Like so many others I started my Australia-journey in Sydney – the beautiful and breathtaking capital of New South Wales. With more than 4.5 Million people living there this city is crazily crowded and busy with lots of tourists and backpackers but still with this relaxed atmosphere, which is so typical for Australia. I fell in love with this city the moment I arrived there.
After I had some serious trouble getting on the plane back in Germany in the first place, it took me more than 34 hours to get here. But let me tell you: It is worth it. When I first arrived at the airport in Sydney I was completely exhausted. It was early in the morning and all I wanted to do was getting to the hostel and sleep (bad idea, you gotta fight that jetlag!). Because I just couldn’t find the bus station where the shuttle was supposed to depart, I was looking for any kind of information desk but ended up asking a random guy working at the luggage storage. And I’m telling you this because he was (or at least that’s what I thought back then) one of the nicest persons I’ve ever met. Although it wasn’t his job at all he helped me out by lending me his phone to call the hostel and ask about the exact location of the shuttle and then accompanied me there. Also he was carrying my backpack which helped a lot, of course!
And this was just the beginning. Even though Sydney is definitely a metropolis aka a place where you typically would expect people to be unfriendly and kind of focused on themselves this is not the case. Maybe that’s an Australian thing in general, but I imagined that living in a great city like Sydney just makes you naturally happy all the time.
Things to do
Except from happy and friendly residents Sydney has a lot more to offer: The Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the Harbour itself, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the many beaches like famous Bondi or Manly Beach, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, the Sydney Tower, museums, shopping malls, places to eat, places to go out and many more things to do! I promise, it won’t get boring (klick here for inspiration).
I really recommend doing a boat tour or crossing the Harbour Bridge to get to the other side of the waterside. From there you get a unique view of the Harbour, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Another nice viewing point is Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. Bring your lunch, have a picnic or simply enjoy the view. To relax and escape the busy city feeling I advise you to get lost in the beautiful Botanic Gardens. That’s what I did quite often to be honest. Although Sydney is a lovely city it can be quite overwhelming from time to time, especially if it’s the first stop of your travels, like it was for me. Maybe it is the size of the city, the height of the buildings, the amount of the people running through the streets, the many new impressions you get every minute or all of it – I certainly felt unable to cope with all of that sometimes.
No worries, mate!
In addition to that it was my first week in Australia, the first week of one year away from home. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, it’s normal to feel overstrained or even scared and if you’re traveling alone it’s normal to feel lonely now and then! Don’t be afraid of asking for help or talking to others. If you’re staying in a hostel with other travellers, they will definitely understand!
The wonderful thing about travelling and about big cities like Sydney is that you don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to. There are loads of people and it’s easy to meet them. Seriously, I met the coolest guy just by sitting down to get my orientation back in a shopping mall. He asked if I was lost and yes, I was! So he offered to show me around and we ended up having a great sightseeing tour and discovered places of Sydney not even he himself knew before! My advice: Once you saw all the big tourist attractions on your bucket list, allow yourself to get drifted away in the city. Don’t just run up and down the same main roads – turn around and leave the city centre!
If you start your Australia Trip here and don’t really have a plan about what to do and where to go (like I did), Sydney is a great place to figure it out. Many backpackers decide to stay and work for a bit, to earn money for their travels. Because Sydney is such a big city with a lot of tourism there are plenty of opportunities for backpackers to work: You could to the typical bar work, work in a restaurant, in a takeaway-shop, in one of the many stores in the city centre, in a travel agency, as a fundraiser (which is one of the most common jobs for backpackers) or in one of the numerous tourist attractions you’ve been visiting yourself. I met people working in the Wild Life Sydney Zoo taking photos of people holding koalas or snakes – how awesome is that? Also it’s easy to get all the paperwork done here, that you need before you can get started if you’re want to work.
Although I was considering to do that – find a job and save some money – I ended up leaving Sydney because it was raining straight for a week and I got sick of it. Also at that point I hadn’t seen anything of Australia yet and was simply too curious to stay at the first place I’d been visiting. Sydney is a great place for sure, but it didn’t quite make me feel like I arrived in Australia yet, because it’s so international. There is so much to see and I just wanted to get started! So I bought a Greyhound bus ticket and hopped on the next bus north. Leaving this awesome city wasn’t easy as it was love on the first sight. What made it easier was knowing that I will come back, at least to take my flight back home (although I don’t even want to think about that right now!), and also that there are plenty of other amazing cities, places worth seeing, people worth meeting and chances worth taking ahead!