Friday, September 8, 2017

[TRAVEL] 4D3N Itinerary in Sydney, Australia

澳洲,你好!我终于冲出亚洲了!

Hello from Aussie! I am pretty excited because it is my first time travelling outside Asia and it marks the 10th country I've been to. For the start of my journey in Australia, the first city I visit is Sydney (the capital of New South Wales which many people around me complained it's boring, but hey look, there are plenty of good stuff checking out for!).

The next cities on my travel list would be Melbourne, Tasmania, Victoria etc, but for now, I am pretty satisfied with my short but memorable trip to Sydney.

Sydney, one of Australia's largest cities, is overwhelmed with plenty of world-class iconic attractions such as the harbourfront Sydney Opera House, massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port, bold arched Harbour Bridge, esteemed Royal Botanic Garden and the sky-scraping Sydney Tower.

Snippets of "Heartbeat Love (再一次心跳)"

Actually, 5 years ago, when I first watched this Taiwanese micro-movie,『再一次心跳Heartbeat Love』starring Show Lo (羅志祥) and Rainie Yang (杨丞琳) which was filmed entirely in Sydney, I had always wanted to visit Sydney. And now...it's a dream come true! 

There are just too many great places to visit in Sydney, unfortunately I only have 4 days to spend there. It should be at least a 7D6N trip to cover most of the majority tourist spots, so during my 4 days there, I only pick a couple of them for touring.

To be frank, I have pretty high expectations over this trip and can't wait to see things I haven't seen before. But "making the fullest out of my time" here is not the way of travelling I enjoy anymore; I rather go slow, explore around and truly feel myself being in Sydney. And no, it's not a budget trip either.

If you are expecting a "RM2,000 for 4D3N Sydney itinerary" kind of blog post, sorry this is not. Throughout our 4D3N trip, we have pretty good food, hotel and tours. So here's the breakdown of our spending:

❤ 4-star hotel inclusive of buffet breakfast for 2: AUD $200 per night (=RM675)
❤ MAS flight tickets (two-way, inclusive of 30kg baggage allowance and in-flight meal: RM2,200
❤ Food (2 main meals daily): AUD $30-40 per meal (=RM200 per day)
❤ Entrance fee / Guided tour: min. AUD $30 onwards per activity (=RM100)

Total damage: RM6,000 per pax (including personal shopping)


4D3N Itinerary in Sydney
Day 0: KL - Sydney (11.45pm Departure from KLIA)
Day 1: Darling Harbour / Sydney Fish Market / Mrs Macquarie's Chair / City Tour / Chinatown
Day 2: Sydney Town Hall / Queen Victoria Building / The Galeries / Paddy's Market / Sydney Opera House
Day 3: Featherdale Wildlife Park / Scenic World Blue Mountains
Day 4: Sydney - KL (1.05pm Departure from Sydney)

Now let's zoom into the first day of my trip to Sydney...


DAY 0: KL - Sydney
❤ 11.45pm Departure from KLIA
❤ Time difference: +2 hours in Sydney (GMT+10)
❤ Flight duration: 8 hours

Since it is a long flight, we fly Malaysia Airlines (MAS) this round, hence the in-flight meal, on-board entertainment and 30kg baggage allowance are all included. Well, it's my midnight flight experience and I enjoy staring a the beautiful starry horizon when everyone is sleeping soundly. Half of the time I am binge-watching old movies on board while the remaining time I have a good rest snugging the pillow and blanket provided by the air-stewardess.

It is only 7.00am local time when our breakfast is served. I am surprised that the breakfast set portion is actually quite huge – Egg frittata with baked beans and chicken sausage, alongside with a slice of banana cake, fruit cuts, strawberry yoghurt, orange juice and a choice of coffee or tea. It tastes pretty decent, so I am not complaining.


DAY 1: Darling Harbour / Sydney Fish Market / City Tour / Chinatown
❤ Arrival at Sydney International Airport
❤ Lunch at Darling Harbour
❤ Sydney Fish Market
❤ Tour around Sydney CBD area
❤ Thai-style dinner along George Street

As usual, the first thing I do upon landing is getting a local SIM card at the airport. As recommended by a friend, I spend AUD $10 on an Optus Prepaid SIM Card for a 5-day data plan (1GB per day) and unlimited local calls and SMS. Very good deal, and the coverage is great within the city.

Total Damage: AUD $10 (Additional cost: $2 per day)


Lunch at Darling Harbour

It's time for lunch at Darling Harbour!


