Saturday, September 12, 2015

Vivid Sydney Weekends

Okay.. this is going to be short, as I'd like to complete this soon..
Actually I could not remember that I made draft about this trip before, then suddenly I found this draft and it's written in English.. surprise! So, I'll just continue.

A little bit of background of this trip (who cares but I'll do it anyway). I always want to go to Australia and the reason being if I go there I will be going to new country as well as new continent, sort of kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

I remember around 2012 I almost bought flight ticket to Australia (forgot which city), I only have to click "proceed the payment" button when I realized the traveling period coincides with my best friend's wedding and as a good friend, I, without doubt and a bit of regret cancel it. Fast forward 3 years later, finally I got chance to visit this country from business travel, not the coolest traveling but on the bright side it's free transport, accommodation and visa.

I traveled for 2 weeks so basically I only have weekends to go around, but I am so excited as during my travel period there was annual event in Sydney which is Vivid Sydney or festival of light projection which lit up famous buildings and icons in Sydney for about 2 weeks period.

I stayed in apartment in North Ryde which is not exactly inside the Sydney city center, it takes around 20-30 minutes by taxi and 40-60 minutes by train.

Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge

First weekend (30-31 May 2015)

As this is my first time in Sydney and due to limitation in time for travel planning, I opted for easier option which is to take a one day tour to blue mountain. I used blue ribbon 108 AUD with additional option of cableway, etc of 35 AUD and lunch of 15 AUD. Gosh, one day tour in here is 10x more expensive than south east asia! As I recall one day tour in Saigon is only 10 $ including lunch, but of course can't compare. 

Main reason I chose this tour company is because they provide visit to the zoo which I wished to go. I have never been so excited to go to the zoo before but in Australia is different as here they have many unique animals which we don't have in Indonesia. I have done some research there are several options for zoo in Sydney, most popular one is Taronga Zoo in the city center but it'a quite expensive (44 AUD plus), my second choice is this Featherdale Wildlife Park which mainly for animals from Australia and we can interact with them, the ticket is 25 AUD, but it will take effort to go there, have to take bus, etc. I'm kind of lazy for such effort so I joined the tour.

It's a group tour, we rode a minibus with one kind-looking old man acted as both driver and tour guide. First stop is the Olympic stadium where we only allowed to take photo from outside, I don't really know why we should stop there actually. 

Next stop is...
Featherdale wildlife park to see those excotic ans unique australian animals such as koala, kangooroo, emu, wombat, pinguin, dingo, echida... We can take photo together with Koala which spend 18-20 hours of sleeping..considered yourself lucky if you have photo with wide-awake koala! Aside from that you can also feed the kangoroo (need to buy 1$ food) which kind of nice too. What I like is you can collect stamps of animal you have visited so you can check the completeness whether you've seen/met them all. 






Next stop..
Is Lincoln's Rock where we can see blue mountain table and we really feel like at the edge of the mountain (literally). The wind was so strong and super cold too so you really have to be careful since there is no fences surround it. Quite scary. Here I just realized something, the color of the mountain is really blue, I thought it's just the way they said it.

After that we went to one of the villages in the blue mountain named Leura where we have lunch. I didn't buy the lunch from the tour and prefer to buy some quick bite then go walking around at this nice small city taking some good pictures, I'm always fascinated by end of autumn season where leaves changed color and started to fall, I find it very mesmerizing.. Or maybe just simply because we don't have it in Indonesia.

View of Table Mountain

Lincoln's Rock
Leura Village

Leura Village

Leura Village

Leura Village

We go to the park where we can see blue mountain and the famous 3 sisters (3 giant rocks), after that we tried the Skyway, Cableway, Walkway and Railway which are different ways to see breathtaking scenery of blue mountain, the price for these four 'ways' is 35AUD with unlimited time so you can take the rides as many as you wish back and forth, up and down, but unfortunately for me since we were going with the tour, the time is limited, we were only given 10 minutes free time which already used up for toilet break and see the souvenir shop.

Personally I think it would be cheaper if we go to blue mountain by ourselves without tour, but at that time I just did not have time to plan it myself.

Blue Mountain

Three Sisters

Next we take the ferry to the city, we stopped at circular quay then with one of my tour friend, a girl from Canada we walked around there to see the harbor bridge, opera house and for sure the lights show in the Vivid Sydney, Sydney Custom House, Museum of Contemporary Art and the rocks area. I feel so lucky to be present in Sydney's brightest and most colorful time of the year.

Circular Quay

Vivid Sydney Light Show

Vivid Sydney Light show

Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney


Today's agenda is Sydney Free walking tour, as usual, I'm always looking for free walking tour in every cities I've visited, and in Australia, they have it for Sydney and Melbourne ( The tour started from 10.30 in the morning and lasted for 2.5-3 hours, tour runs every day. If you're interested, no booking is required you just have to be in the Sydney Town Hall Square and look for a guy/girl in the bright green t-shirt. There is another schedule at 2.30 pm and they arranged for another type of walking tour which covers the Rocks area only, while for this one that I joined is more on Sydney's best, famous and even hidden sights. As per what they mentioned in the website this tour will uncover the history and explore the sites of down town Sydney. Helping you get acquainted with Sydney, it’s transport, history, culture, events, art, restaurants and hidden bars to help you better enjoy your time in Sydney like a local.

