Australia mesmerized me just as it has so many others before me! With my series “Longing for Australia,“ I want to show you what Australia feels like and why it enchanted me. Who knows, maybe I can make you also long for Australia!
Longing for Australia – Let’s begin in Sydney …
Sydney– the beautiful!
Home to 4.6 million people, Sydney is the most populated city in Australia. However, it does not feel like a metropolis. The Ocean, the beaches, the small markets, and the wonderful parks all make Sydney unbelievably endearing. The flair of the city is young and dynamic. Without being arrogant, Sydney is cool and relaxed. My strolls through the city were accompanied by music. In the shopping districts, the parks and the harbours, various artists show their skills.
Because of a close economic relationship with Asia, the city is influenced by eastern culture. Combined with the European roots, this creates a familiar but still exotic mixture. This atmosphere is one of the reasons Sydney has been one of the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. Only this year it went down to 11th best because of terror threats.
An Italian with an Australian Heart.
Our first stop on the way to Sydney was the Blue Mountains. Our travel agency, Art of Travel, organised private transport from the airport. This is how we got know David. The Italian had moved to Australia several years ago, and he lost his heart to Sydney and to his wife who is Brazilian. We immediately took a liking to each other and spent hours talking during the drive. He went on and on about the beauty of Sydney and his adoration for Australia.
The government and the cities themselves do a lot for their citizens, he said. For example, a lot of activities for are made available without any cost. He was right about that! If you have a look at the City of Sydney, there is a lot to discover! After dropping us off, he gave us his business card and offered a guided tour through Sydney. Good thing we kept his card.
The best City Tour Ever.
On our next-to-last day in the Blue Mountains, my husband ruptured the vessel on his ankle near the Wentworth Waterfall. Walking was not an option anymore. So after arriving in Sydney, we accepted David’s offer and experienced the best city tour of our lives! For four hours, he took us across town. He showed us The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Paddington and the city centre. We drank coffee in Bondi and, of course, had a look at Bondi Beach. He took us to every place we wanted to see.
And even more interesting were the spots in northern Sydney that we had not heard of before such as McMahons Point. In the east, not far from Bondi, you should have a look at Vaucluse and Dover Heights. David showed us a little park on top of a hill, from which you could see the whole harbour! On New Year’s Eve, locals gather at this spot to watch the fireworks. Certainly, it is a marvellous place for such an event. We drove through beautiful neighbourhoods full of villas, far from the big city clamour bit still close to the centre, some of the villas had small bays directly in front of their doorstep! I could imagine a “big city life“ in this area…. Oh no, here I go again, longing for Australia.
A Great Place to be Outdoors.
Sydney offers so many activities. The Parks lure you with festivals and open-air concerts. Art, opera and dancing are constant companions in this city. Museums and city highlights can be found in abundance! There are two special events that attract millions of visitors each year, New Year’s Eve and the Vivid Festival. Sydney is well known for the sensational fireworks on New Year’s Eve and a hotel room with a good view needs to be booked one year in advance! A little less known, at least in Germany, is the Vivid Festival. It is supposed to be spectacular and is on the top of my wish list. The whole city, and especially the Opera House, is illuminated to become a work of art. Have a look at the pictures and videos of the last festival
Sport Freaks und Lively Harbour.
As Australians have always been keen on sports, you can find advertisements for cricket, football or rugby games at almost every corner. And then there are the joggers, sometimes as lone wolfs though mostly moving in bigger groups. They are ever-present, regardless of the time of day, regardless how much the sun is scorching the city. Crazy! World famous is Bondi Beach, here and on every other beach people surf, paddle, sail, fish or do any other water activity imaginable.
Also, I have never seen such a lively harbour. Gigantic cruise ships are right next to stand-up paddlers, small water taxis, historic barks and hasty ferries. Although I have a sport boat license, I would never dare to enter this turmoil. And the sky shows a similar picture. Helicopters and water planes circle the city, some starting from Rose Bay towards one of the many tourist spots. Yes, there is a lot going on, but it still feels calm and relaxed.
Big Ships and Wedding Fever.
On a daily basis, cruise ships enter and leave the harbour. With a lot of celebration and a lot of waving passengers, they enter and leave directly vis-a-vis the opera. It is impressive, how these swimming skyscrapers move slowly through the lively harbour to their anchoring place in the middle of the city. Often they only stay for a day and then move on to New Zealand, Singapore or to the South Sea.
The opera is the landmark of Sydney and tourists are not the only ones looking for photo ops. Bridal couples are also keen on doing a photo shoot there! Never before have I seen that many weddings and bridal pairs. All around the harbour couples get married and do photo shoots. Be it Asian couples, dressed in red, or Australian couples with an army of bride maids, they all want a photo with the Sydney Opera House in the background.
My Hotel Recommendation: Park Hyatt Sydney.
THE five-star hotel is the Park Hyatt Sydney. Contrary to my usual preference for smaller boutique hotels, the Hyatt is a huge hotel with 155 rooms and suites. However, the view of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge is second to none. You get this view not only from your room, but also from the restaurant and the roof top bar with pool. You feel as though you are swimming under the Harbour Bridge and from your whirlpool you can see Sydney’s skyline.
The prices for a room vary according to season, but you have to calculate approximately 1000 EUR per night for a room with a nice view of the opera. The rooms themselves are modern and spacious. The service is perfect, as to be expected of this renowned establishment. You should book a table in advance if you want to visit the hotel restaurant as the tables with a perfect harbour view are understandably in high demand.
In this kind of business hotel I always miss the attention to detail and the personal touch. However, in this case it is all about the location, location, location!
(Translates by Barbara Riedel)
Love to read more about Australia? Blue Mountains – Wolgan Valley One & Only