The Golden Coast seemed to have made a huge impact from down under to the top of my heart. (See what I did there?) I was lucky to pick up a 24 hour layover and although it was a 14 hour flight, my excitement couldn't have been more real. Upon arriving, I felt a beach town vibe (think San Clemente in Orange County) meets Boston with their very own Chinatown. What makes it so unique is the mixture of beautiful and artistic buildings mixed with old European architecture. The contrast of both types of buildings make the city look modern without forgetting their roots. Not only was I impressed by the cleanliness of the city but the fact that there was a huge Asian population and I felt completely safe walking around the area. The liveliness and the warmth of summer was so rejuvenating.
So here are things I did and recommend if you have a short amount of time:
Sydney Opera House: The infamous landmark is quite a beaut to see. Inside and out, you will be impressed by the architectural design. Don't forget to stop by the souvenir shop and see all the goodies. There's also a bar right outside where locals go at night decked out to the nines or to enjoy a lovely lunch break from all the walking around. You don't need a ticket to the show to enjoy the view of the Harbour and to sip on a Little Miss Marmalade adult beverage. Don't forget that the drinking age is 18 and not 21! The pork buns were quite delectable as well and it's hard not to fall in love with the charming Aussie bartenders.
Darling Harbour: The perfect combination of where the cityscape meets the water. I went in February where it is summertime so the night air was warm and they celebrated the Month of Love. There were large heart shaped platforms in the water and you could take your love bunny on a romantic gondola boat ride. I've been to many piers and instantly felt that this Harbour is the perfect Date Night spot. At Darling Park, they had little booths and a movie playing outside, the buildings lit up in colorful array and everyone was so relaxed. Perfect place to feel the night life.
Westfield Mall: Where the large Westfield needle stands. The mall and the needle were both closed but I still walked around just to check it out. It's a six story mall with the usual shops but apparently it's best to go before 9PM to see the killer view of Sydney. Also, check out Max Brennan's Chocolate Shop. They were open past 9PM even though the rest of the mall was closed.
Hyde Park: I felt so safe walking along Hyde Park by myself late at night. Definitely a different vibe from Central Park in New York. Although I did get pooped on by a bird, I still enjoyed the trek. There were some backpackers and friends just hanging out around the fountain. I highly recommend this as well.
What I should have done as a tourist
1. Hop on hop off cruise - About 26$AUS to just ride on the cruise or around 40$AUS to hop on and off the harbour onto different islands. I heard it was fantastic.
2. Mr. Crackles - Pork Belly Rolls - recommended by my native friend Pauler. Apparently they are open until 4AM so I must try that next time.
3. Find a free show at The Arthouse Hotel playing R&B on certain nights.
Definitely a place I would consider moving to or even staying for longer than a night. It's a beautiful city with beautiful accents (I admit, I tried to copy them a couple of times).
Comment below on your Aussie experiences or if you enjoyed this post!