Impossible | not able to occur, exist, or be done.
When I was around ten years old, I sat at my friends kitchen table and cried over a J-14 magazine, with my portable CD player, and a burned Limewire copy of Justified. I had come to the conclusion I would never meet Justin Timberlake or Billy Joe Armstrong or Eminem. All of these people, who I both idolized and fantasized over were so far from reach that my little pre-teen heart shattered. This was my first run-in with impossible.
I grew from that ten year old bundle of adolescent heartache into a twenty-one year old bundle of something else. My dreams had shifted from being Mrs. Justin Timberlake to something more introspective. Only at this time in my life, impossible was something of a boulder lying across my body. I felt it in just about everything. I have journal entries from these darker days. Days in which I reflected on all the things that burned inside my soul. There are things inside of you, call them dreams or passions, that want to exist, meanings to your life, you know them and you feel them, and when those things becomes crushed under impossible, everything is gray.
I always knew that I wanted to travel, although the feeling exists within me as more of a need, a meaning to my life.
This trip to Sydney (and New Zealand), the one I am sharing with you today, was the very first I took outside of the United States; but for me, it was so much more than that. That boulder of impossibility became something of a pebble. My own definition of impossible began to mirror the actual definition, the one I started this post with today.
This was the first trip when I felt a larger sense of the world, and time became something finite.
What this trip taught me is there is so much greater than our own backyards; worlds, on worlds, on worlds where you are whatever you want to be and nothing is forever-scarring. There is power within yourself to create the life you want and it is truly up to you.
Life is entirely too short to spend your time dreaming about what you could do and not simply going out and f*cking doing it. The impossible is only as large as what cannot be done, and when you want it bad enough anything can be done.
So, Let us get into it, shall we…
Fun Facts About Sydney
- Seawater taken directly from the harbor is what cools and heats The Sydney Opera House. The system circulates cold water from the harbor through pipes to power both the air conditioning and heating system.
- When I say Grey-Headed Flying-Foxes what comes to mind?
- If you said bats, you are spot on. The Grey-Headed Flying-Foxes are incredible to see, and, as the name suggests, these guys are huge. When you’re walking around Sydney at sunset they take over the sky, and your world transforms into something straight from a Dracula film. But you should be far from frightened. These bats are an important member of the community and of healthy forest ecosystems – they work to pollinate and disperse many important tree species.
- Sydney has over 100 beaches within its city limits. The most well known, Bondi and Coogee, I am sharing with you today!
Where To Stay
Craziest name, and one of the very best stays.
A former wool warehouse turned contemporary boutique hotel located on Woolloomooloo (or The Finger) Wharf in Sydney is an accommodation must! With great perks, and a “loot bag” of goodies to take home, you will be begging to stay a few extra days.
Everything about this hotel was contemporary-cool. The morning breakfast was incredible, with all you could possibly want, including three flavors of tomato juice for build your own Bloody Mary bar.
We stayed in the Deluxaroo Loft.
The room itself was impeccable. The size of a small studio apartment, with (as the name implies) a split-level loft bedroom, overlooking a little living-room space. Our room had wonderful views of the harbor. I felt so at home, I didn’t really want to leave.
The service was wonderful. We arrived a little before check-in and the hotel stored our bags for us while we explored around a bit. There is dining and bar service within the hotel, and a concierge who pointed us in the direction of all our desired locations; plus a few other tips thrown in.
The hotel is in the best location. You can take a nice stroll through the brilliant Royal Botanical Gardens on your way to explore the Sydney Harbour and Opera House.
Book your stay or find out more at Ovolo Woolloomooloo website.
Sydney Opera House
One of Sydney’s most iconic sights is undoubtably the Sydney Opera House.
Simply one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, the Sydney Opera House began construction in 1959 and opened its doors in 1973. Since its construction the opera house has become a symbol of twentieth century architecture, and in 2007 it became a UNESCO world heritage site.
From cabaret, musical theatre, comedy shows, classical music, and magic, the Opera House is host to many different types of shows and events.
We spent quite a bit of time on the steps admiring the magnificent elegance of the overwhelming building. The sail-shaped shells towered above us making me feel quite small in comparison. It is a sight that can truly take your breath away.
Spend plenty of time wandering the outer regions of the Opera House, and perhaps grab a bite from the Opera Kitchen. The postcard views from the outdoor dinning is a wonderful experience, especially during sunset.
For more exploration you can enter the foyer for free, and you can opt for a full tour for a small fee. Find tickets and more from the Sydney Opera House website.
Strolling Darling Harbor
Take a lovely stroll along the beautiful Darling Harbour.
There is a huge range of restaurants and bars along the Harbour. You can also find the Sydney Aquarium and Harbourside shopping centre here – with something for everyone, you could spend plenty of time here.
Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
Enjoy the coastal breezes and insanely dazzling views.
The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is a relatively easy walk that follows the Coast through parks, beaches, and boardwalks. The entire distance of the walk is 6 kilometers or roughly 6.72 miles.
There are many notable features, including a walk through the Waverley Cemetery. The area, a Victorian and Edwardian fountain of monuments and gravestones following the hills into the ocean view is quite captivating. You may decide to wander around a bit, but just remember to remain respectful of the people laid to rest.
Bondi Beach is world famous for its white sands and bright-blue surf. So if a long stroll isn’t your thing, you can make your trip memorable by grabbing a surfing lesson instead!
