The Travelling Teacher: The Emerald City – What do you think?
What’s it all about?
This week I’ll be talking all about Sydney. During my time here, I chilled out at Parsley Bay – (though it’s small it’s not one to be overlooked), spent a small fortune at Double Bay, took the amazing coastal walk along Bondi Beach and popped to a little well-known spot, you might have heard of…the Sydney Opera House. These are just a few of my Sydney highlights. I made my way around Sydney using public transport and in this blog you’ll find out if my experience is one I enjoyed or if it was one I wouldn’t want to do again! Read on to find out about these places and more.
The flight from Melbourne to Sydney was short, taking only around 1 hour 30 mins. Though our flight was cheap, it did mean that we’d boarded an international flight, even though we were flying domestic. As a result, we had more queues when we landed but it did mean we saved some pennies!
Things were most costly in Sydney and we’d booked our first accommodation that was attached to someone’s house. We’d used reliable booking apps before and we’d stayed in people’s homes however during these stays the owners weren’t there, whereas this was our first experience of being there with the owners. The price of accommodation here was costly so we decided this was our best alternative.
We were in a really nice neighbourhood not too far from Bondi Beach. On our taxi ride to our accommodation from the airport, I saw my first ever kookaburra. As we drove up a hill, I saw a stocky animal sitting at the edge of a road next to a puddle. I looked closely and the closer we got, the more I could make out. Their chests and bodies are light in colour compared to their dark wings. This one had dark wings with a blue tint to the ends. These birds are awesome! They are of a thick build, have a round head with a thick beak. This is where my love and appreciation for kookaburras began and I was eager to see more! I cannot put into words how excited I was to see a bird….yes, a bird!
Sydney: Parsley Bay
Where we were staying was just on the outskirts of the city and a great family neighbourhood. Just a short walk away was the beautiful Parsley Bay. This place was lush. We had to walk over a bridge which was above the opening to the sea. This gave a great viewpoint of the small bay/ beach area as well as a super outlook across the South Pacific Ocean. From the bridge, we then began our decent down the stairway. The stairway is surrounded by greenery so each time I went I would find a new animal or creature. On my first time walking down the stairway I could hear a rustling and all of a sudden, a lizard popped out from nowhere. At this spot lizards, specifically the native Eastern Water Dragons, are a popular find!
Once down the stairway you can walk around the reserve to the boats or to the beach area. I decided to stroll along to the boats. I couldn’t believe how clear the water was here! The first time I went there a couple were swimming…and it was near 8pm at night! I decided it would be warmer and much more enjoyable to take the views in from the comfort of one of the benches along the pathway. Whilst sitting there, I could really take in all the different wildlife from insects, to spiders and crabs. Then, as the sun began to fade and the sky turned darker, I noticed more and more BIG bats fluttering slowly past my head. These bats were easily bigger than a giant crow! These bats are called Flying Fox bats and are among the largest bats in the world!
One day we decided to venture to little spot called Double Bay. As we waited for our taxi to arrive, I noticed that in the trees were some adorable birds that were the colour of the rainbow. These red, green and blue birds looked almost like a parrot. They were jumping around and eating the flowers. These little birds, which turned out to be called Rainbow Lorikeets, went straight onto my ‘Favourite Birds’ list.
We grabbed some lunch at Double Bay and had a browse around the shops. One of the locals told us they refer to this place as ‘Double Bay, double pay’….and with the prices of things here, I soon understood why.
Sydney public transport
After exploring Double Bay, we needed to head somewhere much cheaper. We also decided that booking taxis was probably going to work out far more expensive too, so we used good old public transport. To use the public transport here we had to purchase an ‘Opal’ card. I also downloaded the app which came with a helpful map and this even showed the times and costs, which made route planning really straightforward. It even helped you to plan journeys. With this in tow, we were all set and there was no stopping us!
When the train pulled up on the track, there was one thing that stood out. These trains seemed taller than most trains I’d ever been on and there were 2 sets of windows. Once on, I soon realised the train had 2 floors. This literally blew my mind! I was so fascinated by the fact you could sit up stairs or downstairs on a train. That saying comes to mind… ‘Simple things, simple minds…’
For another journey I used the route planning app and as always, I was a little worried that whilst on the bus I might get off at the wrong stop but with this app there is a built in ‘on the go’ view of your route. In addition to this, it sends you alerts to let you know at the stop before that your stop will be next and when you have arrived. No missing my stop for me! I also have to add that the bus route to and from Parsley Bay area is beautiful! They do a circle service so if you get a chance to get on this bus, do it. You go up a hill and get the most phenomenal view out across the sea and city, you even pass the harbour. I absolutely loved sitting in the sun, with the warmth of the sun on my face, gazing out the window across at the amazing scenery.
