This year, I decided to head to Sydney, Australia, where I have a few friends. These days, I make an effort to turn my travels into reunions with friends as well. So when friends tell me to go visit them in their places and I had never been there before, I try to take them up on it not only because hey – free housing 😁 – but also so I could see them again in person, in their new lives, while seeing a new place.
I ended up staying at two different houses – Armar’s and Gelle’s – and I am grateful to their hospitality, generosity, and effort in touring me around and taking care of me. I have a third set of friends in Sydney (Cate and Tatsie) but I didn’t get to hang out with them in Sydney because I got sick, but they did go with me to Melbourne and Canberra, which I will blog about later.
I’ve decided to split my post into the different areas that I toured in Sydney for four days. I was actually there for more than that, but I caught the flu during some of the days and had to stay home and rest while trying to recuperate on chicken soup. It’s terrible to fall sick during travel, but being in the care of friends in their home definitely made it a lot better than being in some random hostel.
The Grounds of Alexandria
Armar, Arlyn, and their significant others fetched me at the airport and drove us to the nearby cafe, The Grounds of Alexandria for lunch. This is one of the most popular cafes in Sydney because it is very pretty, with lots of potted plants hanging from the ceilings and vines crawling from an artful arch above a fountain – truly instagrammable.It’s not just a single cafe, more like a market, with multiple sellers. Since we went during a weekday lunch, it was not quite as busy as it usually is on weekends, which on one hand is a good thing because hey – less people. But on the other hand, it also means fewer shops are open, so there’s not much variety in terms of food. We ended up eating burgers, which were pretty good.
After I had gotten some rest in Armar’s home, we took the train to Darling Harbour for dinner. It’s quite stunning at night.
We had dinner at a cheap restaurant right in front of the spot above. Then we headed to Lindt Cafe for dessert, to have a double birthday celebration for Armar and me. I had a mocha, which I regretted because it had a sourish bitter taste. I should have ordered the chocolate shake instead, which tastes way better!
I came back to Darling Harbour a few nights later with a different set of friends – Drew, Gelle, and Joey.
We walked on a different side, so we were able to get up close to the ferris wheel.
We then had an Aussie dinner of barbecue, steak, and the works at Hurricane Grill.
Central Business District
Armar toured me around the Central Business District on my second day in Sydney. There were a lot of pretty buildings and a gorgeous park. He works around this area, so he showed me where he works and the cheap foodcourt in Westin where he usually eats lunch. Food is expensive in Australia, so it’s good to know where you can get affordable eats.
You can’t visit Sydney and not go to Bondi Beach, which is one of their famous spots. Also, I love the beach, so I definitely wasn’t gonna miss this.
I totally was not prepared for how cold it was. This is probably the first time I’ve ever been to a cold beach!
The beach really is very gorgeous though, and worth the cold. What made it colder was the strong winds, which created the high surfing waves that the place is famous for. So I decided to hop on a surfboard.
Okay, so I didn’t exactly do it on the ocean, but still! 😅
I came back to this place later with different friends. We had an Aussie picnic on the grass. That day was colder than the first.
We took a look at the famous Icebergs but didn’t eat there. We got to try some avocado toast from another cafe and some churros from the famous Chocolateria San Churro. Definitely try those, they have really thick, delicious chocolate dip!
My two sets of friends met and had lunch at Pancake on the Rocks, famous for their fluffy buttermilk pancakes. I ordered mine with bacon, egg, and pineapple. It was so good and filling. They also serve non pancake food, like ribs, which were really yummy as well.
This area is near the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, so it’s worth going there for brunch and sightseeing.
Sydney Opera House
Look! It’s the iconic Sydney Opera House!
You can also see the Harbour Bridge beside it. This is what the area looks like:
Here’s another picture of them together from the ferry we took to Watson’s Bay:
We took a ferry to Watson’s Bay from Circular Quay. There’s no need to buy a separate ticket if you have an Opal card.
There’s a bit of an uphill walk to get to the main highlight – not the nude beach of old men, which was a bit of a shock 😱 – but the Hornby Lighthouse.
When we got down, we had some Sydney rock oyster and fish and chips. The oysters were not as good as the ones I had in Hunter Valley, but the fish and chips were surprisingly good, tastier than the ones I had in UK.
And that’s it! The end!