OMG Sydney is beautiful...and expensive. To stretch our legs after our 8+-hour flight, we walked along the coast from Coogee beach to Bondi beach (along with hundreds of others over Sydney's Labor Day holiday) in gorgeous, 75-degree, sunny weather. This 5 km walk offers spectacular views of several beaches and awesome people-watching.
Bondi Beach reminded us of Miami Beach, where the beautiful people go to see and be seen. There was a long line to get into the most popular restaurant (The Bucket List) so we "settled" for steaks at a nearby restaurant. We ate beef, even though emu, croc and kangaroo are fair game. BTW, we learned that Australians eat something called the "Coat of Arms" pizza: half emu, half kangaroo. We haven't tried it...yet.
The next day, we joined a walking tour of the city. Besides seeing famous sites like the Opera House, Harbor Bridge, the Queen Victoria Building, Hyde Park, etc., we learned about Australia's interesting history as a penal colony, about the sad fate of indigent people, and the ongoing modernization of the city.
One of our favorite sites was an alleyway with an artwork display called "Forgotten Songs." It consisted of birdcages hung from above, which play the sounds of native birds which have been displaced by city development. Speaking of birds, our tour guide also warned us about the assertive ibis we saw frequently in public parks: they steal people's lunches (but look cooler than seagulls, right?).
We also did the Sydney Harbor bridge climb at twilight, meaning that we climbed on top of the Sydney Harbor bridge (440 feet tall) and got a view of the city at both daytime and night time. It was stunning and really windy!
So, our overall perspective of Sydney? I'm not sure we'd make it a specific destination again, although we really enjoyed the visit. There are so many things to see and do, the weather is stunning, the population is diverse and friendly. But...it also reminded us too much of the US, with casual dress (workout clothes, t-shirts, shorts), lots of litter versus Asia, familiar chain restaurants like Domino's, etc. We also were shocked by the costs. Even though we have visited other pricey destinations like Tokyo, London, San Francisco, Zurich, we were not prepared for $4 bottled water or $19 bags of jerky...or it was just a shock to our system after Cambodia and Thailand. No worries, mates, we're off to the Great Barrier Reef next!