I could never really warm up to Melbourne.
Now, I know why.
When it comes to Melbourne and Sydney, for most people it’s an either or situation. Everyone I met either hates or loves one city and experiences quite the opposite feelings for the other.
By now, I’ve almost spent three weeks in Sydney. I explored its Beaches, admired its sparkling City Lights at night and even bathed in a secluded waterfall. It didn’t take much time or much effort from this beautiful city to enchant me.
So guess what? I’m on Team Sydney.
I’m sorry, Melbourne, but the following 10 Highlights might clarify to you why I have a much higher affection for your prettier rival…
1. The Opera House
No list of Sydney’s highlights can do without the Opera House. Since it is such a cliché place to mention, though, I’ll start with it.
Sydney’s skyline wouldn’t be as stunning without this architectonic masterpiece. Especially at night, when it starts to light up, its futuristic vibe unfolds.
2. The Rose Garden (in the Botanical Gardens)
Yes, I can’t deny it. I’m a hopeless romantic.
I love smelling roses. If I walk by one, I have to smell it. Now imagine how stressful it was for me to pass by more than 1700 roses in Sydney’s Rose Garden.
But their magical scent was so worth it.
Generally, the Rose Garden is just a nice, calm place to lie down in on a bench and read. Or kiss your special someone should you be part of a couple… (yes, I’m jealous).
3. Bondi Icebergs Club and Pool
Bondi Beach itself is already amazing. With its clear blue waters and gorgeous surfer guys riding the waves.
Now you can take the coolness one step further. Hang out at Bondi Iceberg Pool and you’ll almost feel like you’re part of Sydney’s high society (and that entry card only costs you a relatively small fee of 6 dollars).
Get your tan on, swim in the salt water pool or sip an expensive cocktail at the bar. Whatever you do, it will feel glamorous.
4. Milsons Point
If you walk from Circular Quay across the Harbour Bridge (or more conveniently take a train or a bus), you will end up at the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of the sparkling Sydney skyline.
Walk down to the wharf and watch the sun set and the city lights come out while you enjoy a nice glass of wine.
5. Coastal Walk
The coastal walk takes you less than 2 hours from Bondi Beach (start off at the Iceberg Pool) to Cooggee but offers you lots and lots of amazing views.
Since there are different beaches along the way, you can stop whenever you want and go for a swim. There’s also a salt water pool at Bronte Beach, where you can jump in for free (if Bondi’s Iceberg is to expensive for you).
Once you have arrived in Cooggee, there are several buses that will take you back to the city.
6. Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains National Park is a mustsee when you visit Sydney.
For me, personally, it is the most beautiful national park in Australia I have seen so far (and I have been to Tasmania!). The viewing spot (which you can see on the photo) at the Three Sisters is breathtaking.
I can recommend going on a day trip with Loka. They specifically tailor to backpackers, so you will be among your peers, have the chance to bath in a secluded waterfall (although since our waterfall was occupied by a nudist swinger group, it was less secluded than expected) and enjoy a beer and some pizza at the end of the trip.
7. Sunset Cinema
I love going to the movie theater and if the movie theater is outside, it can’t get much better than that.
At Sunset Cinema in North Sydney, you can snuggle up in a cozy bean bag, watch the sun set and enjoy your movie once the sky has turned completely dark.
Since you can bring your own food and drinks, timtams and popcorn will add to the fun. Be prepared though: bringing your own alcohol is not allowed. You can, however, buy a beer or a glass of wine.
8. Shelly Beach
Hop onto the ferry at Circular Quay. Although Manly Beach is a 40-minute ride away, it is well worth the wait.
During the ferry ride itself, you’ll get to see close-up views of the opera house and the skyline.
Manly Beach in Manly is the more famous beach most people go to. However, I liked Shelly Beach better, which is a little bit smaller, more secluded and just a 10-minute walk away from Manly Beach.
9. University of Sydney
Walking around the university’s campus with its old sandstone building felt a little like walking the corridors of Hogwarts. They even have actual Quidditch Games here on campus.
Should you get the chance to study here – embrace it.
Hydepark is just a cute little park in Sydney’s CBD.
At the time I took this photo, they were actually filming a movie there (judging from the people’s outfits, it looked like something out of the 70s).
I have to admit that I mostly abused the park for playing Pokemon go as they just released the new pokemon on the game (please don’t judge me for being a nerd) but I’m sure it’s also just a great place to have a picnic in and to stroll along the tree alley.