I’m back with another entry on my recent holiday to Sydney, Australia and boy was it cold! I had travelled during Spring with my loving partner, W. On most afternoons, the temperature was about 20 degrees and at night, it can dip all the way down to 13 degrees. I am quite skinny and petite individual, thus making me a poorly insulated human. I did however enjoy the breeze as I stuck my clenched fists deep into the pockets of my Zara Kids trench coat. (Yes, I’m small enough to shop at the kids section. I get very weird stares from the shop assistants.) It took me about 2 days to adjust to the temperature and weather. Thereafter, I was a little more comfortable. I would recommend packing and wearing layers of clothing, as it can get warmer during certain parts of the day! 🙂
First, some admin items
Our goal this holiday was to travel by public transport (bus and trains) and walk more than taking public transport. Apparently, W had an App on his phone that could calculate the distance we walked per day. According to that App, we walked close to 10km per day. Thank goodness for proper walking shoes! (I’m not complaining, I truly like walking. But. Just don’t make me run. Hehe.) For this holiday, we did not plan on where to dine. We just planned on walking and exploring a certain area and finding food there. As such, a few items were needed for us to achieve that goal.
- Sydney SIM Card (per person): We bought our SIM Card from Optus for AUS 40 per person for 10 days with 1GB free data a day. As far as I know, there are 2 Optus shops at the terminal. After going through customs, you will see an Optus shop with a really long queue. Don’t go to that like W and I did. We waited in line for close to an hour just to get our see cards. Instead, walk down the walkway towards WH Smith, and about 2 minutes walk after WH Smith, you will find another Optus shop with no queue.
- Opal Card (per person): You may purchase an Opal Card at WH Smith for AUS 40 per card. The amount paid for the card is the amount deposited in your Opal Card.
- 131500: To go around Sydney with public transport, our friendly Uber driver who drove us from the Airport to our hotel told us to refer to 131500 via the web or phone on the best and fastest possible route to our destination. It really did help us a lot. 🙂
I’ve been to quite a number of places, whether to eat/ drink or sight-see. So, I’ve divided this post into three: Hotel, Food & Beverages and Sights & Attractions.
Kirketon Hotel Sydney
Accommodation can be a little costly in Sydney and we were lucky to find a promotional rate on Agoda for Kirketon Hotel Sydney, a boutique hotel along Darlinghurst Road. We loved the area as it was about 5 minutes walk away from Kings Cross train station, making it really easily accessible to other parts of Sydney by train. There were also a number of cafes along the stretch of road leading to our hotel, making it easier to find food and drink, as we had booked a room only rate. The area was also closer to the city, hence very walkable.
We had booked the standard room category at Kirketon. Yes, it is a shoe box sized room, but it was functional and clean. The room came with a strong mini refrigerated bar, a queen sized bed, writing desk and an ensuite bathroom fully furnished with a standalone shower, toilet and sink. The bathroom was also well stocked with shampoo, body soap, conditioner and moisturiser, which the housekeeping staff at the hotel topped up on a daily basis. Two thumbs up! Although, a small boutique hotel, service was exceptional. The service staff did seem helpful. We had bought a box full of 6 packets of Grain Waves and we needed tape to secure the box and marker to label it. The staff seemed very willing to help. Quite pleasing. 🙂
(ii) Food & Beverages
Eau de Vie @ Kirketon Hotel Sydney
The hotel also has an exceptional bar, Eau de Vie on the lobby level. – Don’t be fooled, just walk down the dim lobby and you’ll find it. The bar makes exceptional cocktails that looks just as good as it tastes! I hear the restaurant, Fu Manchu at the hotel is exceptional too. Only W and I didn’t get to try it.
Bang Tang at Llankelly Place
After checking in, we took a stroll around our neighbourhood and found a small Vietnamese Cafe. It was a quaint little cafe tucked away in a quiet alley and we decided to stop by to have our dinner. W and I each had a savory bowl of ‘Juicy Belly’. I just said savory. But i’ll say it again. It was oh, so savory. So incredibly good. As you can see, the picture on the right shows an extremely contented-me. Haha.
Chapter e Food & Juice Bar, Darlinghurst Road
A quiet food bar just less than a minute walkaway from our hotel selling sandwiches, salads, cakes and coffee. I really like this place as the service was good and the food was fresh. I’ve tried the soy cappuccino (i’m lactose intolerant), bagel and salad from the bar. It’s not the best, but if I stayed in Sydney long enough, I’d definitely keep coming back as the food was fresh and coffee was good, but the service was even better!
169 Cafe, Bar & Dining at Darlinghurst Road
An interesting cafe towards the end of Darlinghurst Road. The cafe turns into classy pub at night. Breakfast was good. W had ordered eggs with toast which tasted really good! While I had fresh fruits, yoghurt and chia seeds. I felt a bit adventurous that morning. I personally didn’t like it as it was a bit bland for me. But I’m sure, there are other people who will appreciate this dish more than I did.
Via Napoli Pizzeria at Surry Hills
We had dinner with a few friends one of the nights and dined here. Still, the food and company was excellent. We had ordered a one meter long pizza to share. Coming from one who is lactose intolerant and not a fan of dairy, I loved that the cheese was actually chewy and kinda addictive. But once my stomach began to churn, I had to push the cheese aside and eat the crust and ingredients only. Sad is I. For some reason, dairy in Sydney is rather potent. So for anyone who is lactose intolerant, please stick to non-dairy products.
Sydney Fish Market
I was really excited to visit the Sydney Fish Market as I love seafood. Over the years, I feel the fish market has become more of a tourist attraction with their extensive display of fresh and cooked seafood. Their live catch was impressive. The fishes, crabs, and other sea creatures were stunning and huge. The images above shows the size of their catch with reference to the size of my hand.
