2 full days and 2 partial days, 2 plane rides and 4 train rides, 3 very tired people, and 300 pictures later and we are back in Brisbane from our whirlwind trip to Sydney. What do you get when you try to cram a week’s worth of adventure into just a few days? You get a whole lot of excitement, adventure, sore feet, exhaustion and pure fun. We may be tired and it may take us all week to recover from the trip but it was absolutely worth it.
When we planned this trip to Sydney we knew we were going to have to fit a lot of stuff into the few short days we were there. Sydney has a lot to offer, there is a ton to see, and we wanted to do and see as much as we possibly could. I don’t quite know how we did it, but we somehow managed to drag ourselves around the huge, very crowded and busy city that is Sydney to see and do all we set out to. We had such an amazing time.
Our first day in the city was a short day since it was also the day we flew in. We had arranged our travel so that we’d arrive in the morning on the first day and scheduled an early check in at the hotel in hopes that we’d have most of the afternoon to explore a bit of the city. Our plane was on time, actually it was a tiny bit early, and the train got us into the CBD (central business district or downtown) very quickly. We made our way towards the hotel from the train station, stopping for a quick bite to each along the way. We arrived at the hotel just in time for our 12pm early check in. Unfortunately, the hotel was not able to get us or any of the other guests who filled the lobby waiting on their early check ins, into our rooms. Bummed, we made our way to a park near by and killed a couple of hours there until we could finally get into our room at 2pm. We quickly dropped off our bags and headed out to make the most of the few hours of daylight that remained. Given the limited amount of daylight that remained we didn’t do a lot that first day but we did manage to wander around Hyde Park, check out the magnificent St. Mary’s Cathedral and wandering around some of the extremely busy downtown streets. It was a good first day in Sydney.
Sunday was our first full day and we had a packed itinerary intending to make the most of our time in Sydney. We woke early Saturday morning and headed out the door with a plan to head down to the harbor front to check out the world famous Sydney Harbor, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge. We had discovered the evening before that there was a half marathon going on in Hyde Park and parts of the Royal Botanic Gardens on Sunday morning so we made our way to Hyde Park first to cheer on the runners before meandering into the outskirts of the botanical gardens, along the water to make our way down to the harbor. As we walked along the water front path we stopped often to admire the views of the water, the city skyline and the first glimpses of the opera house and harbor bridge. Our walk down to the harbor that first day was beautiful. Getting to see the world famous attractions of the harbor, the opera house and the harbor bridge was just incredible. It is amazing to see things you’ve only ever seen on television or in photos in person.
After strolling along the harbor front and wandering around the Sydney Opera House for a while we made our way over to the Sydney Harbor Bridge. We walked part way across and stopped at a lookout to check out the incredible views afforded from being so high above the water. You can pay to climb up the bridge, and I”m sure it is amazing way up at the top, but it is seriously pricey and they don’t allow young children (they probably don’t allow pregnant women either, but I didn’t check). We were happy with the views we got from the walkway across the bridge.
As if that wasn’t enough fun and adventure for one day we decided at the last minute to check out the Sydney Aquarium as well. After consulting our map we headed back through the downtown to cross a different bridge into Darling Harbor, home of the Sydney Aquarium. Our feet and backs definitely regretted the decision later but it was worth it. We had a great time checking out all the marine life. Maya especially loved watching the sharks swimming all around us as we made our way through the glass tunnel that runs through the middle of the shark tank. It was a great ending to a perfect day.
Monday, full day number 2, was another jam packed day of fun. The plan for our second full day was take a ferry across the harbor to Taronga Zoo and spend a fun filled day with the animals. We were up and at ’em bright and early again to make our way back down to the harbor front in order to catch our zoo ferry. The ferry ride across to the zoo was awesome. We had heard that seeing Sydney from the water was an absolute must, and it is. The views from the water of the skyline, the further away suburbs, the opera house and the harbor bridge are incredible. However, to our surprise the best views of the day awaited us on the other side. The Taronga Zoo is built into a very steep hill with the entrance to the zoo being at the very tip top. There are two ways to get up to main entrance, either by bus or by gondola. We went for the obviously more fun option of the gondola ride. The views back across the harbor and down on the animal exhibits were amazing. Even more amazing views awaited us in the zoo. We saw some amazing views back across to the city from the zoo as we meandered through the animal exhibits. The giraffes definitely scored the best view.
We spent the whole day hanging out with the animals and had a fabulous time. After exhausting ourselves at the zoo we made our way back across the harbor to get some dinner in The Rocks, one of the oldest areas of Sydney. We had pancakes to die for at Pancakes on The Rocks a very popular restaurant that specializes in dessert style pancake meals. I had found this place a few days before we headed down to Sydney and was really looking forward to eating there, and boy it didn’t not disappointed. Our dinner of pancakes, fresh strawberries and ice cream was delicious. So yummy, aren’t you jealous 😉
Our final day in Sydney was another partial day since we had a plane to catch at 2pm. We got yet another early start as we wanted to make the most of the few hours we had before we had to head to the airport. We loaded up the stroller with our bags and headed out. The plan for the morning was to wander around the Royal Botanic Gardens before heading to Circular Quay on the harbor front to catch our train for the airport. The gardens were beautiful. Since it is almost winter here in Australia there weren’t a ton of flowers in bloom, but the plant life that was thriving was beautiful. We saw a ton of cockatoo parrots throughout the gardens and several trees filled with sleeping bats. Plus we go to see some more amazing views of the city and catch a glimpse or two of the opera house from deep within the gardens. It was a nice, relaxing way to end our trip to Sydney.
It may have been a whirlwind of a trip but it was absolutely incredible. Our goal was to make the most of our time in Sydney and that we did. We filled our days to the brim and had aching feet and backs at the end of the day as our reward, but we did and saw all the things we intended, plus some.
There is definitely something about seeing things in person that you’ve only ever seen on television or in photographs, things you thought you’d never see in real life. Sydney is a world famous city filled with world famous attractions. The skyline, the opera house, the bridge, it all more than lived up to my expectations. I hope that one day I’m able to get back to Sydney to see it all again. Until then, I’ll hold moments like this in my memory and marvel at the fact that my 3 year old daughter has done things and seen things many people will never get to do or see in their lifetime.