G’day Mate! Whenever my husband & I travel to a place, we make sure we cover what the place we are going to is about- history, culture, food & etc. Although it is quite impossible to cover everything in just a couple of days, we try. We try to have fun & learn at the same time. Last July, we went to ‘Straya’ (that’s how locals say it), Sydney to attend the Hillsong Conference but we extended to a few days to “Sightsee Sydney”. If you plan to visit Sydney, this might help you with your itinerary.
Sydney, is not the capital city of Australia neither is Melbourne, Canberra is. Going back to Sydney, it is however the state capital of New South Wales & Australia’s first city. With 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas & 15 connecting regions, it is the most populated city in Australia.
Australia has been known to be a British Colony where convicts were sent to in the early days. In 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip led the first fleet of convicts to Sydney. He called the city “Sydney” in the name of the 1st Viscount Sydney, Thomas Townshed. Transfer of convicts then ended in the 19th century & since then, Australia has been transformed from a colonial settlement into a main economic & global center. After World War 2, Sydney became a multicultural city with the mass migration. Developments in Sydney took place making it one of the most livable cities in the world & has been in the top ranking for economic opportunity with advanced market economy- a fortes in finance, manufacturing & tourism. Expect Sydney to be a hub of multinational corporations & banks. Since the hosting of the 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney has been one of the top destinations to visit.
Before getting on with your sightseeing, here are a few Aussie (Australian) words & phrases that might help you communicate around.
- Barbie- Barbeque
- Brekky- Breakfast
- Esky- Insulated container you take on a picnic or to the beach
- Sanger / Sambo- Sandwich
- Snag- Sausage
- Spag bol- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Takeaway- Take out food
- Tucker- Food
- Bikkie- Biscuit
- Lolly- Candy/ Sweets
- Servo- Service station, gas station
- Arvo- afternoon
- Macca’s- McDonald’s
- Bloody- Very
- Exy- Expensive
- Reckon- For sure
- Stoked- Very pleased
- Thongs- Flip flops or sandals
- Woop woop- in the middle of nowhere/ remote location
- Buckley’s chance- No chance
- Chockers- Full/ no more room
- Deadset – Without a doubt/ 100% sure of it
- Heaps- Lots/ many/ very
- Spewin’- Upset or disappointed about something
- Mozzie- Mosquito
- Mates rates- A discounted price given to a friend
- She’ll be right- “it will be okay”
- Youse- Plural of you. “you guys’’/ ‘’you all’’
- Chemist- Pharmacy or drugstore
- Come good- Turn out okay
- Dunny – Toilet
- G’day – Hello
- Iffy – Questionable
- Let’s go to the pictures – “Let’s go see a movie at the cinema”
- Loo – Toilet
- Mate – General term used for someone you are familiar with
- No worries – No problem, that’s ok
- Ripper – Good
- Rooted- Tired
- Shonky- Dubious/ unreliable
- Smoko- Tea break
- Sunbake- Sunbathe
- Ta- Thank you
- True Blue- Genuine
SIGHTS TO SEE & MORE
Sydney Opera House
You’ll know one is in Sydney when a photo of the Sydney Opera House is posted. Named a UNESCO World Site, the Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon which opened on October 1973 to be a multi venue performing arts centre. Since its opening, it became one of the symbols of architecture in the 20th century. And it’s undeniably an eye catcher when visiting Sydney. Because of this, it receives about 8 million visits annually.
Tip I You may dine inside the Opera House or enjoy its view outside while having your fish & chips. Very touristy!
Address: Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
- Monday- Saturday 9am- 8:30pm
- Sunday 10am- 6pm
Fees: Check the Sydney Opera House website (https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/visit-us/tours-and-experiences.html)
The Harbour Bridge
Just across the Sydney Opera House at Circular Quay is the Harbour Bridge or locally known as the Coathanger. It is the world’s largest steel arch bridge which stands 134 meters above the harbor. It’s interesting how this bridge was built by 1,400 men in 8 years. Today, it carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. For tourists who are adrenaline junkies, you may do the ‘Bridge Climb’, where you are able to climb the monument & enjoy the breathtaking 360 view at the top of the pylon.
