The last stop of our Australian tour – Sydney! As the capital of New South Wales, Sydney is the largest, oldest, and most cosmopolitan city in Australia. This beautiful “Harbour City” is a bustling and lively metropolis that has become known as an international center for the arts, culture, commerce, tourism, and entertainment.
Our first stop in Sydney was Mrs Macquaries Point, a popular lookout spot from which tourists can take photos with both the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge in the background. There is a famous rock formation here known as Mrs Macquaries Chair. Mrs Macquaries was the wife of Governor Macquarie (term 1810-1821) and would often sit here to watch for ships from England sailing into the harbour.
On our last night of the tour, the Contiki crew partied it up at the 3 Wise Monkeys pub. The Contiki tour ended the following morning and we had to bid farewell to many of our new friends.
I had planned to spend a few extra days in Sydney as I had my friend from NYC, JR, joining me in Australia, after which we would both head to New Zealand together. Several tourmates also had decided to extend their stay in Sydney (mainly my Canadian crew + 1 Brit) and so, the party continued!
Leaving the comfort of the Contiki-booked hotels, we decided to downgrade backpacker style and headed to our new hostel accommodations. JR and I had prebooked beds at the Wake Up! hostel for 4 nights, which was conveniently located across from Central Station. It is a large, clean hostel with great facilities – including an awesome dance club, Side Bar.
My other friends stayed at the cozy Original Backpackers hostel in King’s Cross. The charming hostel was small and very chill relative to the insanity of Wake Up, which resembled my freshman dorm during Spring Fling. Some other friends rented a camper, and they had planned to drive all around Australia again. However, after one day, the camper broke down and they returned it and joined us in the hostel haha.
There is so much to see and do, eat and drink in Sydney! Here’s a basic itinerary of our 5 glorious days spent in Sydney sans the Contiki tour bus:
Sydney Day 2: City Centre and The Rocks
Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Glenmore Rooftop in The Rocks, Botanical Gardens
Sydney Days 3-4: Bondi Beach, Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour
Customs House, Bondi Beach, drinks at the Four Seasons, walk across the Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour
Sydney Days 5-6: Hyde Park, Coogee Beach, Manly Beach
Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Coogee Beach, dance off at Side Bar, Manly Beach