So in honour of today being Australia day and in light of my recent visit to Sydney, it seems like a good day for a sun soaked, venture post - especially as I haven't done such a post for quite a while. So I hope this might inspire and brighten up your Monday and maybe give you some ideas if you have any plans to visit the land down under in the near future!
We were visiting for a family wedding and so spent our two weeks in Sydney taking in the sights, enjoying the sunshine (it was pretty hot!) and taking part in some pretty fun activities.
Of course the first stop had to be to take in the iconic landmarks of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Sights we see so often in pictures that it's always amazing to get up close and take them in, in person.
At over 80 years old the bridge itself is suffering from corrosion and unfortunately the current steel structure will not last forever. Talks continue as to what will be done with a landmark so synonymous with the city so in the meantime it was great to soak it up while we could. You can take part in the Harbour Bridge Climb which I'm told is well worth doing although on this occasion we personally ran out of time to do so.
We did manage to get tickets to the Opera and happily settled in one evening to watch La Boheme. If you get a chance to see something at the Opera House it's well worth doing so. With a program that includes all sorts from music to dance and everything else in between, ticket prices range from actually very reasonable to of course the slightly more inflated, but either way it's certainly a nice way to spend an evening. Plus a great opportunity to get some beautiful evening harbour views during intermission and have a good look around the interior of this iconic building.
For a great 360 degree view of the city take yourself over to the Westfield shopping centre and book yourself a spot on the Sydney Tower Eye and Skywalk. With a 4D experience and a full 360 degree view of the city and its neighbouring suburbs this is a great way to soak up the landscape and get an idea of the lay of the land! It's also well worth taking a moment to dine in the revolving Sydney Tower Buffet. Take in city views as you revolve and dine - a great way to spend an hour or so dining in style.
If getting a glimpse of the beautiful wildlife and flora and fauna that Australia has to offer is high on your list then there are a number of options available in Sydney and the surrounding areas.
We visited, and thoroughly enjoyed, the Wildlife Sydney Zoo and Aquarium located in Darling Harbour. With a chance to watch over Koalas, Wallabies and Tasmanian Devils as well as viewing the majestic Dugongs (sea elephants), nurse sharks and a plethora of beautiful sea life this was an afternoon very well spent. We also visited the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary which was a great way to spend a couple of hours - the penguin cove was a particular favourite of mine as I happily lost myself in the world of the beautiful rescued manly penguins.
Another nice and peaceful way to spend a morning or afternoon is to take a stroll around the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens. With an abundance of beautiful flora and fauna, views of the city and the harbour and many different walks and paths that you can take, it's a lovely way to while away a few hours.
If seafood and cooking is a passion of yours then a trip to the Sydney Seafood School is a definite must. We went to an evening class to learn how to make the iconic Singaporean dish, Chilli Crab. Beginning with a demonstration you are guided through the basics, learn some brilliant tips and tricks and run through the recipe you will be cooking. You then move to the kitchens and in your groups prepare the dish together before moving to the dining room to wine, dine and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Certainly a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends whilst learning how to prepare and cook great food - recipes that you can take home and practice and prepare again for yourselves.
Sydney is divided into many different areas dotted around the water. We stayed in Darling Harbour for the first few days - a lively and central area with many shops and restaurants right in the heart of things. Next we moved on to Manly for a bit of beach front time and relaxation.
Another lovely spot to visit is the pretty little Watsons Bay. This beautiful little spot is Australia's oldest fishing village with an abundance of stunning coastal paths, lovely beaches and beautiful harbour views. Famous for its seafood and steeped in history a stop at Doyles on the Beach when in Watsons Bay is well worth your time. Tuck into the freshest selection of fish whilst you soak up the sun and relax with a chilled glass of wine overlooking the beautiful views.
So there we have my brief guide for a first timer in Sydney. If you're planning an upcoming visit then have a wonderful time and I hope this post provides you with a little inspiration. To anyone reading this from Australia I hope you've had a wonderful Australia day!
Tune in later this week to find out about an exciting upcoming art exhibition in London that I will have some news on as well as some other travel tales for a little escapist inspiration.
Happy Monday everyone.