Address: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney NSW, Australia
If the bridge climb at the Harbour Bridge is too much for you, this may be another option to have a breathtaking view of Sydney. However, if being able to see the whole of Sydney in a birdseye view isn’t a priority, you may just check out the tower from a distance. The Sydney Tower or Sydney Tower Eye stands 309 meters or 1,014 feet above the Central Business District (CBD) making it the tallest structure in Sydney.
Address: 100 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Schedule: Open daily 9am-10pm (Schedule may vary, check the website on your scheduled visit)
Fees: Check the Sydney Tower Eye website
St. Andrews Cathedral
St. Andrews Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Australia which opened in 1868. It was designed by Edmund Blacket with a Gothic Revival architecture.
Address: Cnr of George and Bathurst Streets, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Schedule: Open daily
Laneways & Art
The Laneway art project’s goal was to revitalize Sydney’s laneways to create a livelier city while exploring its past. One of the artworks is the Forgotten Songs. It is made up of 120 suspended bird cages in the laneway located above the Angel Place accompanied by the sound recordings of extinct bird species of central Sydney. Its intention was the celebration of birds living in Sydney “before they were gradually forced out of the city by European settlement”, returning the bird sounds to the city.
“The installation explores how Sydney’s fauna has evolved and adapted to co-exist with increased urbanisation – inviting contemplation of the city’s past, its underlying landscape, and the sustainability issues associated with increased urban development.”– Michael Thomas Hill
Queen Victoria Building
The Queen Victoria Building (or QVB), is a Romanesque Revival building in the late nineteenth-century designed by the architect George McRae in 1893 which was designed as a marketplace. With 30 meters wide by 190 metres long, it fills a city block by George, Market, York and Druitt Streets. It is known as an iconic heritage building of Sydney and Australia. Dating from 1898, the Queen Victoria Building has continued to operate as a market facility for over 190 years. Until today, people are able to go there to shop & dine. Outside QVB, you’ll find the “Talking Dog”.
Address: 455 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Lower Ground & Ground
- Sunday 11am- 5pm
- Monday- Saturday (except Thursday) 9am- 6pm
- Thursday 10am- 9pm
Level 1 & 2
- Sunday 11am- 5pm
- Monday- Saturday (except Thursday) 10am- 6pm
- Thursday 10am- 9pm
The Macquarie Street which is named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie is known to have the major landmarks & government institutions of New South Wales, Sydney. It extends from Hyde Park to the Sydney Opera House. Landmarks & government institutions located in this stretch include Hyde Park Barracks, St. James Cathedral, Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral, The Mint, Government House, II Porcellino, Queen Victoria Statue, Customs House, Mcquaries Wall, Busby’s Bore Fountain, Foundation Stoner, Dorbell Memorial Sculpture, Drinking Fountain, Martin Place, John Dunmore Lang Statue, Bridge Stairs, T2 Building, Secret Restoration, Admiralty House & National Trust of Australia. That’s a lot!
Hyde Park Barracks
If you are into History, the Hyde Park Barracks will interest you. It is listed in the New South Wales State Heritage Register and the Commonwealth Heritage List, as well as being celebrated on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of 11 pre-eminent Australian Convict Sites as amongst “the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts”. This was designed by architect Francis Greenway between 1818 and 1819 to provide lodging for convicts working for the government till 1848. Then it became an immigration depot for women who were seeking for employment to reunite with family & a female asylum till 1886. Then it became a law court & government office to 1979. Until it became a museum in the 1990s.
Address: Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
- Open daily 10am- 5pm
- Closed Good Friday & Christmas Day
- Open daily 10am–4pm
- Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day
Adult $12 I Concession $8 I Family $30 I Members Free of charge I Children under 5 years Free of charge
Although its architectural appearance isn’t grand, the Parliament House is said to have an exceptional historical and social value since it has played a vital role of Australia’s history of the colonial government. It is the oldest public building in Sydney. Since 1811, the Parliament House and the Mint Museum are the two surviving wings of the triple wing General Hospital.
