“The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands.”
The above quote by the celebrated writer, poet and explorer Sir Richard Burton has been my life mantra off-late. It is for the same reason that I try to explore a new destination at least twice a year, taking a step back from the chaotic, fast-paced life.
Travelling to Australia has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. The serene coasts, crystal clear waters, cultural diversity and picturesque locations are all known add to the majestic beauty of the land down under. So when the opportunity to visit New South Wales, I jumped at it.
Interestingly, there were two reasons that made this trip extremely special. Firstly, the fact that I was visiting Australia on my birthday week, and the second that it was my first solo trip. Jumping in excitement, I boarded the flight to Australia to experience a world like never before and much to my expectations, the week spent exploring New South Wales was full of adventures and experiences that made me fall in love with the city.
During the course of my trip, I experienced Sydney, the Gold Coast and the countryside. And, I was lucky to be visiting Sydney this season as the city was decked up beautifully because of the Vivid Sydney.
Vivid Sydney is an annual celebration for 23 nights that brought together light artists, musicians and the top creative minds from across the globe as they display their most inspiring work. From May 24-June 15, the whole city lit up to celebrate the festivities. This year, Los Angeles-based artist-filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang created a new work for the Sydney Opera House. Huang collaborated with choreographer Toogie Barcelo, dancer Jenna Moroni and animation design team Bemo to create Austral Flora Ballet, a tribute to Australia’s native plantlife. It was the eleventh year of the festival, and the bar is set high for the next edition already.
During my travels, I also had the pleasure to walk alongside the Opera House all the way to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with the remarkable displays of lights and experiences enriching my travel journal.
Overwhelmed with spectacular sights, I stopped near the Opera House, alongside locals and tourists, and watched the breathtaking sunset. The last glimmering rays of the sun turned everything golden as the breeze caught my hair in the slightly cold weather--Sydney was experiencing winters. As I was lost in the thoughts of how beautiful the city was, Sydney turned into a different world altogether when the clock struck 6. With about 3,200 beaming lights at the Sydney Harbour Bridge covering the entire three-kilometre stretch around Circular Quay, the experience was phenomenal.
That evening, I dined at the very popular Bennelong restaurant located inside the Opera House and tried some fresh oysters with finger lemon and some cocktails like margarita and the classic gin and tonic. Here is a crisp low down of my travel that I have list down as My Guide to Sydney!
Quick Tip: When in New South Wales, always try the pre-fixed menu that the restaurant offers. In case you’re allergic to a particular ingredient, you can always ask the server to change that with something of your choice.
Eat: When in Sydney try the seafood at North Bondi Fish, Bondi along with Aperol Spritz. If you want to go for some modern Australian food, try out The Classic Mud Crab at Mr Wong.
Want to satisfy your sweet tooth? Order for a cup of hot chocolate at The Lindt Chocolate Cafe on Martin Bay.
Must Do: Try eating at the bar or a communal table at a restaurant and experience the rich vibe of a restaurant. I decided to skip the usual table for one and instead chose to sit by the bar. I interacted with the chef and the servers to know more about the country and its culture, hospitality and traditions.
Shop: Winter in Sydney is a great time to shop. From brands to brands like DKNY, Charles & Keith, Levis, Nike etc. the deals are definitely going to lure you. Take a ferry to Birkenhead Point, an outlet mall that started off as a rubber factory in the 80s and now houses big names such as Michael Kors, Coach, and many homegrown Brands. The silver lining? The unbelievable discounts!
Shopping Hack: Take a Shopper Hopper ferry from Circular Quay to Birkenhead Point and do visit the guest services lounge to relax and get an additional discount voucher that you can avail at the mall.
Must-See: Watch the sunrise at Bondi Coastal Walk, get all touristy at the Sydney Showboat Dinner Cruise and enjoy one hour non-stop cabaret performance, along with a two-course meal. See the little koalas and kangaroos in action at the Taronga Zoo, and shop at Oxford Street.
Stay: If you’re looking for a comfortable stay in the heart of the city, your best bet is The West Hotel by Hilton. You can walk all the way to the Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. The breakfast menu is healthy, so you’ll be served homegrown muesli to smashed avocados on a loaf of rye bread.
This trip to New South Wales and the chance to explore the city and its magnificent culture has truly put me on a path to self-discovery. I just can’t wait to go back there again, this time for newer experiences because there is no limit to what the gorgeous New South Wales has to offer.
Featured Image: Instagram
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