Sydney is like the sibling that never has to try very hard to get things right. It gets all the attention and everyone who goes to Australia has to go to Sydney. And then there is the Sydney New Years Fireworks which get all the attention. Every generic shot or video montage of Australia inevitably includes the Harbor Bridge and Operhouse.
That's because Sydney is cool. The people are beautiful and the skyline is unforgettable. Coming from the USA, Sydney is expensive and there is no arguing that. The strong AUD vs the less than impressive USD doesn't help much either. There was a time only a few years ago when this place would have been cheap, but now, not so much.
Sweet Digs! Trying to save money and sleep comfortably? Good luck. Your best backpacking bet is in King's Cross. This double room at the Traveller's Rest costs $70 per night. It was hot and uncomfortable each night, but it did include a free airport pickup and a couple hours of free internet.
Victoria Road in King's Cross also has a daily campervan car sale. Each afternoon about a dozen or so campervans line the street with for sale signs as hungry backpackers try to sell them off for whatever money they can get before leaving the country.
Get ready to walk... a lot. You can easily walk to most of the highlights of the city,. that is as long as you like walking. Starting from King's Cross we walked to the Sydney Fish Market. This place is grand.
What the shuck? The Sydney Fish Market is easy to find if you have a map. Its not that far. This is a place where the fish is as fresh as it gets and generally a meal here runs from $10 - $20 AUD.
A bottle of water in Sydney costs at least $3 AUD for 600ml. Bring a refillable bottle and top it off at most parks around town. You can even find these filtered water refill stations if you go for a trek along Manly, Darling Harbor, or any of the other easily accessible cities nearby.
Manly Beach is a hot spot for surfing and sunning. If that's your thing, then by all means grab a hostel nearby the beach for as low as $65 AUD. Truth be told, as one who has lived walking distance to a beach for years, this is your average beach side spot. Kebab stands and tacky shops line the walk from the ferry terminal to the beach. But don't let that stop you from going. The sand awaits.
The ferry terminal is located at Circular Key, only spitting distance from the bridge. From here, a trip to Manly costs about $13 AUD Roundtrip. You can also find your way to Luna Park and the oft forgotten Northside of the Harbor Bridge, Milsons Point.
At Milsons Point, you can walk an easy couple blocks to Kirribilli, a nice hang out with cafe's and restaurants. This area had a few reasonably priced options including the Mad Italian, who had a medium pizza for only $11 AUD.
Also at Milsons pint you have the not yet world famous Luna Park, a theme park that sits along the water, in the shadow of the Harbor Bridge. And don't forget to take this photo of the Harbor Bridge with the Sydney Opera house underneath. Or better yet, save yourself the trouble and buy it as a postcard from every souvenir shop in the country.
First Impressions of Melbourne