Address: 6 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Schedule: Open daily 9am- 5pm
Fees: Check the Parliament House of Australia website for more details (https://www.aph.gov.au/Visit_Parliament/Plan_your_Visit)
Glebe is one of Sydney’s suburbs famous for its intellectual feel & atmospheric heritage buildings besides some vintage finds at the Glebe Markets which open every Saturday. The place is surrounded by cafes, bookshops, galleries & ethnic eateries. Some of its landmarks are Johnstons Creek, Coroner’s Court, Lyndhurst, St. Scholastica’s College, Bellevue, Sze Yup Temple & the Rozelle Tram Depot.
G A L L E R Y
(Click to see photos as you go through the blog)
If you’re with kids, just around the city you can visit the Luna Park. It is an amusement park with rides, shows & attractions & it has NO entrance fee!
Address: 1 Olympic Dr, Milsons Point NSW 2061, Australia
Schedule: Its operating hours vary. You may check the Luna Park website on your scheduled visit (http://m.lunaparksydney.com/opening-hours)
Very rich in history, The Rocks is one of the top tourist spots in Sydney. It is hard to miss specially that it is located by the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, just beside the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Rocks has gone a long way from having a reputation as a slum where convicts arrived & where sailors visited prostitutes to a tourist historic area. Today it is surrounded by shops, restaurants, hotels, bars, museums & galleries.
Must Try I Here you can find the famous Pancakes on the Rocks which is known for their pancakes, of course! Another reason why it’s famous because it’s open 24/7.
Heads Up I Take note that shops, restaurants & malls generally close early in Sydney so this might be on your list especially if you get hungry after a long day of touring the city.
Address: 4 Hickson Rd, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia
Sydney Fish Market
Seafood you say? One of the things you do as a tourist in Sydney is visiting the Sydney Fish Market & indulging yourself, not just to see food, but to eat a lot of seafood! It is the biggest fish market in the Southern Hemisphere & the 3rd biggest in the world, in terms of variety. 13,500 tons are traded nationally & internationally every year. Make sure you visit for your seafood fix.
Address: Bank St & Pyrmont Bridge Road, Sydney NSW 2009, Australia
- Open daily 7am- 4pm except Christmas day
- Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant dinner service is open until 11pm
Just a ferry away from the Circular Quay, visiting the Taronga Zoo with about 4,000 animals is one of the refreshing things to do in Sydney, especially with kids! There are many ways in going to Taronga, but riding a ferry is probably the best way as it allows you to well, ride a ferry along the harbor getting a different view or angle of the Sydney Opera House & Darling Harbour Bridge. You simply ride the ferry at the Circular Quay Wharf 4 then in less than an hour, you get to Taronga!
Address: Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088, Australia
Schedule: Open daily including Christmas day from 9:30am- 5pm (Best to check the closing time on your scheduled visit as it may vary)
- Adults- Gate Price $46 / Online Price $41.40
- Children (4- 15 Years) Gate Price $26/ Online Price $23.40
- Infant (Under 4 Years) Free
- For more details check the Taronga Zoo website (https://taronga.org.au/taronga-zoo#whats-on)
Must See I QBE Free- flight Bird Show or the Seal Show.
Tip I Get a map & check the animals you want to see first before you start wandering around especially if you want to have animal encounters. Make sure you go early to the scheduled time of the shows to get good seats.
Approximately 45 minutes from Central Sydney, you may enjoy the iconic Bondi Beach. Bondi is an Aboriginal word which means water breaking over rocks which is why its known for surfing. But if you’re not into surfing, you may simply enjoy the view during sunrise & sunset, through a stroll/ coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee or picnic, having coffee, fish & chips or like in our case, have churros by the beach.
Getting There / Getting Back:
- By Bus I Go to Alfred Street in Circular Quay & ride the bus numbered 380/ 333 (destination of the bus should show NORTH BONDI, DOVER HEIGHTS, WAITRONS BAY or BONDI BEACH). You may ride the same bus in going back to the city (destination of the bus should show CIRCULAR QUAY).
- By Train I You may ride in stations Central, Town Hall, Martin Place, Kings Cross, Edgecliff to Bondi Junction. Then switch into a 380, 381, 382 or 333 bus for a 15-minute ride to the beach. You may ride the same bus to Bondi Junction then from there, switch to a train going back to Central.
Must Try I We didn’t have much time to explore around Bondi but we tried San Churro which were recommended by our friends who lives in Sydney. Churros with assorted dips, coffee plus the view. Ah!
