Getting to Sydney
I have to admit I was dreading the flight to Sydney as it is almost a 15 hour flight from Los Angeles. I’m a Delta guy which comes with some perks which allowed me to get the exit row seat with plenty of leg room which was nice. To my surprise, I was actually able to sleep about 7 hours and between movies and food, the other 8 hours filled up quickly. For the first time (fourth time visiting), I actually landed in Sydney feeling somewhat refreshed.
Immigration is easy once you understand their process which is similar to ours which means so long as you have an electronic chip passport, you can use a kiosk to scan your passport, answer a few questions, and then have your picture taken. Don’t forget to buy the electronic VISA before you get there.
Once you’re through immigration, I always get some money out at an ATM in the airport. From there, I caught the train into the city which cost $13.50. It was rush hour so the train was a better option than a taxi or Uber.
Having traveled my entire professional career, I’m also a Hilton guy and stayed at the Hilton Sydney. It was a nice hotel and I received the Executive Lounge perk which provides complimentary breakfast, drinks and snacks throughout the day, and access for printing and assistance as needed. Great way to save on eating out.
Just some tips when staying in Sydney:
- Hit the walk button anytime you want to cross the street; otherwise, the signal won’t change.
- Walk on the left just as they drive on the left; otherwise, be prepared to say “excuse me” and “I’m sorry” a lot.
- Take a ferry ride at least once while visiting. It’s their way of life and a great opportunity to experience the harbor and vantage points for great pictures.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is spectacular and I just couldn’t take enough pictures of it as it constantly changes with how the sun hits it and what vantage point you take a picture. Bare with me on the photographs below. This was my fourth time to Sydney and I had never been inside for a performance or taken a tour. This time around I did both, taking in a performance of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra playing Ashkenazy’s Romeo and Juliet. There really is no bad seat in the house and it’s a very intimate experience. The main concert hall seats 2,600. You’ll notice the tiles are white and off-white. Tip: Skip the tour and just attend a performance in the main conference hall and save $30.
After the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge is the second most visited site in Sydney and photographed by many. It is the sixth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world and the tallest steel arch bridge. Many people do the bridge climb but I’ve never had an interest to do this. It’s a great bridge to photograph.
Manly Beach and North Head
If you go to Sydney, you have to go to Manly Beach. It’s a very popular beach for the locals to go to and it’s easy to get there… just a short ferry ride from Sydney. The weather was in the high 60s the day I went but there were plenty of people on the beach, playing volleyball, and surfing. While there be sure to take the coastal walk from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach. If you make it that far, walk up the stairs to the parking lot and there are great views of the cliffs. I did the trailhead to North Head from there. Although I saw some interesting birds, the views of the cliffs weren’t great. Tip: skip the North Head trailhead and just make sure you see the cliffs from the Shelly Beach parking lot. The locals love yachting… there were so many yachts in the harbor.
Getting lost in Sydney
One of the best things to do when traveling is letting yourself just get lost and go in the direction that peaks your interest. Sydneysiders love to shop, love their phones, love being outdoors, and love having a good time. Friday night in the city was so vibrant… every restaurant and bar was full of people celebrating the end of the week; whereas, Saturday night, not so vibrant except for around the Opera House. I’m not a shopper but I have to say I enjoyed walking through the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) which is a historical building housing the upscale brands, unique stores, and offering afternoon tea every where you looked (check out the clocks). Hyde Park is a real gem and a nice escape from within the city which includes St. Mary’s Cathedral. The monster pictured below is made of recycled plastic bottles and bags.
Animals seen so far
No matter where you go in the world, the types of animals are always interesting to observe and photograph. The spiny mammal below is the Echidna (spiny anteater) and is one of two mammals that lays eggs (the other being the platypus).
In the southern hemisphere, spring has sprung and the flowers and trees did not disappoint. Many of the pictures below were taken in the Royal Botanical Garden in Sydney which includes the oldest tree in Australia (white tree below).