I usually prefer the country side when it comes to cities but Sydney is a wonderful. The climate is pleasent, it offers a lot to explore - even nature wise - and the people are friendly and helpful. Only in Sydney people walked up to us and asked if they could give us directions as we were looking at the city map. After covering Singapore the last week, today we explain how to explore Sydney on a three day stopover.
Getting around / Public Transportation
Sydney covers a vast area and you frequently need to take a ferry to reach your destination. So public means of transportation are your best choice. As of January 2016 you can either buy a single ride ticket or obtain an OPAL card. You top it up with at least 10$ and swipe it when entering/exiting the train station or bus. Unfortunately, with the new system, you cannot by a single ride on the bus anymore. I therefore strongly recommend to get your own OPAL card as soon as possible. You can imagine how surprised we were, when we asked the bus driver for a single ride ticket and got the response: "No change, have a seat anyway". As I said previously, people are very friendly in Sydney :-).
One side note on the airport stations: When you leave the airport, don't be shocked to pay about 17\$ per person do go downtown. The airport station is privately owned and the station allone adds 13\$ to the ticket.
Three days sightseening
Disclaimer: As mentioned in the article on Singapore, we prefer walking through cities. And these three days offer many opportunities for walking..
Day 1: Exploring the city (thanks to the helpful staff at the bounce hostel)
We start the tour at the Anzac memorial which honors the Australian New Zealand Army Corps fighting in the first world war. From there you walk through Hyde park towards St. Mary's Cathedral, and ff you are lucky you will see someone getting married. Passing the mint and the parliament you will find yourself at the entrance to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Take your time to explore them. Maybe you are interested in the herbs garden, the succulents or you just like to enjoy so much green in the center of a city. We took the opportunity and had a nap on the grass to compensate for the jet lag. Ensure to walk all the way up to Mrs. Macquaries' Chair. It offers a perfect view on the opera and the harbour bridge. From here, enjoy the short walk on the seaside towards the opera and if you are interested, take the guided tour. Afterwards you can stop at tourist office at the wharfes to get the tickets for a harbour or simply enjoy a caffee at the harbour. The last activity for the day will be a stroll through The Rocks maybe including a short visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Day 2: The Zoo
Tip: Get the tickets for the Zoo at the tourist office at the wharfes. Here you can buy a package which includes the return trip with the ferry.
The Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This sounds like plenty of time but you will need it. With all the shows (the seal show and the bird show are a must), themed trails and keeper talks the zoo will keep you busy. You might consider to bring something for lunch as we were not so happy with the food offered at the zoo. Ensure to take the last ferry at 5:10 p.m. to Darling Harbour. From there it is a gentle walk to China Town where you can pick your favorite restaurant for dinner.
Day 3: The beaches
Get up early and take the bus to Spit Bridge and walk the 10km Manly Scenic Walkway. Arriving at Manly you can refule with fish and chips and take a rest on the ferry to Watsons Bay. From the bus gets you directly to Bondi Beachwhere you can enjoy the coast line on the Brondi to Bronte Coastal Walk. And don't miss to take a picture of you in front of the many murals at Bondi beach.