This was my first stopping in Sydney for more than 24 hours so I was genuinely an A-class tourist, meaning I had to see the most iconic, most visited and most photographed places in Sydney. I wanted to see for myself, if the places described live up to the world class reviews. Here are my experiences visiting the most touristy attractions in Sydney.
The Sydney Opera House
Recognized as one of the most distinctive buildings built in the 20th century it is no wonder this is a top tourist attraction in Sydney. You can spot the shell-like design from miles away and no matter how many times you see it you'd want get up close and try to get a photo from a different angle.
Surrounding the Opera House are bars for you to enjoy a drink or two while looking out to the harbour. The Opera Bar and Opera Kitchen directly face the Sydney Harbour Bridge so you definitely can't complain about the view.
Third picture down is one of the views you fill find standing right beneath the Opera House. This busy city is saturated in skyscrapers and frequent visits from cruise ships. Standing tall in the distance are not only corporate buildings but also hotels including Shangri-La Hotel. If you fancy a good view from your room I suggest you check in there!
In all honesty I didn't want to be anywhere but an air conditioned room during the heat wave. There was no shade nearby apart from the bars, so you can imagine how cramped it was as people fight for the indoor tables. Nonetheless, you can't fault the overall sight of this grand monument. And on a sunny day it really just stands there with all its glory.
I rate it: 10/10
Sydney Harbour Bridge
This wondrous bridge carries trains, pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. An iconic arch known to the world stretched across the waters and ready to be ticked off my bucket list.
A trick to finding a secluded space to take your photos is up and behind the Opera House. Tourists predominantly stop near the entrance but if you go up the stairs to the Opera House and go around the back side then you will find yourself front and centre of the view.
I rate it: 10/10 - mostly because I was deeply impressed with the transport system over the bridge
Love cotton candy?? You must visit Luna Park! The great part of it is - free entry! You can purchase ride tickets if you find ones that you like. Otherwise have a wee browse like I did, get on a candy floss sugar high and enjoy the screams of other people. The sun melted my cotton candy in about 2 mins and the wind helped to splatter the pink sugar all over my white top but that's another story for a different day.
This park looks impressive from a far but once you get in it is quite small. Don't expect a large theme park as it is more of a local fair. Good for the kids I think!
Note: It is located on the North side of town which means you will need to cross the Harbour Bridge. You can train, ferry (buy an Opal card) or walk, so plenty of choices to navigate around Sydney!
I rate it: 7/10
St. Mary's Cathedral
Officially the most alluring cathedral I have seen in Oceania. This beauty stands gracefully in the heart of Sydney CBD and is captivating from any angle. I wasn't surprised to see many boyfriends lying on the ground getting a photo of their partners and the cathedral (mine included) haha.
And if you're gonna be knocking on any random door in a foreign country...it might as well be this one.
I rate it: 9/10
Bondi Beach/Bondi Icebergs Club
Yards and yards of sand stretched across the bay and oh, a swimming pool built on top of the rocks. I call this a mandatory visit spot. I have seen this image so many times on social media I had to see it for myself. We visited on New Years Day and it was PACKED. Regardless of the stormy weather people came out to play.
It is the place to go if you can't decide whether you are a pool person or an ocean person. Sitting at the edge of the pool means you can dip your feet in chlorine water AND get splashed by sea water. However I will think it'll be best to go during off-peak season and time. It's just hard to enjoy a place when you are constantly trying to move past people.
I rate it: 7/10
The Grounds of Alexandria
Where I ate: The Potting Shed
Known as a landmark to market food, organic meals and interior goals this is the place for #foodporn obsessives. Inside there are options for everyone. Cafes, restaurants and patisseries. Funny enough this must be more well known to tourists than locals, as our taxi driver nor hotel manager had heard of the place.
We went to The Potting Shed and had their signature Mule-tide. It is crammed of grapefruit, lime, ginger and berries. Definitely what I needed on a 41°C day. And as for the meal - only the coolest way to serve a burger! On a shovel! Can't get much more on theme than that.
I wish I was able to enjoy the place more, but under the heat (yes Aucklanders aren't used to it) I could barely swallow a bite of my burger. This place is set outdoors so the only way to cool off is to find a fan. No aircon unfortunately.
I rate it: 8/10, and yes I want to go back and experience it properly when I'm not sweating like a pig.
Overall, Sydney was exactly like what it seemed. An active city filled with opportunities. Slightly aggressive at times but as a world leading city why wouldn't it stand its ground. I am probably more excited to explore the local hidden gems next time. Until then, xx A