This is a very long overdue trip report. I am sorry for not getting back to everyone the soonest. Work has been crazy ever since we came back from Sydney. This trip report has been at the back of my mind for almost 2 months now, lol.
Anyways, a brief background:
*Travel Date: June 16 to 24, 2 adults, 2nd timer in Sydney (First trip was in November 2017).
*Accomodation: Newtown area
Day 1: Vivid Lights!
From the airport, we Ubered to our accomodation in Newtown after doing the essentials (Top up Opal Card $40, etc). Our AirBnb was located on the other side of Enmore, and is about an 8 minute walk to King St’s main area. The theme of the trip was to do a 2nd round about of our favorite places in Sydney and to also visit some new places. The first half of the trip focused on some places we have been to already and tracing back our steps while the 2nd half was allotted for some new experiences and places to conquer.
Upon getting to our accomodation, we freshened up a little bit, pulled out our winter jackets, left our bags and went straight to Glebe's weekend market. Being in Sydney for the 2nd time seemed surreal. Our hearts were beating with excitement even if we knew what to expect already.
We spent a bit of time in Glebe sifting through the weekend market’s offerings for the day.The Turkish Gozleme was something that i looked forward to eating again, so I finished two of them and it was awesome. Coming from a tropical country, winter was something that my wife and I are always looking forward to whenever we visit a foreign country. We always enjoy dressing up and rocking our winter outfits, lol. Weather was chilly on this day but not too cold so the long walks were enjoyable. Since we had time to spare, we took it easy and had a liesurely walk through the weekend markets and Glebe area and had gelatto at Little Red Wolf (https://www.facebook.com/LittleRedWolfGelato/) I was also able to grab some good and cheap books at the markets.
Next stop was Circular Quay. I am still at a loss for words on how to appropriately describe this place. All I could muster upon landing at Circular Quay was “It is darn good to be back”. The crowd was still thin around 3pm & We had the chance to trace our steps back at the Rocks before the start of Vivid’s last day. Fortunately for us, our first day in Sydney was Vivid’s last day.
Vivid Lights- was like no other. The crowd was buzzing with excitement and everyone on this forum was right in saying that Vivid’s last day would be crazy. We did not get the chance to walk a lot but we followed everyone’s advice- took a ferry to Barangaroo and enjoyed Vivid’s sights and sounds from the boat. It was already very cold at this time (around 6 or 7pm). It was our first time in Barangaroo, and the place was already full of people by 730pm. It was a festive mood and despite the lack of sleep , we endured the long walks and ignored the aches and pains of our first day back. The puppet and light show was really nice. After a quick photo op at the Opera house, we had to say goodbye to Vivid.
P.S- POIDA so sorry for missing your show. We had to end our day a little bit early due to lack of sleep.
After a good night’s rest our recharged bodies were ready for some more trips back memory lane. Menu for the day was to retrace Watson’s Bay and Bondi Beach. Upon docking at Watson’s bay, we headed to Doyle’s for breakfast. 1 poster did recommend the Seafood chowder and it did not disappoint. The sandwiches, and fish and chips though were below expectations. To compensate, we had a good table with a seaside view, so all was well. Also for first timers, make sure to locate the queue at Doyle’s (Doyle’s Takeaway Counter) to order your food. We spent a good 15 minutes waiting for someone to take our oder. No one came. Lol. What’s good about visiting a place for the 2nd time is you are able to retrace your steps, and do the things you missed out on the first time. The Gap Bluff Viewing Platform is 1 of the places I wanted to see again at Watson’s Bay. Without any time constrains, I could stay there for hours and hours and maybe read a good book. Bondi Beach had a different vibe compared to the first time we visited, probably because it was winter. We did not get to spend much time at Bondi as it was getting a bit colder already. We headed to Bondi Junction (first time) and spent the rest of the afternoon of leisurely walks. Dinner was at Spice Alley and had our favorite Thai dishes. Burp. Our travel experts on this forum are divided in terms of feedback on Spice Alley. We however enjoy going back. Food was awesome if you know which food stall to choose from. I always go for Thai Food at “bang luck” and my al time fave crispy fried pork belly. Spicy goodness, yum. (https://spicealley.com.au/bang-luck/)
Day 3: Grounds of Alexandria
We headed to the Grounds for some quick photo op and proceeded to St. Mary’s Cathedral for another round of photos and vids. During our first visit, we did not get to take some good photos of the Cathedral so we had to go back. The rest of the day was spent at George St./Townhall area for a little bit of shopping and groceries at Woolies and Coles. Slow, uneventful but fun day.