Cyren Bar-Grill-Seafood
2-10 Darling Drive, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Contact: 1300 989 989
Fax: (02) 9280 2177
Email: info@cyrenrestaurant.com.au
Website: www.nicks-seafood.com.au/venue/cyren
Facebook: fb.com/NicksRestaurantandBarGroup
Instagram: @nicksgroup
Twitter: @nicksgroup_

Business Hours:
Mon – Fri: 11.30am – 10.00pm
Sat – Sun: 8.00am – 11.00pm

Upon arrival, we head straight for lunch and our bus ride takes only 20 minutes to arrive at the waterfront area, right next to the Harbourside Shopping Centre. Cyren, one of the many Western restaurants facing the famous Darling Harbour there, offers a very beautiful outdoor dining experience with water views.

We find it quite cold and windy outside, so we prefer dining indoors while we get to watch how the mixologists prepare lovely cocktails for diners.

Amidst the stylish woody-chic ambience, our first meal in Sydney is the classic Fish and Chips. Mine is a standard platter of fried dory fillets served with lemon mayonnaise and a very rich, earthy bowl of mushroom soup. Well, there is nothing much to shout about the food.

If you enjoy dining with a view and don’t mind about the food quality, then you can try Cyren.

Total Damage: AUD $30 per pax (without wine)


Sydney Fish Market
Sydney Fish Market
Bank St & Pyrmont Bridge Road, Sydney NSW 2009, Australia.
Contact: 
+61 2 9004 1100
Website: www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au
Business Hours: 7am - 4.30pm daily

After a light lunch, we then head to the city’s freshest seafood hub, Sydney Fish Market to fill our stomach with more food. Yay, this place is indeed a food haven for us!

We see a not-so-helpful map displayed there, after we finish browsing through all the shops. The choices of fresh live seafood, sushi, pastry, cheese, wine and fruits from different vendors are abundant, but the queue is crazy too due to the lunch crowd.


Fresh seafood for sale! You can ask the staff there to cook it according to your preference too.

Unagi here is extra succulent, sweet and juicy.




There are 6 wet fish retailers offering Australia’s biggest variety of fresh seafood altogether, but the price and selection are pretty much alike. So we just drop by at Nicholas Seafood and grab some freshly-made sushi rolls. The sushi here can easily cost RM7 per piece (Thanks to the poor Malaysian currency), but they taste really good and fresh!

Total Damage: AUD $10 (=RM34 for 5 pieces)
*Be prepared to spend at least AUD $30 per pax if you want a satisfying seafood feast here.

Spending two hours at Sydney Fish Market is more than sufficient to give us an eye-opening experience. It is nothing comparable to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, but I personally love this place since I am a seafood person.

It feels good dining by the sea, but the seagulls here are pretty scary.
Once not cautious, they will grab away whatever you have on the table.


Mrs Macquarie's Chair
Since we have a little bit of time before we can check in to our hotel, we drop by at the infamous Mrs Macquarie's Chair where we are treated to a view over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.


The sun is rather glaring around 3.30pm during our visit, so my pictures look kinda overexposed. If you walk around here in the late afternoon, the impressive silhouette view will definitely be more picture-perfect as the nearly setting sun casts a warm glow across the water. 

Travelling Tips: Best to visit Mrs Macquarie's Chair in the late afternoon!


Well, we can't make it to the city's Royal Botanic Gardens which is located right beside where we are, but if you have time, make sure you take an easy walk there and enjoy the beautifully framed view of the city's skyline, complete with the distinct Sydney Tower.

Mercure Sydney, George St.
We then check in to our crib at the CBD area, Mercure Hotel Sydney which is located at the most prime location in Sydney along George Street.

Coincidentally, I had a very good experience staying in Mercure Danang, Vietnam last year. And I thought Mercure Sydney would be similar, but unfortunately it is slightly disappointing.

The room is just nice in terms of size, cleanliness and facilities, nothing special to shout about. Overall, it is a decent business hotel with very good location in the town, and is easily accessible via public transport as it sits right next to Sydney Central Railway Station.


I am expecting bathrobes and toothbrush kits in the room, but they are nowhere to be found :(


The good thing here is, Sydney is indeed a walking city! Everywhere seems to be so convenient and accessible by foot.

Dinner along George Street

It's Time For Thai
767 -769 George St, Haymarket NSW 2000, Australia.
Contact: +61 2 8668 4676
Business Hours: 11am – 10.30pm daily

After a long flight and tour, we have decided to walk across and settle for dinner at a nearby restaurant located opposite the hotel. The weird part is, I don’t usually go for Thai food in my home country, and when I am in Sydney, I am excited to try it out.

