Sampling Sydney

June 30, 2011 · 6 comments

This is a guest post from Matilda Lambert.

Sydney is a place that evokes the mind. Ask someone about Sydney and they’ll conjure up the infamous Opera House beneath blue skies and backed by the outstanding harbour Bridge, all brimming with happy, tanned people and more culture and shops than you can shake a stick at. Sounds too good to be true, but Sydney delivers.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

However, there are a hundred articles about Darling Harbour and the white sails, so this tourist is going to take you all down a slightly different path and parade a few of Sydney’s attractions that the world forgets.

Sydney is a vibrant city with far more to offer than the basic, but by no means overrated, harbour and skyscraper package. It’s true, I gurgled happily at the bright lights and architecture as much as anyone else, but alongside my cooing I visited places such as the art and science museums. The array of exhibitions awed and astonished me in equal measure, particularly in the Museum of Contemporary Art. Whilst getting lost, my personal highlight for central Sydney was stumbling upon the Chinese Friendship Gardens just outside Chinatown; a tranquil haven within a city that can overwhelm at every corner. For a day trip, take a train out to the Blue Mountains area, which included enough variations of staggering landscape to fill my camera’s memory card and leave me in a pickle for the remainder of my trip…

Museum of Contemporary art

In truth, it’s the suburbs that make Sydney what it is. The city is a collection of suburbs, each of which has the feel of an escape to the country holiday or seaside town with plenty of attractions in its own right, such as the famous Taronga Zoo in Mosman. What makes Sydney particularly special, however, are the transport links. You don’t have to while away the sweetest hours of the day actually getting to the centre; instead, you pop onto the local ferry – mine from Manly was a little vintage affair – and cruise in style into Darling Harbour, with the same views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as any tourist boat. Sydney hotels range in price and location widely, so take the time to shop around and take advantage of the suburbs and transport systems to get the best deal.

Koala in zoo

I think what I’m trying to get at here is that Sydney is a limitless city. It doesn’t follow the rules and thinks only of its guests, with a scattering of attractions both familiar and otherwise. With so many ingredients of suburb, landmark and impact, it’s simply a matter of finding the right recipe for you. And perhaps choose location with a degree more sophistication than laughing at the name Manly, as in my case.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie July 1, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Cute coala) I’d like to go to Australia..


AdventureRob July 5, 2011 at 6:09 AM

Australia is well worth a visit for a couple of weeks.


Bluegreen Kirk July 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

The Chinese Friendship Garden seems very interesting wish you would have captured a photo or two. Sydney does seem to have a lot more going for it then what I am accustom to reading about. Thanks!


AdventureRob July 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I’m pretty sure I actually have a photo of that somewhere, but can’t find it anywhere on this site. I lived in Sydney for 4 months so am quite familiar with the place.


john July 20, 2011 at 3:19 PM

I lived in sydney for a couple of months (quite a few years back now) and one of my favourite things about living there was hiring a car and going a bit further afield from the main beaches like bondi and manly and exploring the coastline north of the city. Some great spots up that way which don’t tend to make it into the guidebooks


AdventureRob July 22, 2011 at 4:34 AM

Care to share?

Personally I found Australia pretty much fully covered by guide books, as despite the size, it’s a whole lot of nothing.

Saying that I stumbled across plenty of beaches too driving across Oz. You don’t need to look hard to find your own personal beach there when you’re out of the cities.


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