Sydney weekend getaways are a popular choice for New Zealanders after a quick overseas escape due to the city’s shopping potential and the number of things there are to see and do in Sydney.
Each of the trips I’ve made to Sydney have been very different. Staying with family on my first trip when I was 18 and went to see The Lion King, camping on a friend’s parents apartment floor when five girls headed over for a 21st, and finally being able to afford to stay in my own hotel room in more recent times.
Where to stay in Sydney
- Centrally I can highly recommend the Meriton Kent Street Apartments. I’d stayed in Meriton serviced apartments in Brisbane and at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast previously and been surprised at the quality of the apartments. The biggest downside for the Kent Street Apartments was the lifts. While there were multiple lift banks depending on your floor level, the wait for a lift to our 25th floor was regularly ridiculous.
- The Travelodge is a good 3.5 star property in the heart of Sydney. It is close to Museum Station to catch a train to the airport and has a gym, great breakfast and comfortable beds.
- Down near the rocks above an Irish pub is The Mercantile Hotel – super close to the cruise terminal if you’re taking a cruise from Sydney.
- I’ve also stayed at the Holiday Inn Parramatta when looking for something cheaper and out of the city. Having stayed at Holiday Inns in New York and Athens I know they’re a sure bet. An added bonus is that if you’re an IHG member means you’re eligible for discounts, free wifi, late checkouts and the occasional upgrade!
Things to do on Sydney weekend getaways
- You can walk from the central city, through China Town, up George Street and all the way to Circular Quay to take in the markets at The Rocks, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
- Take the ferry to Taronga Zoo and between walking, taking the bus and Skyline gondola you can effectively see pretty much everything. I’m not generally a fan of Zoos but the views of Sydney from Taronga are amazing and there were numerous animals I’d not seen anywhere else previously.
- Take the ferry to Manly, Cockatoo Island, or any other part of Sydney which takes your fancy.
- Hit Bondi and walk to Bronte or as far as Coogee Beach. If it’s a beautiful day and there will be people everywhere.
- Enjoy the Fish Markets
- See the nightlife of Kings Cross.
Breakfast, coffee and sweet treats in Sydney
- If you can’t stomach breakfast a ‘Skinny Flat White’ from Workshop Espresso on George Street will give you the impetus to browse favourite chainstores like Topshop and Myer.
- Incanto Coffee (237/551 George Street) and Cafe Casina (86 Liverpool Street) are easy options if you’re staying in Kent Street apartments
- Purchase macarons from Zumbo in the Queen Victoria Building: there’s an episode of Masterchef Australia featuring a Macaron Tower which I will have to refer to in order to grasp the relevance of Zumbos.
- In Parramatta I’d recommend brunch at Circa Espresso Parramatta. Set in a garage with Amy Winehouse playing they produced good looking, but weak and milky coffee. I should have checked they served double shots Hierloom Tomatoes on an avocado, feta, ricotta and pea mash with a poached egg and pesto on Sourdough seemed an unusual combination but it worked.
Eating out in Sydney
- Home Thai – while it might have a queue, they have quick service and good food.
- Stacks Taverna (1-25 Harbour Street) is popular with families and groups for lunch or dinner they offer ice-cold jugs of cocktails, sharing plates and steaks with a pleasant outdoor setting where it’s very easy to people watch.
- Grandma’s Bar (275 Clarence Street) is a basement bar featuring retro interiors but perhaps not to the level I was expecting (my grandparent’s house). They have a large cocktail menu which makes choosing hard. All are around $18AU and the beer and wine on offer changes so you need to ask the bar staff what they have. I wouldn’t race back but it was different.
- Encasa Restaurant (423 Pitt Street). From the outside it looks small but a large restaurant is nicely hidden from the street-front. Encasa has real Spanish food, just like I had in Spain. Visiting with my Dad the king prawns, cooked in garlic oil were my favouite (be sure to order bread to dip in it too) and when there was an issue with our order they quickly more than made up for it.
- I’ve also been lucky enough to eat at Waterfront and Longrain, both amazing restaurants, as well as Peace Harmony which served up some impressive fake meat.
I still feel there is a lot more I could do here but I’ve been really happy with these short Sydney weekend getaways. Even if your time is limited and it’s just a weekend trip to Sydney, you’ll guaranteed to have an amazing time.