Adventures & Challenges In The Land Down Under

Anyone looking for a trip full of adventure that will create memories to last a lifetime should not overlook the Australian city of Sydney. It is a city full of marvels both natural and manmade, and it’s extremely accessible with direct international flights from far-flung starting points like L.A. and Houston.

I admit I had a few challenges during my stay in Sydney, like when I had to call SPS Plumbers in Sydney for an emergency Saturday leak-fix operation at my vacation rental (they fixed it rapidly and the landlord later reimbursed me); or when I had to ask for a “translation” of Australian expressions like “Arvo” (afternoon) and “Fair dinkum” (true).

But on the whole, it was an amazing adventure I wouldn’t trade for anything. Here are seven of the most memorable parts of my trip:

1. The “Bridge Climb”
After snagging a great picture of the Sydney Harbor Bridge off the ferry boat, I soon signed up for the Sydney BridgeClimb tour. We ascended the all-iron iconic masterpiece, built in the 1930s, and caught panoramic views (and pictures) of the harbor, the Sydney skyline, and the Sydney Opera House below.

2. The Sydney Opera House
As one thing seemed to lead to another, I took the two-hour backstage tour of the Sydney Opera House I had spied off Sydney Harbor Bridge. The sailboat-like architectural design and the location mid-harbor are striking enough, but the history and layout inside are even more full of interest.

3. Darling Harbor
The Darling Harbor pedestrian district of Sydney is full of entertainment for tourists and locals alike. The biggest movie screen on Earth (LG IMAX Theater), the Australian Maritime Museum, the Harborside Shopping Center, and the abundance of fine dining opportunities in the vicinity make it a prime attraction.

4. Picnicking in the Bush
Another worthwhile event on my itinerary was flying over Sydney in a seaplane to see the harbor from the air. The plane then took us out to the bush country just outside town for a scenic (and safe) picnic lunch. It was truly unforgettable.

5. Touring The Rocks
There are too many neighborhoods in Sydney to explore them all, but one you really shouldn’t miss is called “The Rocks,” based on the rocky sandstone shores of Sydney Harbor it encompasses. The old buildings and cobblestone streets are like going back in time, and yet, the art galleries and shopping and dining establishments are fully up to date. It’s an amazing combination and makes for a great day tour.

6. Relaxing in the Royal Botanic Gardens
The vast 74 acres of highly diverse greenery I strolled through at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens made my trip worthwhile in itself. Anyone who loves nature will be entranced with the biodiversity encountered here, but two attractions especially stood out: the orchids in the Latitude 23 Nursery and the Palace Rose Garden that contains well over 1,000 roses.

7. Swimming Sydney’s Beaches
If Sydney is known for anything, it’s know for its many beautiful beaches. Bondi Beach is the most famous, while Manly and Coogee are smaller and less crowded. The crystal-clear water, powdery white sands, and the scenic three-mile walk between Bondi and Coogee Beach make for the quintessential escape to paradise you see so often in postcards and advertisements.

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