Let's just say, before writing this, all I knew about Australia was "The Rabbit-Proof Fence", Tim-Tams, and kangaroos. I was thrilled when I found a deal for less than $600 to Sydney. It would give me a chance to see what this place was all about!
During my elementary school days, we had a textbook that included the easily recognizable Sydney Opera House on its pages. Remembering the feeling of awe and curiosity, I glazed across the page trying to see how far this "building with wings" was from Los Angeles. For a kid looking at a 2-page map, it looked like it was within reach.
As I grew up and learned a little bit more about distance and scale, I realized how far "down under" was from..pretty much everything. This caused me to repress my feelings about traveling to Sydney until about 2 years where I met a friend in South Africa from Australia. She urged me to put it back on my list after eliminating it because of price and fear. I'm happy I listened.
Must- an activity or place that you MUST visit. You can't leave the city without doing it.
Should- an activity or place that you SHOULD visit. You should make a solid effort to do this.
Could- an activity or place that COULD visit. If you have a lot of free time or can't find anything else to do, why not?
1. Opera House- MUST
Intricately designed, the Opera House is worth over 100 million dollars! The famous landmark is open to the public everyday except for Christmas and Good Friday. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go inside...it was Good Friday *sigh*. From the mouths of locals and travelers alike, it doesn't seem to be as extravagant as its exterior.
2. Blue Mountains- SHOULD
The Blue Mountains is a popular region near Sydney that is known for its natural beauty and stunning rock formations such as the "Three Sisters". With many activities such as riding the "Scenic Railway" which also happens to be the steepest railway in the world, and exploring the various bush walks can make this a day trip easily. If nature is not your thing, you SHOULD still visit to learn more history on what makes this region unique, but it was something I could have lived without.
3. Sydney Sea Life Aquarium - COULD
It didn't quite meet my expectations but its great for families! I love aquariums and while I enjoyed the marine life, I was expecting more. If you have some free time to take up, check it out! Crunched for time? Don't worry about it.
4. Luna Park- SHOULD
This magical place SHOULD be seen in person. Luna Park is a carnival themed amusement park across the water easily accessible by train or ferry. Honestly, I was a tad bit on edge because I felt like I was in the movie Us and I was going to see people holding hands in the house of mirrors! The park has carnival-style rides such as a ferris wheel and steers clear of anything to thrilling. If you want to try something new and have your picture taken in front of this giant creepy clown face, go for it! Entry is free but the rides cost a pretty penny.
5. Bondi Beach- Up to your discretion?
Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to explore Bondi Beach but most people I know, claim it should not be missed! I wanted to keep this on the list due to its massive popularity but I can't give you my take on it, so instead, here are some photos.
6. Featherdale Wildlife Park- MUST
Get up and close with animals that are native to Australia such as kangaroos, wombats, and koalas. As an animal lover, it felt nice to see some of the animals hop and scurry from enclosure to enclosure due to some of the enclosures being open. We had the chance to feed and snuggle little kangaroos in a safe environment where the animals looked to be taken care of nicely. This is a must if you want to get up and close with Australian wildlife!
That's a wrap!