A Mini Break in Australia: A Long Weekend in Sydney

ANZ June13 Time for another reprint, digitally speaking, of one of my articles for Australia and New Zealand magazine; this one appeared in their June 2013 edition.

If you recall, I’m doing a little miniseries about “Plane Hopping” in Australia and so far I have written two articles:

The third article in this small series sees me flying to Sydney. I loved it, as you will discover, which is even more amazing considering Sydney was voted only 10th in Australia’s most liveable cities recently.

I’ll have fun in the other places then. Here’s the article, which they called…

Sydney sparkles

For the last couple months I’ve been talking about some of my plane hopping trips around Australia. Those who have been following this series closely might have noticed I’m doing it in alphabetical order. I started with Adelaide, moved on to Alice Springs, and this month it’s…Sydney. Well, I didn’t say I’d done a lot of plane hopping, did I?

This whole series kicked off with me explaining how quick and easy it was to nip in to Sydney from Brisbane by aeroplane, but I never got round to telling you anything much about the city itself. First, a small bit of history.

I’ve never been a big fan of Sydney, having been twice before, the first time in 2002 for six days. The hustle and bustle of city life just wasn’t for me, certainly not when compared to the laid-back lifestyle of Brisbane. But visiting again after having lived in Brisbane for five years, the two days we spent in the heart of Sydney were buzzingly refreshing.

buzzing cityThen we swapped our city centre apartment for a unique boutique hotel in the gloriously peaceful suburb of Cremorne Point, that’s the other side of the harbour in North Shore. I literally saw the other side of Sydney. Our balcony overlooked the harbour, and across the road from our accommodation was a leafy green bank by the side of the water…

view….with a winding path that was just five minutes walk to the ferry point. For a ridiculously low one day family ticket fee, we could ferry hop from suburb to suburb and enjoy the best of Sydney’s incredible harbour all day long.

Surely this is the best harbour in the world?

I know I shouldn’t say this out loud, but I’m going to. Standing at the front of the ferry, still clutching that cheap one day ticket, you can gaze all around you as you cut through the lapping waters and just pretend, for a little while, that you are on your own millionaire boat.

You can wave at other millionaire yachts and boats as you pass them, as if they are your close buddies. You can get off at various harbour-side suburbs, walk past $3m houses and have a drink in their local pub overlooking the marina. Say “hi” to other millionaires as if you are one yourself, still with your all day ferry ticket tucked away in your back pocket. I’m not saying this is what I did; I’m just saying you could if you wanted to.

There is more to Sydney than just the harbour though, we took a trip out to the Blue Mountains; they simply take your breath away.

Blue Mtns 1

Blue Mtns 2And beaches, yes, we went to beaches. Not Bondi or Coogee, but some of the beaches nobody ever talks about; there’s plenty to choose from. We definitely saw a side of Sydney we’ve never seen before and we loved it!

Other side of SydneyDon’t get me wrong, I’m staying put here in Brisbane, it’s still my preferred city. But living in North Shore, overlooking the harbour, walking distance to the ferries, 15 minutes from the bustling city yet being surrounded by lapping water, luxury boats, distant mountains and waterfront houses, yes, I could be tempted to move here. I just need to become a real millionaire first.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Phil September 13, 2013, 1:14 pm |

    Absolutely loved living in Sydney and God definitely resides somewhere around Sydney Harbor. We lived around Pymble as well. Realistically, I do think that it helps to have some major bucks to enjoy the city. If we go back, I think it will be to Brisbane to live – esp. since Brisbane has a more rich natural history (though Sydney’s is still great) and somewhat more affordable cost of living.

    But truly, something about Sydney gets into the soul. It is a very, very special place.

    • BobinOz September 16, 2013, 1:49 pm |

      Yes, I think I saw the house he lives in 🙂

  • Rupert September 12, 2013, 9:01 pm |

    You don’t need to be a millionaire to live in Sydney, Bob – well maybe if you wanted to own an apartment or a house overlooking the harbour, but as you say you can enjoy that without actually living in those suburbs.

    I live in the Upper North Shore, in a rented house with a pool, in a peaceful suburb (Pymble), and only 30 minutes by car to the bridge. I NEVER go to Bondi or Coogee, but the Northern Beaches are delightful, and from where I live I can be in Mona Vale or Dee Why in 20 minutes.

    Today I walked around Hyde Park and visited the Anzac Memorial for the first time. It was so peaceful and I was in the middle of the CBD. I did get a parking ticket though – $101 (what’s with the extra one dollar right?), but I parked illegally so I can’t complain.

    Many Sydneysiders have told me that Sydney has improved hugely over the last few years. Whether that’s down to foreign investment or just a good economy I don’t know, but I’m really glad it’s growing on you Bob.

    I remember the first time I visited as a tourist back in 2005, I wasn’t that enamoured with the place, but now that I’ve been living here for 14 months, and have made many cool and interesting friends, I’ve really come to love it.

    Thanks for the good review Bob. It’s been a long time coming 😉

    • BobinOz September 14, 2013, 3:50 pm |

      I think even with my limited experience of Sydney that I’d agree with that comment Rupert; I first visited in 2002 and really didn’t like the place much at all, but every visit since has been better and better.

      So maybe Sydney is changing? It certainly has grown on me and it’s good to hear that you really don’t have to be a millionaire to live there, although I’m sure it does help if you are one 🙂

      Cheers, Bob

  • Ivan September 11, 2013, 11:30 pm |

    “I just need to become a real millionaire first.” – why?

    • BobinOz September 14, 2013, 2:37 pm |

      Well, the particular area I (more precisely, my wife) was looking at was very expensive. If you want a great big house overlooking the harbour, it will cost more than $1 million, substantially more. Several million probably.

      The remark was a bit tongue in cheek though, you don’t have to be a millionaire to live in Sydney, as Rupert explains below…

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