Thursday, 12 May 2016

Itinerary - one day in Sydney

Technically, if you have one day in Sydney, you could stay up all night and spend a caffeine fuelled 24 hours squeezing in as many sights as you can.  For the purposes of this itinerary however, we'll assume that you wake up at a reasonable time somewhere in Sydney, and want to go to sleep at a reasonable time at some point later that same day.  

There is a lot of walking in this itinerary, so if you are a bit lazy, then you might want to check out the 'lazy day in Sydney' itinerary instead.  If you have genuine mobility issues then that one is probably more useful as well, and please accept my apologies for lumping you in with the people who just can't really be bothered using their own two feet for transport.

Sydney - let's see how much we can squeeze in in a day (I know, the two 'in's next to each other just look wrong)
In any case, for those who don't mind a healthy dose of walking, here is my recommended itinerary for one full day in Sydney.  As always, this is unlikely to fit exactly into your own needs, but hopefully it provides a good starting point for your plans.

0800

Get up (I usually find this is a good first step in any day of sightseeing), and make your way to Coogee Beach.  Check the Transport NSW website for the best way to get there from your hotel, which will almost certainly involve a bus or taxi.  Once there, head to one of the many cafes near the beach front for some breakfast.  Either just go for a wander and see what takes your fancy, or check out TripAdvisor in advance if you're quite fussy about your food.

Coogee Beach - a nice spot to start the day
0930

Have a quick wander along Coogee Beach, then start following the path on the North side of the beach.  This is to the left as you are facing the ocean, and is the start of the Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach coastal walk.  I haven't reviewed this walk, but I have reviewed the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach coastal walk, which is eerily similar.  The path is pretty easy to follow, but if in doubt, just stay as close to the ocean as you can.  If you find your feet start to get wet, you've gone too far.


Gordon's Bay - technically there is a small beach there, but I don't think it generally counts
You'll pass a number of beaches along the walk.  The first one is Clovelly, followed by Bronte, then Tamarama, and finally Bondi Beach.  There is slightly over 2 hours of walking for someone of average fitness, but take your time and stop for a rest or a swim on at least one of the beaches.  If you need to grab a snack to keep you going, then all the beaches have at least one café or kiosk with food and drinks available.

Bondi Beach - you will be very lucky if it is this quiet
1230

Take the 380 bus from Bondi to the Gap Park (takes about 25 minutes - again, check the Transport NSW website for details), alight at Old South Head Road near Derby Street, and make your way to Christison Park.  Follow the path around this, and then follow the coast North (to the left as you face the ocean) until you reach the Gap Park.  Enjoy the views here, and then head on down to Watson's Bay, and enjoy some well earned lunch from one of the cafes in the area.  Doyle's on the Beach is famous for its seafood if you feel like a seafood lunch, but there are other options around.

The view from near the Gap Park, over Watson's Bay and back to the city - nice
1430

After a relaxing and leisurely lunch, get on a ferry from Watson's Bay Wharf to Circular Quay.  The journey takes about 20 minutes, depending on where it is stopping, and takes in some spectacular scenery along the way.  When you arrive at Circular Quay, head to Macquarie Street, which is the first main street to the East of Circular Quay.  Look for a set of stairs as the Cahill Expressway passes overhead.  They will have a sign next to them that says 'Cahill Walk'.  Go up these stairs, and as you reach the top, turn right and start walking along beside the expressway. 

Circular Quay, hiding behind a giant cruise ship
1500

Stop at the bus stop about 50 yards past the top of the stairs to take a few pictures as you get a great view from in between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.  The traffic screaming past a few feet behind you isn't the most peaceful experience, but the view is outstanding.  Then continue walking in the same direction, and just follow the path round until you reach a set of stairs that takes you down to the Harbour Bridge itself.  Then walk across the bridge, stopping as you reach the first support pylon.

If it is as dark as this when you are walking across the Cahill Expressway, then you are probably running behind schedule

1530

Inside the first support pylon is the Pylon Lookout.  Enter this, pay the 13 dollar entry fee, and make your way up lots and lots of stairs (exactly what you want after a morning spent doing lots of walking).  Once you get to the top, it is worth the effort.  Enjoy the incredible views, and take plenty of pictures.  The view is only marginally different from the view at the top of the Bridge Climb, but for a much lower price. 

The view from inside the Pylon Lookout - no wonder they didn't bother fitting curtains to this window

Of course, the view from the outside isn't too bad either
 1630

Once you can tear yourself away from the amazing view (really, it is even better than it looks in pictures), head back down the stairs and continue across to the other side of the bridge.  Go down the stairs at the other side, walk under the tunnel at Milson's Point train station, and turn left to head down to Milson's Point.  Take a wander around Luna Park if you're interested, and even jump on a couple of rides if that's your thing.  Then head to Milson's Point wharf, and jump on a ferry to Darling Harbour.


Milson's Point - a chance to view the Harbour Bridge from yet another angle
1800

Take your pick of the many restaurants in Darling Harbour for dinner.  There is a full range from cheesy tourist traps to high quality establishments.  If you are like me and have a palate with all the sophistication of a fart joke, then just see what you like the look of.  If the thought of a meal in the Hard Rock Café makes you want to choke yourself with your cravat, then check out reviews in advance.  You shouldn't have any problems finding somewhere suitable.

If you do this on a Saturday, you can enjoy the free fireworks, usually around 8pm
2000

After a hearty and satisfying meal, find your way to Kent Street, and head North until you reach The Lord Nelson pub.  If you feel the need to complain about your poorly advised itinerary over a refreshing alcoholic beverage, then pop in for some of their beer brewed on site.  If you're feeling up to it, finish up the night by making this the start of a pub crawl.  Try the Hero of Waterloo on Fort Street, the Mercantile Hotel on George Street and / or the Glenmore Hotel on Cumberland Street. 

The Lord Nelson - one of the many 'oldest' pubs in Sydney
And don't forget to check out the Australian Hotel on Cumberland Street, where a plaque containing the names of my wife and I proudly adorns the wall beside the bar (it's not just our names, it is a plaque commemorating everyone who completed their 'Beer Passport', which involves trying over 140 different Australian beers).

The blur is not a mistake, that's just how this looks once you've drank enough to be on it
2400

Stagger out of the Australian Hotel after far too many drinks, foolishly decide to grab a taxi to the Star casino, and proceed to gamble away your life's savings.  Wake up hungover the next day, realise you've missed your flight home, resulting in you getting sacked from your job, and begin a slow spiral descent into alcoholism and crime, as you turn to increasingly desperate measures to obtain the money to get back home to your family, who have now disowned you anyway.

This last step is optional.

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