Campbell Street is also known as the Thai Town, a stone throw away from Chinatown. The food and daily necessities (water!) can be expensive in Sydney and it helps that we can buy our necessities from the Thai provision shop downstairs instead of convenience stores. The famous Chat Thai Restaurant (opens daily from 10 am to 2 am) is just downstairs! I had it almost everyday for lunch and dinner, that’s how much I love the authentic Thai fare they serve! However, be prepared to wait for at least 45 mins during peak periods.
Meriton Serviced Apartments (Campbell Street)4 – 10 Campbell Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, +61 2 9009 7000.
From the airport, take the train to Central station. Exit Eddy Avenue, walk across Belmore Park, turn left and reach Campbell Street after a few mins walk.
We are satisfied with our room as it is spacious, clean and comfortable and fitted with a kitchenette, washing machine and dryer. Meriton Campbell is also situated close to the Paddy’s Markets and Darling Harbour.
As the Sydney Monorail had closed down in June 2013, we had to find other means to get around the city area. There is a free City shuttle bus 555 (loop service) on the corner of George Street (near Meriton Campbell) that brings you from Central Station to Circular Quay and along George Street and Elizabeth Street. Many people tried to beat the queue by boarding from the rear door and the bus drivers had to shout across the bus at them! Bus 555 runs from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm in the afternoons (caters mainly for tourists) and ends at 6 pm on weekends. On Thursdays, it ends at 9 pm due to late night shopping in Sydney.
1. Darling Harbour
Bus 555 stops at Queen Victoria building, within walking distance to Darling Harbour.
Darling Harbour is a great place to people watch or just to sit by the harbour drinking coffee. Just be careful of the bird poo everywhere! The places to visit there are the Powerhouse Museum, Maritime Museum, Sydney Aquarium and the Wild Life Sydney Zoo.
We visited Pancakes on the Rocks at Harbourside Shopping Centre and fortunately we were there earlier before the crowd arrived. After we finish our dinner, we saw a super long queue that snaked all the way outside the shopping centre. The steak was good but the pancakes were a little thick and floury for our liking.
2. Paddy’s Market at HaymarketCorner of Hay St & Thomas St, off George St, in Chinatown area, a 3 mins walk from Meriton Campbell, open Thursday to Sunday (9 am to 5 pm)
We bought many knick knacks, souvenirs and T-shirts here for ourselves and our friends back home. For the same item, it can be cheaper here as compared to shops outside. You can also buy many fresh fruits and vegetables here.
3. Royal Botanical GardensMrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
An easy walk from Circular Quay. The nearest train station is Martin Place. Alternatively, the Sydney Explorer Buses also stop there. Opens daily: 7 am to 6 pm. Summer (Nov-Feb): close at 8 pm. Free admission.
The gardens offer a respite for city dwellers away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Set on an undulating ground, the gardens offer an amazing and breathtaking view of the harbour. The locals love to picnic at the grounds, read, relax, enjoy the sun and magnificent expanse of lush greenery all at the same time.
4. Sydney Opera HouseBennelong Point, Sydney, New South Wales 2000
You can walk to the Opera House from the Royal Botanical Gardens (which we did), or walk to Circular Quay and the Opera House should be visible from there. An iconic and stunning architecture that look picture perfect in photos and postcards but feels a little old when you are up close or inside the building. The tiles and external facade are turning yellow but this icon is still a must visit in Sydney!
5. Pylon Lookout
Pylon Lookout is located in the South East Pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Access is via the pedestrian pathway on the eastern side of the Bridge (use the “Bridge Stairs” in Cumberland Street, The Rocks). From the north side, use the steps near Milsons Point Railway Station.
Pylon Lookout may not be as iconic as the Sydney Harbour Bridge but you can’t really admire the Harbour Bridge if you are on it, right? General admission is A$13 compared to A$198-A$348 for the Harbour Bridge climb (price depends on the time of the climb).
There are 200 stairs to the Pylon Lookout and on the way up, there are 3 levels of exhibits where you will discover the history and construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the vision of JJC Bradfield, the chief engineer of the project. We took many great photos of the Harbour Bridge from the Pylon Lookout and at the same time enjoyed the fantastic views of the city and harbour.
6. Manly Beach
The place is swarming with tourists, surfers and beach goers, which add to the vibrant and upbeat mood of the place. There is another Chat Thai restaurant in Manly. We had fish and chips at one of the many fish and chips outlets there. I saw a surfer walking straight into his beachfront house with his surfboard and thought how cool it was to stay so close to a beautiful beach!
7. Sydney Fish MarketBank Street Pyrmont, Sydney, New South Wales 2009. Opens daily from 7 am, except on Christmas Day. Close at 4 pm from Mon-Thurs and 5 pm from Fri-Sun.
A great place to taste a wide variety of scrumptious seafood (a little pricey) and also pay attention to the pelicans who are not afraid to grab food directly from your plates. Visit Peter’s for good seafood and avoid visiting on a Saturday.
8. The Star and Adriano Zumbo
There is a food court (Cafe Court) at level G but the prices are nothing like the food courts in Singapore. We spent around A$40 plus for 2 persons in Cafe Court. There is also a Ding Tai Fung in Cafe Court. Adriano Zumbo is definitely a must visit for all macarons and desserts lovers. Adriano Zumbo’s unique and sweet creations has turned him into a household name.
9. Sussanah Place Museum58–64 Gloucester Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW 2000, call +61 2 9241 1893 to pre-book. Opens daily, 2-5 pm, by guided tour only. A$8 per person. A 7 minutes walk from Circular Quay. From Circular Quay, head west to George St, continue onto Globe St and up the Globe St Stairs to Harrington St. Walk up the Cumberland Place Steps, continue up to Gloucester St and the museum is on your right.
We had Patricia as our tour guide that day, who showed us the living quarters of people who lived there from 1840s to 1970s. She also showed us how the people cooked, bathed and lived over a hundred over years ago and it was quite interesting to see how the museum actually conserve these old houses in their original condition. The guided tour was kept to a small group (as the old houses could not take too many visitors at one go) and we were the only Asians in the tour.
10. The Rocks (Weekend Market)Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia (City Centre)
The Rocks is a short stroll from the city’s two iconic landmarks, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House and is also around the corner from Circular Quay.
The weekend flea market opens from 10 am to 4 pm. We love the history and atmosphere of this place and there are many interesting shops, pubs and restaurants in The Rocks.
11. Bondi BeachQueen Elizabeth Drive, Sydney, New South Wales
Another great beach to people watch and just soak in the atmosphere. We went to one of the beachfront restaurants to have light food and saw this China tourist trying to ask 2 young blonde girls clad in bikinis to take a photo with him. He gleefully held each girl at their waist close to him and I noticed that the girls were too scared to reject him! 🙂
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