Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

April 28, 2017
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Australia is a country I'm familiar with. It's basically Little Malaysia, the "foreign enough to be considered worldly but somewhat nearby" choice for the college-considering Asian Tiger parent who think they're liberal, but God forbid you suggest to them that you don't move back home with them after you graduate. More than having a thousand acquaintances and friends who've studied in Australia (and a few who've stay on) I also have family there; so I've spent my childhood all over Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne. I'm thrilled to make my return Down Under (my last visit was a decade ago) with a trip to 2 of its biggest cities. Here are 10 things I did during my short stay in Sydney.




Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
1. BONDI TO BRONTE COASTAL WALK
&
2. ICEBERGS DINING ROOM AND BAR 

No trip to Sydney is complete without visiting the famous Bondi Beach, no matter what the season. Take your cue from the hardy Icebergs who train; come rain, shine, or snow in Australia's most photographed ocean pool of Bondi Icebergs Club - the world's only licensed winter swimming pool, and dive in as a visitor: "Everyone is Welcome". The more horizontally-inclined among us are happy enough to just sunbath on the famously topless beach. My ideal middle-ground between indulgence and activity is fine-dining on exquisitely fresh seafood and Italian dishes at the award-winning Icebergs Dining Room and Bar then burning the calories after with the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk 



Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney


3. CONSIDERED CLIMBING THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE, AND RIDING THE SYDNEY SEAPLANE


You know I'd go to great lengths to procure the perfect shot, me being part of that delightfully odd (and rather neurotic) #TravelBlogger tribe. Heck, adverse as I am to physical labour I'd even climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the perfect Instagram post - fear of heights be damned. Unfortunately the BridgeClimb doesn't allow you to bring your own camera (for safety reasons, I'm sure). I'm out. For an even more stunning view and more thrill without any of the exertions, I'd go with the Sydney Seaplane Scenic Flight - that is, I would have if I could've found a willing partner (packages start from 2 people or more). 

If you care more about the experience and don't mind basically spending money to sweat, definitely consider the BridgeClimb; or if you're feeling more indulgent customise a Sydney Seaplane experience - you can charter flights to anywhere within reason.
4. MANLY FAST FERRY


...instead, I got on the Manly Fast Ferry for an alternative view of the Sydney Harbour. The Manly Fast Ferry is a commuter service joining the Sydney suburb of Manly with Circular Quay in the CBD, covering a journey of seven nautical miles in a quick time of 17 minutes. 

Honestly, I got on the ferry just for a literal breath of fresh air - I can't describe how freeing it felt to speed away from Sydney Harbour and leave the chaos of the CBD behind, just letting my mind wander with the waves. But if you have more time, a visit to the beachside suburb of Manly came highly recommended. Manly is enjoying a renaissance with its hot bar scene and exciting dining options, but for an old-school treat it's all about the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.

A round trip from Circular Quay Wharf 6 in Sydney CBD to Manly is $15.60 - $17.40, depending on the hours.


Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
5. DAY DRINKING AT THE OPERA BAR

I tried, I really did, to appreciate the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I even watched the episode of Modern Family that was basically a huge 'sponsored by Qantas!' montage. But not even Phil "Crocodile" Dunphy's adorkable and infectious enthusiasm could colour me impressed. Andrea clearly felt the same way: without even missing a beat, she steered me to the Opera Bar where we could best enjoy the city's landmarks - seen through a glass of something alcoholic. Hic.


6. CAUGHT UP WITH A GOOD FRIEND
&
 7. MADE A NEW ONE

I finally met Andrea (right), the bridge-indifferent-kindred blogging spirit of Andrea's Passions, because of - of all things - a cyclone. Debbie was tearing up a storm so Andrea had to make a diversion from the Whitsundays to Sydney, where she too was staying with Luxy (below). And this is how the three of us came to be sitting in the living room of Luxy's townhouse in fashionable Paddington, at the dining table, with me hoisting up my shirt to show the girls my, well, girls. Cue Luxy covering her eyes and shrieking with horror, and Andrea nodding and making unflinching observations. Hahaha, talk about Yin and Yang.

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
8. SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP 

Fun fact about Sydney - the shops and stores close at 5pm on weekdays (except for "Thursday lates"). FIVE PEE EM. I asked Luxy, "...but how do you pop in, after work, for a quick makeover, a new dress, or some last-minute champagne before heading out for a party?" Her bemused response: "I don't. It's either shopping on the weekends or during my lunch hour." Oh the inhumanity. 

Local brands to pick up when in Australia include Ecoya soy wax candles, Aesop toiletries, Lucas' Papaw ointment, Becca Cosmetics (give me that Champagne Pop!), classic tailoring by Camilla and Marc, Bailey Nelson eyewear, and gorgeous swimwear by Zimmermann. 

The Strand and Westfield in the CBD is worth a look into, but the best finds are always the unexpected ones. I stumbled upon a bijou pop up shop in fashionable Paddington called Love Story selling high end and designer vintage fashion. I only just managed to resist the heaving rails of CHANEL and adorable leather handbags but ended up with a pair of vintage Hermes flip flops because...I'm in Australia, I needed flip flops. Thongs. Jandals. 

Like its London counterpart, Sydney's Oxford Street - running from Darlinghurst to Paddington - is a diverse mix of edgy boutiques, high-end labels, vintage, and indie designers. Definitely worth devoting an afternoon to.



Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney


9. ART ATTACK

Sydney has a wealth of museums and art galleries (some of them are even free) - from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in the heart of the CBD to industrial-scale art centre Casula Powerhouse in the outer suburbs of Liverpool. The establishment that made the greatest impression on me was the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It began with a walk on a scorching autumn's day, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and toward increasingly verdant tranquility as I cut across Hyde Park. 

I was lucky enough to catch The National 2017 - a large scale exhibit focused solely on contemporary Australian art. The National 2017 runs till June and is free to enter. Just as, or even more so important is the collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. These two areas of interest, combined with the collection of Australian art make for an interesting and visual lesson of history and culture. I highly recommend all 3 in one long afternoon, then a brisk walk through the adjacent Royal Botanic Garden to cool down.

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: BLACKSMITH SURRY HILLS, SKITTLE LANE COFFEE, MR WONG 




10. SYDN-EAT, EAT, EAT
The quickest way to the heart of a city is through your stomach...or something. Just know that it wouldn't be a real trip for me if I didn't sample at least some of the local favourites; be it the dim sum platters at the hottest new Cantonese joint in town or a big hearty brunch heaped with smashed avo. Further reading: Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars I Loved


Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
GETTING THERE: I flew direct from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney on Air Asia, a low-cost carrier that is to South East Asia what Ryanair/Easyjet is to Europe. Even though I paid "budget" prices I flew Business Class, on a flat bed, for an additional nominal fee. Find out how with this travel hack and never again will you compromise comfort for cost.

...next stop, Melbourne! 

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