Travel Journal: My First Few Days Exploring Sydney (including a mammoth walking tour!)

Investigating a new city will always take time but I wasn’t expecting it to take quite so much when I decided to join a local walking tour.  Here’s some of the fun things I crammed into my first few day’s exploring Sydney, Australia through my own exploring and a truly mammoth city walking tour.

At one o’clock I embarked on a walking tour of Sydney and at five thirty it finally ended… at the other side of town. Walking tours can help you learn so much more about a new place and when it’s free it’s even better but always check what your getting yourself into.  I opted for a YHA lead guided tour of the city advertised at my hostel which did a lot of meandering.

St Mary's Cathedral Sydney
St Mary’s Cathedral

I spend most of my Friday wandering about the city with other touristy people seeing places I had mostly explored myself on my first day or so but this time at a much slower pace. The free walking tour was organised by the hostel I was staying in and had a few prizes along the way but I missed out on the first free dinner prize as I didn’t know the blockbuster film which was shot at Market Street in Sydney CBD. Turns out it was the Matrix. I did, however, gain my free dinner for knowing that Paul Hogan aka Crocodile Dundee was ‘discovered’ as a construction worker on Sydney Harbour Bridge. See that’s why you read the guide books.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

I did learn a lot of bits and pieces on my walking tour and visited a few spots that I wouldn’t have picked myself so I think in the end it was an interesting experience and hey I go t a free dinner.  Over the next weekend I opted to continue with my own exploration and thoroughly enjoyed spending a bit more time at the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. I even moved to a hostel over looking them which would normally have cost a lot to stay at but I got a very very cheap deal so I was very happy.

I also found my new favourite place – the Sydney Aquarium  and managed to spend 3 hours in the place, hanging out with all the fishes. The Wildlife World attraction next door wasn’t so spectacular but I did get to see my first native wildlife. They may be city dwelling captive ones but still my first experience of Australian animals. And kangaroos? They look even weirder in real life.

Sydney Aquarium
Lots of little fishes

My following Monday was spent at Taronga Zoo which is just a short hop on the ferry. More animals including lots of elephants and lions, and A LOT more sun than there had been all week so that was certainly a welcome change.  The ferry trip over was nice too as it sails past the Opera House and Bridge and up towards north Sydney where all the fancy houses on the hills are located. I even found my own little beach after I had had enough of the zoo and had gone a wander before the boat back. Was an amazing view of the harbour to add to my good day.

Taronga Beach Sydney
My own little beach near Taronga Zoo.

The Sydney centre, where most tourist things are and where I’ve spend a lot of my time, is a very pretty but also very busy so next on the cards is to head a little south soon to Bondi where I’ve book a stay at Maroubra beach for a day or two.  I have still to visit the Blue Mountains before heading up the coast to Newcastle so will need to gets some plans in order.


What do you prefer? Walking tours or exploring by yourself?