I was horrified on Monday to wake up to the news of the fanatical gunman holding hostages at a cafe in the Central Business of Sydney. I’d just flown back home after a 5 day stay in the city the previous Friday. A black stain on what I found to be a safe, relaxed and exciting city.
But I don’t want that horrific incident to cloud my memories of my stay, so I’ve decided that I should still record my impressions as a reminder of what was a great short break.
The weather was a little crazy while I was there with some dramatic storms and heavy rain. But I had sunshine as well and although the temperature during the second half of the week was only(!) in the low twenties that was quite comfortable for wandering around and exploring.
- Like Melbourne, Sydney felt very familiar and British and overall I’ve felt very much at home
- Very busy, lively and energetic
- Very much a high-rise city of modern tower blocks
- Easy to get around
- Plenty to see and do
- A real mixture of different ethnic groups
- Generally very friendly and helpful
- Very busy traffic in the Central Business District where there seemed to be permanent traffic jams.
- The main way of getting around is on buses. There is a very comprehensive network and the buses seemed to run very regularly, but travelling through the city centre was quite slow.due to the heavy traffic.
- A great ferry network centred on the “Circular Harbour”
- Relatively cheap – visitors should get themselves an Opal card which you load u and can use on the buses, ferries and trains. Daily spend is capped at $15.
- To say there is plenty of choice is an understatement. Lots of food shops, cafes and restaurants selling every type and style of food.
- Eating out was relatively inexpensive compared to the UK (helped by a favourable exchange rate)
- Two very good art galleries – the Art Gallery of New South Wales and (my favourite) the Museum of Contemporary Art
- Theatre and opera at the Opera House and other venues
- A number of museums
- Street art in the trendier renovated old inner city districts
- For some people this is what Sydney is all bout! Some great beaches all within half hour of the Central Business District on public transport.
- Some stunning coastal scenery at Manley and on the coast between Bondi and Coogee.
- Lots of modern glass and concrete skyscrapers from the late 20th and early 21st Centuries.
- Some grand Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic buildings in the Central Business District
- Plenty of traditional Victorian style houses and buildings out in the suburbs
- A large number of Art-Deco buildings all around the city.
- And an international icon!