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Surprising Sydney First Impressions from A Melbournian

Nigel AbelloNigel Abello

It's amazing what you can fit into a few days whilst in a new city. Surprisingly it might be more than what people have done their whole life.

I've been in Sydney for just over 5 days so far and wow is it breath taking. From arriving straight from the domestic airport, to catching their different (and confusing) public transport system, who knows if this may be a potential city for me to move and live in for the future?

I'm a born and raised Melbournian so for my first time ever here in Sydney, let me tell you it's something totally different. The size of this city blew my mind and to think 17 days would be long enough to get through everything there is to do here, man... I must be crazy.

There's been so much running through my head so far since I've arrived and settled in here so here are some of my recommendations, my pet peeves and my thoughts on Sydney so far.

Embrace the sunshine 🌞

One of the things I've loved about this city so far is the weather. It's nothing like the moody, unpredictable and craziness of Melbourne weather. I just heard that the other day in Melbourne it was 26°C by 8am, maxing out at 35°C and then casually transitioning soon after to a massive thunderstorm. Here in Sydney, all I notice is constant blue skies, warm days and an appreciation for the outdoors.

I think Melbourne prides itself on the art, food and coffee culture but here in Sydney I can understand why people love relaxing at the beach, going outdoors and really experiencing something totally out of their comfort zone.

I went to Manly for the first time and it really does live up to everything it's hyped up to be. The beach is unlike no other and the waves are definitely world class for renowned surfing competitions. Driving up to North Head you're exposed to an amazing cliff side view of Sydney Harbour that will honestly take your breathe away.

Sydney is a tourist playground 👒

Of course I had to go do the traditional touristy activities here in Sydney. I mean isn't that the point to tick off the generic go-to places?

A photo posted by nigel abello (@nigel_abello) on

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House are amazing structures but I'd think I would appreciate them more if there's an event on. For instance seeing the Bridge lit with fireworks at New Year's or actually attending an event at the Opera House. It's the authentic experiences I reckon which garner more value than just taking a photo from outside.

Not sure if I love public transport here 🚆

Melbourne city is centered around the trains. Everything leads to the CBD and makes sense because the city is in the heart of everything. Here in Sydney the main public transport is via bus with trains secondary. For me that's frustrating because I can't really just walk from the station to where I want to go because it's only accessible by bus. I think more so it's the terrain and hills which don't make it easy to walk around to places you want to visit.

Nevertheless, there are some small things I do enjoy about the public transport here. Such as the beep noise when you touch on/off your Opal card, the fact that the trains are double decker (way more efficient than Melbourne. Pick up your game Metro), the trains don't sway and rock as much and that you can use your Opal card on the bus, train and ferry!

Get down to the Blue Mountains ⛰

Everyone says you must go there if you're in Sydney and yup, everyone is totally correct.

A video posted by nigel abello (@nigel_abello) on

Not only is it less than 2 hours drive from Sydney CBD, but the absolute size of the Blue Mountains Range is unfathomable. I was only there for one full day canyoning through Butterbox Canyon but if you have a full weekend, there's so much more you can do.

Side note: If you're interested to know why it's called the Blue Mountains. Its because the ranges are filled with a variety of eucalyptus trees which contain high amounts of oil in their leaves. As the sun evaporates the oil into the air, the light refraction and removal of red and yellow wavelengths give the appearance of blue mountain ranges. Interesting huh?

My To-Do list 📝

I've seen snippets of what Sydney has to offer and with just under 2 weeks left here, there's so much I still need to do and see. As I said, this city is huge and everyday there's something new I hear about or get recommended to visit. I guess you can help me as well so if you know any places I need to visit chuck a comment below and let me know!

Parsley Bridge

Small, local beach I was briefly shown. The main feature is the suspension bridge but there's a seawall promenade walk and a family friendly beach I need to re-visit!

Bondi-Coogee Beach Coastal Walk

I'm a week late to view the Sculptures by the Sea but everyone has been telling me to do this walk. Apparently it takes around 1.5 hours but the views are amazing. Stay tuned to see how I find it.

Royal National Park

Photo: Sydney Coastal Walks

It's either I go up north to see all the beaches New South Wales has to offer or go down south to the Royal National Park. Hopefully, I'll be going on a day trip this week to the park.

Either way my travels are not over so stay tuned for what's to come! Check out our catalog if you need an easy way to find things to do in your area!

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Nigel Abello
Thanks for reading guys!

Nigel Abello

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