Two Days To Get To Sydney
We were on our way to begin our next adventure in Australia and SE Asia. Our first stop was Sydney for a week. Settling into our Cathay Pacific Business Class seats, we sipped our champagne as we looked at the menus. Over the 14 hour flight to our intermediary stop in Hong Kong, we would get 2 meals plus snacks.
I adjusted my phone and watch for Hong Kong time and at one point realized that I had screwed up our arrival date in Sydney. With almost 24 hours of travel and a time change of 15 hours, we would actually arrive 2 days after we left. This was one day after our family would be waiting for us at the airport and the hotel would be expecting us to arrive.
Our plane had left late and had lost more time in flight, leaving us with a very tight connection in Hong Kong. We went through transfer security and then had to hop on a train to another terminal before rushing to find our gate. The walk through the duty free section seemed to take forever. We certainly found all of the major SE Asia airports to be so much bigger and commercial than at home in Toronto!
David’s phone was already buzzing with messages from his sister wondering where we were. Of course they could get no information from the airline. While David sent them messages, I scrambled to find a phone number for our hotel and called with Skype. It would be an expensive mistake to be paying for a hotel room we never slept in. And it would make our visit to Sydney for a week even busier than we had planned.
The last leg of our flight from Hong Kong to Sydney was 9 hours over night so this flight would mean more sleeping but we still managed to be fed twice!
Once the pilot advised to prepare for landing, David started snapping pictures out the window. This would be our first view of the water city that Sydney is!
It was great to exit the plane first and we got a Fast Pass to speed up our customs clearance. Luggage off early was another bonus of Business Class flights. Luckily our brother-in-law Jim wasn’t kept waiting long – this time! We were excited to start our visit in Sydney for a week!
Sydney For A Week Was Too Little Time
After a scenic ride through Sydney, we arrived at the Park Royal Hotel in Darling Harbour. The hotel would offer us a great luxury start in Sydney for a week. We would find the Darling Harbour area a great base to explore Sydney from.
We settled into the hotel lounge with our cappuccinos as Jim went through his welcome package of brochures and we made some tentative plans for the coming days. Jim gave us two Opal cards which provided access to the train, bus and ferry network serving Sydney and the surrounding area. We found public transit a great way to get about Sydney for a week.
Our first day errands were easily accomplished. We had heard that wifi was not universally available or free in Australia, so we decided to get an Australian SIM for my iPhone. We got a great plan for $25 at Vodophone and I was live and tweeting. We topped up our Australian money and put some money on our Opal cards. A quick trip to the grocery store to fill up with chocolate provided David with a chance to try chocolate covered Australian style licorice. We would be set for a few days.
Jim and Valerie (David’s sister) had opera tickets for that night and we made plans to meet them for dinner before the show. We thought we would make it but travel and the time change caught up with us and we had to cancel. Late nights would not be our friend for a while!
Having lost one day in travel, we enjoyed a whirlwind taste test of things to do in and around Sydney for a week. Sydney was very much a water city and we enjoyed ferrying around the harbour, touring along the northern coastal beaches and heading down to the mouth of the Sydney passage at the Gap to look out over the Tasman sea.
We enjoyed views of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House from a multitude of vantage points including a walk across the harbour on the bridge.
Staying in Darling Harbour, we spent hours walking around and enjoyed one afternoon at the Australian Maritime Museum. It was easy to catch a ferry from there to Circular Quay and the heart of the tourist zone.
We were lucky to have family to show us around when in Sydney for a week . A day touring the Blue Mountains and the famed Three Sisters let us see a very different side of New South Wales.
It was a great taste test of Sydney for a week but we left many things on the list for our next visit. Sydney has much to offer in the way of museums and a vast art gallery. There were parks to explore and many beautiful buildings to see. Sydney for a week was great but we knew we would be back.
Our next Australia stop was north to Cairns. As we boarded our flight north, we were excited to be heading to the Great Barrier Reef. With the newspapers filled with tales of the reef being bleached by waters much too warm, we were glad to see this before it became far less impressive.
What would you add to a list things to do in Sydney for a week? What would you skip entirely?
You can read about all of our Sydney adventures by clicking on the links below …
If you want a few tips for planning your trip to Australia, check out our what we learned on this visit!