The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds of Alexandria is one of the places tourists love to visit for some food trip cozy experience. It’s a rustic-like courtyard with a café serving freshly roasted seasonal blend and single origin coffees & artisan pastries, a potting shed serving drinks & a garden where pizza, burgers & other charcoal grill offerings are served. There are also shops, food stalls & a play area for kids.
Must Try I Chargrilled Lamb topped with Garlic & Chili Sauce paired with Rose Lemonade.Coffee & Pastries, for sure!
Heads Up I The place gets crowded. A little patience will go a long way to get your seats.
Tip I Should you have time for shopping, there are a lot of outlet shops in Alexandria. Check your maps for all of them!
Address: 7a/2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia
- Monday- Friday 7am- 4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)
- Saturday- Sunday 7:30am- 4pm (kitchen closes at 3:30pm)
- Monday- Thursday: 11:30am (kitchen closes at 9pm)
- Friday 11:30am (kitchen closes at 10pm)
- Saturday 11am (kitchen closes at 10pm)
- Sunday 11am (kitchen closes at 9:00pm)
The Garden Bar
- Monday- Friday 8am- 2pm
- Saturday- Sunday 8am- 3:30pm
Wood Fried Pizzas
- Monday- Wednesday Closed
- Thursday- Friday 11.30am- 2pm
- Saturday- Sunday 8am- 3pm
- Monday, Thursday, Friday 9am- 3pm
- Tuesday- Wednesday 11:30am – 3pm
- Saturday- Sunday 8am – 3:30pm
If you’re into some nature tripping, Blue Mountains is a place for you. Although we weren’t able to visit this place during our trip due to time constraints, this should be part of the places to see when in Sydney. It is called Blue Mountains because they look ‘blue’ from Sydney. This is the result of the eucalyptus oil’s mist (products of eucalypts or gum trees that make up the Blue Mountains) refracting light, making the haze look color blue from a distance. It is famous for the three sisters sandstone rock formation. The place is filled with forests, waterfalls, gardens & a magnificent view that will surely take your breath away! If you don’t have a vehicle going there, you may book a tour or ride a bus going to Katoomba, from there you may ride a bus to get to the Blue Mountains. This will take approximately 3 & a half hours so expect the whole journey to at least 1 whole day should you go back to the city.
This is one of the places we missed, that should be on the list, during our last visit to Sydney. This is a place for the wine lovers! It is Australia’s oldest wine region. Here you may explore vineyards with fresh & exceptional wine paired with gourmet food. You may also enjoy its scenery through riding a hot-air balloon or skydiving. Ah! Both on our bucket list! If you don’t have a vehicle going there, you may book a tour or ride a bus or train to Maitland, the main transit point of the Hunter Valley. Which will take approximately 3 & a half hours so expect a whole day trip should you go back to the city. Another option is by plane from Sydney to Cessnock or to Newcastle which is the nearest main town to the Hunter Valley. It is best to have a vehicle or to book a tour for a hassle free experience.
Well, this should definitely be part of the list since this is the reason why we came to Sydney. It has always been a dream to visit Sydney because of this. Hillsong Conference is not a place, by the way! It is usually held at the Qudos Bank Arena. It is an annual 4- day conference hosted by the Hillsong Church, held every July & is attended by about 20,000 delegates across the world as well as renowned speakers like Rick Warren, Christian bands & worship leaders- Hillsong United, Taya Smith, Brooke Fraser, Lauren Daigle, Kari Jobe & so much more! For more details, check the Hillsong website (https://hillsong.com/conference/sydney/)
A dream come true. God knows how grateful we are & how much our hearts are full.
ATTEND HILLSONG CHURCH SERVICES
If you want to attend Hillsong Church Services, you may check the schedules in the different campuses at their website (https://hillsong.com/sydney/). Best to have reserved seats as services across the campuses get full especially during the conference season. Visit their website & click “Plan a visit”, go to “Concierge”, fill out the details then you’re good to go! All the details are at their website. Despite the reservation, be early still. Main service is at the Hills campus. They provide a free transportation from the Parramatta Station & Blacktown to the Hills & back, right after the service. Just check details under “Courtesy Bus”.
