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Rabu, 02 Oktober 2019


Believe it or not, we have been living in Australia (in particularly Sydney) more than anywhere else outside of Indonesia. Though Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand might sound so close and even cheaper, Sydney has been socalled our second home after living there for at least 1.5 years during our post graduate studies in 2009 - 2010. Thus, coming back to Sydney and other cities in Australia is like being at home (We came back in 2011, 2016, 2017 and now 2019), We have quite a good knowledge about Sydney city in general, well at least we knew where we wanted to go during our recent trip to Sydney on September 2019. With this blog, we would like to share you some basic infos about Australia and a few recommended spots to visit for a first timer. Let's check out more!
BTW, if you haven't watched our Sydney Travel Vlog, you better do now! We have compiled our 7 days 6 nights Sydney trip into a 25 minute vlog on Youtube. And please subscribe!

Public transportation in Sydney is massive reaching pretty much everywhere around the inner city to suburb and even to the beach and the mountain. Sydney Train and Bus are the two most common public transportation, beside Ferry and the new Light Rail (Tram is under testing at the time of our visit). Reaching the city center from the airport can be done via the integrated Airport Train. A one way train trip from Sydney International Airport to the City Center (Town Hall station) costs you AUD$19.4 (or around IDR 188.000). We recommend you to purchase an OPAL card to pay all of your transportation fare from Bus, Train to Ferry. As simple as a 'tap in' to the machine and 'tap out' when exiting train station or bus. A one week trip in Sydney may cost you around $50 - $70 depending on how far you travel and which transportation do you choose.
Here are some tips to save your transportation budget:
  • It's a lot cheaper using bus compared to train (sometimes can be 30-50% cheaper).  
  • Public Transportation is discounted on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday) though we are not quite sure the details. But we certainly saved a lot of money especially for a long trip.
  • Travelling with UBER app is cheaper than with normal taxi.
  • Travelling with taxi from the city center to the airport may cost you from $40s - $50s. It's gonna be more efficient and easier when you are travelling together with 3 - 4 persons compared to using the train which costs you $19.4/person.  
  • Most taxis don't have baby's car seat which means if you are travelling with baby, the chances are you'll be rejected from using taxi. At least that happened to us during our last day in Sydney when we were about to go to the airport. We ended up using train which was still fine cause Sydney's train was family & disabled friendly.
This can be very tricky especially when you purchase your sim card at the airport. Don't get scammed just like us! Upon arriving at the Sydney International Airport, we reached out the nearest Mobile Sim Card provider booth and we eventually were offered with Vodafone provider. The staff who heard us speaking Indonesian then spoke Indonesian as well, that's how they convinced us. We asked for Optus which is one of the biggest providers there and they offered a $30 option with $10 GB mobile data for more than a week. We requested a bigger data and so they offered us the $40 option with 20 GB mobile data.
Just right after we paid our sim card and we walked away, we found out that there's a big OPTUS dedicated store at the airport just a few meters away. And you know what, it's even cheaper than $30 with bigger mobile data plan. We forgot the exact number for the price and the data, but we both were shocked when we saw the banner. Oh well, that's just an advice for you who read this.
This picture below was taken back in 2011 when I was in Sydney for my graduation. But for our 2019 trip, we stayed at Sydney Hotel QVB which was located just across this legendary Queen Victoria Building shopping mall. It's not your typical shopping mall as it is an old heritage building transformed into a commercial area with lots of branded shop, cafes and restaurants. At least you must be very familiar with this building after visiting Sydney cause it is located at the very center of Sydney city. And it is just walking distance from Town Hall train station!
Below is the St Andrew's Cathedral located just in front of the QVB Building. It is not as famous as many other iconic buildings/structures in Sydney, but you'll pass it quite a few times.
Hyde Park is one of the tourist icons in Sydney, besides The Opera House or The Harbour Bridge. It comprises of a huge green park (it's like a mini version of the Central Park of Manhattan) and an iconic St Mary Cathedral as you can see below. Entering the park area is totally free and you can even encounter many wild birds around the area. There is also an underground train station named St James station.
Let us make it clear that The Grounds of Alexandria is a garden themed cafe, not a tourist destination. However, almost everyone who has come to Sydney must have been visiting this beautiful cafe. It's like one of the MUST VISIT cafes in Sydney. There are two main dining restaurants in here: The Cafe and The Potting Shed. The first one serves mostly brunch menus, while the latter serves all day dining menus (and the only one which opens till the evening). We suggest you to visit during the weekends as a lot of stalls like flowers, fruits, candies, pastries, and many more only open during the weekend.
We have made a dedicated blog post specially for The Grounds of Alexandria. CLICK HERE to read more about this cafe. 
This is the flower market
The Potting Shed
The iconic mini fountain
Circular Quay is an area where there is a ferry wharf connecting you to many locations around north of Sydney using the ferry ride, such as Mainly beach, Taronga Zoo, Watson Bay, Luna Park, and many more. From Circular Quay you can choose to walk to left to go to the The Rocks area (famous for The Rocks Market) and to the right to go to the most famous Sydney Opera House & Botanical Garden. 
The reason why we are telling you Circular Quay at night is because this area is spectacular at night, especially during the winter when most people are staying at home or at least it is less crowded than during the summer. The Harbour Bridge is really vibrant and Sydney Opera House is amazing at night. If you're coming on May - June 2020 (winter season), you don't want to miss the annual VIVID SYDNEY festival in which the Opera House is illuminated with colorful patterns. It is one of the best annual festivals in Sydney.
Do you know that you can actually walk on the Harbour Bridge? It's the perfect spot to watch Sydney Opera House from above! You can also walk under the bridge and enjoy the sea view, only a walking distance from Circular Quay towards The Rocks.
This is located just a few hundreds meter away from the Circular Quay or just across The Harbour Bridge. There are cafes, bar and some small shops along the way to the Opera House. Don't you think it's beautiful at night? We unfortunately didn't visit there during the day. The only day shot below was taken back in 2011. Anyway, you can view the whole Sydney downtown by taking 'Captain Cook Cruise' from the Circular Quay wharf where you get to enjoy buffet lunch with a stunning Sydney city view!
Bondi beach is considerably the most popular beach in Sydney, besides a few others like Manly beach and La Perouse beach. Bondi beach has been so commercial that it is super crowded during the summer when people do sun bathing, swimming and surfing. There are also a lot of food and clothing shops along the street just across the beach. Even when it's winter, it's still nice to pay a visit and take some pictures on the beautiful beach. You can also visit Bondi Junction, one of the most popular shopping malls in Sydney. Bondi  Junction and Bondi beach are accessible via bus ride.
Darling Harbour is a one stop entertainment complex where you can find malls, shops, bar, restaurant, and free entertainment such as free fireworks show every Saturday night 20:30 PM. It is just walking distance from the city center and it's probably the only spot in the City where bars/restaurants open till late night. Just so you know, they call Sydney as 'The City that sleeps so early'. Businesses mainly close at 4 or 5 PM and food stalls (in a food court) normally give special price for their food. That's a tip for you to have your dinner cheaper.
Sydney Fish Market at Pyrmont is also one of the most popular places in Sydney to find the most mouthwatering selections of fresh seafood. From fish and chips, cheesy lobster, fresh sashimi to sea urchin, any kinds of seafood is here! It is only 15 minutes walk from the end of Darling Harbour bridge towards Pyrmont area (yes, just walking!) You would expect it to be a traditional fish market right? But no, it is a modern and clean semi open space dining area.
This is the most popular zoo in Sydney with Giraffe as its icon. Most of the giraffes here were born in Australia, that's why they are very proud of the successful breeding program. There were also Sumatran Tiger, Seal, Koala, Kangaroo, and many more! Since it is too long to write about the zoo experience, we have written a dedicated post on our blog about Taronga Zoo. CLICK HERE to redirect to the page. Read more on how to get a discounted ticket fare.
Sydney Tower is one of the tallest structures in the city (as far as we know). If you take a look at the third photo below, you can spot Sydney Tower standing tall from very far (shot from Taronga Zoo). We've never gone up the tower, but as far as we know, there's an observation deck, skywalk and gift shop.
This is probably gonna be the last place to visit before you're leaving from Sydney. Market City is an old building with some part as a shopping center (if I'm not mistaken) and some part as Paddy's Market offering authentic Australian souvenirs (though most of them are made in China). People come here to buy cheap accessories and souvenirs such as key chain, magnet, leather bag, to kangaroo skin and claw. If you're not into these kind of stuff, you better skip this place.
However, if you're looking for some of the best Asian eats, then around this area there are tons of Asian restaurants from Japanese, Korean, Thailand, and Chinese. And btw, the Sydney China Town is located just across the Market City building. We didn't go to Market City during our 2019 trip, but as a reference we posted our old 2011 photos below.


