This holiday season, I lucked up bigtime and won a door prize at a holiday party – one free ticket anywhere Qatar Airways flies. Qatar airways flies to over 150 places as of the time of this post (with more being added almost monthly). I could have chosen pretty much anywhere, but settled on checking out the home of a bunch of my new friends – Sydney, Australia.

Things didn’t mesh up with DH’s schedule (or desire for a 14-hour flight), and I found myself on one hell of a visa bounce – an 11-day Grand Adventure to a hemisphere and country I’d never been to.

This trip was fantastic. I absolutely loved Sydney, and had a splendid time getting in 20 – 30,000 steps a day, eating as little or as much as I wanted, sleeping in a schedule that made little sense, and speaking to no humans unless I really wanted to.

Sydney itself feels like a cross between New York City, Seattle and the California beaches – lots of big buildings, lots of beautiful coastline, a bustling maritime life – and of course, beaches (and that laid back beach life) aplenty.

Since I saw a bunch and took a ton of shots, I’ll be splitting the pictorial into 3 parts. This is Part 2. Stay tuned for the rest!

Part 1

Monday, January 29

Today, I went on the hunt for new hiking shoes in the CBD (Central Business District) and the open and closed-air malls populating the area – finally settling on a pair of minimalist barefoot runners from Merrell. Highly recommend these shoes if you hate bulk, love flexibility, but also need at least a touch of padding. I wore these exclusively for the rest of the trip – did 20 – 30,000 steps on pavement every day, and was comfortable.

Down a random alleyway that caught my eye

Windows in the Queen Victoria Building (an upmarket mall)

QVB skylight

World Center open/not-so-open shopping center. I spent a lot of time here – my favorite grocery (Coles) was in the basement, it was 2 blocks from the hotel, and my favorite burger place (Grill’d) was just out of shot to the right. 

Tuesday, January 30

Back down to Circular Quay and on a ferry to Taronga Zoo.

It’s on all the Sydney imagery for a reason

Someone had a sense of humor – this was in the reptile house

Look at that view! The giraffes are actually losing their view soon – they’re relocating within the park 

This is Mr. Alpha Male who saw a lone female on his way to picking up some groceries one of the keepers had just tossed out telling me what’s what — right before he walked to the next window and gave it high spin kick to drive his point home. I get it. You’re a badass. Not interested in joining your harem. 

Watch out for those famous Australian Drop Bears 

Tons of birds – wild and non – in this park 

You can’t really get away from stunning views at the Zoo 

Reminds me of Key West 

Even big kitties need a nap 

I know … more view. 

A friend of mine had said that if I happen to have any unscheduled time, hop a ferry and go where it takes you. I took her advice and headed to Cockatoo Island – I was not disappointed. This is kind of like Governors Island in NYC, but with onsite camping and a much richer history (convicts, a girls school, shipping center, military – the whole lot).

From the ferry 

Ferry views 

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From the shipyards on Cockatoo Island

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You can camp on the island as well – everything from these little tent sites to a B&B type situation 

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You know me and some good old fashioned industrial decay – ❤

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More tent camping

Then it was back to Circular Quay and to the Opera House for some golden hour exploration.

Wednesday, January 31

Walked down to the Botanic Garden and Mrs. Macquaries Seat, with a stop first at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. If you ever have the chance to visit Sydney, I highly recommend this museum detailing the city’s convict and refugee past. Lots of artifacts really lovingly displayed and some really great stories to go along with them. A must see!

Layers of history told in color stories

So. Freaking. Cool. 

Fascinating to see what these women had with them to start a new life on an uncertain continent 

If you are ever in Sydney, GO TO THIS MUSEUM. You will not be disappointed. 

Prisoners’ hammocks 

Botanic Garden 

Busy bees in the wildflower garden

This type of pockmarked rock formation was all over Sydney – both in town and in the Blue Mountains

The Macquaries were a huge deal to early Sydney 

I couldn’t resist 

I also took the ferry out to Watson’s Bay to see The Gap (the entrance to Sydney Harbour) and the Lighthouse.

Waiting patiently

Part 3