Another few tips to spend the summer in Sydney, read the first tips here.
Fifth: go out and explore!
Sydney is a great city for walking. And your legs get that excercise they have been begging for all year long 😉 Don’t be mistaken: Sydney is not flat! From our home base, we could easily cross the Harbour Bridge and get into The Rocks, the harbour area with Circular Quay, the Opera House and the Botanic Gardens (with Ms McQuaries Steps), and into the city centre.
But just as well we stayed around our home base, and explored the area. Kirribilli has no more secrets to us. Perhaps we shouldn’t have to mention it in a travel blog, because it hasn’t been discovered by many tourists yet. They don’t seem to get any further than Kirribilli Point at night for a wonderful sunset view over the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Some people may get to the Admiral’s House (the official residence of the Prime Minister), or perhaps ot Lady Gowry Park (what a nice spot!). But not any further.
On the other side of the Bridge lays Milsons Point. Again, tourists only come here for the Luna Park and the sunset views. In North Sydney, Blues Point Reserve is the perfect lookout for another view over the Bridge. And just a little bit further lays one of our favourite hidden spots: Sawmiller Reserve. From our home base, we also walked all the way to Bradley’s Head via Kirribilli, Kurraba, Cremorne Point and Mosman. This is part of the walking coastal sydney route.
If you’re more into biking, we could suggest taking the ferry to Manly and rent a bike. We did just exactly that, and won the fight with our heavy cruiser bike to get to Dee Why Beach. This was not the most fun bike ride ever, but we did prove the rental guys wrong. With this kind of bike you should just cruise along the Corso and the beach. We got back along the North Curl Curl Beach and Freshwater. A must-do!
Another way to discover what Manly has to offer, is to walk. More precisely: walk to Shelly Beach and get the stairs at the beach to the starting point of the walk to North Head which lays in the Harbour National Park. Once you get to North Head, after some kilometres through the bush, you’ll be rewarded by an amazing view over the gap (the entrance/exit of the harbour) and the city.
From our appartement, it was just a 10-minute walk to the North Sydney ferry stop, or a fifteen-minute walk to the Milsons Point stop. Sydney is build around the natural harbour. And they know how to build a very convenient ferry network to get you around that harbour as well! Whether it is the obvious Manly, the popular Darling Harbour, or one of the many other stops, we absolutely love the Sydney ferry!
Our favourite stop (for years now) is Watsons Bay. The walk to the Hornby Lighthouse is very pleasant, and the view over the gap is amazing! This side of the harbour is known as South Head. And because now we had time, we walked for the very first time all the way to Bondi.
It is just an amazing route! On one site the ocean, on the other the city. And from Bondi Beach it is easy to get back to the city centre (the easiest would be to take a bus to the train station Central, and a train from there, it’s also possible to take a bus all the way to Circular Quay).
Cockatoo Island is also a great place to walk around. The only way to get there is by (any sort of) boat. The place has a great history, but this time we went there for one reason: street art. Unfortunately, the great art of ROA is wiped out for just one reason: Angelina Jolie recorded a movie here …
The train station North Sydney is just around the corner, so we could easily get around by train and bus as well. Balmain was one of the areas we visited by bus. Here you’ll find (rather surprisingly) the other cruise terminal. A bit hidden, and further out of the city centre and the Harbour Bridge, so we guess probably cheaper. Balmain is a residential area, no tourists, and therefore we liked it. We found an old warehouse of Palmolive, probably referring to the days back in time when the harbour was an actual trading centre.
By train it is easy to get to Erskineville and Newtown. Just go and discover some amazing street art! It is a very alternative area, and a bit out of the hustle and bustle of the city centre. A self guided walk to find the best art you can find here.
Another interesting area to go is Balmoral Beach. We took a bus to get there, and then walked towards Inner Head. With a beautiful view over the harbour, and the gap at the other side. Via Georges Head lookout and the Clifton Gardens, we reached Bradleys Head. The walk took like forever to complete. It was actually about 7 km.
From our train station, as I mentioned before, Bondi is just an easy ride away. We did this tour a few times. One time to finally walk the complete the Bondi to Coogee walk (which we never did before, shame on us!). The most special part of this walk? For sure the Waverley Cemeterie!
Sixt: Sydney is more than a city. It has some beaches and national parks to offer as well. The Harbour National Park is the most obvious park to visit if you are in town. Because it sort of is in town 🙂 But the Royal National Park is about 40 km from town, and the Northern Beaches are within easy reach by bus (take the B-line).
From North Sydney station, we had a perfect starting point to get to Palm Beach, the most northern beach. It took a long time to get there (one hour and a half), but what a view! We didn’t take the Home and Away tour, but we walked all the way to the Barrenjoey lighthouse, and had a perfect view over that other National Park: Ku Ring Gai Chase NP. We didn’t visit it, but if we go back, it would be a perfect weekend break! Just an amazing day out we had that day!
Seventh: eating in Sydney. Sydney is a melting pot, mainly of Asian and European people, which is off course reflected in the food. It’s easy to find good food in Sydney. Whether it’s on one of the many markets, or you go out for lunch/dinner. Be aware though. For Europeans, this city is expensive. We had a fully equiped appartement, which I used quite a lot. Coocking you’re own dinner is still the most economic 🙂
But nonetheless, we have some good eating-out tips as well: Stir Thai has a few eateries across town and offers cheap but amazing good food. The world-known brand Vapiano has a reastaurant in Sydney (King Street) and has fresh and cheap pasta’s and pizza’s. Fishmongers is our favourite fish&chips (in Manly), but we found Bottom of the Harbour Seafoods in Balmoral also a great place to have a proper grilled fish&chips.
In this blogpost we listed about everything we did in Sydney during a month. You might miss some things. Therefore check or previous blogpost on Sydney here. It wasn’t our first time in this oh so amazing city, and for sure, it won’t be our last time! It’s always a pitty to leave, but a pleasant return! Where else in the world do you get a warm welcome back from the custom officers at the airport?! See you next time Sydney! You where again, more than amazing, the greatest place on earth.