Westfield Sydney is a shopping centre located beneath the Sydney Tower in the Sydney central business district. It is located on Pitt Street Mall and is connected underground via the Queen Victoria Building lower ground. The food court here got a lot of great food choices, definitely a paradise for food lover!
If you have no idea on where to go and you have plenty of time in Sydney, you might probably want to visit one of our favorite shopping malls in Sydney called Rhodes Waterside. It's a shopping mall located on the suburb area called Rhodes, a 45 minute ride by train from the city. You can find one of the only few IKEA and TARGET stores in Sydney. Well of course if you get the chance to visit IKEA, go to their restaurant and have their meatballs. If you are from Indonesia, then the only difference between Indonesian and Overseas' Ikea Meatball is the ingredient. The Indonesian one is with beef/ halal meatball, while the overseas one is with pork. And don't expect rice dishes here :)
We were staying 6 nights at 2 different hotels: Sydney Hotel QVB for the first 3 nights and Sofitel Sydney Wentworth for the last 3 nights. Both have their own pros and cons. If you're looking for an affordable stay at the very center of Sydney, then Sydney Hotel QVB can be your first option (it is small though but not that bad actually). It is located just across Queen Victoria Building where you get to find tons of delicious foods and a walking distance to Woolworth supermarket. 
If you're expecting a 5 star accommodation, we have experienced two 5 star hotel around Circular Quay: Shangri-La Sydney (2016) and Sofitel Sydney Wentworth (2019). Shangri-La Sydney is very close to Circular Quay and has THE BEST window view of Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge. CLICK HERE to read our 2016 review. While Sofitel Wentworth in our opinion has better 5 star services and better access to public transportation. CLICK HERE to read the review of Sofitel Sydney Wentworth.
Anyway thank you guys for reading! Please don't hesitate to drop a comment or question below about Sydney! We'll be more than happy to answer it for you. See you next time :) 



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