Thursday morning I hit the road again. This time my travels took me to Sydney, Australia’s largest and most famous metropolis. As always, the harbour city did not disappoint.

One view of the iconic Sydney Opera House

I arrived to Sydney’s Central Station via Greyhound Bus just after noon. Central is the city’s transportation hub. Trains, light rail and buses go from here to all other corners of the city and county. The city itself has excellent public transportation.

Inside the grand concourse at Central Station.

From Central I decided to walk to my hotel. Taking the train would have been faster, but the walk gave me an opportunity to soak up the sights along George Street. George Street is Sydney’s main thoroughfare (though today a new light rail line has replaced single occupancy cars).

My accommodation for the night was the Mantra 2 Bond Street. I had stayed here two other times. It is an apartment style hotel and the CBD (Central Business District) location (near the Rocks, Circular Quay and rail lines) is stellar.

My room. It was so city swank.

Looking up and down George Street from my 4th floor balcony.

The hotel was a short 10 minute walk to Circular Quay (pronounced Key). The iconic opera house and harbour bridge can be visited from Circular Quay, and various ferries and water taxis are available to explore the harbour.

From the hotel I walked to Circular Quay. This area is the water transportation hub for the city as it is the main ferry landing. Circular Quay is also the city’s number one tourist area, as both the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are here. The Quay is also right next to the gorgeous Royal Botanic Gardens and the city’s oldest area, the Rocks.

Hello Sydney!

The beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge. People can walk across the top on a special tour!

Photos just don’t capture the beauty of Sydney Harbour. It is vast and filled with beautiful inlets. It is in the midst of a sprawling city, yet at the same time filled with nature and wildness.

Sydney does a superb job of capitalizing on the harbour. Visitors can swim at its beaches. They can dine in quaint cafes, fancy restaurants or casual food stands along the shore. There are walking paths that follow miles of the harbour through the city, parks, bush land and gorgeous neighborhoods. Ferries, water taxis, tour boats, fishing charters and catamarans can be taken into the harbour. I love spending as much time as I can near the water on every visit to Sydney.

One of the city’s ferries dashes across the harbour.

I found this article online if you would like a grander taste of all Sydney Harbour has to offer.

From Circular Quay, I walked pass the Opera House and into the Royal Botanic Gardens. Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens are a lush harbor side escape right in the heart of the city. The gardens cover 75 acres and are home to plant species from all over the world. The gardens also have a visitors center, gift shop, function venues and educational facilities. Gorgeous views of greenery, the harbour and city can all be enjoyed from the botanic garden.

At one of the entrances

Garden map

I followed the shore for a good distance upon first entering the gardens. Then made my way inwards toward the gum lawn and bamboo forest. I spotted several Ibis (a type of bird) as I passed through the different areas of the garden. Eventually, making my way to the gift shop.

Views within the garden.

Looking towards the Sydney skyline.

One fun extra I spotted this visit to the garden was the Hello Koala Sculpture Trail. The trail is a series of koala sculptures, all painted by different Australian artists! The exhibit ends soon (November 30th), but I am so pleased to have seen them.

Seven of the 20 koala sculptures displayed in the garden.

More garden sites.

From the Botanic Gardens I passed through the Domain (a park) and walked to yet another Sydney treasure, Hyde Park. (Apparently I was all about parks and being outside! 🤣😂) Hyde Park is best known for its stunning fountain and an avenue of giant figs that lines the main pathway.

***Hyde Park’s fountain with St. Mary’s Cathedral in the background.

The avenue of figs.

After the parks I made a bee-line to Martin Place. Martin Place is essentially Sydney’s town square. It is a pedestrian only area surrounded by heritage listed buildings. A cenotaph memorializing WWI soldiers sits in the square’s center and a massive decorated tree adorns Martin Place every Christmas. 😍

The Christmas Tree!!!

The day concluded with dinner at an old friend’s house. We grilled steaks, his oldest daughter made chocolate mousse and we reminisced about the good old days. It was a great end to a crazy, activity filled day.

Old friends reunited! 🥰

All photos are my own, taken on a iPhone 7 - November, 2019

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