Sydney Harbour Bridge
For adventure enthusiasts, downtown Auckland is the place to be - you can either take a bus, or an Uber. Jump off the Harbour Bridge straight into the sea, or off the SkyTower into the streets below for a more 'urban' setting. If walking around the SkyTower on a transparent platform gets your goat, you could do that too. Much like any other metropolitan city, downtown Auckland has a rich and vibrant nightlife. Reserve an evening to soak in an after-dark view of the lovely city from atop the Skytower or at the Harbour. Keep a day to visit the lovely sun-kissed island of Waiheke. More on that later in the post. 2. Queenstown
Darling Harbour is one of the iconic spots for both tourist and locals. It houses a number of attractions like Madam Tussauds, Sea Life Aquarium and National Maritime museum. With an array of wine and dine options with multi-culinary options housed along both the sides of the shore makes it an ideal place and busy place for hangouts and catch ups on weekends. If you are ready to spend more on dinning, try the cruise dining options for an exemplary experience. Grab a coffee and take a walk on the Prymont Bridge to catch a glimpse of whole of Darling Harbour.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Most cities proudly boast their own botanic gardens, and I’ve been through many of them. Aside from lovely buds and sprawling lawns, I particularly enjoyed Sydney’s because you get the added bonus of a waterfront ambience mingled with the park setting. Stroll along the harbor promenade behind the seawall, and hike up to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for the best view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House together (just try to avoid mid-morning and mid-afternoon tour busses.) My favorite part was finding a quiet, secluded spot up on the hill and watching the sun set behind the bridge and opera house. You’ll even share the view with wild parakeets.
Sydney was our home base. We started the trip with a week here and ended it here with a week too. So there are a couple of things that I absolutely must recommend: 1. Hogging on lamb chops and red wine at the Opera Bar, at night, when the city's lit up and a chilly breeze gently inspires you.... (and you don't have to fight the annoying birds for your food) 2. We went for skydiving with Sydney Skydivers. One could probably choose a more scenic Byron or Cairns, but in all honesty, as you plummet to your death from 14000ft, you tend to forget about the hills and the meadows and the ocean divine. It's all just spit from your mouth all over your face. 3. Pubs & Bars- The Blue Ivy, Bavarian Beer House on Manly wharf, The one tiny dance place in Darling Harbour (It's the only one, on the first floor, with blazing red lights- You can't miss it), and Kingscross (if you dare). The best thing to do would be to walk around on the streets and meet other people and just make new friends and go where they're headed. 4. Ferry to Darling Harbour. 5. Also take the train to Milsons point from Circular Quay and walk to the wharf next to Luna Park. That point is THE ULTIMATE view point of The Harbour Bridge and The Opera House. 6. I didn't go to Bondi beach. On principle. I'm hipster like that. But I hear you must.
The most popular stop to reach the Blue Mountains is the Katoomba village which is a 2 hour train ride from Central station. You wouldn't regret staying here for at least nights to enjoy enough of it, however if you are on a tight schedule you can take a day tour from Sydney which most of the tour operators offer. The main attractions of Blue Mountains are the Three Sisters, Scenic Cablecar, and the world's most steepest 'Train Ride' and Leura village. There are public transport buses available which stops at certain designated places and 'Hop on & Hop off' buses which stops at most of the places in Blue Mountains. You can relax on your Day 1 by visiting the Three Sisters, Echo point and Scenic Cable car and get yourself ready to do some serious bush walking on Day 2. There are a lot of bush walking trails available based on the level of difficulty and walking time. Grab a walking trail map at the Blue Mountains information centre and plan your trip accordingly. Be prepared to carry on enough snacks and water since there are no drinking water facilities available along the track into the wild and it could be too tiresome during summer. One of the recommended walks would be the trial to 'Ruined Castle' which is a 5 hour up and down walk with an hour break. Even though you are not rewarded to witness any great cast monument at the end of the walk (do not get carried by the name 'Ruined Castle'), the scenic views along the trial are breath-taking and worthwhile.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
It is always a confusion to whether visit the Featherdale Wildlife Park or the Taronga Zoo as it completely depends on individual choice. The Taronga Zoo holds a considerable variety of species and animals from all over the world and you a need a day to spend your time here. Also you need to pay an extra fee to feed and click snaps of Kola bear and Kangaroo. Whereas, Featherdale Wildlife Park is a sanctuary only to native Australian animals like Wallaby, Kangaroo, Wombat, Kola bear etc. and the entry fee is comparatively cheaper than Taronga Zoo for what it offers. The main advantage of this park is that you don't need to pay extra to feed and take selfies with Kangaroo, Wallaby and Kola bear and also you can finish your visit in half a day.