If you do decide to take the coastal walk, when you get to your end destination of Coogee Beach I highly encourage grabbing some fish and chips from one of the many restaurant locations along the beach.
The most memorable part of our trip was walking this iconic strip along the coast.
Do not forget a hat, sunscreen, and plenty water. The walk is easy (to moderate) in difficulty, but it does get quite sunny with little cloud coverage so always be prepared.
Visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens
It’s a little crazy to me now, looking back, that the botanical gardens wasn’t on that crazy list I make of “To Do’s”
But now, because of my experience at Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens, I make it a point to visit botanical gardens on all my trips.
The Garden is open to everyone from 7am until sunset.
The Botanical Gardens offer a plethora of events including a ghostly garden tour, Christmas wreath making, free live music, yoga in the garden, and various art meets gardening classes – I honestly can’t even cover them all.
If classes aren’t your thing, or they just aren’t in your schedule, the gardens themselves are a such a glorious sight.
Do you see those large black marks in the right hand side of the sky in the photo above? Those bird-looking smudges – those are not birds, but in fact are bats, specifically the Grey-Headed Flying-Foxes I was talking about earlier. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a zoom lens to capture a better photo, but all the more reason for you to see them for yourself.
The Calyx at The Gardens
The Calyx is home to a living artwork, the largest green wall in the southern hemisphere. It is also the hub of activity for the Royal Botanical Gardens.
The exhibits at the Calyx, from what I can tell, change every year. During the time we visited there was a Pollination exhibit – a floral display that was completely mind-blowing.
The exhibits are completely FREE and a must see while in Sydney.
Museum of Contemporary Art
My two most favorite things to do when traveling is explore botanical gardens, and visit museums (also love thrift shopping). Naturally, I must include Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The Museum features an incredible range of art from contemporary Australian and international artists.
General admission to the museum is free, and just a quick 10 minute walk from the Sydney Opera House. Closed on Mondays, but otherwise open 10am–5pm.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Grab a coffee and stroll the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
While taking in the larger than life steel arches, and postcard worthy silhouette of the city, you will feel a sense of wholly-guacamole I’m in Sydney, Australia!
And if you are up for it, which I was most definitely not, take on the bridge in a whole new way! – by climbing it. Find out more from the Bridge Climb official site.
Explore Circular Quay
Circular Quay is known as the heart of Sydney. Home to many of the destinations I have listed so far, including the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, you really can’t avoid it.
Wander the streets surrounding the quay to find hidden gems, or have a picnic lunch along the steps with views of the Harbour and perfect people watching.
There are also some fabulous restaurants with outdoor dining along Circular Quay – you really can’t go wrong here.
As most of you know I don’t drink alcohol any more, but when I did, one of my favorite things to order was a coffee martini. That obsession started on this trip, with this coffee martini.
Take A Cruise Around the Harbor
We took a ferry from Circular Quay to Kirrinilli. Then back to Circular Quay from Barangaroo.
Kirrinilli is known as Sydney’s most affluent neighborhood. Here we explored Wendy’s Secret Garden. The Gardens are a bit hidden (no surprise given the name), but if you search for Lavender Bay Parklands you should be able to find your way.
The views of the city and the opera house from the ferry are something to be admired. I highly encourage the trip, if only for a quick ride.
All That Other Stuff
Here are a few quick tips and observations I had during our trip to Sydney, Australia.
↠ If you are using a cheaper airline from the U.S to Australia (I am calling you out Jetstar) make sure you purchase your checked bag at the time you purchase your plane ticket. We had the very worst experience with Jetstar; we payed $500.00 for our checked bags, I am not exaggerating! In retrospect, I would have rather shown up with nothing and purchased all new clothes for that price, but you live and learn. Luckily Air New Zealand is way awesome, and they give you 1 free checked bag per person.
↠ Use the Global Exchange in the airport to change currency – super easy and quick.
↠ Although known to be the 12th most expensive city in the world, things like dining and most souvenirs shops were actually cheaper than where I was living in the U.S (Hawai’i); but I would still budget for about 180 a day for two people.
↠ There were a lot of things to do in Sydney (and New Zealand) that were completely free. This was such a contrast to my experiences in the U.S where we seem to charge for most of our museums and exhibits; among other things.
↠ Sydney seems like a really health-conscious place. I noted that there were juice bars everywhere (lol), and lots of vegetarian/vegan food options.
A little extra bonus fact that I had to include because I found it so entertaining. If you’re walking around enough, you will soon come to realize that cockatoos are wild in Sydney (maybe you already know this, but I definitely did not), flying around, making high pitched squawks and biting off pieces of buildings. It was quite amusing for us, although I can imagine the maintenance gets expensive over time.
Getting Around Sydney
I highly encourage you not to rent a car while in Sydney. There is a range of transport options making getting around really easy and affordable.
- Walking – Most attractions in Sydney are within walking distance, and everything I listed above we did without a rental car.
- Uber and/or Taxi – If in doubt, you can easily grab a taxi or order an Uber. We did this to get from the airport to our hotel; and from Coogee beach back to city central.
- Ferry – Both an affordable and charming way to travel from point A to point B, a ferry ride is a great option (and an almost must do experience) in Sydney.
- Bus – Like many other cities around the world, bus services run frequently.
- Trains – find out more here.
It was so much fun walking down memory lane with you all. I will be doing more of this over the next few months – can’t wait to share more epic travels.