Travel to Sydney, Australia – Episode 537

categories: australia travel

Travel to Sydney, Australia - What to do, what to see and what to eat in Australia's largest city

Hear about travel to Sydney, Australia as the Amateur Traveler talks to Roma Small from about her hometown.

Roma says, “It’s one of the most fantastic cities in the world. It’s absolutely stunning and I think everyone should go to Sydney at least once in their life. ”

Must do list:

  • Opera House
  • Harbour Bridge (BridgeClimb at twilight)
  • Beaches (Cronulla, Bondi, Manly, Freshwater, Coogee, Bronte)
  • Explore the shops (including Sydney Tower Eye – aka Centrepoint Tower), Paddy’s Markets (great for souvenirs), Pitt St Mall (car free)
  • Taronga Zoo (catch the ferry over from Circular Quay)
  • Bondi to Coogee walk
  • Catch a ferry to Manly to walk the Promenade. 
  • Other Ferry trips:
  • Cockatoo Island – UNESCO world heritage site – operated as a convict penal establishment. Great harbour views.
  • Fort Denison – former penal site and defensive facility, now a museum, tourist attraction, restaurant. Great harbour views.

  When to visit / Festivals in Sydney: 

  • Sydney Festival: Jan (Celebrating Sydney (Theatre, Arts, Dance comedy, Cabaret, Family)
  • Vivid Sydney: May/June 
  • Sculpture by the Sea: Oct/November
  • Spring racing carnival at Royal Randwick & Rosehill Gardens:  Nov
  • Mardi gras: March 

Suburb/pockets for specific ethnic cuisine we covered: 

  1. Eastwood and Hurstville for Chinese
  2. Auburn, Lakemba, Punchbowl for Turkish / Lebanese
  3. Cabramatta & Campbelltown for Vietnamese  

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Show Notes

Roaming Required
Google My Maps
Central Business District
Circular Quay
Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia
Cafe Sydney
Sydney Town Hall
The Baxter Inn
Blu Bar on 36
The Rocks
BridgeClimb Sydney
Royal Botanic Gardens
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Vivid Sydney
Sculpture by the Sea
Taronga Zoo
Luna Park Sydney
Bondi Beach
Freshwater Beach
Bronte Beach
Brighton Beach
Museum of Sydney
Sydney Opera House
Australian Open
Sydney Cricket Ground
National Rugby League
Darling Harbour
QT Hotels
Blue Mountains Australia
Roaming Required Sydney posts
Roaming Required Map of things to do in Sydney



I thought that Ralph did a fabulous job describing the incredibly beautiful Maramureş region in Northern Romania. Our family visited the area in 2009 and we too were struck by the lack of mechanization and dependence on manual labor and farm animals for all aspects of agricultural production. We saw multi-generational families working in the fields with homemade scythes and wooden rakes with horse drawn wagons being used to transport almost everything.

The wooden churches were special and we particularly enjoyed the vivid frescoes in the church at Desesti which were painted in the late 1790s.

A couple of things that we enjoyed that were not mentioned include the elaborately carved wooden doors and gates you find in many of the villages and trees adorned with with pots and pans indicating that there is a daughter available for marriage (still true today!).

We stayed in a small B&B run by Ioan Pop in the village of Hoteni. Also known as Popicu, Ioan is a national cultural treasure who is one of the best known folk musicians in the country. Not only will you be served hearty local fare (and potent, homemade pălincă) while staying there but you’ll also be treated to impromptu performances. Hoteni is a perfect spot to base your explorations of the region from.

Independent travel is the way to go when in Maramures. You’ll need a car and nerves of steel navigating roads that can have extraordinary sized potholes and you’ll be challenged by very aggressive drivers.

Keep up the great work.



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Travel to Sydney, Australia - What to do, what to see and what to eat in Australia's largest city

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

One Response to “Travel to Sydney, Australia – Episode 537”

Jeff Perkins


Hi Chris,

I enjoyed the recent episode #537 on Sydney, and agreed with almost all of Roma’s opinions Sydney is also my home town, although I have resided in Indianapolis for 16 years.

The one area on which I would disagree is that I feel that since the 2000 Olympics that Sydney overall has become increasingly expensive and even more so in the areas focusing on tourism. Understandably this might not be apparent to a resident of London or similarly priced cities.

For far better value, I would recommend hopping on a train to Newtown (3 stops from Central) and wandering back along the main shopping of King St with over 50 restaurants in half a mile, and many within easy walking distance, mostly on the main roads.

Amongst them all are plenty of other shopping options with a cinema, bookstores, arts and crafts stores.

I definitely agree about the ferry to Manly being a top choice, but on a sunny day I would also recommend taking the Ferry from Circular Quay to Parramatta, This will take you the length of the main harbour to its nominal beginnings at the Parramatta river, passing through mainly well-off waterside suburbs with lots of yachts, the main 2000 Olympics site and even a small stretch of wetlands towards the end of the 14 mile trip.

Parramatta was set up the same year as Sydney, so has so history and mature architecture of its own and has plenty of shopping and dining options, generally at much better value than in downtown Sydney or Bondi/Manly beaches.

Although we make more a point of visiting Manly (usually wandering around to the more placid Shelly Beach rather than the main ocean beach) over Bondi, if you find yourself in Sydney on Boxing Day (26 Dec) and are not from a cricketing nation (or your partner isn’t) and the idea of watching cricket all day while eating leftovers isn’t appealing (to them), then a trip to Bondi with lunch at one of the beach side seafood restaurants becomes great value as the boats from the Sydney-Hobart yacht race sail past, adding to the occasion.


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