Sydney skyline
photo source

After completing our six-day road trip down the east coast of Australia, we were pretty exhausted from the logistics of moving from one city to another every one to two days. We were relieved when we arrived to settle in Sydney, Australia and to enjoy our week stay in the capital of New South Wales. But to our surprise, and complete disappointment, we arrived just in time for an incredibly blustery and rainy day. After two days of non-stop rain, we asked our host if it was normal for Sydney to experience the amount of precipitation that fell in a short span of time and questioned if the city experienced flood damage.

It wasn’t until we discovered that this wasn’t a fluke; we arrived in the middle of the Sydney Storm of 2016. Not only did the rain put a damper on our plans but the entire city was under threat due to landslides, extreme property damage and unstable building foundations. It was horrific! We saw devastated bridges and roads and waterfront houses that collapsed into the ocean like sandcastles on the edge of the shore. It was bad. Our hearts went out to the people and families that were affected. Due to the relentless rain throughout the day and overnight, we were bound to our accommodations for three days. We tried to make the most of it by visiting the Icebergs Pool on Bondi Beach but it was a bit of a disappointment considering the property damage and clean up so we just hung out for a bit in the sauna since we made the trek all the way from Newtown.

Here’s a picturesque photo of the Bondi Iceberg pools that attract many tourists:

Bondi Iceberg pool
via Pinterest

 

Compared to what Iceberg pools looked like when we visited:

On the last day of our stay in Australia, the rain finally let up which gave us 24 hours to explore the city before our departure flight. Determined to make the best out of our trip, we decided to put our tourist hat on to visit as many touristy places that we could. Here’s a quick snippet of what we managed to fit into our day or else our friends wouldn’t believe that we visited in the first place!

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is by far the most iconic architecture in Sydney which makes it a perfect backdrop for an Instagram selfie. The multi-venue site is a performing arts center that is home to 1,500 annual performances per year. While it is attended by a little over 1.2 million per year, we must admit, at a close inspection the building could use a fresh coat of paint. But don’t worry, from a distance your photos will look superb with the large spherical shells highlighted against the skyline.

Sydney Opera House in black and white
Sydney Opera House

 

Sydney Habour Bridge

Directly across the way is the Habour Bridge that is a stone’s throw from the Opera House. The steel arch transports pedestrians and motor vehicles to allow people to walk or drive across. At night, the bridge looks amazing with the reflections off of the water. The area is pretty nice for walking along the shoreline with a loved one.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
photo source

 

Royal Botanic Gardens

Gardens in the middle of an urban area make the perfect oasis from the congestion of city. The Royal Botanic Gardens is open every day of the year and access is free. The lush gardens offer various walking paths that will direct you to garden exhibits within the park or onward to a different part of the city. It’s a nice way to cut through the city to avoid the street traffic.

Lisa in the Sydney Botanical Gardens

Birds feeding in the Sydney Botanical Gardens
Birds feeding in the Sydney Botanical Gardens

 

The Rocks Market, West Field and Pitt Street

Due to our restricted timeframe in lieu of catching our flight, we used the last few hours to scope the shopping scene, especially since Sydney has been making a name for itself in the fashion industry since hosting Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. While the Rocks Market is a low-key, relaxed setting to score unique vintage pieces, the high-end glam can be found at West Field Sydney and Pitt Street with a number of brand name labels.

Pitts Street (image source)

 

Strand Arcade and Queen Victoria Building

For those looking to experience an imperial atmosphere start with Strand Arcade, a Victorian-style shopping arcade with gilded accents throughout the baroque architecture before visiting the Queen Victoria Building, an elaborate Romanesque décor shopping center filled with fine vendors. Even if shopping plans aren’t on the itinerary its worth viewing the ornate structures.

Strand Arcade
Strand Arcade (image source)

Australia seems like a great country and we encourage others to experience it for themselves. Due to the weather, we have very mixed views about our experience in Australia. Over a one month period, it rained like crazy from Melbourne, down the coast from Cairns to Byron Bay and followed us to Sydney (and it wasn’t even the wet season!) although we were grateful for the reprieve in Brisbane. If it weren’t for the connections that we made and the people that made it so special, the whole trip may have been a wash!

 

Have you visited any of these places before? If which places were your favorites?!

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