What is the Sydney TripAdvisor Top 100 Challenge?

In September 2014, my wife and I made the short journey from the city of Glasgow in Scotland, to Sydney, Australia.  I had been lucky enough to secure a job offer from a company in Sydney before we arrived, and so we packed a bunch of our stuff into shipping containers, and jumped on a 24 hour flight to Sydney.  We wanted to make sure that we made the most of our adopted new home, and avoided settling into a mundane routine - after all, what is the point in travelling to the other side of the world to sit on the same sofa, watching the same TV you watched at home?

As a result, we come up with the ludicrous idea of setting ourselves a challenge, in order to force us to get out and about and try things we may not have tried at home.  We initially thought about setting a challenge to complete all of the top 10 'Things To Do' in Sydney, according to TripAdvisor.

However, after giving it some further thought, we decided that might leave a window for us to actually relax and do what we wanted, instead of slavishly following a list of activities that was completely out of our control.  After pushing it out to the top 20, then the top 50, we finally settled on the challenge of completing the top 100 'Things To Do' in Sydney, as listed on TripAdvisor.  Given the name of this blog, you may have already guessed that.

So, from our first day in Sydney, we started working our way through the list.  The first question everyone always asks is 'what are the rules'?  Well, the most important rule to clarify was what we were actually aiming towards.  There were various ways you could define the challenge as being completed, but after serious deliberation (well, a 1 minute conversation while drunk), we decided that the aim was as follows: at some point in time, we had to have completed every activity listed in the top 100 'Things To Do' in Sydney on TripAdvisor at that time.  This meant our goal was constantly changing, and that we would undoubtedly complete activities that would later drop out of the top 100. Nonetheless, rules are rules, and we had to follow them, even although we created them ourselves...

In addition to the main question of how we would complete the challenge, we also invented some other rules:
  • We both had to do every task
  • We had to do every task together - doing it separately didn't count
  • Where the activity itself was less than clear, the test as to whether we had completed it or not was whether we could honestly say that we thought we had 'done' the activity (incredibly vague, I know, but this is the advantage of making up the rules yourself)
  • Where we completed an activity that counted in more than one category (e.g. 'Private Tours' and 'City Tours), we were allowed to tick off all categories it covered
  • We would not review any activities on TripAdvisor, in case we influenced the top 100
After laying down our strict and unbreakable rules, we got down to the business of actually getting out and having some fun.  This blog documents the journey, and includes our own reviews of everything that we completed.  It was a fun journey, with some great times, and really did make us do some things we would never otherwise have done (attending a 'Poetry Slam' stands out on that front - and it didn't even make the final 100...).

It was also a genuine challenge, with lots of highs and a couple of lows.  About halfway through, TripAdvisor completely overhauled the way they listed 'Things To Do', which meant a load of stuff we had already completed was no longer valid.  After a sufficient amount of cursing, we soon got back on with it though, and thankfully this blog is evidence that we finally managed to complete it.

In addition to reviews of each of the activities we completed in the top 100, we also created a stunning masterpiece of a video montage, showing pictures of the entire top 100 in 6 minutes, accompanied by an uplifting, and not at all cheesy, soundtrack.

We've also used our experience to help us create some recommended itineraries for people visiting Sydney.  The aim is to add to these over time to create a good database of potential itineraries, depending on your circumstances and interests.  In addition to the itineraries, we're also creating a few 'best of' lists, since that is what people seem to want these days.  You know the type - 'best free activities', 'best beaches' etc...

Hopefully our challenge will inspire a few other people to do something similar.  Sydney was a great city for this challenge, but I'm sure it could be done anywhere.  Whether it is a way to get to know a new city, a method to get the most out of a holiday, or even just a way to explore your own home city in more depth, it would be fantastic if other people did their own versions of the TripAdvisor Top 100 Challenge.

Have you done something similar?  Has this inspired you to try a travel based challenge of your own? Do you just fancy dishing out some mild cyber abuse to a well meaning blogger?  Please let us know in the comments if so - we'd love to hear about other people's fun in their travels.  Maybe go easy on the abuse though, I'm actually quite a sensitive soul...

1 comment:

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