Archive for » January 12th, 2011«

Day 2 in Sydney: Bondi Beach, Sydney Harbour and Manly

Despite waking up at around 3am, Day 2 (Sunday, January 9th, for those of you keeping track) was poised to be much more productive. After a solid night’s sleep (if at odd hours), we were much better prepared to take on the day. We made plans to meet up with Darren, Amanda and their three kids for brunch, so we got moving early, if you count 9:45am as early, and drove over to Centennial Parklands Dining in Centennial Park.  Afterward, Darren and Amanda kindly gave us a tour of the eastern suburbs before dropping us off near Bondi Beach, one of Sydney’s most popular tourist destinations.

Kristen at Bondi Beach

After soaking in the sun for a bit (and finding some cheaper ice cream!), we boarded a bus back into the city. We had originally planned to just check out Sydney Harbour from Circular Quay (pronounced “Key”), but upon reviewing the ferry schedules, we found that there was a Manly ferry every 20 minutes, and if the sign says it’s famous, how could we miss it?

If the sign says so, it must be true

We picked up tickets ($13.20/person round trip) and hopped on the 2:40pm ferry for a quick 20 minute ride over to Manly. We quickly found out why the ferry is famous. Not only does it take you to a great destination (which we’ll get to in a minute), but you get some fantastic views of Sydney Harbour, the Harbour Bridge (which you can actually climb), and the Sydney Opera House. Cool!

Yep, we made it!

We arrived in Manly and, after a quick walk through The Corso, a pedestrian-only street lined with restaurants and shopping, we found ourselves at what is currently our favorite beach in Sydney. A retaining wall near the beach provides ample shade for yours truly and the sand and surf are fantastic. Should you come visit (and you should), you can bet that we’ll be sending you to Manly Beach to get you out of our hair for an entire day. You won’t regret it!

Manly Beach

We spent a couple hours at Manly, dined on some excellent fish and chips (the seafood, as you might imagine, is top notch), and then realized that we forgot the sunblock and decided to call it a day. You can bet we’ll be back though, and I’ll be sure to take some better pictures.

On the way out, I found a candy stand in the ferry terminal, which, at $3.50/100g ($16/pound) is a little steep, but great in a pinch. Expect a more thorough review of the candy stand soon 🙂

For those of you interested in all things gummy and chocolatey

Given that we were running on a full night’s sleep, today was much easier to handle, and though we still went to bed early, if we were more ambitious we could have pushed it (although I’m naturally an evening person anyway). If you’re aggressive about it, you can probably overcome the jet lag in 3 or 4 days, although it’ll still probably take close to a week before you’re feeling comfortable on the Aussie schedule.

Day 1 in Sydney: Unpacking and Darling Harbour

Picking up where we left off, we landed at around 6am and made it to the apartment by around 9ish. Sydney is on Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is GMT +10 hours during the winter and GMT +11 hours in the summer (October to April). So that means that I’m currently 17 hours ahead of Chicago, although the jet lag is only 7 hours. As a result, should you come visit us (and you should!), assume that it will take about about a week before you’re fully adjusted.

After spending a few hours orienting, organizing, calling people, etc, we were determined to get out of the apartment before we fell asleep. First stop: lunch and the grocery store. After getting a bite to eat and picking up the essentials, we decided to do a bit of exploring. Despite the strong urge to go see the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and all the iconic stuff on the first day, we weren’t really up for the walk, so we stayed a little closer to our neighborhood and walked to Darling Harbour instead.

$6 for one scoop is one thing, but $18 for a banana split?!

On the way, we started to notice one of the first things you’ll note about Australia: everything’s more expensive. This was all ok back when the Australian dollar was trading at around 70 US cents, but now that the AUD and the USD are about 1 to 1, your American dollar doesn’t quite go as far. I’m certainly looking forward to that first Australian dollar, cost-of-living-adjusted paycheck!

Darling Harbour and the Sydney Skyline

We spent the next couple hours wandering around Darling Harbour, checking out menus and watching the street performers. The harbour has a Navy Pier feel to it… lots of tourists, lots of restaurants, water, etc. We stopped by the Australian National Maritime Museum, though at this point it was nearing closing time, so we added it to our list of things to do.

After crossing the Pyrmont Bridge (which apparently swings to let ships through… totally missed that), we walked back up the other side, picked up some pamphlets at the information center, then stopped by the Chinese Garden of Friendship and adding it to the list as well.

Chinese Garden of Friendship

This was about enough for the day, so we walked back to the apartment and started debating where to find some dinner. At this point though, it was about 6pm and, running on only a few hours of airplane sleep and feeling like 2am, we opted to stay in before calling it an early night.

First impressions: Sydney is a fantastic place to live. It’s a clean and vibrant city with tons going on. Our apartment is on the edge of Chinatown, so everything is open late and people are out and about through most of the night. Sydney has a lot of things going for it: great weather, great location, tons of stores and restaurants, and, of course, there are awesome beaches. Stay tuned 🙂