Sometimes you go into a city with high energy levels, cameras ready, tours booked, and a checklist of things to see.
Pretty much the exact opposite happened during my recent visit to Sydney. We were coming from Auckland, with a 24 hour layover–but we were already tired of being tourists. Plus we had a long flight back to California the next day. We wanted to chill out. So we did, and it was glorious. Here are 24 chilled out hours in Sydney:
We took the train from the airport and arrived at Circular Quay. Our hotel was just around the corner…
We stopped at Ground Control for a coffee because Mr. Wong’s (our lunch restaurant profiled below) had quite a wait.
The interior alternated between cuteness, hipness, and standard upmarket cafe decor.
The lack of tips in the jar suggests that Australians are already remarkably attractive, thus making this tipping pitch totally unnecessary. A hot chocolate, carrot cake, egg tart, and decaf cappuccino.
Next it was on to Mr. Wong’s–an upscale Chinese eatery in a beautiful french styled old building which manages to be both classy and hip–where we finally got a table after having to wait extra time because of a mistake with our reservation. The food more than made up for it, however.
Pork buns eaten by my companion–they were apparently good.
Wild mushroom dumplings.
Baby spinach dumplings.
We asked the waiter to make us a virgin cocktail and got this. It was good, but we later realized we never asked what it was. Moral of the story? The waiters here will give you good things if you ask.
“Seasonal vegetable cheung fun” This was a good one, brought me back to my days living in Hong Kong.
The “crispy eggplant with fish fragrant sauce” (despite the name this was supposedly vegetarian) was AMAZING.
“Strawberry ice, sheep’s milk yoghurt sorbet, strawberries, shiso and honeycomb” This was also an incredibly good dessert.
Yes I bought boomerangs. Yes they are awesome. Yes I am a tourist.
What do you do when you’re tired but hungry and don’t want to walk far from your hotel but you want to take advantage of being in a new place? You get comfort food at a bar with a view of the Opera House. Done and done.
The harbor bridge shining at night.
The next morning I woke up at 6 am (thank you jet lag!) and decided to see the sunrise. Along the way I ran into these guys… These birds are crazy. Must be an Aussie thing.
The harbor bridge again.
Last but not least, we have the Sydney Opera House looking beautiful at 6:30 AM.
It was great to be back in Sydney, and although some would say we could have done more during our stay, sometimes you really just need to chill out and enjoy things at the pace of a relaxed local, instead of a rushed tourist.
I love you Sydney, hope we can come back again soon!
Check out the other cities we’ve visited:
And don’t miss Brandon Belknap’s stories about Tokyo and Iceland.
If you have a long plane ride ahead of you, definitely consider getting the Bose QC35 headphones–they will change your life.