Manly BeachOnly a half and hour ferry ride from circular quay, Manly Beach is a great place for family day out to be by the beach, go surfing, snorkeling, enjoy the weather at laid back cafes or take scenic walks. A picturesque 30 minutes ferry ride to a fun town for a day. Remember that on weekdays the ferry rides are much cheaper and less crowded.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
You have to get onto the famous bridge in one way or another: by walking, driving, or even climbing. While the pylon climb may be unforgettable (I know a couple from England who did it and raved about it), if you’re on a budget you can forget it: it runs you roughly $300. Instead, simply walk across it. And I’m not talking about joining one of the preorganized walking tours (they also charge you) – you can do it for free. Head out to the Rocks and find the launch point where the tours depart, then look for the partially hidden staircase that looks like it was built into a wall. Climb a few flights to bridge level, then the rest is yours. The view of the harbor and Opera House are breathtaking.
Sydney Cricket Ground
6. Sydney Cricket Ground: For all the cricket fanatics-need I say more? Take a tour of this historic ground and get entry into the hallowed dressing rooms, the Bradman bar and other iconic areas in the vicinity. The world famous Allianz stadium is in the same campus-the mecca of football fans!
Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk The walk itself only takes about 1-2 hours (3-4 hours return), but you could easily stretch it into a day-long adventure. This gorgeous stretch of coastline on Sydney’s outskirts is especially enjoyable on a warm summer day, when the sun drenches the craggy cliffsides and the ocean seems impossibly blue. Start in either Bondi or Coogee and end up at the other, where you can catch public transport back into the city or walk back to your starting point. The trail is paved and well-posted, passing through several smaller beaches along the way. You can walk the entire length or just sections of it; and be sure to bring a lunch so you can stop and picnic along the way. Also required: camera, hat, sunglasses, and lots of sunscreen.
The girls went on their secret shopping adventure, so I went over to the park with the boys, played cricket for the first time in my life and soaked Grant in the pool of reflection at Hyde Park, which gained me a soaking in return of ice cold water. Had the best Spaghetti Bologenese cooked for us for dinner by Mike tonight too, it was delish!
Named after the original Hyde Park in London, this is the oldest parkland in Australia. Once a popular racing ground and a turf for various other sports, today this 40 acre park is only a humble reminder of the city's past. This huge space filled with gardens and a main fountain at the center is perfect to lay back and absorb the two-hour walk. A perfect end point to the journey.
Second day started with visiting the world famous Bondi beach. Unlike most of the days, sunshine choose to be stingy. A little bit of downpour and lot of wind gave way to surfers to fully utilize the huge waves. My father’s umbrella could make it’s way to Sydney since we made an effort to fully know the weather forecast beforehand. Like an unusual sight, Bondi was uninhabited.
For the seriously stylish shopper, Oxford Street is where high street fashion effortlessly mingles with artistic standalone boutiques and home-grown designer labels. Running all the way from Darlinghurst up till Woollahra, keep an eye out for Camilla, Ginger & Smart, Easton Pearson and Ellery.DARLING STREET
Blue MountainsThe mountains are not naturally blue here, it’s the just that the mountains at a distance gives off an illusion of them being different shades of blue, in real they are grey like any other mountain. Waterfalls, steep cliffs, canyons, eucalyptus forest and charming villages with little cafes and guesthouse makes taking a trip to the Blue Mountains and a bushwalk (hike) a lot worth while. Around 2 hours drive from Sydney, no doubt this location makes it to the list of World Heritage site.
Queen Victoria Building (QVB)
Magnificent stained glass windows, 19th century staircases and the stunning central dome are some of the features of QVB that will leave you awestruck. As for the shopping, once you’ve had your fill of all that’s designer, look up kikki.K. It’s a boutique overflowing with beautiful knick knacks, must-have stationary and gifts that are going to make you reach out for the credit card, much more than you had planned. qvb.com.auOXFORD STREET