So I think I’ve found my place.

Big city life with a stunning waterfront (my absolute favorite!), picturesque beaches and a bunch of charming neighborhoods with an endless choice of restaurants and cafes, one more inspiring than the other. Add to that an active lifestyle, lovely human beings and an overall great vibe, and you’ve got a happy place.

Sydney – a city in which I could definitely see myself live (which I am, in fact, planning to do now that I’m back from Port Douglas).

Here are the highlights of my first month’s stay (in no particular order):

1. Bondi to Coogee walk

This is a famous one: a 6-kilometer coastal walk stretching from Bondi Beach all the way through Sydney’s eastern suburbs to Coogee Beach, passing by beaches, parks, cliffs and bays. The views along the way are stunning. Even though my feet were killing me, which made us only make it to Bronte, it was definitely worth the walk. Highly recommended!

On our way.

Tamarama Beach.

Bronte Beach.

Bondi Beach.

2. Manly

A holiday-y seaside town away from the hustle and bustle of the city, however only a 30-minute ferry ride away, Manly is definitely a place I could live. Maybe not as a backpacker, but if I’d stay here for a longer time then for sure. Imagine taking the ferry into the city every morning all the while enjoying a cup of coffee and maybe reading a good book or catching up on the news, then doing the same thing in the afternoon to get back to that laid-back bubble of beach and surf and chill… ah!

Life could really be like that, you know.

View from the wharf. When we got on the ferry at Circular Quay the weather was super windy and cold, but Manly greeted us with a warming sun.

Exploring Sydney Harbour National Park.

Dad and I.

Sydney in the horizon.

With views like this I would not mind a daily ferry ride.

3. The Grounds of Alexandria

Before I left home my friends gave me AUD 50 as a goodbye gift to treat myself to a luxury brunch at The Grounds of Alexandria whenever I get to Sydney. Despite being super busy and packed with people, I loved it, I absolutely loved it. Described as “an urban sanctuary that creates lasting memories and brings people closer so they can reconnect in a fast paced world” it is exactly the kind of place that I’m looking for, spot on. Food for your soul and stomach defined – can’t you just tell by the look on my face?

If you ever happen to be in Sydney, go.

The. Perfect. Venue. 

The place was full of flowers, full of colors.

Friday (or any day of the week), I’m in love!

4. Christmas Eve at Bondi

As per tradition, we celebrated Christmas on the 24th. Starting from a random Facebook thread including me, Anna and Mikaela, our Christmas crew expanded to about 15 people from all over the world. We found ourselves a spot under a tree (hiding from the rain, you know! Who would’ve thought?) and set up our (not too) delicious (looking) Christmas buffet including homemade swede casserole, salmon, herring, a potato salad, Swedish meatballs, bread and of course homemade glögg (mulled wine), gingerbread cookies with blue cheese and – wait for it – Fazer’s blue chocolate! Yum.  It might not have looked fancy, but believe me, it was. Everything was so good and all the people were super nice

Jolly days!

THE crew.

5. Yoga from the SKY at Sydney Tower Eye

Marlene and Thomas somehow found out about a weekly yoga class taught up in the air at Sydney Tower Eye with 360° views over the city. We had not booked tickets in advance (although you should) and were close to miss the whole thing, but luckily made it just in time to secure three last-minute, cheaper-than-normal tickets, which suited us more than well.

The views, although not really seen from the floor, were beautiful.

There it is: Sydney Harbour Bridge, right under my nose.

6. Fika Swedish Kitchen

A few days before the New Year, Sebastian and his Finnish friend Jani were in town. We drove to Manly for some beach time and brunch at Fika Swedish Kitchen, a Swedish café located just around the corner from the Corso, the main street of Manly.

I had a Toast Skagen and for a split second forgot I was in Australia. It was like home away from home.

Toast Skagen.

7. New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve was spent with another random mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces at Blue’s Point just across the Harbour Bridge. We did our shopping and arrived at the location at around noon thinking we’d be early, but no. An ocean of umbrellas, the lawns – and the streets – were packed with people hiding from the sun.

All those umbrellas!

We had a solid 12 hours until midnight, 9 hours until the kids’ fireworks at 9 pm. The weather forecast had implied that it was going to rain, but luckily it didn’t. The sun was out every now and then which suited us better than well as it was burning hot and we, or I, was highly inconveniently dressed. I’d brought no bikini, no nothing – rookie mistake!

Our NYE crew.

Marlene and I.

As can be assumed, the fireworks were worth the wait. Also, I reached my spontaneously set stretching goal of touching my forehead to my shins, inspired by which I ended up organizing a tiny little goal setting workshop for the others just after midnight. Happy days!

CHECK!

8. The Glenmore Hotel rooftop terrace

With surprisingly beautiful views over the Circular Quay waterfront including the Opera House, the Glenmore Hotel rooftop terrace is definitely worth a visit. We were first introduced to the place by Nico, so when Janet and the boys were here I thought it’d be worth showing them. Turns out not even Janet’s colleague, who’s lived in Sydney for who knows how many years, knew it, so I was super happy to get to show them a hidden gem.

Happy days with the Johnstons!

9. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

For our last day in Sydney, Janet had organized for us to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We took the 2.5 hour express tour and walked up the bridge on the lower arch rather than the higher, as is the case for the full tour, giving us great views not only of the cityscape but of the bridge constellation, too, which is not the case for the full tour.

It is a beautiful city, it really is.

Another thing to tick off my (non-existing) bucketlist.

At the top.

10. Bondi Icebergs

On our last day in Sydney we had a luxurious lunch at Bondi Icebergs Dining Room. The food was amazing (fried broccoflower, oysters, mussels, tuna… always learning about seafood!) as was the ambiance of the place with the views of Bondi Beach standing for a fair share of the magic.

What’s better than a long Friday lunch in great company? (Never mind the quality of the photo!)

Janet and I.

Too good to be true.

Slowly starting to feel like I’m ready to take on this city as a working holiday-er, I’m excited to see what the coming months have in store for me. Sydney, bring it on!

x Anna