywhere.
After about half an hour, we reached the charming Manly Marina.
At Manly Beach, we had a relaxing time watching the late afternoon waves and the surfers.
On the ferry ride back to the Circular Quay, we were in awe of the even more dramatic sky and the view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from afar.
There seemed to be a fire on the horizon as we got closer to the harbour.
4. Sydney at Night
The evenings are lively by the harbour. We joined the locals as they enjoyed after-work happy hour at one of the outdoor bars by the waterfront.
Dining under the dramatic evening sky.
We were mesmerized at the sight of the moon shining over the Opera House.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge beautifully lit at night.
5. Bondi Beach
What could be more quintenssential Aussie experience than the fabulous Bondi Beach?
The colorful water and foamy waves of Bondi Beach.
The water looked inviting but we found the spring temperature a bit chilly to strip and take a dip…
…but obviously these adorable little Aussies didn’t think so…
.. as well as this bunch of local young men playing football on the beach.
Since it was a bit chilly for us to enjoy the water, we took a nice short hike instead on the scenic clifftop trail.
The lovely view from the clifftop trail.
Lively and colorful, Sydney’s Chinatown is a fascinating mesh of restaurants, food halls and quirky shops. We appreciate it not only for its delicious offerings but also for the cultural diversity it represents.
7. The Royal Botanical Gardens
The tranquil botanical garden was established in 1816 as the colony’s vegetable patch. Today, it is home to incredible collection of plants from within and outside Austaralia. We found it a lovely place to take a leisurely stroll, go for picnics, and catch a good view of the harbour.
The bats colonies (left) were one of the things that fascinated us at the garden. We heard that the management repeatedly tried to oust them because they destroyed vegetation, but they just keep hanging around. We were also fascinated with unique species of plants such as the Wollemi Pines (right), one of the rarest plant in the world.
Located in the northeastern tip of the botanical garden is Mrs. Macquaries Point, named after the wife of a former governor who ordered that this chair be chiselled into a rock from where she could view the harbour.
View of the harbour from Mrs. Macquaries’s chair.
8. The Art Gallery of NSW
For a great art scene, we headed to The Art Gallery of NSW, one of Australia’s leading cultural institutions, where we enjoyed viewing the masterpieces of great Australian artists.
9. Hyde Park
With its serene setting and lush greeneries, we had a very relaxing time at Hyde Parks, one of the oldest public park located in the city center. The sky writing over the park was a delightful treat.
10. Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is a pleasant recreational area along Cockle Bay with a wide array of entertainment and dining establishments. It is popular for family outings.
The wharf at Cockle Bay bathed in golden light at sunset.
What made my time in Sydney even more special was my reunion with wonderful friends I went to high school with in the Philippines and who now reside in Sydney. We had not seen each other since I left the Philippines for New York. It was a precious time.
We had a wonderful Sydney experience and we hope you enjoyed reminiscing it with us. We look forward to return to this beautiful city and to scratch it beneath the surface.
Next stop – Soulful Melbourne!