March 15, 2016
I just returned from a fantastic week-long, spur-of-the-moment trip to Australia (I know, right?!), so I don’t have anything to say about work stuff. Instead, I’ll offer a few brief travel tips for anyone else who might be mulling a similar adventure.
In my time down under, I stayed in Sydney. I’ll have to do more cross-country sight-seeing next time. Sydney is an incredible city that, depending on what part you visit, feels at times reminiscent of New York, of Boston, of San Diego, even of Duluth, and more.
I ain’t no Rick Steves, but here are a few quick pointers based on the lovely time my wife and I had during our visit.
Coffee. Drink all the coffee.
Australians take great pride in their coffee, and they easily put to shame even a great coffee-shop city like Minneapolis. The worst cup of coffee I had all week was as good or better than an Americano from our beloved Spyhouse. Even the tiniest, sleepiest little cafe has a bad-ass espresso machine and makes fantastic coffee. Americans have recently been introduced to drinking something called a flat white (steamed, foamed milk poured over espresso), but Australians invented it. If you like old-fashioned drip coffee, order a “long black” — it’s basically an Americano.
See several beaches.
They’re all a little different. Bondi Beach is a famous one, and you’ll see that immediately. It’s huge and beautiful and surrounded by one of Sydney’s big-money neighborhoods. Manly Beach (no, really) is in a major tourist area that was so nice even the tourists couldn’t ruin it. And the local friends we stayed with took us to their favorite beach, the smaller but more beautiful-er Nielsen Park and its Shark Beach (shown below). See as many beaches as you can. They’re al beautiful and all different.
Ride the ferries.
Yep. Sounds lame. Everyone kept talking about taking a ferry to Manly, but I wasn’t interested until someone told me there was a Manly Beach. The ferries are part of the public transportation system, so it’s as easy as navigating a new city on a public bus — with less traffic and better scenery. The ferry rides were certainly time well spent — a great way to get a new perspective on Sydney.
Have a drink on the roof of the Hotel Palisade.
This funky old building has bars scattered throughout, but you might as well head straight to the top. You get a taste of the view in the photo below. You’ll be surrounded plenty of Sydney’s too-cool, too-beautiful crowd, and you’ll pay too much for your drinks, but I’ll be damned if isn’t worth it.
Visit the Sydney Opera House, but not for the opera.
Go for breakfast, sit outside and enjoy the weather and the view. The food’s good enough, the coffee’s great (see above), and the view is tough to beat in a major metropolitan area. The iconic Sydney Opera House on one side and the beautiful Harbour Bridge on the other, surrounded by water and trees and skyscrapers — it’s quite a sight.