Lori Guretzki

Article Summary:

An overview of a vacation in Sydney, Australia.

Sydney, Australia Vacation

Arriving in Sydney meant we had come to the end of our three week tour of the Gold Coast. My husband and I arrived at the Sydney bus depot in early afternoon. The streets were buzzing with vehicles and the sidewalks were filled with shoppers, just like any other major city.

Sydney is a cosmopolitan South Pacific coastal city that is described in travel books as a "Sunny, Sexy and Sophisticated City," and a playground for tourists who can live each day like it were a weekend. We were eager to investigate this beautiful city.

Our hotel, The Oaks Hyde Park Plaza, was located only a few blocks from the depot. Our accommodations were booked through a travel agent and she had chosen well. Our fully equipped two bedroom suite, on the second floor, was directly across the street from a beautiful park and within walking distance of shopping, eating and the famous Sydney Harbour.

Accommodations in Sydney were varied and plentiful from first class hotels to hostels and everything in between; finding a place to stay within a specified budget would not be a problem.

Because Sydney is a multicultural city, every kind of cuisine was available. Multi course banquets of Chinese food were very popular as was Lebanese, Italian and Japanese to name a few. However Australians have their own cuisine and well worth sampling. Beet Root was a staple, we found it served in many ways, shredded, fried, boiled, etc. it was quite tasty. A breakfast fry-up was very popular that consisted of fried sausages, bacon, hash browns and tomatoes served with Vegemite (a salty brown paste) and butter on toast. Vegemite was an acquired taste - I never did acquire it.

Lollies (sweets) were very popular between meals, especially with the kids, and beer was popular with the adults. Australians love their coffee. When ordering coffee, you will be asked if you want "a short black"; "a long black" or "a flat white". I'm still not sure what that means since my answer was always the same "just bring me a coffee please".

Shopping in Sydney was every woman's dream and no doubt, many a husbands nightmare. The Queen Victoria Building on George Street has been described as "the most beautiful shopping centre in the world" and I would have to agree. Stained glass windows and wood paneling on three levels made shopping exciting and very luxurious. I felt like a kid in a candy shop with so many choices and I wanted to sample it all. There were numerous shopping centers, street stores and Flea Markets; we were sure we would never run out of places to shop.

Likewise, we never ran out of places to visit. Many guided tours were available but we found it was very easy to get around the city by bus and visit each of the attractions we were interested in, like the Sydney Opera House. The spectacular complex of theatres and halls were all linked together under the shells. It is the busiest performing arts centre in the world offering musicals, operas, live theatre, contemporary dance, ballet, symphonies, jazz, exhibitions and films. Be prepared to spend an entire day at the Opera House; besides touring inside, outside cafes and bistros offer delicious meals while taking in the view of the Harbor and Harbor Bridge.

The Rocks and Circular Quay, located between the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House was a very interesting way to spend an afternoon. An old and very quaint neighborhood with cobblestone laneways and historic buildings offered great shopping and good food. During the summer evenings, The Rocks Market by Moonlight was very popular with tourists and locals. Great music, plenty of beer and food along with more than 40 stalls selling hand made goods made a warm November evening very "palatable".

The Sydney Aquarium was another "must see" on every tourist's list. Once we entered the complex, underwater tubes took us through the maze of displays. Some areas even had glass floors where we could watch the sharks swimming as we walked over them. I personally loved the Clown fish in the coral reef display; it was as though the fish had dressed up in their finest and brightest clothing to put on a fashion show for onlookers.

The Taronga Zoo is the nations leading zoological gardens located along the waterfront in Sydney Harbor. The area is elevated so as we wondered through the exhibits we also had spectacular views of the Harbor and surrounding areas. The Zoo had its own little boat that ferried us from the mainland directly to the entrance of the Zoo. We were able to get close to the "Joey's", even pet them and close enough to the Koala Bears to take pictures of them - usually without them knowing since they sleep during the day.

When we wanted to visit a beach, there were some 37 to choose from, all within a one half hour bus ride from Sydney. Beautiful golden sandy beaches and the bluest, warmest water we could ever hope for, we definitely needed more than one week in Sydney.

We had a fabulous holiday, one we will never forget. Sydney definitely had it all!

Lori's Final Comments
You will need a Passport and a visitor's Visa. It is recommended that you apply and receive your Visa before you purchase your air ticket - saves a lot of headaches later if there is a problem with the Visa.

The City of Sydney offers a guide book, including maps called "Easy Access Australia" for people with disabilities who plan to visit their city. The book lists all "wheelchair" accessible tourist attractions, eating areas and available transportation - just one more reason that "Sydney has it all".

Lori Guretzki lives in Abbotsford, B.C. with her husband of 23 years. By day, she is an Administrative Assistant in a large high school in Abbotsford, by night she has a home based business called Lori's Canine Creations and in her off times, she shares her love of traveling to all corners of the world with her husband. Lori's latest accomplishment is her book, soon to be published, The Reluctant Traveller, about holidaying in Peru, South America.

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