Sydney is one of those cities that has it all. Summers that seem to last forever, golden sandy beaches dotted all over, beautiful walks, trendy bars and restaurants, hip neighborhoods for the cool lads/lassies and also nice and quiet areas great for raising families.
I arrived to Sydney to live for 3 months thinking it will be a good time but it went well above and beyond that. I discovered a place with so much to offer, one of the few places that really tempted me to stay on longer or even live long term.
Living in a place you pick up a few tips that sometimes eludes the normal backpacker or takes a little longer to find.
These are a few of my highlights in Sydney:
- Manly – Northern Beaches
During my 3 months I lived in the quiet suburb of Queenscliff just a few minutes from Manly and Freshwater beaches. People described Manly as being in a little bubble. Its like a mini Sydney within the bigger city.
You can reach Manly from Circular Quay (which is beside the Opera House and Harbour Bridge). There is the normal slower ferry which costs $7.50 and takes about 30 minutes. This tends to leave from Wharf 3. The tickets can be paid from a teller or machine at Wharf 4 or if you have an Opal Card (city-wide travel card for buses/trains etc) you can use this for the ferry.
One can also get the Fast Ferry if they are in a bit of a rush. It leaves from wharf 5 on the left of the Quay facing onto the water. It takes 18 minutes for this journey. Just enough of time to have a cold one which they sell onboard. It costs $8.50 for this one and Opal cards are not accepted. Special fast ferry cards can be used specifically for these trips.
So now you are there what is there to do?
Shelly Beach with the Boathouse Restaurant
Great food, nice sheltered beach with very few waves ideal for paddling/snorkeling or scuba-diving. One of the best areas for it in the city.
Smoothies, Salads and my absolute favourite Smoothie Bowl. It is so good and healthy for breakfast or brunch.
The North Head Walk provides a great view of the coastline surrounding Manly and into Sydney Harbour. There are different paths which can be taken and easily accessible from Manly.
Manly to Spit Bridge Walk is for me much more impressive than the more recognised Coogee to Bondi Walk in the Eastern Suburbs but is also definitely worth doing. Starting from the Bridge or from Manly it takes a good 6-7 hours with so many great places to stop off for pics.
Sydney is big into NRL. It is absolutely everywhere and is great to catch a game no matter what part of the city you are in. Big lads running into each other as fast as you can, sure what’s not to like. Manly Sea Eagles play their games in “Brookie”, Brookvale Oval. Nice way to spend an evening.
Australian Surfing Competition
This takes place every year from the end of February to the first week in March at Manly beach. Big crowds around, good banter, nice weather and the surfing is fairly good too
One of my favourite places around close to Manly Wharf Bar & Restaurant. The grassy area by the little Manly beach is a great place for a picnic, bbq, few drinks with mates or just to chill out.
The Botanical Gardens
A little bit of nature in the big city. A large green area to kick back and watch the world go by.
- Out of the City – Even further North
Palm Beach the site of Tv Show “Home and Away” is a draw for a lot of people that enjoy the escapades of Alf and the gang in Summer Bay but it has so much more to offer.
Like Shelly beach there is The Boathouse Restaurant owned by the same people with the same setup.
The beach itself is the idyllic golden sandy beach synonyms with Australia . A nice climb provides stunning views.
West Heat Lookout
This is a spot on the otherside of the water from Palm Beach. You have to drive about an hour outside of Manly. Lovely drive through the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park as it really gives you a sense of the “Bush”. More epic views await when you arrive to look out over Broken Bay.
So there you have it. Loads of things to do. Great fun to be had. Enjoy Sydney and all that it has to offer.