For the past two weeks I have been visiting family & friends in my hometown of Sydney, Australia. Being my eighth trip back in six years, I kind of take for granted how amazing the city is, given that I am never really away long enough to miss any major ‘change’. That being said, I am always telling my US friends & family how great it is & that they should ‘go’ whenever they can while always offering advice on places to see & things to do. It has however dawned on me that in fact, not many people I know have been fortunate enough (yet) to make the trip – so I wanted to share some of the pictures I have taken over the years to encourage & inspire you to one day visit. If the time (& finances) are right, I may even one day organize a group trip to lead the way personally!
The first picture above is one of my favourite buildings of all time – the Sydney Opera House. This building not only captures your imagination, it represents our entire country!
One of my ‘must do’ things in Sydney is to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge – not at a ‘climbing’ ($200) price tag though…I do it at street level – for free!. Getting of the train at Milsons Point (image below), you can grab a fantastic ‘one hander’ meat pie & climb the steps to start your 1150m (3770ft) walk into the Rocks district – my favourite part of Sydney.
When you get to the Rocks end of the bridge, you come to my all time favourite pub – the Australian Hotel. Here you can get Kangaroo, Emu or Crocodile Pizza & you can drink your way around Australia, literally. If you play your cards right, I might even buy you a pint or two.
The Rocks district is home to the Rocks Markets – a tourist haven for all sorts of Australian goodies including local & traditional art work, gourmet food & every possible ‘Aussie’ bottle opener, placemat or t-shirt you can think of. My favourite bit about the markets though is to grab a salt/pepper & butter covered grilled corn with a fresh lemonade & sit on the side walk people watching…
Here is my must do list of the top 5 pubs to visit in the Rocks:
1. The Australian (order a kangaroo pizza & a ‘Beez Neez‘ – goodness)
2. The Lord Nelson (amazing micro brewery – the Nelsons Blood is the best!) – shown below right
3. The Hero of Waterloo (real fire place, stone walls & room for a good Irish band) – shown below left
4. The Orient (solid local bands consistently)
5. The Fortune of War (Sydney’s oldest pub)
About 1.5hrs west of Sydney is a sacred place – the Blue Mountains. Here is a rock formation known as the Three Sisters (above) in Katoomba. If you make it up this way, stop & have lunch in a small town called Leura…great little local cafes with amazing food.
If you head south out of Sydney you will drive along some amazing coastline & if you stick to the beach roads, you will also go through some really cool beach towns. Below is a view of Sydney’s south coast. Further down is Kangaroo Valley. This place is known for its amazing countryside & local wildlife. Further below I have images of some of my favourites…the Kookaburra, Koala & Kangaroo – all of which you can right up close to in some parts of Kangaroo Valley or the amazing Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney’s western suburbs.
Lastly, when you visit Sydney you absolutely must try a meat pie. Consider the meat pie our version of the American hot dog – its simply a staple of the Australian way of life. I know, you’re thinking that we fooled you with Vegemite right? (I dont know a single American that likes it – but we love it!) – but trust me on this, the meat pie is bloody good stuff. I found this one in Kangaroo Valley…simply the best.
If you ever need any advice, guidance or a travel partner on your trip – feel free to give me a buzz.