Friends are always asking me for suggestions of what to do in one of my other ‘hometowns’, Sydney
. When people say they’ve always dreamed of going to Australia, I say “go!” Seriously my passport is worn out but that long flight I’ve been doing since my Aussie mum was preggers with me, is totally worthwhile the second you see the Harbour, sailboats dotting the landscape, and a quick sweeping view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Did you know you can climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge? I’ve done it twice. I recently suggested this to my friend Dave, the inspiration for this blog. He responded “You want me to climb a BRIDGE?!” Yes Dave I do. Trust me, this is an incredible way to see how Sydney lays out and orientate yourself geographically. The veiws are spectacular. There is an instruction, a fabulous jumpsuit and you get strapped to a line. It takes about 2 hours. There was a Tina Turner Ad for HBO you may recall “Your Simply The Best” that was filmed atop that bridge. It is thrilling to see the cars rushing underneath you if you bother to look straight down. There are moments of extreme caution so even though a sunset climb might sound appealing, it’s a bit treacherous navigating the steps down in some spots so for the semi-freaked out a nice morning climb is reccommended.
Ever dreamed of being Jason Bourne? Well Matt Damon climbed this sucker, but to sooth your fears so has the cast of “Glee” in case you Gleeks are still a little anxious. This requieres no physical skill!
Head to Circular Quay (this is also the stop for The Opera House) taking the ferry (30 minutes) or the Jetcat (15 minutes and more expensive) to Manly Beach. Skip the initial beach when you arrive, follow the crowds across the street to the Esplanade. Go all the way down, it ends in a spectacular beach that has three main parts. If you walk to the left you are headed towards The Steyne to the right, around the twists and turns you’ll find the darling Shelly Beach, which Bill Bryson captured so brilliantly in his book ‘In A Sunburned Country.’ Snorkeling or diving is fruitful so bring your own equipment or rent it on the beach.
If you are the sort of person who thinks a day on the beach is semi-boring (why are you going to Australia?) one of my favorite things to do is hit the walk from the Spit Bridge back to Manly. The easy way to do this from the city (and wear good shoes) take the ferry to Manly. Head to the left where you will pass the small aquarium. Go up around the back, climbing the stairs and you will see signs for the nature walk. It takes about two hours to complete. You can swim in the inlets. It will leave out at Spit Junction. You can either take a bus back to Manly and have a nice lunch there or grab a bus to the city. Be careful crossing the road. It’s a main throughfare.
Sundays are a great day at the pub! Any pub whether it’s Darling Harbor or The Rocks or Elizabeth Bay, Watson’s Bay. Hmm, seems to me I’ve hit all of those and more. Forget your trigylcerid count and have a good time at the pub!
Here’s some tips from my very hip cousin, Celeste, a native of Sydney. When her limo failed to show up for her prom, I drove her and her friends from the suburbs in her dad’s refurbished Bentley. Shhh, he still doesn’t know! ha.
JET BOATING ON SYDNEY HARBOUR
lots of different companies do them – cost is approx $60pp
PADDINTON MARKETS AND OXFORD ST SHOPPING – saturdays
IVY POOL NIGHTCLUB + Uccello Restaurant
The’changeroom‘ is under the pool – there is a cocktail bar there etc. go upstairs to the pool. Bring your swimsuit if you like to walk around in a bikini!!! Can you say FABULOUS?
LUNCH AT WATSONS BAY HOTEL get there by bus or ferry from Circular Quay
NORTH BONDI ITALIAN
great food great view
ICEBERGS RESTAURANT BONDI
My own tips: Bondi markets on Sunday! Take the train or bus over to Bondi Beach. As Cel told me when I was living in Manly, the people with ambition live in the Eastern Suberbs and hang at Bondi. Don’t worry, there are plenty of fast food places and hippie coffee joints if the high-end cafes are not for you. Mmm, order chips (fries) with hot chili sauce.
Australia has the best junk food in the world. Warning if you order an ice coffee or an ice chocolate these drinks are floats complete with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! I prefer to get a flat white for a straight up coffee with milk for my caffeine fix.
Kings Cross is not as seedy as it once was but it is the Times Square of Sydney.
QVC Building for shopping– a lot of brands are the same as in the US and more expensive. Don’t forget the conversion rate isn’t as great as it used to be.
If you have always dreamt of seeing a Koala (it’s not a bear, don’t make that mistake) take a ride on the ferry to TARONGA ZOO. If you get to hold one for a photo, do not mistake these loveable, territorial!!!! looking creatures for a baby. If your hand naturally slides to their bum, look out son you may end up with a hand full of poop and some claw marks. I once got stuck holding one for ten minutes (not at Taronga) and it was not light. I’m like, hello people anyone? Koalas mark their territory with pee just like dogs.
What’s the second worst sound in the world? A koala being shot, they sound like humans. The worst sound? Hearing it again two minutes later. I’m paraphasing from a video I saw in Sydney at the Powerhouse Museum. I prefer the MCA which is located at Circular Quay opposite the Opera House. One of my friends used to work at the Opera House so I’ve had a private tour there as well as seeing The Gypsy Princess complete with the requisite glass of champagne at intermission. It’s totally worth going to see a concert there. I’m sad I missed Crowded House’s Farewell To The World ‘final’ concert on the steps of the Opera House. Lucky me, a decade later they released a DVD and double disc of the whole thing and reunited.