With my wife being from Sydney and many of our friends living there (usually Australians who we have got to know while they stayed in London, but who then relocated back to Sydney a few years later), we usually visit Sydney once per year. I have myself lived in Brisbane for a year (in 1998, while still at uni) and always loved Australia. In my mind this is one of the top travel destinations worldwide by any standard. Apart from the exorbitant prices due to the bad exchange rate, the quality of life is simply phenomenal. People are super-friendly, relaxed, outgoing, hospitable, helpful, generous, fun to hang out with, the food and produce is fresh and tasty, there are so many things to do, everyone is outdoorsy and sporty and enjoys everything from barbie to surfing, hiking, swimming, or sunbathing on Bondi or one of the many other beautiful beaches.
We always stay at my parents-in-law in Concord West, two thirds from Circular Quay to Paramatta, towards the West, further inland, but close to the waterways that feed the Bay, about 15 minutes’ walk away from the Olympic Park and the nature reserve around Homebush Bay. The train ride into town usually takes about 15 minutes and trains leave every 30 minutes (you should book something closer to the city center, though, ideally within 30 minutes walking distance from Circular Quay, if you want to make the best of your trip).
I really enjoy my morning runs through Bicentennial Park, Olympic Park and through Badu Mangroves and along the many different bays and waterways (even though they are not top sights, so no need to visit). After the morning runs, my wife and I either have breakfast with my in-laws, which, this year included my wife’s second cousin from New Zealand, who recently relocated and is staying at her parents’ place for a few months, or with friends, then take it from there. On the hottest day of the year (38.8 degrees Celsius) we went ice-skating at the Macquarie Ice Rink with our 5-year old niece who had never tried skating before, it was great fun. We also checked out the University of Technology Sydney’s relatively new Dr Chau Chak Wing Building by Gehry for the first time.
As usual, we did several walks along the coastline, including Bondi to Coogee, Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach, Rosebay to Watson’s Bay, and others. We paid a visit to the fabulous Fish Market and climbed up the pylon on Sydney Harbor Bridge (our Instagram photo, the feature photo above, was re-posted and received more than 3,000 likes within the first 24 hours, wahoooo!). If it was for me, we would relocate to Sydney right away. It is my wife, who has lived in Sydney for many years, who feels it’s just ‘too far away from the rest of the world’, in particular Europe, where we like to spend much of our free time traveling.