1 of 1000: Sydney Opera House and the Harbor

Posted by on April 26, 2012
Opera house sydney

The famous opera house

We are in Australia. I can’t believe it. And we are up to 47 places out of the 1000 Places To See Before You Die. This one is the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor. As you might be used to by now, I will give you a short review of this place. And you will like the pictures. I promise.

Before we went out to see the city of Sydney, we spent a few days in the outer suburbs of Sydney where we booked a room through AirBnB in a private house. We had to kill some time before we get our campervan on 1st May.

Suburbs Sydney Lurgano

Our first stay in the suburbs

Since Sydney is crazy expensive (especially when you just spent 6 months in Asia), we opted for a few days in the cheaper suburbs. We wouldn’t need 2 weeks to see Sydney anyways. Living in the suburbs of Sydney turned out to be a great decision.

Not only were our hosts very nice, but we also got to experience what it would be like to actually live in Sydney. And it is awesome. The people are as nice as I have ever seen. Everybody greets you on the streets, they even greet the bus drivers and thank them for taking them on their bus. And here are actual parrots in all colors flying through your garden.

The Sydney Opera House and the Harbor

Sydney harbor bridge

The harbor bridge

You probably didn’t come here to read about the suburbs, so let’s talk about the Sydney Opera House and the harbor. I assume you have already seen pictures of the Sydney Opera House and the famous bridge right beside it. Walking towards Circular Quay and seeing the Opera House for the first time is truly amazing. It’s one of those “I can’t believe I am here” moments.

Strangely, when we walked through “The Rocks” and across the bridge and got a good view of the Opera, I wasn’t as amazed anymore. It all seemed rather normal. It took me another day to finally realize the beauty of the Opera. We took a ferry to Manly and saw hundreds of sail boats on the way there.

Sydney skyline far

Skyline from far away

On our way back, we saw the Opera House from afar. And suddenly it hit me. They look just like sails of a sail boat. From that moment on, I was amazed again.

Sounds simple, but seeing all those sail boats and then the magnificent Opera House behind them was a very spectacular moment to me.

It is hard for me to define what parts of Sydney are part of the harbor, since there is so much waterfront everywhere. The most amazing parts though are Darling Harbor and the Botanical Gardens near the Opera. The Botanical Gardens are right next to the Opera House so they are a nice walk through after you visited the Opera.

Flowers at botanical gardens sydney

Flowers at botanical gardens

What I find very disappointing is that a tour through the Opera House cost more than the cheapest ticket to see a show at the Opera. This doesn’t make sense to me.

Other Things to See When You’re Already in Syney

Botanical Gardens and Parks: I already mentioned the Botanical Gardens, but there are other beautiful parks, like Hyde Park, in Sydney and they are truly worth a visit.

Manly Beach: Taking the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly in itself is a treat, but Manly beach is an amazingly nice place. It reminded me a lot of San Francisco (except for the hundreds of surfers).

Bondi Beach Sydney

The beautiful Bondi Beach

Very easy going, very relaxed. And even though the weather wasn’t so good, it was still a good day. And the best part – there is an ALDI (big deal for us Germans).

Bondi Beach: I guess there are many other beautiful beaches around Sydney, but Bondi beach seems to be the most popular one. Even though we went from pouring rain to sunshine and back to pouring rain twice within one hour going to Bondi Beach was a good decision. Lots of surfers and beautiful views of the coastline of Sydney.

Paddy’s Markets: I’m wondering if Patricia Schultz, the author of 1000 Places to See Before You Die has ever been there.

paddys market nuts

Nuts at Paddy's Market

If she would have, then she probably wouldn’t have put the Ben Thanh market in Hanoi on the list but Paddy’s Markets instead. The shopping is much more relaxed than any market in Asia, but are equally cheap, especially for clothes. The fruit market is a blast, hearing the Asian vendors yelling “Cheapa, hea, cheapa, hea” is lots of fun.

Sydney Tower Eye: The fee is not cheap ($25 each), but it is worth it. Seeing Sydney from above gave us a much better understanding of where everything is. Unfortunately, the view of Sydney’s main attraction, the Opera House, is blocked by other skyscrapers. We went just at the beginning of sunset. I would suggest going late in the day and wait for nightfall. Then you get to see Sydney during the day, sunset and at night.

sydney at night from the top

Sydney at night from the top

The Rocks: We did not take a tour through The Rocks which probably would have been fun. The Rocks are the oldest part of Sydney and lots of old building are still intact. I guess a guide can make all that history come alive for you.

Blue Mountains: These mountains are only an hour outside of Sydney and are supposed to be awesome. Their are also one of the 1000 Places. We rented a campervan and will got there the next 3 days. So check back for our next post about the Blue Mountains.

Suburbs of Sydney: As tourists we are often to eager to see the city and all the attractions, but we are missing how people actually live in that country or city.

Darling harbor in Sydney

Darling harbor

Sydney’s suburbs are quite a thing to see. The mix of cultures is amazing and I guess only New York could compete with such a variety of restaurants with ethnic food.

Is the Sydney Opera House and The Harbor really one of The Places?

Yes, definitely. It took me a while to get the real beauty of the Opera itself, but the harbor and Sydney as a city should not be missed. I think Sydney is a great example how different cultures can live together.

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