Flying to Australia takes forever. Whatever part in the world you are departing from, it just takes ages. Since we were already in Dubai, after our Airport Drama in Muscat, it took us two long-haul flights DXB-SIN and SIN-SYD with over 16 hours flight time to travel Down Under. And it’s worth every minute you spend on the plane.
As soon as we arrived in Sydney’s Kingford Smith Airport, we went straight to our hostel and crashed our beds. We were staying at an area filled with hostels, bars and cute little cafés. This area is mainly around Pitt Street and is Backpacker Heaven. Its location is really convenient and has tons of late night supermarkets, snack bars and public transport options.
Sydney’s Harbour and Central Business District (CBD) is amazing for strolling around and generally exploring. We didn’t really looked into a map on our first day. Just went with the flow and moved around a lot. I consider Sydney’s Harbour area as one of world’s coolest harbours, especially at nighttime, when you sit along the dark waters, watch the ferries come in and out, and simply enjoy the view. I did that for about half an hour. Just looking. It’s other-worldly.
All the big hotel brands like Four Seasons and Shangri-La saved themselves front row tickets and offer their guests amazing views over the harbour. I’d love to stay in one of those suites for New Year’s Eve to see the famous Harbour Bridge Firework. But that will probably take some more years. NYE in Sydney is said to be one of the best around the world and I’m really craving to be there to experience it myself.
One of the must do’s in Sydney is taking a Harbour Cruise. No matter how touristy it is, it’s simply stunning. The views around the neighbouring districts, the central business area and especially the famous Sydney Opera House with the Harbour Bridge are as good as it gets. The only thing, that gets annoying at some point are certain tourist groups with literally one selfie stick per each person, taking thousands of pictures all the time, blocking the view and making it difficult for yourself to take a picture.
While looking for a decent place to eat for dinner we strolled through Downtown and we landed in a tiny backstreet. This tiny street wasn’t special a couple years ago, but since it has a really cool art installation hanging above the street, it is a hidden gem now. Dozens of empty bird cages are hanging on linens over the street and give this tiny street an astonishing, yet creepy look. Apparently my iPhone’s camera isn’t good enough to do the street justice, or maybe I’m not a good enough photographer, but to give you an idea of Angel’s Place, I posted it anyway.
I would have loved more time in Sydney and get to know the city even more, but I thought, I will come back to Oceania for travels to New Zealand and other neighbouring countries soon anyway, therefore the chance of seeing more of Sydney is high, so I opted to spend more time somewhere else in Australia.
We flew to Melbourne, as the flight price 12 hours before departure was ridiculously cheap with 60 bucks and the train ticket would have taken us twice the time & money.
We quickly realized, there is a bit of a rivalry going on between those two major cities in Australia. While Sydney has more population (Sydney – 4.8m & Melbourne – 4.4m), Melbourne is growing faster and will overtake Sydney some decades later (It is said to be around 2050). Sydney has more iconic landmarks, like the Sydney Opera House, while Melbourne’s most famous site is Flinders Train Station, which is beautiful, but can’t compete with the global fame of the Opera. Melbourne’s biggest asset though is, that it was voted most liveable city in the world for the 4th time in a row. With Sydney achieving rank #7 this year. (Aussies are probably unaware, that Vienna is right in front of them. :P) Anyway, those two really cool cities couldn’t decide who gets to be capital, therefore Canberra, located in between those two, gets to play an important part as well.
Melbourne, located in the State of Victoria, couldn’t be a nicer place to hang out for a few days. The majestic Yarra River flows through the city and offers cool views of Downtown Melbourne. High-rise buildings are found on each side of the river and the near CBD (central business district) area even offers free public transport, which is really convenient.
But the part we enjoyed most has definitely been Melbourne’s amazing foodie heaven. Its small, narrow lane’s filled with artsy cafés, restaurants and bars are one of its kind. Finding this lane’s and spotting wicked street art made our stay in Melbourne unbelievable. At some point we were solely walking around trying to find cool places to eat. That’s when we thought Melbourne is slightly cooler than Sydney.
We did a Free Walking Tour, that was led by a young local girl, who did her job brilliant and told us a lot about the history, the joys of living in Melbourne and the rivalry with Sydney. She told us, that after all, it’s simply a fun game between those two cities and there is no hate involved. I totally agree. Australians should be proud, to have two of the coolest cities in the world, and I’m really looking forward to visit both of them again.
We were now off to a 2 day road trip that took us around the iconic Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island. Stay tuned!