We all met up at Circular Quay to take the bus over to the famous Bondi Beach. Located across from the Circular Quay is the Customs House. Admission is free to this historic building, and there are often interesting exhibitions displayed here. The coolest part of the Customs House is the huge diorama of Sydney, which you can see under the glass floor of the foyer. It is quite fun to walk over the map and recognize the main landmarks.
Buses run every 5 minutes between the City and Bondi Beach during the day (6AM till 9PM). The most direct route is bus 333, which you must pre-pay for at the Circular Quay kiosk. Bus 333 takes about 40 minutes to arrive at North Bondi.
Bondi Beach is a popular beach that lies 7km east of Sydney’s CBD. This famous beach attracts visitors from all walks of life: tourists and locals, backpackers and celebrities, surfers and swimmers, gorgeous bikini models and topless sunbathers…
After spending the day lazying under the sun, we headed back to City Centre. In the evening, some of us ventured to the Four Seasons hotel to meet a friend of my Four Seasons Egypt travel buddy, Justin. It was nice to trade all the Tooheys and VBs we had been drinking all month for a nice Kir Royale cocktail!
The next day, we all decided to walk across the Harbour Bridge aka “The Coat Hanger,” which connects the CBD and the North Shore. The bridge was completed in 1932 and is the world’s tallest steel arch bridge and fifth longest spanning-arch bridge according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Walking across the bridge is free of charge, but for the more adventurous (and affluent) – you can climb to the top of the arch with BridgeClimb for $195 during peak season. A cheaper alternative to check out the view from a Bridge Pylon is to climb up to the Pylon Lookout (admission $9). We decided to stick to the (free) basics as I thought the view was spectacular enough from the walkway.
After the bridge walk, some of the group headed to Sydney Tower. Sydney Tower, also referred to as Centrepoint Tower, is 305m in height and has stood as the city’s tallest structure since 1981. The tower is also Australia’s tallest free-standing structure, and the second highest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere after the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand. Admission to the tower is $25. A SkyWalk is available to visitors for $65; the Skywalk allows visitors to walk around an open-air, glass-floored platform circling the tower at a height of 260m above ground level.
JR and I were both indifferent about paying ~$100 for tower tourist traps so we went ahead to explore another FREE attraction: Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour is an extensive area located west of the CBD, and was developed in 1988 exclusively for tourism and entertainment purposes.
The harbour’s paying attractions include the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World, Chinese Garden of Friendship, and an IMAX theatre. However, you can enjoy Darling Harbour for free as the area is made for strolling along the water and playing in its many fountains.
About 20 minutes south of Darling Harbour is Chinatown, which is bustling with good value restaurants, cheap hotels, and discount shopping. We picked up a lot of cheap souvenirs here before heading back to Wake Up! hostel to cook up some dinner. Later that evening, we headed down to Side Bar, where JR got into his element on the dance floor.