For the longest time, I have thought that Sydney is the capital of Australia. I have been made aware of this mistake and I have been sufficiently embarrassed too 😀 But honestly, all you EVER hear about when talking about Australia is Sydney. Sydney, Kangaroos, Koalas, The Great Barrier Reef, and Didgeridoos. Tell me I’m wrong, I bet you can’t 🙂 Until I was made aware of my mistake I had never even heard the name “Canberra”.
And why not… why is Sydney not the capital of Australia? It fuckin rules!
Coming from Chile we had three days to spend in Sydney before heading to our actual destination – Brisbane. Why the overlay? Well, the flights were cheaper 😉 Nomadlife often makes you stay in places because you have to chase the flight prices.
Our first impression of Sydney went as followed: What?? 36 Dollars to get from the airport to the city center?? And then: Where is the damn Airbnb, we need to crash, like asap.
But once we slept and felt refreshed enough Syndey started to be amazing. Admittedly, we were both a bit deprived of Western culture by staying in South America for 6 months non-stop. The first trip to the supermarket chain Coles felt like entering the gates of heaven. This might’ve slightly twisted our perception of Sydney 😉 For me, the three days we spent there felt like arriving in the promised land… well, with a hole in your pocket since you are losing all your money.
If you also just have a short time in Sydney we have a few things to share, that might make things go more smoothly for you.
Sure, you can get an uber or taxi. But you can also just start throwing money out the window. If you are more on our end of the wealth chain you should get yourself an Opal card, stat. If you can you should get it right in the airport because it makes the fare to the city a bit cheaper. In general, you can get them at tourist bureau and news agency (fancy name for magazine stand). The card itself costs nothing, you just pay what you charge on it. The huge advantage of the Opal card is that you have daily limit on it on what they can charge you. You will never have to pay more than 15 Dollars, even if you took way more rides than that. In a city like Sydney, this is so damn useful! The coolest things are Sundays:
Be In Sydney On A Sunday
On Sundays, you can save so much money on public transport with the Opal card!! The coolest thing ever is that the daily limit on Sundays is 2,60 Dollars. So you can ride all over Sydney for almost free. We made use of that and went by Ferry to Manly. Yes, the ferries are also included in the Opal card. In a lot of museums in Sydney, you will have discounts or even completely free entry on Sundays too. So plan your trip wisely.
Take A Ferry To Manly
Manly has the nicest beaches you can find close to Sydney. And it is fairly easy to get to. From the ferry station Circular Quay you ride there in around 20 minutes. In Manly you’ll have a bunch of options: You can go for the “leisurely-luxury-chill” and just stick to the area around the harbor. I felt like I was catapulted to Monaco and in the middle of models and actresses on a beach holiday. Or you head for the “active-adventure-trip” by heading to the capes and natural reserve of Manly. About 10 minutes walk from the harbor you will find yourself in Bushlands that wait for some exploration. The third option is to do a “beach-and-explore” trip by heading to Shelly beach. here you can either swim, hang, surf or go for some diving. All in all, Manly sure serves as a crowd-pleaser!
Use Your Jetlag For A Sunset Walk To The Harbor And Admire The Opera
Trust me, this is epic. We were up every single morning at 5 am so we had a lot of time 😀 We stayed in Potts Point which is really close to the harbor. So we just went for early morning runs/walks before the heat struck. If you walk through the Royal Botanical Garden you will reach a cute little viewpoint “Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair” and bam, see the opera in all it’s (tiny) glory. This was actually super peaceful and quiet. I am around 100% sure that no later than 9 am this spot will be crawling with tourists on any day.
Check Out Potts Point
We are probably a bit biased because we really like the area that we stayed in. But upon comparing Potts Point to other districts of Sydney I still feel like it is an exceptionally cute area. Lots of Vintage stores, coffee shops, boutiques, and bars all around. If you are a backpacker Potts Point will probably be your go-to area anyways since all the streets are lined with hostels right and left.
It’s not a very detailed guide, I know… but if you stay just for one or two days this might be really useful for you 😉 I wish I’d known about the Opal cards right when we got off the plane. Also: Check the exchange rate of your home currency with the AUD frequently. The Australian Dollar is a bit weak at the moment and after a while, we realized things were actually not as expensive as they appeared to be. That was pretty great – in the first week or so I felt like money was just running through our fingers. And now: Have fun exploring and let us know what you find 🙂
Also published on Medium.