Sydney in 7 Days

2nd Feb 2011
Photo of Sydney in 7 Days 1/8 by Lauren Fritsky
Hunter Valley
Photo of Sydney in 7 Days 2/8 by Lauren Fritsky
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Photo of Sydney in 7 Days 3/8 by Lauren Fritsky
At Darling Harbour
Photo of Sydney in 7 Days 4/8 by Lauren Fritsky
Three Sisters, Blue Mountains
Photo of Sydney in 7 Days 5/8 by Lauren Fritsky
Katoomba, Blue Mountains
Photo of Sydney in 7 Days 6/8 by Lauren Fritsky
Wentworth Falls
Photo of Sydney in 7 Days 7/8 by Lauren Fritsky
Bondi Beach
Photo of Sydney in 7 Days 8/8 by Lauren Fritsky
Ferry to Circular Quay

My friend, Amber paid a visit from Shanghai in February. I was stoked about the visit save one issue: Amber only had one week in town. And she wanted to see everything (she’d been watching the Oprah shows on Australia). Add to that the hottest weather I’ve yet experienced in Oz, and I had my work cut out while planning a doable itinerary. It was quite a task to make sure that in the week that we had we were able to cover the "must-visits", as well as a few other offbeat areas.

By the grace of caffeine and Mother Nature’s turn to cooler temperatures mid-visit, we hit all the major marks in Sydney and then some. For anyone else expecting very short-term visitors, consider these options. Although 7 Days in Sydney is by no means enough, and even this itinerary might leave you gasping, but if you're short on time, you might as well make the most of it and pack in as much as possible!

Amber arrived in the morning, so we had the whole day ahead of us. After a rest from her 11-hour flight, we took the ferry to Circular Quay so she could see the Bridge and Opera House. We took the customary photos, then strolled down George Street to Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Queen Victoria Building — major CBD sites complete. We stopped for food and drinks with some friends at one of my favorite pubs on George Street, Cheers.

Photo of Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by Lauren Fritsky

From the second day, it was time to hit the beaches, something that Sydney is renowned for! So we walked down to the wharf — after stopping at Adriano Zumbo’s (right on the way to Manly Wharf) for Macaroons — for a ferry ride to Manly, where Amber saw the big blue groper that lives in Shelly Beach while snorkeling. We went to Newtown, which is a bit of a hop from Manly, for drinks and dinner.

Photo of ALDI Manly Wharf, New South Wales, Australia by Lauren Fritsky

Today it was Bondi, which took two hours to get to via two buses. It was worth it, though, for its iconic views and first glimpse at surfers for my pal. On the way back, we squeezed in Darling Harbor afterward for a peak inside Wildlife World. At night, we got sweaty at a house party in Neutral Bay, a little ahead of Darling Harbor, and finished up at the Oaks Hotel, in Neutral Bay.

Photo of Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia by Lauren Fritsky

Thanks to Brendan’s offer to drive, we got a free tour of Katoomba and the Blue Mountains on Saturday. If you don’t have a car, take the train to Katoomba and get the Explorer Bus, which lets you hop on and off — with return train fare, it’s only $45 AUD. After viewing the Three Sisters (the Echo Point) and Wentworth Falls, we had lunch and headed back to Sydney to rest up before a night out in the Rocks at the Argyle, which culminated in dancing to old school 80s and 90s music at the Orient. Tequila may or may not have been involved.

Photo of Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia by Lauren Fritsky

Amber’s pick and something I’d never done in Sydney. We got a three-hour ride from Darling Harbor past Sydney Harbor with a crew that let us steer the boat and crank the sails. Mid-sail, the heavens finally opened up and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. That night’s entertainment was St. George’s Open Air Cinema. It’s over now, but Bondi has one till March.

Photo of Darling Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by Lauren Fritsky

Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge was something we wavered on a bit, but Amber ultimately decided, “If Oprah and Gail could do it, we can, too.” Another cooler day lent perfect conditions for the climb. It was scary at points, but the ascent up the arch and the view from the top were worth every penny. We did souvenir shopping in Chinatown, which is in Haymarket, located between Central Station and Darling Harbor, and spent the night watching a recording of the Super Bowl with friends.

Photo of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Millers Point, New South Wales, Australia by Lauren Fritsky

We devoted Amber’s last day to sampling Hunter Valley wineries with Activity Tours, which seems to offer the best prices for this day trip, and gave us a discounted rate for this tour. It’s a little rushed, but you get to see three or four wineries — this equals 30 or so wines — and go to a cheese tasting. We finished up with dinner on the water.

Photo of Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia by Lauren Fritsky

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