Arriving in Sydney
Before flying to Chirstchurch, we had a further stop-over in Sydney. Arriving at Sydney airport, it took us about two hours to get through the security checks. Especially when you are checked for drugs, it takes ages: Only about ten arrivals at a time have to stand in a line and put their luggage besides them. Basically, this should not take too long but somehow this has to be explained to each group over and over again which takes a lot of time. Then, my favourite part comes: A young black labrador goes two to three times past each luggage and arrival to snuffle:-) This is sooo sweet and definitely compensates for the long waiting time! Martin took a picture of the dog but a lady from the airport forced him to delete it again, unfortunately.
As we both do not necessarily like cities, we had only planned three days in Sydney. Retrospectievly, I would recommend to stay four days, at least. Up to now, Capetown was my favourite city. Now, it is Sydney - I have never seen such a beautiful city! And I hope you know what that means being said from a "city hater"!!
We stayed at the Bounce Backpackers which we would highly recommend. It is situated right next to the Central Station and the guys at the reception give you a first impression of the people living in Australia: Helpful, open-minded, friendly, chilled and handsome:-)
Moreover, it has everything a backpacker requires: Kitchen, living room and laundry. Additionally, there are plenty of shops nearby and the reception is available 24 hours a day. Last but not least: Do not miss to go at least once to Haven (right next to the hostel) for breakfast and try an Avocado sandwich - expensive but definitely worth it.
Royal Botanical Garden, Opera House and The Rocks
The first day, we visited the Royal Botanical Garden. Here, you can perfectly relax from the stressful flight and have a little nap under one of the several huge trees. Afterwards, we walked along the harbour to the famous Opera House. Here, you have to calculate enough time to take pictures as you will have to wait a while until you find some seconds to take pictures without selfie-mad tourists on them.
On our way back "home", we walked through The Rocks - the origin of Australia. Meanwhile, you can find a lot of expensive shops and cafés here. So, nothing spectacular which would be worth an extra trip but perfect for walking through on your way so that you can say you were there;-)
When we arrived at our room that evening, I went through the corridor (closely behind Martin) and overlooked the step at the end. Tapping downwards with my left foot, I twisted my ankle (yes, fully packed with about 25kg)...
I am so glad that we were discussing the hiking boots thing for ages and then decided to take our approach shoes so that I can twist my ankle in the dangerous hotel room!
Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour and Chinatown
The second day, we went (or better say Martin went, I hobbled) to the Taronga Zoo. We got there via ferry which gave us a further opportunity to take pictures of the Opera House from a different perspective.
In the zoo, you can get to know the Australian animals and have beautiful views on the ocean and city!
Make sure you do not miss the bird show. Yes, the bird show. We were both quite sceptical when it was recommended to us as we are both no bird fans but the show as fantasctic! It is made with humour and the birds (like the rest of the anmimals living in the zoo) are treated species-appropriate.
One last tip for the zoo: Visit the koalas (right next to the main entrance) about one hour before the zoo closes. Then, you have the best chances to be on your own and you still have enough time to take lovely pictures of the sweet koalas.
After our zoo visit, we took the ferry to Darling Habour and walked through the city to Chinatown for dinner at the New Chilli House (very good Chinese food for moderate prices).
Manly and Bondi Beach
The third day, we took a look at the two most famous beaches of Sydney: Manly and Bondi Beach. Manly Beach is suitable for swimming and chilling while Bondi Beach is vivid with a lot of "bling-bling" atmosphere (to see and be seen).
If we would have had an additional day, we would have done the Manly Beach Walk (three to four hours for one way) on day three and would have visited Bondi Beach on day four...
Anyway, it was probably better for my twisted ankle that we chilled at the Bondi Beach and took the bus to Bondi Beach afterwards. At Bondi Beach, you can take a little walk to the Tamarama Beach with nice views over the ocean.
Mind that everyone else also wants to go back home in the evening. Therefore, the busses are more than full. In order to gain a standing place in the bus, we walked down the hill to one of the first bus stations located at Bondi Beach (and even then it took over 45 minutes to get a standing place in a completely over-crowded bus).