Last night, as I was perusing my Facebook news feed, I chanced upon an article about an 18-year-old young man from the Netherlands who booked tickets to Sydney, thinking in a few days he would be frolicking on the beach under the golden Australian sun.
However, since he was on a tight budget, he booked the cheapest flight to Sydney, not thinking twice if it was the right Sydney. He ended up going to Sydney, Canada, a place known for blizzards rather than beaches.
His story made me think of the trip I made with my husband to Sydney, Australia in 2015 to celebrate my 41st birthday. (Now you know how old I am.)
We had booked the tickets nine months before because they were cheap. Cebu Pacific had a promo and it only cost us Php17,431.64 (USD347.50). The next step was to book our accommodation. We were thinking Airbnb. Unfortunately, Airbnb was beyond our budget. Good thing we found a nice hotel in Kings Cross called Springfield Lodge. For 7 nights, we only paid Php26,311.00 (USD524.60).
We gave ourselves a budget of AUD100 per person per day for food, transportation, a little bit of shopping, and tickets to attractions.
What to see and do:
1. Madame Tussauds
We pre-booked the Madame Tussaud Bundle tickets online because it’s cheaper than buying them on the day itself. With the bundle you can visit 5 attractions for only AUD70 per person instead of AUD171.50.
The bundle includes tickets to Madame Tussauds, the Wild Life Sydney, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, the Sydney Tower Eye, and the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.
This bundle is so worth the money and will help you kill a few hours in Sydney. Don’t forget to check out the great deals on chocolate bars at the candy shop inside the Sydney Tower Eye.
2. Circular Quay
Just a few train stops away from Kings Cross, Circular Quay is one place you cannot miss while in Sydney. This is where you’ll find architectural wonders like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Circular Quay is popular among tourists because of its many restaurants, the view and the vibrant vibe of the place. If you feel like eating steak, oysters, pasta, kangaroo meat, then Circular Quay is the place for you.
Caveat:Be on your guard at all times. The sneaky seagulls might just enjoy that juicy burger before you do.
3. Taronga Zoo
Australia is home to so many endemic animals. Taronga Zoo is the perfect place to get to know some of these critters. Take a selfie with a cute koala, kangaroo, or wallaby. Make sure you have your phone or camera handy.
A mere 20-minute ferry ride away from Circular Quay, Taronga Zoo offers a true Aussie experience for kids and adults alike.
Tip: Bring a water bottle. There are many water fountains inside the zoo.
4. Downtown Sydney.
Nothing beats exploring a new city on foot. Take a stroll along the streets of Sydney and be instantly transported to the past. The city boasts magnificent architecture like the Town Hall, which was built in the late 1800s. It is the largest and most ornate 19th-century civic building in Australia.
Adjacent to the Town Hall is St. Andrew’s Cathedral, which was designed by Australian architect Edmund Thomas Blacket. It is one of Sydney’s finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture.
The beautiful Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is another must-see. It was built by architect George McRae between 1893 and 1898 in the Romanesque Revival style. It was originally designed as a marketplace and now functions as a shopping center. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful shopping centers in the world.
St. Mary’s Cathedral is another must-see for architecture aficionados. Built in the Gothic Revival style, it is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney. It is dedicated to the Immaculate Mother of God, Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia.
5. Bondi Beach
A day trip to Bondi Beach is a fun activity for the whole family. It is easy to get there even for first-timers like us. Just take the train to Bondi Junction and then take the bus to Bondi Beach. During the summer, always wear sun protection as the temperature could soar into the lower 40s.
Stroll along the beach. Let your feet feel the sand and cool water. Watch the people walk by. Sit on the sand and enjoy a snow cone or better yet, go for a swim to cool down.
Bondi Beach also boasts a thriving art community. Marvel at the gorgeous murals created by various local artists. Take lots of pictures. It will make your Instagram feed the envy of many.
6. Art Gallery of New South Wales
Whenever possible, I make it a point to visit at least one museum during a trip. The Art Gallery of New South Wales is definitely one for the books. We just happened to be in Sydney during The Greats Exhibit which showcased priceless collections of paintings and other works of art by the National Galleries of Scotland. We saw works by Botticelli, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Dyck, and Monet, to name a few.
Sydney Travel Tips:
- Supermarkets are a good place to buy affordable, delicious cooked food.
- A transportation card is necessary to get around. Make sure to keep yours topped up.
- Check out prices of attractions online before your trip. You might save quite a bit of money.
- Check the weather before you go so you’ll dress appropriately.
- Wear sunblock especially if you’ll be spending the day outdoors.
By: Katy Concepcion-Wiggins