Oh Sydney, this city is a beast.
Coming from a girl who lived in a lot of major cities including NY- Sydney is a beast.
It’s bigger than you think it is and everyone who visits for the first time-does say that after. I can start by saying you need a minimum of 6+ days in Sydney. I normally would not suggest that long for a major city, maybe 2 days but this city BIG. I’m really excited to share my experience with Sydney as when I arrived and left, I felt different in a great way.
Sydney was Hotel focused; I stayed in ALOT of different hotels; every night I changed- so this is a very hotel focused post.
First Day: Arriving in Sydney from LAX non stop, it wasn’t a bad flight. Arriving in the morning and had all day in Sydney into the next day to fly up to Cairns. If you haven’t read my Carins post- please do on the reasons I flew up! Queensland is the only place to hold koalas and of corse The Great Barrier Reef is up there, majorly in Carins too.
Having just a day and half, beginning of the Aussie trip in Sydney; a ‘must’ was to see Bondi Beach- the very famous beach of Australia. I ubered there and took the ferry back from Watsons Bay and the port was close to the hotel (the main ferry arrives right by the Opera House!). Uber is expensive here, but again would not recommend driving, the buses aren’t bad but take a while and a lot of stops.
First hotel of many in Australia was Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour: Lets start off with, WOW- I mean the entire service top to bottom was really incredible. I knew I wanted to stay here for my first evening in AUS and so happy I did- I mean hello have you seen the pool? The pool is likely my favorite major city pool view, ever actually.
I was a bit sick/maybe jet legged in the evening- I laid down and this hotel was perfect because.. I didn’t have to leave my room to enjoy it- The views are out of this universe.. right on the harbor! Room recommendations: make sure you are on the higher up levels, better view.
Most important, the actual room booking wise; book ahead big time- the room with the tub facing the darling harbor. It was sold out for me and they have under 5 rooms of the hotel with this feature so grab it if you are staying here!
Location was really cool, it was off to the side a touch and more south, right on Cockle Bay of the Darling Habor, where boats go in and out of. A ton of food and even mall right below, if you walk across the way is getting into real Sydney- I mean this place is really big. I didn’t realize how far everything was. Thinking its a 5 minute walk across when its 25+minutes to walk across the bridge.
I found Sydney very big the first day and a bit overwhelming, I loved my location but be mindful of the location/how long you would stay here. It’s about 30+ minute drive to the Opera House in the day and it was over 45 minutes to Bondi Beach- pretty expensive uber but I wouldn’t recommend driving in Sydney- its a city and it seemed hard to park (I was there for 7 full days and found I wouldn’t drive)
((Goes to Cairns, has the time of my life- Whitsunday/Hamilton Island was INCREDIBLE and PLEASE do yourself a favor and make extra 4-5 days up to Whitsunday from Sydney is under $250 USD round trip and amazing escape, wow!)
Back into Sydney the next week and next hotel stay is at The Westin.
Guys- this was the most impressive Westin iv’e ever stayed in. I got very lucky and was upgraded to a very large room with full living area with couch, table, and the view was of the clock! The jacuzzi you could watch TV from… the shower, beds, and the best part? Endless food right downstairs. I mean this place- I could happily live in!!! There was over 10+ different food restaurants below you could sit down or take to go, there is a hidden bar in the back as well next to the Mediterranean food. This was also the best location for shopping wise and felt the most city center of all hotels.
I was very impressed with my stay, I stayed 2 nights here and was really such a pleasure. The staff was really fantastic, and I heavily mean that. I did the Alice Tea Party and was really fantastic, come hungry- you can’t take the left overs. It was very Alice in Wonderland themed, the desserts were amazing, mini sandwiches. Afternoon tea is a MUST in Australia!
The Opera House, I will put this here due to working first at The Opera House on a Sunday morning. Some tips you may not know, arrive early for no crowds- arrived at sunrise and there was no one for 30 minutes and people started running, a couple getting married, it was a weekend too but its easy to get a person in Opera House shots.
GREAT fact: especially in the morning- there is a ton of bird poop, yup- so much bird poop that to stained the wedding dress I brought from California and ended up costed me.. I don’t think there is poop during the day like that but I mean FRESH bird poop, like if you are taking morning shots do not walk near- it was hard not to so… pretty weird considering major monument.
Next hotel, a hotel that absolutely takes my breath away still and owe a very VERY big thank you for my stay and partnering with them. Langham of Sydney.
The rooms, the service, the hotel itself, the food (including late night room service!), the location, I mean- talk about absolute hotel #goals. The rooms are pretty in pink, total perfection with the decor, very large bed and there is even a pillow guide on all the different pillows. I was welcomed with a 3 tier dessert of macaroons, chocolate truffles and afternoon tea set up with the most perfect tea set.
The pool was the coolest indoor design of a hotel to date- they did amazing with the pool- total bravo. The check in process was easy, everything is seriously just so beautiful here, I would award this top 3 best hotel stay experiences- without a doubt. Across the board, 5 stars.
I had the pleasure of partnering with Langham and really enjoyed my experience tremendously across the board.
