Last week I got the opportunity to visit a new country thanks to some work obligations. I had to travel to Sydney, Australia to support a sales training class, but since it was my first time in the country I wanted to see more than just the office! So, I tacked a couple of extra days on to the end of the week in order to play tourist.

Flights to Sydney leave at 11:30 pm from San Francisco and arrive at 9 am TWO days later. That international date line sure is tricky! Since I had to work on Monday, I hopped on a Friday night flight and landed in Sydney 14 hours later at 9 am on Sunday morning. I found the flight easier than my flights to Europe. The extra four hours is enough time to get in a full 8 hours of sleep, so I landed feeling surprisingly refreshed.

Border control and luggage pickup was quick, and I easily found the train station. From the airport I was able to hop on a train that took me right to the Town Hall Station in the Central Business District of Sydney. From the station, it was a short walk to my hotel on Darling Harbour. I was at my hotel less than 90 minutes after landing.

My Hotel - The Four Points Sheraton - On Darling Harbour
My Hotel – The Four Points Sheraton – On Darling Harbour

Of course it was too early to check in, so I dropped my luggage with the concierge and stepped out to Darling Harbour to see what there was to do.

My walk took me towards the Australian National Maritime Museum where I realized that the Australians are way better at naming ships than we are. The celebrations for the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras festival were ramping up as well, so all kinds of fun joyful costumed people were around. I was still in my lame travel clothes and feeling a bit under dressed.

The big boat on the left is the Destroyer Vampire
The big boat on the left is the Destroyer Vampire

There are so many food options around Darling Harbour, but I stopped at a beer bar (go figure) for lunch of a good local pale ale and a pizza. Everywhere has a lot of outdoor seating and views of the boats and ships along the wharf.

After lunch I was able to check in to my hotel and clean up. I connected with a colleague and we went out walking some more. This time we headed up through Barangaroo Nature Reserve and over towards Circular Quay. This walk took us under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, then across to the Sydney Opera House.

Walking under the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Walking under the Sydney Harbour Bridge

During that first day I probably walked 10+ miles. It was a great way to fight off any residual jet lag, plus I got to see the most iconic sights of the city. Since I spent the rest of the week in our office, I was glad to have some of that stuff ‘out of my system’ so that I wasn’t distracted! At least there was a good view from the office.

View from the office - spot the Opera House!
View from the office – spot the Opera House!

In my next posts, I’ll talk about how I spent the weekend in Manly and the Taronga Zoo!

