While we were on our 3 week honeymoon, we spent a large chunk of it in Sydney! We had spent New Years in Sydney (click to check out that experience) but left to let the crowds die down a bit and came back on the 3rd of January. Overall, we enjoyed our visit and would definitely go back. Making the long trek from California, we wanted to see all Sydney had to offer and spent about 5 days there.
We used our Hyatt reward nights, a perk from our Hyatt Credit Card, along with some points, and stayed at the beautiful 5 star Park Hyatt Sydney. It was the perfect location - across from the Opera House, near Circular Quay (where you can jump on a train or ferry and get anywhere in a matter of minutes), and under the Harbor Bridge.
Here was our 5 day itinerary:
We started with breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks. We love pancakes, figured it couldn't be bad with so many great Yelp reviews. The service was a little slow but the food made up for it. I had chocolate chips pancakes, of course, because everything is better with chocolate!
We went down to Circular Quay (pronounced "key") and took the ferry across the harbor to the Taronga Zoo.
There were Koalas, giraffes, kangaroos, everything that can kill you, and my favorite, the penguin exhibit that had Fairy Penguins!
The zoo is on a hill with spectacular views of Sydney from all over, so we recommend you start at the top and work your way down.
We took a few animal selfies too! We liked the zoo, but the Featherdale Wild Park was even better (see day 2 below).
AFTERNOON - Olympic Park
In the afternoon we took the ferry back to Circular Quay and boarded a train taking us out to the Sydney Olympic Park. Josh loves to visit Olympic Parks and this one had a lot to see and it was all outdoors!
The park was built to host the Summer Olympics in 2000. They had the torch, the Olympic Cauldron that looks like a spaceship which was where the flame was lit the duration of the games, markers that noted how high someone jumped, who won each sport, and name of everyone who participated.
Morning - Blue Mountains
We booked a tour with Blue Diamond Tours, which conveniently picked us up from the hotel, and took us to the Blue Mountains National Park. The mountains look blue because the eucalyptus forest disperses droplets of Eucalypt oil into the atmosphere which combines with dust particles and water vapor, scattering refracted rays of light which are largely blue in color. #funfacts
The rock formation located in the Blue Mountains is known as the 3 Sisters, which aboriginals legend told, the 3 daughters from the Katoomba tribe fell in love with 3 brothers from a neighboring tribe, but they were forbidden to get married by tribal laws. The brothers didn't agree with this law and captured the 3 sisters, causing a war outbreak between the tribes and the sisters were turned into stone by a witch doctor to protect them. Unfortunately, the witch doctor died in the war and no one was able to turn them back.
We took the Scenic World Skyway cable car suspended across the Jamison Valley to a park called Scenic World where they had attractions and the best views. You could look through the floor of the car and see the rain forest below.
We also road the Scenic Railway, the world's steepest incline railway, which travels down a cliffside through tunnel and ancient rain forest at a gradient of 62 degrees. At the bottom, you can walk around the rainforest and check out the site of the old coal mine.
Afternoon - Featherdale Wildlife Park
My favorite part of the day was when we went to see Australia's native animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park. I love animals and this was probably my favorite thing to do in Sydney.
You can get up close and personal with the animals - touch them, hold them, feed them. The ever so adorable Archer, the koala, is best-loved as he is the popular koala. I even had my Mom paint him from a picture I took because I needed to see him everyday.
There are many other animals throughout the park such as kangaroos that are literally hanging out and let you pet them! We also saw more fairy penguins, wombats, wallabies, a Cassowary, and a Tasmanian Devil, OH MY!
We came back to the hotel, freshened up and walked around the harbor over to the Opera Bar for dinner. The Opera Bar is located directly under the Opera House. They had a great food selection, we loved their burgers. The restaurant is set up with open seating and you order by the kitchen, get a number and they deliver to your table.
We also enjoyed their dessert (of course) having a crepe with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. I was a perfect ending to our perfect day with a gorgeous pink sunset.
We started our day going to Manly Beach! For food, we found this spot called Hemingway's which looked like a library but served food and alcohol. It was early, so we had coffee and breakfast with a slight breeze and gorgeous view of the crystal blue ocean.
We walked around and did a little shopping, buying souvenirs and gifts for friends and family.
Afternoon - Sea life Sydney Aquarium
We took the bus back and decided it was time for more animals so we paid a visit to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and found Nemo, Dory, and lots of sharks.
We walked through the aquarium and after scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, it felt like we had seen a lot of these fish before. However, they do have unique creatures that are hard to find in the deep blue and were glad to see them here (love the platypus). If you have kids (or act like a big kid like me) there are interactive pools where you can touch sea cucumbers and starfish.
Also, the high point were the underground glass tunnels where fish and sharks swim around you on all sides and it feels like you're underwater with them.
Happy Hour in Sydney at a Secret Whiskey bar!
It was happy hour and we found a hidden gem! We went to a whiskey speak-easy called the Baxter Inn. It was a little challenging to find but worth it when we got there. You have to head down a nondescript alley on Clarence Street and walk through an unmarked door on your right, down a dark staircase to the basement level. The dim lighting and waiters outfits felt like we had walked into another dimension. They had 360 different whiskeys from around the globe and make their own apple juice for their fine crafted cocktail!
Afterwards, we went to a casino in The Star hotel. Walking in, there was signage in front explaining the signs which show you might have a gambling problem because of Australia's gambling issue. It was kind of sad, but kind of funny. We played roulette and won! No gambling problem here.
MORNING - Beach Walk
We took the bus over to Bondi Beach. We then did a 5 mile hike along the coast from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. Along the way, we walked through the Tamarama and Bronte beaches. This wasn't an easy hike, there were steep inclines, stairs and sun. Lots of sun. The sun was intense and even after re-applying sunscreen a few times, we burned. It hurt.
AFTERNOON - Luna Park
We came back cleaned up and took the ferry over to Luna Park, a carnival like amusement park with a scary entrance. and did a couple of rides, but the highlight was playing on the slides in the fun house. Josh and I raced for at least 30 minutes. This was definitely made for kids.
Afterward, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant right next to Luna Park, called Ripples Milsons Point. It was right on the water overlooking the harbor and I had the most amazing pumpkin ravioli.
We came back to the hotel and wanted to grab a few pictures on our last night:
MORNING - Opera House Tour
Our last day in Australia started with breakfast at the Park Hyatt Sydney. We over looked the harbor directly at the Opera House and started to feel a little sad we were leaving.
We walked over and took a tour of the Opera House. As an iconic staple to the city, We were excited to see this gorgeous building and learn the history behind it. Up close you can see the shaped tiles that are shell like making a chevron type pattern across the roof. The inside is just as stunning, as there are several venues within the house. The 2 largest concert hall is the largest and has the largest organ with over 10,000 pipes!
Since we were leaving that night, we had some time to kill but couldn't go too far. We decided to explore "The Rocks" which was the area right above our hotel. It's great for shopping and restaurants.
We went to Fortune of War (claims it is Sydney's oldest pub, which a lot of bars do) which wasn't anything special but nice to stop for a good cold brew.
It was time to hop in cab and head to the airport. We were sad to leave Sydney, but we weren't done with our Honeymoon yet, New Zealand and French Polynesia were next!
We would love to go back Sydney and check off anything we missed! Let us know in the comments below if there is something you recommend!
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Scenic Skyway picture was provided by scenicworld.com.