Whilst in Sydney we had to take a trip to the famous Bondi Beach. Of course, we made our way here by public transport (I seriously cannot mention enough how easy that app made my travel!). It was nice here but reminded me a little of St Kilda. It was very ‘beachy’ and sea-sidey. There was an abundance of places to eat and obviously whilst beside the sea side, we had fish and chips. These were expensive and I have to be honest…not that great.
The sea here was lush! It had some stunning bright blue areas. We decided to get a better look at it so rather than sit on the beach, we headed along the coastal walk which would take us from Bondi to Bronte. There were a lot of steps along this walk, for some reason I’d imagined the coastal walk to be flat….but there were lots of steps as you headed up along the cliff. A great place to get a spectacular view though! There are loads of areas where you could step off the designated walkway and onto the cliff area to get a closer view of the scenery. It’s such a cool walk, sometimes you’d have cliffs to your right, with almost cave like areas and then to your left the cliff edge and you’re surrounded by the ocean. There were many occasions where we’d sit on the benches along the route just to sit and take it all in.
There are some top spots along the way. There’s MacKenzies Point, where you get the most fantastic outlook across the ocean and Tamarama Beach (which is pretty much a mini Bondi Beach, but with less people). This walk is truly something and it’s so great taking it all in as you stroll along with the salty sea air gentle splashing on your face and keeping you cool.
As Gap Park was only around a 20minute walk from where we were staying, we decided to take a stroll there. This involved LOTS of uphill walking though, so we had a few pit-stops to cool ourselves down. This place is hilly but there are so many amazing viewpoints to be found so if you’re around this way, take a wander. Just by walking around the streets you can catch a glimpse of some amazing ocean views.
So, we weren’t quite sure if we were at ‘Gap Park’ as the sign for this place was very understated. Sadly, once in there were lots of fences and flowers as there have been many lives lost around this area. It seems that in many of these beautiful places, there’s often such tragic stories.
We followed the coastline walk, the rock formations were something else! I was mesmerised by the formations running through the ocean. Another fine example of nature creating its own, ever changing, but none-the-less amazing natural pieces of art.
It was definitely cool along this route as the wind was really strong and powerful here. We followed the path onto another route and ended up taking the heritage walk path around the coast. This led us to the Old Lighthouse which is the second oldest lighthouse in New South Wales. Who doesn’t love a lighthouse? It also makes a great photo opportunity. Then as we continued on our route, we ended up quickly passing Lady’s Bay, one of the many nudist beaches.
***TOP TIP*** I absolutely love walking and exploring but there aren’t many shops to stop at and keep refuelled so I would definitely recommend packing a few drinks and if you have one, take a hand fan to keep you cool as you’re out, exposed to the sun for a lot of the walk! Be safe, not silly
Macquieries Chair and the Royal Sydney Opera House
We took my much beloved public transport, thanks to the planning app, to Macquarie’s Chair. We walked up the hill and next to the water was this landmark. It was very busy and hard to get to with tourists.
We followed the walk around the water’s edge to the Royal Botanical Garden. These gardens were nice but didn’t quite capture as much of my heart as the Botanical Garden in Melbourne.
This then led us to what, for some of you, you’ll have been waiting to hear about and is often one of the first things people associate with Sydney, the Opera House. I am going to sound like I am really hard to please here but my first thought when I saw it was…it’s smaller than I thought! I think for me, I’m such a lover of nature that buildings quite often, don’t do a lot for me. I can appreciate good architecture but it just didn’t stun me. I’ll probably have gained some critics here but we’re all different and like different things. We headed closer to get a more up-close feel for the place.
What’s it like to work here?
I had my best WIFI to date here! I have to say the internet was amazing! It was fast too, really fast! Whether I was working at my accommodation or using my phone on the go whilst out and about, there didn’t seem to be any point where I had connection issues or couldn’t access the internet. So, if you’re looking for a top working spot, this could well be it!
There was also WIFI pretty much everywhere we went. So, if you wanted to work in the city, you could pick up your laptop and go!
What’s up next?
Originally, we’d hoped that after Sydney we’d be able to afford to hire a camper and travel along the coast to Brisbane but with financial burdens, we had to change our plans a little. After a little research we did found that you could go straight to the Gold Coast before heading to Brisbane so we decided that would be our next stop!
So, in my next blog I’ll be writing all about my stop in Gold Coast on route to Brisbane!
I’ll hope you’ll come along for next week’s read!