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House
Sydney, Australia (02.28-03.07.2016)
103 photos
  • Day 1: Fighting jetlag by walking around Darling Harbour. This is looking back at my hotel (white building) - the Four Points Sheraton
  • Lots of groups and celebrations for Mardi Gras!
  • Walking around the harbour and looking back at the city
  • I wandered around the outside displays of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
  • Looking up Darling Harbour from the base towards Pyrmont Bridge
  • White Ibis wandering around like a seagull
  • I continued my walk through Barangaroo Reserve and made it to the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • And eventually caught sight of the iconic opera house
  • I kept walking to stay awake, enjoy the views, and take in the beautiful weather. In all, I probably walked 10 miles on this first day in Sydney.
  • During the week I had to work, but my colleagues still took me to some great places like the Sydney Opera Bar
  • Watching sunset and the lights on the Opera House during dinner was pretty cool!
  • I had to try it. Ick.
  • Even during the week I managed to get some good views in - here's the view from the office I was working in.
  • On Friday night I decided to do some shopping in the Queen Victoria Building
  • The Great Australian Clock in the Queen Victoria Building
  • Glass in the Queen Victoria Building dome - this is much nicer than American malls!
  • McDonalds is testing Cadbury egg McFlurrys in Australia right now. I had to try one - even if it meant stepping into a McDonalds.
  • Friday night beer with colleagues at Darling Harbour.
  • I stayed through the weekend to enjoy the city. On Saturday I hopped on a ferry to Manly from Circular Quay.
  • Heading out of Circular Quay - this is the third cruise ship I've seen this week.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Manly Ferry.
  • Sydney Opera House from the Manly Ferry
  • Approach Manly - View of South Head
  • I walked the first part of the Manly to Spit Bridge walk.
  • Yoga on Paddleboards in Manly Cove
  • Pool in Jilling Cove
  • Jilling Cove
  • Looking across the cove to a part of Sydney harbour National Park
  • Pool at Jilling Cove
  • Watch out for spiders and lizards - I'm pretty sure everything here is supposed to kill me.
  • Low tide at the cove - lots of dogs playing in the water.
  • Walking into Sydney Harbour National Park
  • One of the countless beaches I passed
  • View from Dobroyd Head
  • Looking out at South Head and out to the Tasman Sea beyond
  • Looking back at Manly and the wharf where I came in on the ferry.
  • I walked up to Arabanoo lookout and saw some smoke. I think it was some controlled burns.
  • Walking down the trail here reminded me of hiking in Point Reyes or Big basin
  • Oh hai mr lizard. I saw these guys all week - Eastern Water Dragons
  • There were so many people and dogs out enjoying the beautiful day
  • I took many breaks to dip my toes in the perfect water.
  • I turned back after about 3.5 miles so that I would have time to visit Manly beach
  • The Yoga-paddleboarders were still out. The water was just getting more beautiful.
  • Next, I walked over to Manly beach after lunch at a local brewery.
  • Manly is a famous surfing beach but it was relatively quiet today.
  • I was there in the middle of the Australian Open of Surfing. I hoped the waves picked up for that afternoon's competition!
  • A bit sun-drenched and weary, I picked up a 3 pm ferry back to Circular Quay.
  • Despite being tired, I wanted to use all the time I had in the city and wandered toward and area called The Rocks. Above the rocks i the old observatory.
  • The astronomy major in me geeked out at the equipment and history of the observatory.
  • My only regret is that I didn't get out of the city to enjoy the southern hemisphere night sky.
  • The Sydney Observatory
  • The Sydney Observatory
  • The observatory helped keep passing ships calibrated.
  • The Sydney Observatory dome interior
  • The Sydney Observatory exterior with the gold ball that drops at 1 pm.
  • View of Sydney Harbour bridge from the Observatory
  • Next, I walked out the pedestrian walkway on the bridge to get the view of the Opera House and Circular Quay.
  • Opera House, Circular Quay, and a cruise chip.
  • Zoomer on the Opera House.
  • Pedestrian Walkway on the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • In celebration of Mardi Gras, I got some cash from a GayTM.
  • On Sunday morning I got on another ferry. The ferry I'm looking at here is the one I rode to Manly on Saturday
  • Waiting to pull out on my ferry to Taronga Zoo
  • I head the Zoo in Sydney was great so I decided to check it out. After all, I didn't want to leave Australia without seeing a Koala and Kangaroo.
  • Walking to the zoo entrance from the ferry.
  • I started at the low entrance and had the park to myself for almost 1/2 an hour. First stop - red panda!
  • This guy was not in a cage - just another giant lizard running around.
  • The seal was having fun playing with toys
  • The Taronga Zoo definitely has the best views of any zoo I've visited! It's on a hillside, so as you climb through the different exhibits you get peeks of Sydney across the Harbour.z
  • They have a successful elephant breeding program, and I watched this one year old blow bubbles in the water. Too cute.
  • Baby elephant blowing bubbles.
  • Elephant
  • Monitor Lizard chilling on a branch
  • Hey I saw a kangaroo.
  • California Sea Lion. I came all the way to australia for this guy?
  • California Sea Lion
  • They also have a successful gorilla program and have two little ones!
  • Baby gorilla and mama
  • Curious baby gorilla, mama, and the silverback (to the left)
  • The other mama and her less curious baby.
  • Sleepy wombat. That is all.
  • Cassowary - beautiful bird.
  • Lemurs were hanging out in the shade. They looked like they were waiting for someone to bring them a cocktail.
  • Koalas look like grumpy old men.
  • Koala
  • Koala
  • Koala
  • The giraffes definitely have the best view in the park
  • Giraffe with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Giraffe
  • There were also baby chimpanzees clowning around.
  • This one was playing with kids on the other side of the viewing glass.
  • Pygmy Hippo
  • I can't remember what this animal is called, but it was described as a 'bearcat'. Good enough for me.
  • Green sea turtle
  • Ferry back to Circular Quay = more pics of the Opera House
  • Ferry back to Circular Quay = more pics of the Opera House
  • I decided to wander closer and take a look at the opera house
  • Up close, the roof tiles reveal a pattern
  • Glazed white granite tiles make up the roof

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