TIPS & MORE
- Get an Opal Card for free with a minimum load of $10 & download the Opal App to get around Sydney. This can be used for trains, ferries, buses & light rails.
- Download the tripview app for transport timetables.
- Schedule far destinations, which cost more in transportation on Sundays, as maximum spend for that day is only $2.50.
- Sydney provides a FREE BUS that operates every day around Central Sydney called/ numbered 555. It runs every 10 minutes from the Central station to Circular Quay & back through Elizabeth & George street. Check photo for the direction of the whole loop. Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 9:30am- 3:30pm, Thursday 9:30am- 9pm, Saturday- Sunday 9:30am- 6pm.
- Get a sim card for communication, data usage & getting around Sydney. You may purchase it upon arrival at the airport. Make sure your phone has an open line.
- Take note that most of the shops, malls, stores & restaurants close early or by 5pm in Sydney.
- Join a free walking tour to explore the city. (Check http://www.imfree.com.au/sydney for details)
- Check online deals ahead of time to score discounted tickets.
- For shopping, visit Pitt Street, QVB, Strand Arcade, DFO Homebush (Chemist for perfumes & Priceline for makeups), Birkenhead, Surplus Shops- K- Mart & Target & for Souvenirs- Paddington Markets.
- Check link for Sydney Trains Operating Hours (http://www.sydneytrains.info/stations/pdf/Hours-of-Business.pdf)
- If you are in hurry to get to a place, Uber is very convenient in Sydney.
- Don’t forget your TimTams! Another sweet treat to try is Coles Ultimate Chocolate Chip & Cinnamon Donuts.
- VERY AUSIE FOODVegemite – A famous Australia spread to go on toast, perfect with butterLamington- Typical Australian sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconutMeat Pie- A popular Australian snackPavlova (pav)- Popular Australian desert, meringue and cream topped with fruitSausage roll – Favourite Australian snack consisting of seasoned minced meat encased in pastry, perfect with tomato sauce on top
- Go- to food: Nando’s, Thai Food.
- YOU CAN COUNT ON COFFEE. (Aussies are big on coffee so expect coffee goodness all the way)COFFEE TERMS (AUSTRALIAN/ US)Short Black- ExpressoLong Black- AmericanoFlat White- Latte No FoamLatte- Latte
- Mocha- Mocha
- Cappuccino- Cappuccino
- If you’re attending the conference, you should try the NACHOS sold at one of the stalls there. Yum!
- Check the CBD STORAGE WORLD SQUARE for luggage storage. See website for details (http://www.cbdstorage.com.au)
- List of Museums (without fees) you might want to visit:
White Rabbit Gallery (Open Wed- Sun from 10am-5pm)
The Rocks Discovery Museum (Open daily from 10am-5pm)
Royal Botanic Gardens (Open daily from 7am- sunset)
Sydney Observatory (Open from 10am- 5pm)
Manly Art Gallery (Open Tues- Sun from 10am- 5pm)
Reserve Bank of Australia (Open Mon- Fri from 10am- 4pm)
Museum of Contemporary Art (Open daily from 10-5pm, 9pm on Wed)
Art Gallery of NSW (Open daily from 10am- 5pm, 10pm on Wed)
Government House (Open Friday- Sunday from 10:30am- 3pm)
Anzac Memorial (Open daily from 9am- 5pm)
Asian Art Gallery (Open Tuesday- Fri from 11am-5pm & Sat- Sun from 11am-4pm)
- List of Museums (with fees) you might want to visit:
Australian Museum (Open daily from 9:30am- 5pm/ $15 Adults, Child FREE)
Powerhouse Museum (Open daily from 10am- 5pm/ $15 Adults, Child FREE)
Museum of Sydney (Open daily from 10am- 5pm/ $12 Adults, Child $8)
Susannah Place Museum (Open Sat- Sun from 10am- 5pm/ Adults $12, Child $8)
Justice Police Museum (Open Sat- Sun from 10am- 5pm/ Adults $12, Child $8)
Sea- Life Aquarium/ Wild- life Sydney (Open daily however schedule may vary, check website for details (https://www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/plan/opening-hours/) Adults $40, Child $28)
This definitely won’t be our first & last. We’ll be back to attend another conference & see more of Straya. See you later, Mate!