This past weekend we ventured to the most famous city in Australia- Sydney. A short flight from Melbourne, only about an hour, Sydney is one of those iconic cities that you must visit. Culturally, it is very different than Melbourne. Walking around the city, Sydney really reminded me of Philadelphia or New York, due to its similar layout and the outward appearance of some buildings. The people also seemed much more uptight than the citizens of Melbourne, but everyone was still very nice and helpful. Because it is such a popular city, Sydney seemed to have a great deal more tourists than Melbourne. It was difficult to find a resident of Sydney on the street to get directions. Sydney was also more expensive, not really appealing to a college student budget.
This was my first true experience of hostel life. We stayed in hostels on our New Zealand trip, but the in the hostel in Sydney twelve people, some strangers, shared a room as opposed to only six (all of whom I knew). Some roommates were messy and slamming doors and loud voices often interrupted sleep, but I also was able to meet some new and interesting people. Some people actually lived in the hostel, like an apartment. It was really strange to see people sitting in the common area all day watching T.V. I didn’t understand why they weren’t out exploring the city!
The first day we decided to see some of the famous sights of Sydney. First we went to the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Since the famous climb across the bridge would cost $200 we decided to walk up one of the pylons for $9 instead. At the top we had some great views of the city, the bridge, and the famous Sydney Opera House. It was really beautiful. Inside the pylon there was also a mini museum that displayed pictures with interesting facts about the bridge and its construction. From there we walked through “the Rocks”, which is the historic part of Sydney. There was a street market with a variety of food, crafts, and clothing. Samara and I were even able to find our first soft pretzel (one thing we both miss from the States).
From the Sydney Harbor Bridge, we walked around the harbor to the Sydney Opera House. It was so amazing to see it in person and proved to be much more impressive than pictures. We took a tour inside the Opera House and were able to sit in the opera theater as well as the drama theater and the Utzen room (dedicated to the architect of the Opera House). It was so interesting to learn about the building process and history of performances.
The next day we went to Bondi beach, which has become a destination for both locals and travelers. Little beach shops lined the streets as well as restaurants and cafes. We spent most of our time there walking around and taking in the sights. Unfortunately, it was too cold to test the waters. Later, we went back to Sydney and took a free walking tour of Sydney. Our guide was very enthusiastic and kept the tour fun and lighthearted. It was a great way to get to know our way around the city as well as the history of Sydney.
The three days in Sydney flew by quickly, but we were able to see a lot and experience the cosmopolitan vibe of the famous Australian city. I would like to go back before the end of my stay in Australia.