Our menu of the evening is pretty good:

BBQ Chicken in Thai Style @ AUD $13
Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) @ AUD $12
Tom Yum Chicken @ AUD $12
Barramundi Fish in Chilli and Tamarind Sauce @ $27

Tamarind Prawn @ AUD $19
My personal favourite for the evening.

Overall, the food here is okay, considering it is a neighbourhood restaurant frequented by mostly Westerners.
Price wise, it is pretty reasonable price. Worth visiting if you are craving for Thai flavours in Sydney.

Total Damage: AUD $23 per pax (=RM78) 


Chinatown

Little did I know that Sydney is such a dead city after the sun sets. Malls usually close about 6pm during weekdays and earlier during weekends, so we basically have nowhere else to visit at night apart from exploring the Chinatown, doing some quick shopping at Woolies and Chemist Warehouse.

Along the way to Chinatown, I actually come across plenty of restaurants / food chains that are familiar to us such as Chatime, Tim Ho Wan, Pepper Lunch, Hungry Jack's (known as Burger King in Malaysia), Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake and more.

Travelling Tips: Try going Korean here as the restaurants are mostly opened by Koreans and they serve really authentic Korean cuisine!


Travelling Tips: Plan your itinerary to visit Chinatown on a Friday evening for the weekly night market!


Snack Time: N2 Extreme Gelato

N2 Extreme Gelato
43/1 Dixon St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia.
Website: www.n2extremegelato.com.au
Facebook: fb.com/N2ExtremeGelatoSydney
Instagram: @n2australia

Business Hours:
Sun – Thurs: 1pm   10pm
Fri – Sat:  1pm  11pm

What not to be missed at Dixon Street, Chinatown is the popular N2 Extreme Gelato, a liquid nitrogen gelato chain in Aussie that serves various interesting flavours of gelato on a rotational basis. 

The flavours of gelato are always changing, but all of them are pretty interesting.
During my visit, I spot some really cool flavours such as:

❤ Birthday Mug Cake (Mixed Berry Gelato + White Chocolate Mugcake)
❤ Kat on Kush (Matcha Gelato with + White Chocolate Ganache)
❤ Milo Mofo (Milo Gelato + Milo Cereal + Chocolate)
❤ Pineapple Ginger Sorbet
....and the list goes on

Ferrero Reveal Gelato (Small serving in cup)

Mine is Ferrero Reveal Gelato, a sinfully sweet composition of Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato, Roasted Hazelnuts, Rice Crisps, Chocolate Top and a syringe of Chocolate Ganache. This tastes heavenly, especially at the cold weather of 10°C in the evening!

Total Damage: AUD $6.50 for small cup (=RM22) / AUD $8.50 for regular cup (=RM29)

After roaming around Chinatown, we have nowhere else to go except for Woolworths which opens until 12 midnight! Imagine spending our late night shopping for chocolates, chocolates and chocolates....

There are two Woolworths nearby our hotel, both are around 15 minutes walk away:

Woolworths Town Hall
Park St & George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Woolworths Haymarket
61/79 Quay St, Haymarket NSW 2000, Australia

Woolworths, aka Woolies is a dream come true for chocolate lovers. Not sure if it is a ‘tradition’ for Malaysians to buy large bulks of Arnott’s cookies, Tim Tams, Cadbury chocolates back to Malaysia, but yeah every Malaysian does it here so I just follow suit.

Travelling Tips: Check out their website for the deals of the day before visiting!

Every outlet runs different promotions, so be sure to check out all the outlets you encounter and shop for the greatest deals. The best part is, Woolworths opens its doors at as early as 7am and closes late at 12 midnight. Imagine how we have spent hours and hours shopping here like aunties!

Total Damage: AUD $100 (mainly as souvenirs) (=RM340)

How I'd wish I can collect my ebay purchases in supermarkets in Malaysia too!


Next up: We spend the remaining 3 days of our trip in Sydney town area and Katoomba, including Sydney Opera House, Paddy's Market, Queen Victoria Building, Blue Mountains and Featherdale Wildlife Park. Stay tuned for my next update! 

2 comments:

  1. wow so exciting. I never been there. Love your beautiful picture.

    ReplyDelete
  2. nice pictures, babe!! <3 I wish to go Sydney too!!

    Love,
    MissJasJas
    www.missjasjas.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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