For years, I was dreaming about coming to Australia and wandering around its so different and vast landscapes and lifestyles. This is my Sydney photo diary for the first week of my stay here.
During this first week from my two-months-trip around Australia, I spent most of my time exploring the streets of this photogenic city, going for coastal walks, waiting for the sunset at Circular Quay and spending some time on Sydney’s best beaches. Well, there are a lot of things to be seen and done in this city but this is a portrait of what I have seen up to now.
Sydney is beaches, cafes and so much more…
I always try my best to experience a place like a local, to see it through their eyes and to understand what it is to live there, not only visit and scratch just the surface. This is what I’m trying to do here in Sydney now.
Sydney has many suburbs and they all have their own atmosphere and lifestyle. Manly is laid-back and feels like summer holiday resort while CBD is the business heart of the city but also the place where the suits mix with the tourists from all over the world. Balmain is chic and colourful and Alexandria is peaceful but very close to the city centre.
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Haven Specialty Coffee (or also Haven tailoring coffee joyously) just next to the Central Station is one of the best places to get your caffeine fixed but also for a good social atmosphere, mostly young people. In general, Australia, and especially Sydney and Melbourne, have the best coffee cultures throughout the country.
I was charmed by the Sydney Terrace Houses on the first day of my arrival. These are tiny detached houses built mainly in the early Georgian style and are still popular accommodation option because of their central suburbs location. Some of these houses feature abundant jungle-style gardens while others look abandoned and sad. However, the distinguished verandas on each floor made of filigree wrought iron are still the main feature that makes this style so enjoyable.
Sydney is vastly multicultural as it is the whole Australia. The Sydney ‘s Royal Botanical Gardens are one of the top tourist attractions and one of the best place for locals to have picnics during a lunch break. In the middle of the tropical flowers aroma and greenery of endless forms and kinds, I found this beautiful statue, so simple and yet so powerful. Its name is ‘I wish’ and its author is the Czechoslovakian-born artist Arthur Fleischmann.
Aussies have a terrific sense of humour. You meet people on the streets that easily joke with each other. But what I love the most that this ability to see the funny side of everything is incorporated even in the marketing messages you will see written on the products. Here is a simple example on a brown sugar packet.
Christmas in Australia is (as you know) different from the rest part of the world. To begin with, it is the summer, not the winter time of the year. Christmas decoration, although well spread around the city of Sydney, is somewhat … invisible. It just lacks the contrast between the sheeny garlands and the white snow. It also does not feel so festive, at least to a European like me. But this doesn’t mean it is not better in another way. It is a great thing to be able to go to the beach and have a barbeque to celebrate this biggest family holiday of the year. And who needs the cold anyway?!
Circular Quay, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House that form a sort of triangle, are the very heart of Sydney. But one does not realize that this is a very busy port as well until seeing it with its own eyes. During this past week, I saw some of the biggest cruise ships here and many smaller boats. The ferries connecting Circular Quay with Manly are also a large part of the public transport system of Sydney.
The nickname of the Sydney’s Harbour Bridge is The Coathanger and in my opinion, it is the most photogenic bridge in the world. It frames the landscape between Sydney’s Central Business District and the North Shore. It looks amazing from all angles and it is an integral part of the best known New Year’s fireworks in the world.
Finger Wharf is one of the emblematic buildings in Sydney today, housing a hotel, restaurants and cafes and residential apartments. But in the past, it was the staging point for troops deployed during the World War II as well as the disembarking point for the new immigrants arriving in Australia. In that particular hot summer day, it was a great pleasure to walk around the sculptures part of an exhibition inside the Wharf and to have a light lunch under the ceiling fans.
Sydney has plenty of beaches and all look different in a way. One thing I particularly like is the rock formations that you find here. There is a light beige fine sand but the rocks are much more varied in colour and forms. There are some beaches where the rocks look like a rusted sheet of iron. You can’t make the difference. And there are others where these formations look so bizarre that you might think that these are the fossils of stranger marine forms that were living on Earth millions of years ago.
As many are the beaches around Sydney, so are the bush and coastal walks. I spent one day walking from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach. It is a well-marked path that takes you through abundant vegetation, with trees so high and beautiful with such unusually-surfaced tree bark so at the end you find yourself stopping often to admire them. This particular walk gives you some of the best views of the Harbour Bridge as well. Almost at the end of the walk, I met my first Australian snake. It was not venomous, green snake and like most of these creatures here, it hid quickly in the bushes when we approached.
It has been just one week since I arrived in Sydney but I already have my favourite spots in the city. Tonight, another of the must-dos will be checked off my bucket list. The Harbour Bridge will be lightened up by the most famous New Year’s Eve fireworks in the world as it was since 1996.
Read also The Non-Touristy Things to Do in Sydney
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