We arrived in Sydney just in time for the big event – New Year. Our flight from Hawaii was very bumpy (actually heard people on board screaming for the first time ever). But the first impression of Australia made us forget our flight very quickly.
We were a bit worried about the border control (after having some very weird experiences in the USA), but to our relief and surprise the guy at the border control was stereotypically Australian with: “G’day. Travelling together? You can both come. No worries. 🙂 ”. Our first impression was: “Now that’s different. “
Staying in Sydney over New Years can be pricey, especially if you start to search for accommodation too late (note, 15th December is too late 🙂 ). Our first choice Sydney Harbour YHA was ful, so we had to look for alternatives. We were lucky to find Airbnb hosts in Maroubra with a private room with ocean view. We enjoyed the great company of Helen and Neil and they made feel us like at home. It felt like we were on holiday together. 😀
So what to do in Sydney – we divided our recommendations on freebies and other.
Walk over the Harbour Bridge
If you pick the right day (not like us crossing it in a storm) it is a great walk from one side to the other. But we didn’t mind for the rain because we had great company in Andy and Maryam who we meet in Chile and ran into in Sydney. Great New Year’s gift. J Enjoy great views of The Opera house and the harbour and don’t forget to look up, because the structure is huge. On the other side (if you start like everyone else from Circular Quay) there is Luna Park with rollercoasters and more.
Climb the stairs of the Opera house
You can walk around and into the Opera house for free. Inside you can take a look of the visitor centre (tickets, souvenir shops), which can be found downstairs next to the Opera open kitchen and on top of the famous stairs.
Bondi to Cogee walk (in our case from Maroubra)
This is an amazing walk if you pick the right day. Because it was our last day we had to do it and it was pouring. Walking along the ocean is like meditation (at least for me) and on this walk you will see amazing bays, natural pools, surreal stone formations all accompanied with the sound of the ocean. Everyone usually does the walk in direction from Bondi to Cogee, but you can go even further to Maroubra (as the locals do) which was our favourite bay there.
Walk around Martins Place in Downtown
Admire the high buildings in Downtown, do some shopping in Westfield Shopping Mall and search for cute little churches tucked between the monstrous concrete.
Walk around The Rocks
When you walk on the Harbour Bridge, you´ll come to cobblestone streets, which look like an old English village – this The Rocks district. Visit George Street, Jack Mundey Place, Playfair Street at a weekend and be prepared for a market – either food, crafts, art, jewellery or fashion – all on 200+ stalls.
Opera house tour
It´s an amazing experience to see this beautiful building from the inside. On the tour they explain the whole story of choosing the architect and they take you to two of the biggest halls. We were very fortunate that at the time of our visit the Beatles tribute show “All you need is love” was just rehearsing and we got to hear to whole songs.
The Sydney tower
Inside the Westfield Shopping centre you can go up the Sydney tower which gives 3600 views of Sydney. Look forward to amazing views of the Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, Surry Hills, Paddington, Kings Cross and the Royal Botanical Gardens, but unfortunately no clear view of the Opera house.
Ferry to Manly
Manly Beach is a stretch of golden sand 20-30 minutes ferry ride away from Circular Quay. The ride itself is nice as you get to see the Opera house from different angles as well as other Sydney suburban districts. Once on “the other side” walk out of the ferry station, cross the road and stroll the busy shopping street down until you hit the ocean – welcome to Manly. 🙂
New Year´s fireworks from a boat
Seeing the NY fireworks in Sydney is something special. Seeing it from a boat is pure decadence. Choose a boat, which will “stop” on the Opera side of the Harbour bridge to get amazing views of all Sydney fireworks (yes there are more) which are all synchronized.