A little clip of my adventure in New Zealand and Sydney.Read More
On my travels I prefer not having everything planned and arranged ahead of my arrival. I want to feel the vibe of a place and see where it takes me. Sometimes this method works well, sometimes you end up being disappointed about missed opportunities. I didn’t have any plan for my stay in Sydney, I only knew I had 5 days to explore the city. Luckily, I met a friend who lives there and who became the perfect tour guide. Here are 5 things to do in Sydney in only 5 days. Some of them are mandatory, other more random. It’s also just one of many lists, there are of course tons of other opportunities and things to do…
- Take a walk at the Royal Botanic Garden
A very good start and a perfect way to cross some of the most obvious sights off your Sydney bucket list. The Royal Botanic Garden is located in the heart of Sydney and a very lively place with nice views of the harbour and the opera house. You see lots of other tourists as well as locals who do their daily jogging session. You can wander through the gardens and walk up all the way to the opera house and to the other side of Circular Quay where you reach a pretty historic area at the city centre - The Rocks. The architecture with buildings that go back to the eighteens century reminded me of London and the UK. The only thing that was irritating was a restaurant called ‘Munich’. In the middle of this historic place in Sydney I am facing one of the most popular German clichés. Let me just say this, we don’t wear leather pants and dirndls all the time. We do love beer though.
2. Ferry ride to Taronga Zoo
I know what you may think: why would I wanna go to the zoo in a country that is so rich of wild fauna? I’m glad I have followed the advice of friends and colleagues who told me to go there when I’m in Sydney. It’s a nice litte ferry ride that takes you past the harbour bridge and opera house. At Taronga zoo you have a great view over the Sydney skyline. Plus you get to see some famous Australian animals like Koalas and Kangaroos. Remember, you’re only there for a few days and probably won’t have time to explore the Australian bush.
3. Bondi Beach Coast Walk
If you think of beaches in Sydney Bondi Beach is the first one that comes to your mind. It can be very crowded especially during summer time. As I am not a fan of crowded beaches I didn’t spend much time there. I just walked along the graffiti wall and continued walking down the coast. Once you reach Bronte Beach you have probably been walking for over an hour already so it’s a good place to have a snack, sit in the sand and watch the surfers. Make sure not to end your walk at Bronte though. If you walk on south you’ll notice that it’s getting less crowded and you pass by the Waverley Cemetery which is a dignified place right at the coast. I think I spent almost an hour wandering through the rows of gravestones reading the inscriptions about people who died around 1900. As the sun came down I continued walking south and finished at Coogee Beach.
4. Museum of Contemporary Art and Watsons Bay
These two things are not really connected but as I did them in one day I just put them together under one activity. Right at Circular Quay where the big cruise liners berth sits the Museum of Contemporary Art. There was a free exhibition with works from different artists on occasion of the Biennale which was taking place at the time. I think there’s always a free exhibition on the first level so it’s definitely worth taking a look inside. My friend Scott and I also visited an exhibition called Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career. The work of Grayson Perry included prints, sculptures and ceramic works. The most memorable thing were huge tapestries that represented a journey through the seven ages of a man’s life, from birth to death. I wouldn’t consider myself a well-versed art person so I’m not gonna jump into a big review about the artist’s influences and the meaning for contemporary art itself. I can only say that if you need a break from wandering though the exhibition space you’ll find a café on the roof of the museum.
Watsons Bay seemed like a good place to spend a Sunday afternoon. However, I was there on a Friday so it’s definitely worth stopping by any time. Get yourself some Fish & Chips and sit on one of the benches close to the beach. You get a nice view of the bay and all the small boats and yachts. On the opposite side of Watsons Bay is an ocean cliff called ‘The Gap’ which is a well-known place for attempted suicides.
5. Explore local restaurants and food
This is one of the reasons why I choose airbnb over hotels. When I visit other countries I like to live like a local, wander through grocery stores and eat where the locals eat. My food challenge of the week became tasting all different flavours of Bundaberg, the Australian brewed soft drink. I think my favourite was coconut & pineapple.
