Sydney is one of my absolute favorite places in the world. After living there for 6 months back in 2009, it still holds the title of “best place I’ve lived.” So this week I’m sharing my top 10 favorite things to do in the city!
You can see the first five in this post, and today we’ll complete the list!
5. EXPLORE NEWTOWN
Newtown is a neighborhood (suburbs to Aussies) just west of the University of Sydney, and I probably spent more time here than I did downtown. It’s full of fun shops, street art,
and amazing food. There’s a Thai restaurant every fifth store and I think I ate at all of them through my time there. SO good!! Go try my favorite. Also, bakeries open at all hours. Getting a chocolate croissant on your way home from a party AND on the walk to class? Yes please.
Connected to Newtown is Enmore, the neighborhood I lived in. I walked through both to get just about anywhere in Sydney. Although there’s a great bus system that’ll take you from my street right into campus or CBD, I preferred to walk and enjoy the sights, smells, and people. Plus walking meant that my friends and I could decide at a moment’s notice that we wanted to spend the afternoon in one of the many quirky coffee shops along the way!
4. SPEND A WEEKEND IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
This was one of my favorite weekend getaways, but the reality was that it’s doable as a day trip if you wanted just a taste! The Blue Mountains are stunning – a mountain range just outside the city that are close enough together to create this gorge. I know it’s not as massive as the Grand Canyon, but it reminds me of what it may look like with a rain forest inside the canyon.
While the Blue Mountains aren’t technically in Sydney, the public train system will take you out there for about $5 each way, so I’m counting it. There’s tons of hiking trails and a museum (mostly about the mining that used to go on there). There’s also “the world’s steepest railway” if you don’t want to hike down the mountain itself.
3. WALK FROM COOGEE TO BONDI BEACH
Everyone knows Bondi Beach. It’s the one tourists know about and people flock to. I had several beaches I preferred though – less crowded and still beautiful! One of them is Coogee Beach. Coogee isn’t really a surfing beach because the dropoff is really steep close to shore, so waves don’t allow for much. But its a fun swimming and hanging out beach, plus there’s rocks to climb over on one side.
If you’re got a couple hours, do the Coogee-Bondi walk. I heard about it from a friend who’d lived there a couple years, and it’s not really labeled/advertised much. Just start walking north on Coogee and follow the shoreline. It’s absolutely beautiful. You get a good mix of rocky coastline and scenic beaches as well as harbors, cemeteries, and local swimming clubs.
2. SPEND AN AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY QUADRANGLE
This one is close to my heart, and I admit that it may hold less attraction for non-students. The University of Sydney has beautiful quandrangle on campus. Surprisingly, people don’t hang out there much: I assume that’s because it’s not a part of campus you walk through. But it’s got lovely Gothic architecture, and the adjoining Great Hall looks like something pulled straight from Hogwarts. While you’re here, walk a bit further and enjoy the park between Parramatta and City Roads, which is where the students really do hang out. I never tired of spending an afternoon reading, doing homework, or lazing around with friends in the quadrangle or that park.
1. SURF AT MANLY BEACH
What’s my number one favorite things to do in Sydney? Surf! I know there’s better surfing in other parts of the country (and the world), but I loved the fact that most Saturdays my friends and I would head out to Manly Beach for a day of surfing and swimming. Renting boards is easy there, and we typically stayed all day, taking turns surfing, snoozing, reading and chatting.You have to take a ferry to get there from Sydney (it’s on the north shore, outside the harbor), but to me that was half the fun. When you go, time your return with the sunset for a gorgeous view of the sun going down
behind the Harbor Bridge and Opera House. Every time I wished I had my nice camera, but I never brought it because I spent most of the day out in the waves!
Those are my favorites in Sydney! I didn’t really include much in the way of specific restaurants/bars/coffesshops, but I haven’t been there in a while and don’t know what’s the latest. Guess that means I have to go back someday! Soon, hopefully.
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