Visiting a foreign city is always fascinating. There’s always so much to do, and so much to see. This time around, I visited Sydney, Australia back in February for a week. For anyone planning a trip there, here are some things I did during my stay and places I’d recommend checking out!
1. Eat at Cockle Bay Wharf / Darling Harbour
Cockle Bay Wharf is an area full of cafés and restaurants surrounding Sydney’s iconic harbour. You can sit by the water and enjoy some ice cream under the sunshine, or have a full blown meal in one of the restaurants. I had my first meal here, under the restaurant “Baia the Italian”. We ordered garlic bread with our huge plates of spaghetti.
If eating here doesn’t suit your fancy, Sydney nightlife happens here too: there’s a nightclub and various bars you can check out. For more information and ongoing entertainment events at the wharf, check out their official webpage here.
2. Enjoy Breakfast with Koalas at the Wildlife Sydney Zoo
What’s better than breakfast? A breakfast with koalas! Situated beside Darling Harbour, The Wildlife Sydney Zoo offers a chance for you to enjoy a hot breakfast buffet alongside koalas enjoying their own meal, all in their exclusive rooftop area. The package includes a mini photoshoot with them and a private guided tour around the zoo before they open to the public (where you’ll meet animals unfound elsewhere in the world). You’ll also get a printed photo of you with the koalas to take home.
When I went, we had the guided tour first, breakfast with koalas second, and photoshoot with them last. After it was over, we were able to explore the zoo on our own, and it was the perfect time to take photos of the animals before the zoo opened to the public. During breakfast, there were 10 koalas eating together, and shortly after they finished, one by one they would find a comfy spot on the tree to sleep. The zookeepers told us the koalas are the most active in the morning, and I believe it. I had such an entertaining morning that day – one of the koalas was jumping from tree to tree! If you want to see awake and active koalas, have a filling meal to start your day, be able to explore the zoo on your own before opening times, and still have a full day ahead of you, the Koala Breakfast is for you. I’d say this weekly event is truly the opportune time to go.
For more information, check out their official booking page here.
3. Wander around The Rocks
The Rocks is a historic area unlike any other in Sydney. It’s a neighbourhood where you can find buildings that have existed since the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth-century. It was once a place dominated by the Gadigal people prior to European settlement. Now, the buildings are homes to over 50 cafés and restaurants by day, and the cobblestone pathways teem with local vendors at The Rocks Market by weekend.
The Rocks Market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10AM to 5PM. Here, you can find loads of handmade knick knacks. From handmade candy to homeware, original pieces of art to natural cosmetics, jewellery to leather goods, there’s something for everyone. The Rocks also hosts a food market on Fridays, from 9AM to 3PM.
For more information on specific shops and places to eat, check out The Rocks website here.
4. Admire Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
The MCA is just a small walk away from The Rocks. Our visit to this museum was completely spontaneous – we were heading to The Rocks when it started pouring rain. This turned out to be the perfect place to wait for the rain to die down.
If you’re on a budget, you’ll be delighted to hear admission to most of their exhibits are free. The MCA charges a fee for special exhibits, but those usually only occur once per year. They have one floor dedicated to their permanent collection, while other floors’ exhibits are always changing. Guided tours are also available. They are open daily from 10AM to 5PM (Wednesdays until 9PM.)
A café and restaurant is also in the building if you ever get hungry after going through all the exhibits. To check out tour times and more information, check out the MCA’s official website here.
5. Take a Cooking Class / Try Fresh Seafood at the Sydney Fish Market
The Sydney Fish Market is the ideal place for fresh seafood lovers. Its retailers offers the biggest variety of seafood in Australia, and is the 3rd largest in the world with over 150 varieties to choose from. You may try out Sydney’s rock oysters, or opt for some of their local lobsters. They’re open daily from 7AM to 4PM (except Christmas Day).
Unlike most fish markets, Sydney’s Fish Market is unique; Sydney’s Seafood School is also located at the market, offering hands-on cooking classes of varying lengths of time to the public.
There’s a boardwalk patio outside the building with tons of seating, which was where we went to eat. Even though indoors had seating, the market was bustling with activity. Beware of fearless seagulls though – it was common to see them walking on the patio tables hoping to grab a bite of what you paid for!
I tried sea urchin straight out of its shell after the meal pictured above, and that was an entire experience on its own. I highly recommend you to do so if you ever get the chance! One big shell was $5.
For more information on the fish market, check out their website here.
6. Surf at Bondi Beach / Take on the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
This beach walk felt a little surreal. Even though it’s just a short train ride from downtown Sydney, the view you get from walking the trail feels like a place you’d only ever see in vacation stock photos. The entire trail is 6km and takes about an hour and a half to walk from beginning to end. You’ll pass by several beaches and parks, but along the way you may choose to lay down to soak up the sun or play by the waters. Some of the beaches have high tides, allowing you to rent a surfboard and take up a surfing lesson. By the trail, some people are suntanning, while others are doing workouts at the park. What you choose to do here is at your leisure! In our case, we relaxed at a nearby café by Bronte Beach after the walk, then took a bus back to downtown Sydney.
If you’re not feeling a walk, you may choose to spend an afternoon swimming instead. Open to the visitors all year round and right by Bondi Beach, Bondi Icebergs is a place where you can swim some laps in a well-maintained pool. It’s only $6.50 for an adult entry to the pool and sauna, and they have a restaurant and a nightclub as well! For most days, they open from 6AM to 6:30PM, and are closed Thursdays.
For more information about Bondi Icebergs, check out their official webpage here.
What would you like to do if you had the chance to visit Sydney? Let me know in the comments below!
Till next time,