W and I made a mistake of ordering cooked over live seafood. Thus we were extremely disappointed. Not only was it surprisingly expensive but the cooked seafood wasn’t fresh. It tasted like it was kept in a freezer for awhile, defrosted then cooked. It was chewy, and it had lost to sweetness of fresh seafood. We were so disappointed we nearly wanted to leave without trying any of the fresh seafood. But after much contemplation, we decided to get half a dozen plate of fresh oysters.
To conclude, don’t purchase the cooked seafood. The fresh oysters were better in comparison. But, I’m still kinda disappointed. I don’t know if I’ll ever return to the fish market. But if I do, I’m never purchasing cooked seafood.
Cooked (left), Half dozen fresh oysters (right)
Bondi Surf Seafoods
We were recommended by W’s friend to try the Fried Mars Bars at Bondi Surf Seafood. Yes, seafood. You might think, why on earth would a seafood place sell Mars bars, let alone FRIED Mars Bars. I’m really not quite sure. But apparently not any restaurant can serve Fried Mars Bars, the Bondi Surf Seafoods was actually given permission to fry Mars bars.
Bizarre, yes. Sinful, definitely. It looks just like Goreng Pisang (fried banana). But it tasted surprisingly good. The crust was crunchy and it complimented the sweetness of the Mars bar really well. What’s more, with every bite, chocolate oozed out. What’s there not to love? Would I go back for the Fried Mars Bar? – Yes, I will. Definitely. Without a doubt.
Hurricane’s Grill & Bar at Bondi Beach
On one of the nights, we met up with some of my cousins who were also in Sydney for dinner. We dined at Hurricane’s Grill & Bar and had mussels and a meat platter to share. The food and atmosphere was really good. The highlight of the dinner, apart from the company was definitely the meat platter.
Blue Fish at Harbourside Shopping Centre
On our last night in Sydney, we decided to celebrate with a good and hearty meal at the Blue Fish. We ordered half a dozen fresh oysters, BBQ Alaskan Crab, and yes we tried Kangaroo meat. The kangaroo meat tastes just like beef, only tougher. Our dinner at Blue Fish costs approximately AUS 100, but it was satisfying and a good close to our holiday at Sydney.
(iii) Sights and Attractions
On our first day, we walked through Hyde Park. As you can see in the picture above, the weather was a little gloomy and the grounds were wet from the rain. We were lucky that it only drizzled when we were walking through. Loved the lush greens though. If it weren’t raining, I’m sure W and I would have sat around to enjoy the breeze and scenery! Sadly, as it was drizzling, we had to brisk walk through the park. We didn’t get to explore much of it. I did however spot a couple of furry Kookaburra sitting high on trees! They were really cute!
The Rocks Market
Also, on our first day, we headed to the Rocks Market in the rain. It was a pretty small market but I loved walking through it as there were so many things to see! I bought myself a handmade ring from Natalie Ness. The maker is amazing and so friendly. I have pretty skinny fingers and finding accessories for them have been tough! There were a lot of other shops that sold quirky items like roo balls, poisonous spiders in key chains and such! I went for the not so quirky items like chocolate. Hehe.
P.S If you’re planning to visit the markets, do note that the markets are only opened on weekends. Our plans to visit the markets failed as it poured heavily and we only had one day to conquer them. 😦 – Paddy’s Market at China Town however is opened on Wednesday to Sunday.
If you take a trip to Sydney, walking by the harbour is a must! The Sydney SEA Aquarium, IMAX Theatre, Madame Tussauds, Sydney Opera House, etc are all along the same stretch! It would probably take you about 2 days to walk through everything. Also, you’ll find a scenic view of the harbour and see boats cruising down the harbour. It is really quite relaxing!
Sydney Sea Life Aquarium
I love visiting aquariums, as I feel it is educational. I learn a fair bit being at the aquarium. The Sydney Sea Life Aquarium was one of the attractions I was really excited to visit! And boy was I pleased with extensive sea life. I learnt a lot that day. Like for instance, did you know dugongs can’t eat food that is floating at the top? It’ll injure their neck as their mouth points downwards.
Sydney Opera House
We walked from Circular Quay to the Sydney Opera House. The weather was really good that day and I captured some of nature’s beauty with my iPhone – fluffy cotton candy clouds amidst crystal blue skies! The sun was also out on full force! So even though it was windy, it warmed up the atmosphere a bit more. I simply love the architecture of the building. Also, the area makes an excellent place to go for a run!
P.S Also makes a really good location for some OOTDs.
The Royal Botanic Gardens
Enroute from Sydney Opera House is The Royal Botanic Gardens. I strongly recommend taking a walk through this park. Lush greens and a picturesque view at every angle. Spent a bit lounging around and walking through the park.
P.S also a good place to catch Kangaskhan on PokemonGo. Haha. Well, this is where W and I caught it.
Bondi Beach was breath-taking! A little hyped, but breath-taking. I would recommend going over earlier in the day, as W and I reached Bondi Beach around 5pm, and it turned dark around 5.45pm. It has turned in to a youth hub where skaters, bikers and surfers are seen at every turn. Also, dogs! Many owners walking their dogs by the walkway.
P.S The day turns darker quicker in Spring. Not forgetting, it gets colder as the sun sets. Hence the scarf. I was freezing my toes off. I had to jog to keep insulated. Hehe.
To end of, my holiday at Sydney was amazing. I admit that I did get a bit lazy on researching for this holiday, and I think it can be seen in the way I typed this entry. But I guess, the main objective of the holiday was to explore, be adventurous and impromptu. In my opinion, I think we accomplished our objective, and that is all that matters.
Until my next juicy adventure!