Part of my dream of visiting Australia has to do with the feeling I get while watching New Year’s celebrations from around the world and being amazed by the beautiful Sydney Opera House lit up by sparkling fireworks in the background.  I got that same feeling when we first set eyes on the famous performing arts center.  It sits perfectly on the edge of Sydney’s glittering harbor with its iconic white sails designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon.  Unfortunately, we were only in Sydney for five days, but everyday we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this great work of art.

We found an affordable vacation rental cottage in Leichardt, a western suburb of Sydney owned by a lovely woman named Susan.  She was very kind and helped us find several local swimming pools and a yoga studio nearby.  We loved this area of the city because it was filled with delicious restaurants and known as Sydney’s “Little Italy”.  Every afternoon, we’d take the train to the city to take in the sites and even participated in another free city walking tour.  We love finding these free walking tours offered by locals because we’re able to tip them the amount we feel is appropriate.  It’s an interesting, obviously successful business model.  Throughout our time in the city we walked across the Harbor Bridge, meandered around Circular Quay, learned about the historic Rocks neighborhood and of course, admired the Opera House.  On our last afternoon, we hopped on the Manly ferry, which is the easiest and cheapest way to see one of the world’s finest harbors.  The 30-minute ferry ride began in Circular Quay and headed to Manly Beach on the northern end of Sydney Harbor.  It was breathtaking!  We enjoyed views of the skyline and watching sailboats float across the water.  We were lucky to have timed our return ferry to see the sunset just perfectly.  It was a great way to end our first, not certainly last, visit to Australia’s most famous city.

Our journey continued onto Byron Bay, a classic surf town on Australia’s East Coast.  We only spent one night there before heading to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.