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Spending Time in Sydney

Leslie from Australia (Leslie)

On my most recent trip to Sydney, my friend Sylvia and I went up by train. We stayed in George Street, which is the oldest street in Australia, in the city center near Circular Quay. We looked at the architecture, shopped and enjoyed eating out.

We also sat on park benches looking at the yachts along the shore line, gazing at famous landmarks - the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The more active visitors to Sydney may like to do the bridge climb. We visited markets at The Rocks and walked to Haymarket near Central Station to the popular Paddy's Market.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney where European settlement began in Australia in 1778. The movie "Playing Beattie Bow" which is set back in time, is a fun way to get a taste of life in Sydney from its early days. Sylvia and I spent most of a day among the early sandstone cottages, terraced houses and the carefully restored historic buildings.

Vaucluse House, which was built in 1803, is a place I keep going back to in Sydney. I recommend it highly. It was the home of the explorer William Wentworth who, along with Blaxland and Lawson, "discovered" a route across the Blue Mountains. The house is furnished with beautiful antique furniture and the leafy gardens are a lovely way to while away an afternoon.

The weather can be very hot and humid over the summer months, which are December, January and particularly February. But if you do come to Sydney then, we have air conditioning and our beaches are second to none. The most well known is Bondi Beach, but there are really so many to choose from.

On this particular trip, Sylvia and I did the first seven on my top ten list.

My Sydney Top Ten

  • Look at the paintings in the Sydney Gallery (Art Gallery of N.SW.)
  • Walk around the historic Rocks area
  • Catch a bus from Circular Quay to Vaucluse House
  • Ride the monorail to Darling Harbour
  • Take a leisurely harbor cruise
  • Admire the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Check out Paddy's Markets at Haymarket
  • Get the ferry to Manly for fish and chips on the beach
  • Go across on the hydrofoil to Taronga Park Zoo
  • Visit Sydney Aquarium where you can even swim with the sharks

See Leslie's Slow Travel Google Map for Sydney, showing these top 10 sights.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge


We arrived by train from Canberra. During our stay we walked, took a bus, rode the monorail, caught a local ferry and took a cruise on Sydney Harbour.

Restaurants and Cafes

There are numerous eateries in Sydney. For breakfast and lunch, we ate at cafes near Circular Quay. Dinner each night was in the historic Rocks area. Vaucluse House has a small cafe for morning and afternoon tea. Some of the bigger harbour cruises provide refreshments.

Accommodations We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel in George Street and got last minute rates at a fraction of the listed price. Sydney Hotels and Accommodation Directory for self service apartments, budget up to luxury hotels and hostel/backpackers accommodation. Circular Quay Apartments in the city center. Harbourside Apartments at nearby McMahons Point.

Vaucluse House

Vaucluse House


Slow Travel Community Photos: Leslies's photos for this article

Slow Travel Google Map: See Leslie's map showing these top 10 sights in Sydney Art Gallery of NSW The Rocks Vaucluse House Monorail to Darling Harbour Sydney Harbour ferries and cruises Sydney Opera House Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Paddy's Market Manly Beach Taronga Park Zoo Sydney Aquarium

I live in Canberra, but have lived all over Queensland, and in Armidale and Sydney in New South Wales. I have travelled extensively around Australia. Sylvia and I live close to each other and we worked together for several years. Although we now teach at separate schools, we talk on the phone, share teaching tips, ideas for raising children, discuss our travel plans and have had this trip away to Sydney and also a trip to the seaside town of Bateman's Bay. Photos by Sylvia. Read my Slow Travel Member page.

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