Sydney, Australia

My first impression of Sydney, Australia was that of New York City on steroids with a beach vibe. The CBD (Central Business District) is packed with skyscrapers and busy side walks that mark the hustle and bustle of any major city. Sydney felt much larger and more crowded than New York, Chicago, Atlanta, or any other major city I have visited. Tourists walk amongst business women and men as they make their way around the city. The tourists and locals shop high fashion and often crowd around to view public displays for the holidays. The windows of David Jones were the main attraction around the previous holiday season, which falls in their summer months. Sandals mixed with Santas weren’t anything new to this Floridian girl.

The city had much to offer from delicious restaurants to a cathedral light show and almost anything in between. We stayed at the Hilton downtown in order to walk around the city to explore. The Hilton housed the Glass Brasserie which made for wonderful fresh breakfast each morning during our three day stay.

Our first two days included exploring the surroundings and checking out Christmas displays such as the fun light show at St. Mary’s Cathedral. We arranged to to take the ferry to the Taronga Zoo in order to find out more information about the unique wildlife that Australia has to offer. The cheap high speed ferry allowed us better viewings of the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge! At the zoo we had the incredible opportunity to interact with koalas up close and personal. This was great, but I must warn that you cannot touch the koalas and you must have great self control to keep from hugging the adorable little bears. Although it was an up-charge to get to see the Koalas up close, I would absolutely recommend it, since the free Koala exhibit is very large and can be hard to see. The lemur exhibit was also neat since we were able to walk in the lemur enclosure and see them up close for free! Even if you have been to the zoo before, this one is a great experience if you are looking to understand Australian wildlife!

Unique neighborhoods surround the CBD which made for great markets and delicious eats. One of my favorite stops during my time in the city was at The Rocks Friday Foodie Market! If the words “foodie” and “market” weren’t enough to draw me in, the delicious truffles and beautiful fresh flower bouquets did. The market, which we visited on our second day, was full of friendly vendors that led to streets full of great lunch spots like the Pony Lounge and Dining. Our meal at the Pony Lounge was delicious! I ate the lamb kabobs, which were full of flavor. It was obvious that this trendy area was popular with the young adults. If you have a weekend in the city be sure to check this unique area out.

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Fresh flowers greet market goers as they enter The Rocks Friday Foodie Market.

Our final day in the city we purchased tickets for the hop-on and hop-off double decker bus that took us out to Bondi Beach and the Bondi to Coogee walk. Like the postcards, Bondi was full of tourists and locals looking for a spot to sun-bathe. We opted for a walk instead of a surf as the waves were a bit rough that day, which led us to the Bondi to Coogee walk. The coastal walk in full runs about 7.6 miles, but you can turn around at any point to make your way back. A great workout and beautiful coastal walk, this path leads you past the famous Icebergs Club and over crashing cliffs. It serves as a great way to see the famous Bondi beach!

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Swimmers lap the pool at the Bondi Icebergs Club, which marks the start of the Bondi to Coogee walking path.

After spending your days walking and shopping, finding restaurants in Sydney can be a little tricky. Brunch and lunch takes priority over the traditional dinner meal here in the United States. Often, restaurants and shops close in the early afternoon to allow employees to spend time with their families. Not only does the early day tradition make eating meals somewhat difficult, finding restaurants does as well. Sydney has an abundance of great restaurants that cannot be beat. However, many of them are tucked hidden within the city. A favorite of mine from the trip, Graffiti, was tucked within a larger building called the Galleries off of a side street. Graffiti was open for dinner, and it was good. I opted for the goat cheese croquettes and seared tuna tacos for my meal, both were excellent. I wish I could remember all of the ingredients in the decadent croquettes so I could continue to make them. They were delightful.

The three days in Sydney were fabulous and honestly the perfect amount of time if traveling around the country. The brunch dishes will make your mouth water, the views and attractions are incredible, and the city is so large you should never run out of things to do.

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