Crossing the ocean from Southeast Asia to South America seemed like the perfect excuse for us to make a quick stop in Australia on the way. We created a three-day layover in Sydney, Australia, before our next flight and found plenty to to see and do during our short stay. If you have a layover in Sydney on a tight budget and need something to do, here’s a few ideas that include feeding kangaroos and wallabies, jogging to the Sydney Opera House, and visiting free art museums:
CUDDLE A KOALA
The top reason I wanted to visit Australia was to pet a koala. We chose to go to Featherdale Wildlife Park where they let guests pet a koala and pose for a picture with it as well. When we arrived in the morning almost all the koalas in the sanctuary were napping. Some were sleeping peacefully while others chose the most awkward positions to nap in on branches. In the area where they have a koala specifically for photos, we were presented with an adorable sleeping koala. Later in the day we went back again around 1 p.m. during feeding time when all the koalas were active and eating eucalyptus leaves. We were tempted into taking pictures again with the koala who was now happily munching on lunch. This was the most expensive and distant activity on our visit, costing approximately $30 AUS each.
FEED KANGAROOS & WALLABYS
Ice cream cones chocked full of green grass are apparently what kangaroos and wallabys like to eat, at least at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. For $1 we bought a cone to attempt to feed some of these creatures. Mark offered the cone to one of the wallabies and quickly chomped the entire cone out of his hand. So we bought another cone for me and I chose a different wallaby that was more mellow and took its time eating it with smaller bites as I petted it. If skillful enough you could capture a selfie with a kangaroo like we saw the guy in our picture do.
JOG TO THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
The second reason I wanted to go to Australia was to see the iconic Sydney Opera House. Even with my high expectations it didn’t disappoint. We visited the opera house every day while staying in Sydney. On the first day walking along the waterfront to Circular Quay we noticed so many people running on the park paths. So the next morning I decided to join the locals and run with them through the Royal Botanic Gardens to the waterfront and the opera house. I have to say it’s one of the prettiest runs I’ve been on, especially in a large city. Best of all, it was free!
EXPLORE THE ROCKS
We visited The Rocks, which is a historical part of town on the other side of the cove from the Sydney Opera House. One of the neighborhoods, Millers Point, reminded me a lot of the town from Goonies since so many homes had posters and banners protesting the sale of their neighborhood. We learned that the government has planned to sell off public housing properties in the next two years in the area and obviously the residents weren’t happy about losing their homes. While visiting The Rocks we also made sure to eat at Pancakes on the Rocks. We might have made the mistake of ordering a regular entree instead of breakfast pancakes…if we could have a re-do we would’ve ordered breakfast pancakes instead.
VISIT THE FREE ART MUSEUMS
We visited two museums while in Sydney: Art Gallery of NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art. I wish I could say we planned these visits because we’re cultured and educated, but that wasn’t the case. The first we went inside to escape the heat and the second we went inside desparately looking for a restroom. So although both times we didn’t go in strictly for their art, we came out glad we paid a visit. Luckily for us, both museums were free admission except for special exibits. My favorite parts were the Aboriginal art in the Art Gallery of NSW and the light exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
WALK THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE
Next time we visit Sydney we’ll have to do the popular, thrill-inducing Bridge Climb across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This visit we took the safe, free way to get a good view of the Sydney Opera House and waterfront: walking on the bridge’s pedestrian walkway. First we took the train to Milsons Point Station and then walked back on the bridge to the other side. It was a great view of the city and worth the walk!
Original story published on www.oneworldoneyear.com