On our first day in Sydney, we visited The Rocks, enjoyed a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House before heading over to Bondi Beach for sunset.
We flew with British Airways to Sydney via Singapore on BA15. It was the longest flight I’ve ever been on, beating Vancouver in 2007.
Considering the 22 hours we spent on board, we were not too tired once we arrived in Sydney. Although I was still annoyed at the £23 I spent on drinks in Singapore.
Sydney Airport was very efficient, we got through passport control, baggage reclaim and customs within 35.4 minutes.
Black Cab Central, Sydney
To get to our Sydney residence, we wanted to travel in style, Black Cab Central gave us the perfect opportunity to do this!
Our driver was waiting for us in the arrival hall and led us to his iconic London Black Cab. We were given expert insider tips on what to see in Sydney and its suburbs en-route. We sat back and relaxed while sipping cool and refreshing complimentary drinks.
Also used for weddings, corporate transfers and bespoke tours of Sydney too, we would definitely recommend a trip with Black Cab Central after our experience.
Australian Heritage Hotel
They say that most people in the United Kingdom know someone living in Australia, we were no different.
One of my friends, Jamie (Jam), lives in Sydney after he escaped Swansea in 2004. He was kind enough to offer to host us during our time in Sydney. We also have family living in the Central Coast to the north, we will be staying with them later this week.
After a quick shower, a change of clothes and saying hello to Jam’s daschunds Rom and Liebling, we set out into central Sydney. Our first destination of the day was to be the Australian Heritage Hotel.
The Australian Heritage Hotel is one of Sydney’s oldest pubs, located in The Rocks (more on The Rocks in a bit). This pub serves a huge selection of craft ales and an intriguing menu of Australian cuisine and classic food.
Myself and the wife just had to try the Coat of Arms pizza. This pizza is served with Kangaroo and Emu, the two animals that appear on the Australian Coat of Arms. Even though the pizza was very tasty, I’m not sure I’d try it again as the meat was quite rich.
Although the wife was thinking about what other indiginous animals she could consume.
The Rocks, Sydney
With the pizza subjected to our digestive systems we set off to The Rocks.
The Rocks is the most historic area of Sydney’s city centre. The area was established after the colony’s formation in the 18th century. Most of the buildings in The Rocks are made of sandstone and are home to a variety of shops, restaurants and pubs.
The area certainly felt far removed to the skyscrapers in central Sydney.
Amazing view of Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge
In The Rocks we made our way to Hickson Road Reserve to get an amazing view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Sydney Opera House was built in 1973 and is one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings. Curiously, the Harbour Bridge, which was completed in 1932, is nicknamed ‘The Coathanger’ by locals due to its arch-based design.
We walked along the front and got superb photos of these two landmark attractions. Despite the best efforts of a gigantic cruise ship and battered tanker trying to photo-bomb our efforts.
Fortune of War
Our next stop was to visit the heritage-listed pub The Fortune of War which is also located in The Rocks.
This pub was built in the early 19th century by convict Samuel Terry. He was sent to Australia in 1800 for the theft of 400 stockings. In Sydney he received one of twenty liquor licences and it has now been used as a pub for over 188 years.
It was interesting to discover here that most Australian pubs have betting outlets! Imagine having that in the UK.
Big Bus Sydney
With the jet-lag starting to slow us down, we decided to do something I had sworn I would never do – an open top bus tour!
The Big Bus Sydney took us around 23 of Sydney’s main attractions. These included the Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Hyde Park, Harbour Bridge and Fish Market.
I suppose the tour was good to get our bearings in Australia’s biggest city, but the Christmas music playing during the commentary was quite bizarre!
With the afternoon drawing to a close we made our way to the most famous beach in Sydney – Bondi!
Bondi Beach is one of the most visited tourist sites in Australia and is over 1km long.
The northern end of the beach has a gentler tide, but the southern end is a bit rougher and attracts surfers. There is a famous rip current here known as the ‘Backpackers Rip’ due to the fact the water is dangerous. Some tourists won’t walk to the north end of the beach to swim, so they get caught up in this current.
To see the day out we visited Bondi Icebergs Club on the southern end of the beach. It was in this establishment where I first encountered ‘the schooner’. Schooners hold 425ml of beer rather than a pint, and they seem to be the choice of most Australians when they drink.
It was great to sip a few schooners while watching the sun go down over Bondi Beach. It really helped us to ignore our jet-lag.
We had a great first day in Sydney, we can’t wait to see more of this city tomorrow.