There are 30 people in our group that day so for me it's a bit too crowded. The tour as usual is interesting as we got to see many Sydney's sights and got to know the interesting facts and histories about the places, just one thing it would be better if they add pictures as visual aid like the one that I had in Saigon, Vietnam. Some highlight of the sights: Queen Victoria Building (QVB), Hyde Park, Sydney Hospital, Angel Place forgotten songs, Custom House, Circular Quay, Opera House, and Harbor Bridge. One of the places which is pretty cool to be discovered is this one called Angel Place which located off Angel Place which is an alleyway off of George and between Pit Street. These bird cages hang as art and tribute/memorial to the birds which once lived there in their natural habitat before humans destroyed it to build more concrete! The cages are empty but you hear the various birds singing which makes you pause. It's beautiful yet sad to think these birds are gone or gone elsewhere.. I will not ruin it and blurt out all interesting stories here so you can be surprised yourself once you're here.


Islay Statue

QVB Dome

Hyde Park

Sydney Hospital

Kangoroo and Emu as coat of arms

Angel's Place

The tour ended near Harbor Bridge or the Coat Hanger, me and my friend Hazel than had lunch at Opera Kitchen, a restaurant located near to Opera House, it's expensive but tasted so so. After lunch the sky is getting darker and darker as winter is approaching. Sunset is around 4.30 or 5 pm (so fast!!). After lunch we waked to take a closer look to the Opera House. I had to continue my walking as Hazel decided to went back to the apartment in North Ryde. I continued to walk at Royal Botanic Garden which so great. How I wish I bring my jogging shoes with me! After about 20-30 mins walking to get a super splendid magnificent view of Opera House and the Coat Hanger which known as Mrs. Macquarie's chair, the story is this is where Mrs. Macquarie's favorite spot to see perfect view of both sydney opera house and the coathanger. Well, I have to admit I did not actually sit in the "chair" because I found what I believe to be better spot to see the sunset view which is a karst rock where I followed 2 muslim little girls (sisters) age 5 and 7. I feel so blessed to be there right on sunset time to be able to see very beautiful sunset with the view of the Sydney Harbor, Harbor Bridge, Opera House and Sydney Skyline, especially considering that it was cloudy for whole day that day, makes me realized something, things in life might look so blurry and cloudy now, but keep the faith, it will be beautiful in the end..hahaha..failed attempt to be philosophical.

Royal Botanic Garden

Royal Botanic Garden

Opera House and Harbor Bridge from Mrs. Macquarie's chair

Alternative from Mrs. Macquarie's Chair

Sydney's skyline at dusk

Since it's dark, going back I can't use the normal way since the gate was closed already, so I went further way I can't remember which way but I ended up arrived at Sydney Hospital and Hyde Park, then I went to QVB to take more pictures then again go to see vivid show again.

Sydney's Hospital at night

Inside QVB

Vivid Sydney 2015

Vivid Opera House

Vivid Sydney 2015

Second weekend (6-7 June 2015)


Today we're going to the beach!! I was't so high about beach outside Indonesia, I believe islands and beaches in Indonesia are the most beautiful so why would I need to go to the beach in Australia? Then I read about this coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee beach, it's about 6km walking from Bondi beach, going through several beaches until Coogee Beach, well you can make a stop everywhere or you can even take further walking it's totally up to you. But I just choose the easy way because that day I still have agenda to go to Paddy's market to buy souvenir and the market will close at 5 or 6 pm.

I went there with one of my colleague named Charlene, she's from Malaysia and stayed in Sydney for 3 months for secondment (so lucky!!). Just like to share a bit transport tips, in Sydney I would recommend you to buy Opal card, this is a transportation card, no price for the card itself but minimum purchase is 10 AUD. It's really cheaper than buying single trip ticket for e.g. 5 vs 3 $ and what really great is on Sunday you'd only charged 2.5 $ unlimited whole day covering bus, trains, and some ferries as well, super worth it. One more, there is free green bus which passing George Street, the main street at Sydney which can utilized.

From North Ryde we took the train until Bondi Junction station then we took bus no. 380 to Bondi Beach, it's very easy you wont screw it. We had breakfast first at McD then start to walk. It's about 6 km with good walkway, you will not get lost just you just need to follow the path and street mark. We really got to see spectacular view not only beach and cliff view, there are some sea swimming pool, we also got to do people watching where they're doing sports, like volley, frisbee, jogging etc. It's really amazing that this people are wearing normal sports cloth (shorts, swimsuit) during this winter. What really amazed me as well is here people is really enjoying time to do activities with friends and families, back in Jakarta, I think most people would just spend weekend at the mall. It's really nice walking, with fresh air and nice view, you can also make some stops to sit and just enjoy the view, really good place to contemplate. I couldn't remember all the name of the beaches, I just remember Bondi, Bronte, Tamtamara, Coogee, etc...I have all the pictures.. There is also big cemetery there.. Walk plus taking photos took 2 hours plus, after that we took bus to Bondi Junction, had lunch there then back to city to go to Paddy's market.



Gordon's Bay

Paddy's market is the place where you can buy souvenir to bring back home for dearest friends and family, the price are ok but don't expect made in Australia items here.. hehe. Above the market there is a mall/shop outlet above where you can buy things with lower price. After shopping I walked to Darling Harbour, had cake and hot chocolate at the famous Lindt Cafe, walking around at Prymont Bridge then going back to the apartment.

Darling Harbor

Lindt Cafe

nice right?

Darling Harbor

Paddy's Market
So, yes this is the what's going to be short turned out... you don't need to read everything though..

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