As I don’t have any pictures of the restaurants I've been to or my friend has taken me to I’m just adding a list of links to all the places.
Lunch G’Day Bronte
So this was a little recap of my personal Sydney experience. As I’m heading back to Sydney soon, I’d be happy if you drop one or two of your must-dos in the comment section below.
Follow me on Facebook.
On our way up the west coast of the South Island in New Zealand we reached another famous spot - the Pancake Rocks. It had been very busy during the day so we decided to look for a camp ground to spend the night and give it another try the next morning. The Punakaiki Beach Camp became one of my favourite camp grounds of our trip. It's been very well organised and I enjoyed the picturesque landscape it is located in. Some would probably prefer a less crowded camp but from a German point of view you wouldn't consider it 'crowded' when there are only 20 other people with you. Anyway, it's been the best choice to go see the Pancake Rocks the next day. We had such a beautiful sunny morning and great light for our photos.
Over the next couple of days we made our way up to the top of the South Island. We spend two days in Collingwood, a nice little town at Golden Bay. Before I arrived in New Zealand I had researched one single tourist attraction which I really wanted to see - Wharariki Beach. Put the name in Google's image search and you will be amazed by its beauty. Unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations as it had been a very grey and stormy day when we went there. I would recommend going there anyway.
After this we drove down the east coast on our way to Christchurch where I would have my departure to Sydney. We passed Nelson and Blenheim and had another overnight stay at Kaikoura where we saw the most beautiful sunrise before taking a whale watching tour on a beautiful late summer day. We got lucky and saw 5 whales diving in the South Pacific Ocean. Let me tell you just one thing about spending two hours on a speed boat: If people constantly ask you if you get seasick and keep reminding you that this can be an issue, you will end up being seasick even if it's never been an issue before in your life.
We passed Christchurch to spend our last night in Duvauchelle on Banks Peninsula. The very last stop of our trip became Akaroa, a historic French and British village with a beautiful harbour, also on Banks Peninsula.
Our van Victor had been a very reliable companion over the past two weeks but three hours before my departure and in the middle of nowhere he made strange sounds which forced us to stop. Luckily, we were able to continue our drive after giving him a 20 minute break and I got to the airport on time to head off to Sydney.
After one week in Auckland I took a flight down to Dunedin for the second leg of my trip across the South Island. I got picked up at the airport by a friend who currently lives in New Zealand. She introduced me to her van 'Victor' who would become our home for the next 2 weeks. We started out in Moeraki, a little fishing village that is known for two things: a world famous fish restaurant called Fleur's place where my friend had a job at that time and the Moeraki boulders.
After this we took Victor and drove inland to our next destination: lake Wanaka. It's been a pretty long drive as it was our first day in the van and we stopped at every lookout to take photos and enjoy the view. When we arrived in Wanaka it left us totally astonished. It is such an idyllic place with a small town at the huge lake. It has become one of my highlights of the trip.
Over the next few days we kept driving to the other side of the South Island and up the west coast. We passed by lake Hawea and had an overnight stay at Franz Josef Glacier. It has been the only time during our trip that we slept in a hostel as rain was bucketing down all day.
Further up the west coast we reached Hokitika, where the annual Wild Food Festival took place on a Saturday. We quickly decided to look for a camp ground and spend the day at the festival. We found the most bizarre camp ground which used to be a mental hospital. It was very quiet there which was odd given the fact that the town had its biggest event of the year but we didn't care and we didn't end up in a horror movie.
At the festival we immediately noticed that it is THE event of the year for the locals. Everyone is dressing up in costumes and it seemed like it has become a competition over the years who shows up in the most risiculous outfit. Apart from fried wood worm which tasted exactly like peanut butter I didn't try any other wild food like goat testicles.
In February/March 2016 I've been traveling in New Zealand & Sydney for over 4 weeks. My very first long distance flight took 24 hours from Frankfurt, Germany. I started my little adventure in Auckland and the North Island.Read More