We headed out early for our 4th day to ensure we were on schedule for our supposed 11am Hawkesbury River cruise. Reservations were confirmed and we were all set. From Newtown station, we headed to Strathfield to catch the train to Hawkesbury River station. This is where it got interesting. The train have been travelling non stop for a good 1 hour+++ already and we had no internet connection so I had no way of checking for updates on our route. Instead, I asked a good fellow if we were on the right train. He did say yes, and that the train was eventually headed to Newcastle. A couple of minutes later I saw the train pass by Hawkesbury River station but did not stop…to make the long story short, we rode the old train that did not stop at Hawkesbury station. It was already almost 11am and our boat was about to leave, so we decided to abandon the plan and headed back to Newtown instead. The wife was in a good mood so despite missing the trip, all was well and good. Around early afternoon, we decided to head to DoubleBay (our first time). Again we got lost, and found Rushcutter’s bay instead. It was a gloomy day and Mr Sun was not out. After numerous inquiries from some good fellows, we finally reached double bay. Winter Days are really short and at around 530pm, it was already dark. It was almost store closing hours when we got there so our time was short. On our bus ride back to Newtown, rain poured really hard. Last pit stop was dinner in Newtown. I had the best Pad Thai ever at ____
Day 5: Manly Beach, Shelly Beach, Warringah Mall
One of my most favorite place to visit is Manly Beach. Upon recommendations from our travel experts here, we headed to Shelly Beach, which was just a short walk from Manly Beach. First timers- make sure to include this cute little beach in your itinerary too. Similar to our first time in Manly, most of our time was spent people watching with coffee and ice cream in tow. We had the chance to talk to some very nice locals and they told us about Whale season and some other good tips about Manly. Some nice lady told us that if we were lucky we would see whales from our vantage point. Unfprtunately we didn’t. A realization was Manly is not just a beach but a huge community. Wife and I decided to explore that place outside the beachfront and discovered Warringah Mall which was a short bus ride from the port. We also people watching from the bus, looking over some nice houses, surfers etc. A bit of shopping was done at Warringah mall and it was time to go back to CQ. We were a few minutes away from the ferry rides when I realized that I forgot our shopping bag at the bus stop. It took us almost an hour to get a bus ride back to Warringah Mall. I was feeling down thinking thati had totoally lost our shopping bag. Lo and behold, an hour ++ later, it was still intact and in the same bench where we left it. I was very happy and impressed with the peopl’s honoesty and courtesy. If it was in our country, it would have been long gone already, lol. Thank you! To cap the night off, we went for Thai food one again in Newtown area.
Day 6: Cuppa Flower, Westfield Mal, George St., Townhall, Paddy’s Market
Brunch was spent at Cuppa Flower Café (this place was sohard to find and we got lost a little bit once again). For first timers- make sure you have your maps and navigation straightened out in case you are going by Bus. Some important landmarks would be the Puma Outlet Store on Botany Road. Food at Cuppa Flower was expensive and was ok. The rest of the day was spent malling around George St. and Chinatown. Against the advise of our travel experts here, we decided to have a look at Paddy’s Market (we did not go the first time). Everyone’s thoughts were on point about Paddy’s. For first timers- id advise that you give this place a miss. There are better options if you are looking for souvenirs etc.
Oh, did I forget to mention, it was a Thursday on our 6th day so we got to spend a lot of time within the George St. area. The place was buzzing was everything closes late. Something that we did not get to enjoy during our first trip to Sydney. We had a lot of fun people watching and window Shopping. Also- it was World Cup Fever when we were in Sydney. We had the chance to check out some good pubs as well. A number of people were also in World cup fever mode during this week.
Day 7: Parramatta
Had a late start to our day and headed to Parramatta mid morning. We took the regular ferry and had a good time throughout the entire ferry ride. The views were really nice and it was a good shift away from the CBD area. It was a Friday and they had some food stalls set up in the plaza area where we headed for people watching and some slow walking around the area. We also went to Westfield Mall for some window shopping. After about half a day of walking, we headed back to headquarters via train this time for dinner at the same Noodle Place in Newtown. A 2nd round of Pad Thai was in the offing as we loved it so much. After dinner, we had some gas left in the tank so we decided to get lost around Newtown. It was then that we realized that Enmore is just a stone’s throw away from our side of Newtown. I got to finally see Enmore Theater. Sadly no live music at that time. Enmore, in a way is similar to Newtown, but also different in terms of vibe and feel. I promise to explore the area on our next visit and maybe, finally get to watch a concert at the Enmore theater. Day 7, in the books
Day 8: Circular Quay Area, Newtown
Our last day in Sydney was mostly spent around CQ area similar to our first time. A great way to end the trip. Nothing special on this day. Mainly it was sight seeing and people watching. The site of ferrys travelling to and from the harbour never ever gets old. We said our goodbyes to George St area and the Malls and headed to Harry’s Café De Wheels for some snack (chilli burger was nice paried with fries).
We ended our night and trip with a bang by going on a night out at Marble Bar to catch some live music. We had vodka and some Corona beer while waiting for the band’s set. So the band played about 12-15 songs of pure R&B and they did not disappoint (Soul Empire is the name of the band. - do check them out. They are really good).
There you have it folks. Sorry for the lengthy post. I am sure I missed a few more details as it has been 2 months since our trip.
Some final thoughts:
• Itinerary was not followed to the T. Missed the trip to Berry and Cronulla and the Hockey game due to time constraints
• We spent most of our time in CBD, downtown, George Street area upon the wife’s request. Less walking for this trip and more slow moving leisurely walks as she was suffering from lower back pains
• Within the span of 7 months, we visited Sydney twice. That is how we love the place. We are still not over you Sydney. We plan to visit again next year hopefully. We were grnted mutiple entry visa for 1 year so 1 more trip might do the trick or maybe Melbourne this time
• Woolies and Coles are still 2 of my personal favorite places to visit for window shopping and groceries
• Thank you all for your help and recommendations. We will be back again very soon