Post Author: Rachel
Oh my goodness, I have so much I want to share with you all about our amazing trip to Australia and New Zealand! I've done a fair amount of traveling, but never have I had the opportunity to take this kind of adventure - where we really had the luxury of time to explore and soak in what each city had to offer.
To keep from being saddled with luggage that had to be checked, retrieved and pushed and pulled from place to place, my husband and I each packed a backpack. Yep, we were able to fit everything we needed for 2 weeks in a backpack weighing about 20 pounds; easy enough for each of us to carry. We also brought a smaller backpack to use for our day trips, but it doubled as a carry-on for the things we wanted to have ready access to on the long flights over and back. Be on the lookout for more about what and how we packed in an upcoming blog post.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'll pour through all our pics and videos and give you a glimpse into each day's adventure. I'll also share what to do, what to skip, where to eat and recommendations for must see places along the way. It was a a blast and I hope you enjoy traveling along with me.
Our first stop on the list - Sydney, Australia.
We visited Sydney during the third week of March. We caught the tail end of the their summer and the start of fall. However, the temps were in the 90's and even hit 100+ one day. It definitely still felt like the dog days of summer.
Our 15 hour flight arrived around 8 a.m. local time and we hit the ground running! We knew we'd never recover from jet lag if we didn't keep moving. We dropped our bags at our hotel, changed clothes and got on the road.
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk
We started with the scenic Bondi to Coogee Beach walk. It gave us a much needed chance to stretch our legs and take in the beauty of the city, enjoy the ocean breeze and soak in the sunshine. This popular pathway is situated on a clifftop along the coastline and offers fantastic views and plenty of photo ops. It's generally an easy walk, with a few stairs, and plenty of water fountains and restrooms along the way. Plan to take at least a few hours so you can stop for photos, bring good walking shoes, and, for sure, remember your sunscreen.
This place is GORGEOUS!! We were in awe of this particular spot. Everywhere we looked we saw the incredible work of God's hand.
While at Bondi Beach, we stopped at the Bondi Iceberg Club, threw our backpack in a locker and sat at the edge of the pool with the ocean waves roaring next to us. For just $7 we got a day pass with access to the pool and sauna and it was so worth it. A perfect way to forget about any jet lag!
Sydney Opera House Bar
It was St. Patrick's Day so things were bustling and people were out and about enjoying the holiday. The Opera House is a stunning architectural marvel that was the perfect backdrop for enjoying an after dinner glass of wine, a live band, the cool breeze and gorgeous scenery.
Before heading to Sydney, we researched some of the best places to grab a bite for breakfast and on our list was Motown Coffee Brewers. It was wonderful! We also discovered that Sydney has some of the best coffee around. If you're a coffee lover, this is the place for you.
This is an absolute MUST and it was one of the coolest experiences ever! You can see all of Sydney in the most spectacular way. Our tour guide's knowledge of the city was impressive and we learned so much about the history of Sydney. Plus, the views were out of this world!
As you can see, we donned some very fashionable gear for this excursion. HA! When we arrived at the BridgeClimb location, we watched a safety video, filled out paperwork, breathed into a breathalyzer (yep, can't drink before this adventure!), threw on these jumpsuits and were checked to make sure our harnesses and gear were clipped correctly. Everything from your hat to your sunglasses are clipped on because you are climbing about 450ft above a highway! No phones, cameras, jewelry, water bottles - you can't take anything with you. We were able to store the rest of our stuff in the free lockers they have available.
We chose to do the morning bridge climb, ascending the upper arch in about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. The views, particularly at the top of the bridge, were sensational. The climb leaders take pictures and videos for you along the way that are available for purchase at the end of the tour. You will want those once in a lifetime shots!
The climb wasn't terribly difficult, but we were definitely ready for some lunch and a cold brew when we finished. Our guide recommended the Australian Hotel so we gave it a try and our lunch was delicious! We were already stepping out of our comfort zone, so we ordered up a kangaroo burger and devoured it in no time. Also, it was fun trying a couple of different beers since they have over 100 on tap.
Later that afternoon, we hopped on a ferry and headed for Manly Beach for a little exploration of the Northern Beaches of Sydney. We heard so many great things about this spot and it didn't disappoint. We made our way to 4 Pines Brewery, a local beer company, and taste tested a few of their most popular brews. We claimed a spot on the patio to relax and enjoy the view on a hot Sydney day.
That evening we had reservations at Fish at the Rocks where we ordered oysters and split a seafood pasta dish. The staff was attentive, the atmosphere was cozy, and and we loved indulging in a superb seafood dinner along with a glass of wine. Highly recommend.
Our last day in Sydney, we got up early to see the sunrise. We walked over to the Sydney Bridge to catch the sun as it came up over the Opera House. It was absolutely breathtaking! We were so glad we didn't hit the snooze button and miss this brilliant view. It was out of this world magnificent and pictures just don't do it justice.
Once the sun was up, we walked back to find some breakfast and enjoy our last cup of delicious Sydney coffee before hopping on our next flight.
By the way, we split every meal during our trip. The portions were plenty for two and we saved some cash too. Speaking of cash, you aren’t expected to tip in Australia. Staff is paid minimum wage and tipping is not customary. But be aware that also means the service is much slower just about everywhere. We planned about two hours into our schedule for each meal to compensate for the slower service and that worked well for us. We were never rushed and learned to enjoy the slower pace.
Sydney was by far one of my favorite vacation destinations ever. I'm already looking forward to our next opportunity to take a trip down under.
After Sydney, we flew up to Cairns to explore The Great Barrier Reef. I'll have more on that coming soon! I can't wait to share more photos and videos with you from this incredible adventure.
Sign up for our quarterly newsletter!