Australian Travel Diary - 3 Days in Sydney

From Cairns, we flew to Sydney, Australia.   Located in New South Wales, Sydney has the capacity to be its own state in the United States, but cleaner and more modern. 

What can you do in in Sydney in three days? Definitely not everything.  It takes three days to explore just the city part of it.  That doesn't include the endless number of beaches, mountains, and everything in between. 

Where to Go in the City

Sydney's CBD is a lot like NYC, but the people are way nicer, less people and less cars, the metro isn't that confusing, and the sky is amazingly clear.  Walking around the city was a treat for its amazing architecture and modern take on buildings.  I've highlighted some landmark spots that are in great areas to start exploring, but you always find more places along the way. 

The Sydney Observatory makes for a trek to one of the most spectacular spots you'll get of the city and the harbour.  It's an uphill battle that's worth it when you take in the view. Afterwards, take a look inside the Observatory museum for some of the biggest telescopes you'll see and a little history on astronomy. 

The Sydney Tower Eye, while may be a bit touristy, is in a great spot surrounded with plenty of places to eat and places to shop.   Shopping in Sydney is like a sport.  Can you win a gold medal for stopping in every designer store you see in 2 hours? I may have the record at 57+.  

After spending time walking around the city, head to the Barangaroo Reserve for an afternoon rest or picnic.  It is a neat little area that was transformed into a new park along the harbor.  The Reserve is a perfect way to wind down near the ocean and get a bit of fresh air from the concrete jungle.

What I missed, but you shouldn't. - Carriageworks!!!! I'm so bummed that I missed this industrial-esque arts centre that is all gray and gorgeous.  It is worth the visit if you spend more than enough time in the city and want to see local installations.  

Record shopping in Newtown was another thing I missed.  With a number of unique record stores, this is the ultimate area to bring home some special records. I may not have been able to go this time,  but this just means I have plenty of reasons to come and visit Sydney again. 

Tourist Move: Sydney Opera House & The Rocks

Have you really visited Sydney if you didn't at least go to the iconic Sydney Opera House? The Opera House gets its own section, because it's the one cliche thing to do that needs to be done.  Up close, it's unimaginable how the architecture and structure of the building is.  I went once during the day, and saw seals! I was more excited about the seals than the Opera House.  As you get closer to the Opera House, you get a finer look at the curved details and how truly unique of a building it is.  

While the Opera House is nice to look at during the day, it's even more magnificent at night.  The best view you'll get is from the Rocks.  The Rocks is a historic district in the CBD with cobblestone walkways and parisian vibes in all.  Go up to the Glenmore Hotel's rooftop bar for dinner and a 360 backdrop featuring the harbour, the Opera House, and the buildings.  

To the Mountains and the Beaches

The Blue Mountains are an hour drive out of the city, and it's the perfect getaway from the urban life.  The mountains are covered in beautiful evergreens, ancient ferns, and waterfalls.  We took the painful 500 step hike to see one of the biggest waterfalls there.  Gorgeous views, but killed the feet. While rainy weather isn't ideal, the fog that accompanies it gives this mystique of wonder and enlightenment.  

To the beaches we also went, and we had plenty to pick from.  There's Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach, La Perouse, Little Baby, Manly and a hundred more. Bondi is the most touristy, so we avoided that beach.  We winded up at Coogee Beach which is great for young people.  You can stop by the Coogee Pavilion for great beer and food to go around.  

For a little bit of off the beaten path, the Waverley Cemetery is just off the cliffs of Bronte overlooking the ocean.  It's amazing how peaceful this place; like a little bit of heaven shining on those here.  It's weird to think visiting a cemetery should be on your itinerary, but take a moment and revisit your favorite memories. It's worth the trip, and you'll realize how spiritually cleansing it can be. 

Places to Eat & Grounds of Alexandria

While eating out was the goal in Melbourne, my goal in Sydney was visiting the Grounds of Alexandra, a wonderous place where the creative gather for some of the best coffee you'll ever have and good food. The place is a restaraunt, cafe, baker, garden, petting zoo, and anything else you can think of.  The atmosphere is vibrant and unlike anything you've seen.  

The Devon Cafe is a quirky coffee shop in Surrey Hills and Barangaroo with amazing light and space. Plus, the menu is an Asian Fusion masterpiece.  Get the Matcha Cookies & Cream, you won't regret it  After you order, head to the fun little courtyard for a peaceful morning and delicious coffee within the coolest walls. 

Ampersand Bookstore & Cafe is another amazing place that surrounds you with books.  If you're a lover of reading, this place is amazing! There are walls of books and sitting areas for you to feel like you're in a book lover's dream.  

I'm always focused on trying out the coolest coffee shops, but Sydney takes on unique Asian restaurants as well. Some other places you should try are Moon Park, Lentil As Anything, Papi Chulo, and many more.  Let's not forget all the doughnuts, which you can check out here