My wife is American. Her first trip to Australia was just after we got married for a second wedding / honeymoon / meet the family trip. So naturally I asked her what she really wanted to see in Australia.

She said the Sydney Opera House and a Koala.

So I had to explain that I’m from Melbourne and we weren’t going anywhere near Sydney – that would be like visiting Atlanta and wanting to see the Statue of Liberty. All the while secretly planning a little trip up to Sydney as a surprise. Here’s how we made the most of 3 days in Sydney:

The Grace Hotel

We stayed at the Grace Hotel. I had stayed there one night years ago and had sworn to myself that I would someday bring my wife back to stay. That and my great grandfather was chauffeur for Mrs Grace so there was some kind of link there.

The Grace Hotel, Sydney by Edward Howard
Image by Edward Howard

It’s a really nice hotel in the heart of Sydney. The Grace not only has nice rooms, but comfy beds and great breakfast, but it isn’t budget! That said it is an easy walk from the train station if you saving money on a cab from the airport. We also got an obligatory Aussie meat pie at the train station on the way.

Circular Quay

Looking back to circular Quay

After a quick rest, it was off for a walk through the Rocks and on to Circular Quay. Unfortunately, the evening Sydney rain rolled in at the same time. While there were plenty of food options on the journey we ended up eating right near the Opera House with a view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

We finished dinner just in time to catch the show we were going to see in the Opera House. Unfortunately we were both so exhausted that we barely took much in but Danielle could now mark that one off her bucket list!

After the show it was back to the Guylian store to indulge in some delicious dessert.

A Trip To Manly

The next day after enjoying the big buffet breakfast they have at the Grace, my wife had to fit in a slot of shopping. Then we meandered back to Circular Quay – this time to board the Manly Ferry.

Sydney is well known for its ferry’s, but the Manly Ferry makes for a good ride as you get great views of the bridge and the Opera House as you head across the Harbor.

Once you get to Manly it is a short walk through town to the beach. On the way I had to stop and get Danielle some KFC got chips (not available in the USA). She was not as excited about them as I was.

We walked along the beach and wished we had packed our bathers – I won’t back that mistake again! At least I was able to get my toes in the water!

We then went to this quaint little cafe restaurant looking over the beach for a late lunch. The food was great, the view was spectacular and the company amazing.

After eating our fill we meandered back to the wharf to catch the ferry. We had some time, so I had to make sure my wife experienced another Aussie treat – Max Brennar and have a hot chocolate. Evening had fallen by the time we were crossing the bay back to Circular Quay so it was a real treat to see the city lights.

Sydney by night

A Quiet Night

We went back to the hotel so Danielle could rest while I went for a swim in the pool on the top floor. Unfortunately, by the time we were ready for dinner it was 9:30pm and being the Thursday before Easter, a lot of the restaurants had already closed. For what’s meant to be Australia’s major city – I was pretty shocked. Luckily the pizza bar downstairs in our hotel was still open!

The next day we got up and I went for a run. Then we caught the bus down to check out Hillsong – one of the fastest growing Church movements in the world. Regardless of your faith background, it is worth checking out in Sydney as this is where the movement all began.

Darling Harbour

After checking out of the hotel, we took some time to explore Darling Harbor. We went to the Sydney aquarium and saw a Dugong – kind of similar to the Manatees we see here in Florida.

While we chose the Aquarium, there’s plenty of other things to do in Dalring Harbour. Just to name a few: iMax, the Maritime Museum, and even meet some Aussie wildlife. Once we’d seen the fish eat their lunch, it was time for us to get ours. We dined at one of the many restaurants along the water in Darling Harbour. From there it was a quick walk back to the hotel, then onto the train and off to the airport.

Just a couple of days in Sydney wasn’t enough but it was enough to know we have to come back. There is so much more I want to see. What did we miss that we should do next time?