Believe it or not, spending winter in a foreign country can be very fun. I know this might sound suspicious and even scary for the tropical dwellers. Fear no more, let me give you courage by sharing with you 5 fun things you can do in Sydney during Winter.
1. Sneak Behind Sydney Opera House Theaters
Experiencing this iconic structure that sits in the heart of Sydney is definitely a must. It took a long time to build (10 years), cost a lot of money (AUS$ 102 million), and prompted a good bit of drama (its architect died without ever seeing it finished). Travel has made me love learning about history. When you are on the spot where it happened, you just cannot help but want to know the story of that place and the people who lived there.
A classical trombonist who served as our tour guide, led us to each of the theaters and backstage as he narrated how they were constructed. I’d say the AUS$145 (for 2) we paid was well worth it. It also included a sampler meal from the Opera House Open Kitchen which was right by the harbour.
With this Tour Ticket, you can also get a performance pass at a big discount. Sadly, we were there at the wrong time of the year to take advantage of this. The ballet company that splits time between Sydney and Melbourne was not performing at the time of our visit. If you’re interested to see a performance make sure to check the show schedule on the opera house website before booking your flights.
2. Hang out at the Bondi, Bronte, and Coogee beach Cafes
Surfers, divers, and your lazy sunbathers and cocktail drinkers (I think I belong to this group) would surely enjoy Sydney’s Bondi, Bronte, and Coogee beaches during summer. But if you’re like us who are traveling to Australia on winter, don’t fret. They’re still worth a visit.
When we first landed in the airport, Rob drove us to Bronte beach. You will smell the coffee and baked bread as you approach the strip of of cafes. The 2 boys definitely needed their coffee to compensate for our early morning arrival. Jeff got his usual cafe latte with extra shot of espresso. Everything in the menu seemed recognizable for a coffee lover like me except for their so called flat white and long black.
From where we sat, I had a great view of the beach- the palm trees, the fine white sand, and hills where some residential houses were. Now it would have been nice to live there.
Several guys were even crazy enough to surf. Crazy because the water was freezing cold. At least by my tropical standard and even for a winter boy, as Jeff had confirmed.
3. Watch a real contact sport live [Aussie Rules Footy]
From where I am, the only sports people care to watch are Manny Pacquiao’s boxing match and any form of basketball from the much awaited inter-university league like UAAP to NBA games. The first time I was in a real live game was when I was still in college. Luckily, that season the Blue Eagles won the championship. Admittedly, it wasn’t something I’d do again or even more pay for. It just had to be done as an Atenean, at least once, so I did.
When our kind host told us that we have tickets for the Footy match (Swan versus Saints) that afternoon, I was ready to fall asleep and freeze like what happened in Philly during the NFL game (Jets vs Eagles).
In mistaken anticipation, I bundled up, which led to nearly as much sweating in the stands as on the field.
Watching the Aussie rules footy was incredible. I was totally blown away by the pace of the game and Buddy’s (#23) performance. Everyone was just screaming his name. He scored and scored. Actually, it seemed like he was the only one scoring. I also have to agree with Linda that one’s seat can really make a difference. We were just so close to where the action was. We were cheering and drinking with the crowd. It was really fun. Personally, I prefer Australian football than the American and the European.
For the single ladies out there, apart from the action you might also find the tiny shorts worn by the players and how they get lawn massages quite entertaining. Grab a beer and join the fans.
4. Climb the Pylon Lookout or Pay for the Harbour Bridge Chained Walk
Being chained to a huge steel bridge 150 meters above sea level does sound and even look fun especially with that view of the harbour. Unfortunately, we were not willing to part with AUD300 (for 2) so we opted for a more practical approach – climbing the Pylon Lookout. For as cheap as AUD26 (for 2), we got good workout climbing 3 levels of staircase to get to the look out, learned about the bridge’s construction history, and enjoyed the breathtaking harbour view. It was a windy day which made going up there really refreshing. Tired and hungry, we decided to head down and reward ourselves with a nice meal in a Belgian pub a few blocks away.
5. Leave your guide books and Walk Around
At least for a day pretend to be a local without any agenda. Leave your guidebooks and just walk around town. The streets are filled with historical buildings, al fresco cafes, and sellers and buyers.
That’s it for now. Stay curious and travel more!