Sydney transportation card: Opal card, prepaid loading card. Top up at any station, most convenient stores, or even online!
Sydney has lots of buses but a train system that has no name.
The weather was hot, but at least not humid. The sun really was scorching- I could feel my shoulders burn. It would randomly sprinkle from time to time, just enough to make you feel uncomfortable but not enough to put in effort to prep yourself for both weathers.
Random tidbit: Lots of places seemed to be closed on Mondays, and close early in general, so do check hours before making a trek someplace.
Find my Map here!
Arrived @ SYD in the early morning. Shout out to Nancy who woke up super early to meet me at the airport. We took the train with a car full of students on their way to school in all of their cute uniforms.
For brekkie, Nancy made me toast with Vegemite. It was not what I imagined. Going in, I knew people usually love it or hate it. Nancy describes it as burnt soy sauce. She is accurate. Needless to say, I wasn't a huge fan and I didn't take any home with me.
We went about our day to explore the grand city of Sydney. Stopped by The Australian Heritage Hotel for some Australian pizza. We ordered half kangaroo meat and half emu meat. I've had a Kangaroo burger in the past (in London) and remember it being quite juicy and delicious, but the kangaroo on the pizza was unexpectedly gamy, although the emu did taste flavorful and well.
We continued our tour through CBD, ate some dessert at Gelato Messina. I always do the same thing at any gelateria: sample like 4 flavors and end up getting nocciola (hazelnut). Gelato Messina is a popular (well-deservingly so) chain, with plenty in Sydney and Melbourne, both.
Inside QVB, a sign caught my attention: 40% off. I walked into the store, and just about everything inside was cute. I took a few more steps in and a wall of beautiful colours and patterns caught my attention; signature duffels with the store's logo on both sides, and perfectly sized to fit in an oversized bin. Of course I bought it, and I'm so happy I did. Apparently, the Country Road logo tote is a staple for Australian women. I ended up seeing a handful more at the airport, just like the retail associate said. Here's a link to the bag! I was able to find one photo I took of my bag for y'all to see. (:
Next we walked through the most popular sites, like the rocks, Circular Quay, Opera House, Botanical Gardens, etc. Of course I brought Hugo along with me!
Dinner was at a restaurant called Mappen (ramen/udon bar). You can choose your noodles, type of soup (they have both hot and cold), meat, and toppings. It was great for the price too. I got plain udon while Nancy got a fancy udon and hers was much better than mine haha.
Most of our day was spent at the Featherdale Wilderness Park. A wonderful place about 40 minutes northwest of central Sydney. Check my separate post on it here! Sneak peek: KOALAS AND KANGAROOS.
For dinner we went to this random pho place in Cabramatta. Some people told me Sydney was the place to eat Vietnamese food, but to be honest, it was just as good as the Bay. I didn't think it was phenomenally better, but again, I'm not a foodie so what do I know. The night ended with boba from Gong Cha because, it was right there in front of us so why not? :)
Brunch @ Three Williams in a lovely hipster neighbourhood. The wait was about 10-15 minutes for 2 as the place was awfully crowded. We ordered the Joe and the Spanish Omelette, photographed below. Both were really good. I probably preferred the omelette over the Joe from my recollection. However, I do regret not getting the Prawn Toast. It seems like their most famous dish on the menu and I failed to order it.
After brunch, we good Christian girls made our way to Hillsong (Waterloo campus). [If you want to know how it was, ask me in person.]
Post service became one of my favourite parts of my time in Australia: BONDI BEACH. Mind that I'm not much of a beach person, but Bondi was gorgeous and well worth the trip. The weather was expected to be cold and gloomy but for the 3 hours we were there: sun, wind, and perfection. And then as soon as we left the beach, rain. HAHA.
There were plenty of people on the sand sunbathing, playing volleyball, playing in the water, listening to music. It seemed like such a chill weekend activity! There's also a pool nearby called the Iceberg Pool that makes for a great photo juxtaposed to the beach, which I do not have. I compensate by showing you two photos I've taken and are quite proud to share. Ask me for more and you may regret the flood of photos I share (or not because this place is so freaking beautiful).
My flight was for the evening so I had a free morning of wandering alone. I dropped my bags off at the baggage storage inside Central station. It was about $15 for 2-3 hours?
Once that was all sorted, I brunched alone at Bills, a modern Australian restaurant. I ordered the Prawn Burger but immediately regretted it as soon as I got it. It was messy, not as good as I thought, and just not really my appetite. Those much wiser than me, ordered the ricotta pancakes. My reasoning for not ordering them was I ate brunch past noon, which is more like a lunch for me, plus the order looked huge and I wanted something smaller.
After brunch, I walked around Surrey Hills for about an hour. It would've been more but most of the stores were closed as I went on a Monday. I did get a chance to stop by and grab some goodies from Bourke Street Bakery. I got myself a pain au chocolat and a ginger brulee tart. The tart, pictured below, was freaking exquisite.
I wish my time in Surrey Hills was longer and that stores were opened. Lots of blogs and friends hyped it up saying it was the coolest hipster neighbourhood of Sydney, but I'll be sure to visit back!
the bottom line
All in all, my first trip to Sydney was a success and absolutely lovely all thanks to Nancy, who housed me, fed me, drove me, and entertained me. Also a huge shout out to her roommate Jess who was such a treat and who thoughtfully bought me Australian chocolate biscuits that I got to share with friends back home.
Thank you friends, and Sydney, for your hospitality, and I will be back!