I think I bought SP the Lonely Planet Guide to Australia, Christmas 2009, not long after we got married. I had visited the country solo in 2005 and fell in love with the sun, people, its beauty and most importantly, the lifestyle. Obviously my intention for the gift was to sell-in the idea of a return visit with my new ‘travel companion’. Eight years, and a lot of saving later, we made it.
Our trip, billed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Oz, took in Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru, Cairns and Byron Bay, involved a night stop in Kuala Lumpur and five internal flights across the country itself. We booked out three weeks holiday and planned to be in Sydney for New Year 2017.
The holiday was far from boring, but I know time can stand still when someone reels off their holiday highlights moment by moment, so here’s a photo diary of the some of the highlights and below are a few of our favourite places in Sydney. You should go, by the way.
-Catch the ferry to Manly and watch the surfers with some frozen yogurt
-Visit Watsons Bay (by ferry) and enjoy a few cocktails at the outdoor bar of the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and pit-stop at Doyles Take Away for delicious fish and chips, before you catch a ferry home
-The Bridge Climb. I didn’t want to, but it was definitely one of SP’s highlights. He did the 1 1/2 hr option, which was enough
-Visit The Rocks for weekend drinks. We love the craft beer and dining options at the Tap Rooms
-Stop by the Sunday market at The Rocks and pick up gifts for loved ones
-Walk or jog through the Botanical Gardens and make sure you go as far as Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for stunning views over the water and the Sydney Opera House
As we began and ended our trip in Sydney, we stayed in two hotels. The first was the Challis Hotel in Potts Point. I had stayed near this area before and loved the local restaurants and bars. This time we enjoyed Wholefoods Department (for breakfast), Monopole Wine Bar for early evening drinks and Fei Jai, which offers delicious Cantonese dishes and cracking cocktails. We also loved Yellow, a vegetarian restaurant across from the hotel, where we enjoyed drinks in the back bar on New Year’s Eve.
In stark contrast, we stayed at the Ovolo 1888 Hotel at Darling Harbour on our return to the city. We loved walking around the harbour and finding our way (bit of a schlep) to the Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, etc. The hotel had an arty, youthful vibe and every amenity you would ever need and more, with nice touches such as free refreshments in the lobby (you never know when you’re going to need a handful of sweets), complimentary mini bar in our room, and a Loot Bag with free goodies to take home.
What’s not to love, right? And although we’re likely out of the desired remit to be welcome, permanent guests, what was billed as a once in a lifetime trip, will probably be repeated down-the-line. If not, we have great memories.
Have a fab weekend.