The pictures below say it all,
Last night was spent on THE Sydney hotel of them all, Shangri-La Hotel
Want to talk about real hotel goals? This one, I knew on the last night of Sydney which by the way- I added on 5 extra days to the trip just to stay longer. I knew it would be this hotel and with the million dollar view. Room wise, its simple- the higher the better.
I did get upgraded and the upgrade, made this hotel the BEST city view hotel stay I have ever had. This was hard to beat with so many fantastic hotels at this point but this view was nothing short of amazing.
The service was also the most luxurious including evening turn down of folded clothes, tea, water, the jacuzzi was just the cherry on top. The most dreamiest part of the stay was the actual ledge of the entire city view, there is 2 big ledges and I took my pillows and blanket and just sat on the ledge, 32nd of 36 floors up. This view says it all… the best part was I was recommended this hotel for the 36th floor bar and my view, was just as amazing right from my room..
To do in Sydney?
Endless. This isn’t just a major city; there is parks, beaches, shopping is fantastic with not only major malls but boutiques, stands of super boho clothes, dainty jewelry. The insane food (I mean seriously this country wins top 3 best food of my travels), there is always something to do in Sydney. I ended up adding on days to my trip to enjoy Sydney more and had a week- it was even hard to leave, loved it so much. [This country won for my favorite country yet!!]
An absolute must and defiantly the most instagram worthy spot of Sydney:
The Grounds: food, shopping, endless amazing boho dream spot **bring change of clothes for outfits, heard a ton of girls say that
Opera House of corse, the bridge- you can actually walk on top across it (look into it!), walk along both sides of the Harbor (would take half a day honestly, theres a lot to it!),
Best view of Opera House: Go early OR, Park Hyatt hotel located on the water, the best side view!!! See a show at the Opera House if you can too or the bar inside.
Bondi Beach: half a day or full day even with the shops along over there.
Manly Beach: half a day easily, there is a lot of shopping over here, maybe more then Bondi Beach too. Really good easy surfing spot as Bondi is difficult surfing.
Watsons Bay, Nielsen Park and take the ferry across: This is north of Bondi beach and can take an uber to this and ferry across back right to The Opera House!
Blue Mountains: Go overnight or its about a 2 hour drive here. Hiking options, inclusive tours, supposed to be really cool!!
Others: Sydney Tower (the very large tower in the middle you can go up to), Museum hopping, Paddy Markets, Luna Park, Botanical Garden, Waterloo area to explore and other beaches south of Bondi Beach.
Recommendations of Sydney:
How long to stay: minimum of 6 days, you could easily do a week here in this major city. I ended up doing 7 days due to my 12+ hr flight delay and got an extra day and repeatedly said “I needed this extra day”. There is so much to Sydney, do it right and for long!
I highly suggest adding on Whitsunday and listed that as well in my Whitsunday post. Really easy flights from here and can fly right into Hamilton Island.
Hotels or airbnb? That was a big question for me and I went with hotels due to the out of this WORLD hotels that Sydney has to offer. If you are doing Sydney and for the first time, hotels is the way to go. Especially city center location wise- hotels. The views as well from a lot of the hotels makes the trip that much more special too!
When to go? Must be very specific on this. Australia gets really hot. I went end of February into March. I left mid March and apparently thats towards end of summer. January and February are really warm but it is recommended to still go since a lot of the world isn’t warm during those months. Defiantly google exactly best recommended due to city too- do not go during high volume times as pricing as well gets drastically effected.
Food: Every where is good here. I kid you not. Everywhere. Everyone is also extremely helpful and kind here, happy to help with recommendations.
The Ground of Alexandra: come hungry and get your camera out. There is food stands, a few restaurants. The main one is on the side entrance and get there early, always a line. Its the main restaurant and I ate at The Potting Shed- they open a bit later then the other. There is also The Garden, in the center- very unique food too.
Social Hideout: ‘it’s a secret’ is true- Worth going to 1110% and plan to EAT! I could not find on google maps and honestly went off instagrams map. There is flowers from the ceiling, likely one of the most instagramable spots iv’e seen. I walked from Grounds of Alexandra and was about a 20 minute walk. Address: Shop 4/5 25-33 Allen St, Waterloo, Sydney (@socialhideout)
Four Frogs Creperie: This is between the Opera House & where the ferry arrive in. What a menu, I did a sweet and then one savory. Worth every calorie.
Hope this helps! Message me for ANY questions! -CM
A big thank you to the dream team below:
Venue: @langhamsydney Photography @serenity.photographyau | Hair & Make-up Stylist: @thefaceofbeautyus Planner: @seedeventsdesign
Wedding Gowns: @ruedeseinebridal @limorrosen @thebridalatelier @delila.fox @babushkaballerina Headpiece and jewelry: @mariaelenaheadpiecesau @mariaelenaheadpieces @charmainekarla @jamason_freya @akiraisola Silk ribbon @feathersandstone Shoes: @bellabelleshoes @thewhitecollectionau Table rentals @prettypedestals Menus @mmcbridecalligraphy Florist @twowildhands Invitations: @mmcbridecalligraphy Film scans: @photovisionprints