My typical day starts by opening the following tabs: work e-mail, personal e-mail, FB Messenger, Inquirer, WhatsApp Web, Pepper.ph. Not much e-mail, news or messages. To kill extra time, just out of curiosity, I chanced upon a sale alert: Sydney round trip at PHP 8499. Boom! In forty words that’s how my Sydney trip came to life.
My trip started June 1, just in time for the annual Vivid Sydney festival, where notable buildings, including the Opera House are lit up with colorful images. I didn’t know much about Australia except for the kangaroos and koalas, so with that major event, I had another reason to be excited, second to the fact that I really wanted to meet my closest friend who happens to study there.
Early morning arrival at Sydney Kingsford Smith. I got a free tourist SIM, and for only AUD$2 a day, I get up to 500MB data, unli call and text to all AU numbers, ooh not bad.
Getting out of the airport to the Central Business District is roughly 30 minutes via train, for around AUD$18. I know that Sydney is one of the most expensive cities, so I no longer bothered converting costs (good thing my fare was cheap :P).
Y Hotel at the heart of Sydney CBD, 5 minutes away by foot from Museum Station via Airport Rail
My top consideration when choosing an accommodation is location, average stay here is around AUD$115 a night including tax, and I just read that all profits from Y Hotels go to projects supporting women.
My first day was mainly dedicated to shopping and sight-seeing. I enjoyed the cold weather, usually around 10 – 15 degrees. While waiting for my friend, I spent the time walking around the area, where Hyde Park is, and I couldn’t help but marvel on the structures. Several buildings were still designed the way they used to be around 50 years back or older, giving the district art deco and gothic vibes. Parks were also well-maintained, wishing it were the same here in Manila.
Looking around the city
From flowers in the park to graffiti in a dark alley
3 hours away from the city is Blue Mountains National Park. Why Blue Mountains? The oil droplets from thriving eucalyptus trees mix with dust and other particles producing light rays that makes the mountains look blue from afar. Prior to hiking, we took time to gaze at the beautiful view, especially where the popular Three Sisters can be seen. Legend says that three sisters were turned into stone by the elderly to protect them from three men who they fell in love with. Since marriage was not allowed, these men were supposed to capture them. Though their love story had a sad ending, isn’t this marvelous view just a proof of what beautiful things love can do? 😛
At the world’s steepest railway
Extra hot Toby’s Flat White and chunky sandwiches
To tick off the “touristy” bucket list, we spent the day walking from our hotel to Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Royal Botanic Gardens, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Opera House, Harbor Bridge, Circular Quay, Darling Harbor – meaning 5 hours on foot, before finally taking the bus to Wildlife Zoo, then finally to Bondi for the winter beach experience. The streets of Sydney are mostly sloped terrains, letting us burn more calories. With everything that fancied my eyes, I never felt tired actually, until we got back to our hotel.
As a plot twist, at around 11 pm, an alarm went off, causing us to panic, which actually led to the evacuation of everyone in the hotel. Good thing it was a false alert, if there was anything positive in that, it was actually noticing how good looking the fire fighters were, both male and female :D.
St. Mary’s Cathedral was just wow
L: Art Gallery of NSW, R: Central Station
Sooooo cold! Our UGGs in sand, not snow
Vivid Sydney at Central!
Want an inexpensive dinner? Go Asian: Chicken Tikka Masala for AUD$8
At the onset of the trip, weather forecasts actually said that it was supposed to be rainy all througout. We were lucky that on the first three days, the weather was fantastic. On this day though, the winds were strong, and it was raining hard too. So that was my experience of what they said to be “Wild weathaa”. Very comparable to Manila’s typhoons. It wasn’t able to stop us though from commencing with our food trip.
Pasta rolled in a wheel of cheese was the star of the show
Tastes like Auntie Anne’s…we got the cinnamon one
Pictures do not give justice to how good these were!
For the grand finale, weather has gone real bad, thankfully we were able to accomplish what we needed to do, see, and eat. Though the station was just a few minutes away, we took Uber for a whopping cost of AUD$16. Good thing since the train operations were called off, bus to the airport was free. Thank God I got there on time and safe.
What my last few coins was able to buy: Hungry Jacks’ Sausage Muffin, Hash Brown, and my last dose of my favorite Flat White
Many say that 5 days was kinda short, but for me it was just enough, shopping, hiking, going “touristy”, food tripping – just dedicate a day for each. I’d like to come back though and visit a new Aussie city next time. It was my first trip outside Asia and I definitely enjoyed it! It’s hard for me to put in words how delighted I was, and of course, being with my closest friend made it more awesome. Until next time mate!