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Australia express

A five night stopover in Sydney

sunny 30 °C
View Just a big holiday on ClareAndTom's travel map.

Kings Cross in Sydney is as insalubrious as its namesake in London. Looking to stay somewhere lively, we chose a hostel here, where Clare had stayed seven years earlier, as our base for exploring the city.


We couldn’t visit Sydney without seeing its iconic sights, so we climbed up one of the Harbour Bridge pylons for a great view over the city.

Overlooking the bridge at the top of the pylon

And looking the other way, the Opera House, Circular Quay and the CBD


We had great weather during our stay, and the Opera House looked fantastic sparkling in the sunshine

Enjoying some science at the Powerhouse Museum – this was the best bit, a lot of the other stuff was broken or a bit dry

We spent quite a lot of time just wandering around the city, soaking it all in. The people seemed very healthy, well dressed and beautiful. The atmosphere was really relaxed, and there were pleasant little parks and dappled shady areas dotted about.

The city centre has some impressive old buildings

The Rocks area had some cool little shops and cafes – we picked up lunch here a couple of times…

…and ate it in the nearby park, which had a reasonable view

One afternoon we took a ferry to Manly, a cool seaside suburb on the other side of Sydney Harbour. It was a gorgeous day and lots of people must have finished work early, as they were all out sailing – we were beginning to see the appeal of living here.


Massive ice cream! Tom was also impressed with the self-serve sauce arrangement

Manly Beach

Clare, with the flat her parents used to live in in the background – we could imagine living on the beach too. Surf’s up!

Australia has a lot of dangerous things that are intent on killing you

There was a surfing championship going on while we were at Manly…

…and a skateboarding competition

As we travelled back on the ferry, the CBD looked cool silhouetted in the late afternoon light


We strolled back through the Botanic Gardens as dusk fell, meaning we got to see the cockatoos and bats that live there. We then passed through the trendy Woolloomooloo (are there any words with more than eight “o”s?!) area.


Giant fruit bats sleeping during the day…

…and flying at dusk

Lots of trendy waterfront restaurants in Woolloomooloo, a bit too pricey and smart for us backpackers though

Instead we opted for pie and mash at the legendary Harry’s Café de Wheels, a Woolloomooloo institution since 1945. Also, look at Tom's hair! This is really why we couldn't eat anywhere smart

Bright lights of the city behind us as we return to Kings Cross (Sydney)

Another famous Sydney landmark, the giant Coca-Cola sign in Kings Cross

Another night, another dining experience, this time a Czech restaurant. Tom felt short-changed over his beer size

After a few days wandering around Sydney, we felt it was time to escape the city, so hopped on a train to the Blue Mountains. Only a couple of hours journey, the sleepy mountain towns felt like a world away from the bustle of the city. We also got to travel on a double-decker train – we chose to sit upstairs!

The Three Sisters, showing the haze which gives the Blue Mountains their name


We climbed part way down the enormous cliffs – the scale of the place was incredible, and made us feel tiny. Tom was reminded of a greener version of the Grand Canyon


Don’t jump!

We had a day packed with watery experiences, kicked off with a visit to the fish market – the second largest in the world. Unfortunately, the auctions and action are now closed to the public, but there were still lots of fish shops to browse around.


Then we paid a visit to the aquarium which was excellent. Tom was excited to see a real-life duck billed platypus, and Clare enjoyed seeing blue penguins (like we saw in New Zealand) close up.

Not the best photo, but it’s a duck billed platypus


In the afternoon we spent ages getting to Bondi Beach, looking forward to some sunbathing and surfing. No sooner had we staked out our beach spot, the sky turned into something we’d only seen in Ghostbusters – we abandoned beach plans and went for a walk around the headland.


Looking back towards Bondi Beach

Weird, wind-blown rocks

The shady, tree-lined streets around our hostel were home to these attractive colonial-style houses

Clare at Mrs Macquaries Point – an ideal viewpoint for two of Sydney’s main landmarks

All too soon our time in Sydney was over and it was time to head to our next destination: Borneo, via Singapore. Australia, you've been fun and we'll be back to explore you properly next time...

Posted by ClareAndTom 03:00 Archived in Australia

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