I had to fly to Sydney for my client’s business expo three weeks ago, and I thought it was a good idea to bring hubby along. It’s like killing two birds with one stone — we get to check one item in our couple travel goals, and I get an instant temporary marketing assistant in the shape of my very own husband! 😊
As much as I want to come up with a thorough step-by-step Sydney travel guide with a rundown of our expenses in PHP, I can’t. First of all, this Sydney visit was primarily a business trip, which means my generous client spent for almost everything (my airfare, visa application, accommodation, etc). It just so happened that I brought along my husband, so what I’m gonna share with you in this blog post is a semi Sydney travel guide. It may not be as comprehensive as what you’ll get from major travel blogs, but it may help you survive if you’re a first-timer in Sydney, Australia.
The Australian Visa
As you may already know, Australia is one of those countries that require a Visa. So before you book that tour package, it might be helpful to apply for your Australian Visa first. Don’t worry about that. Applying for an Australia Visa is so stress-free. You can do it online! 😊 My employer was the one who processed my Visa, but since I wanted hubby to accompany me to Sydney, I applied for his Visa online.
Click here to find out how to apply for an Australian Visa online.
Flight to Sydney via Qantas Airways
Since I wanted to skip the waiting hours during stop-overs, I booked a direct flight from Manila to Sydney. Fortunately, Qantas Airways was on sale, and so I booked 2 seats for me and hubby. Total airfare for each was PHP36,937. Direct flight time from Manila to Sydney is about 8 hours and 30 minutes.
Thanks to Qantas Airways’ entertainment system for keeping boredom away for the entire flight.
Click here to read about what our Qantas flight experience.
Nowadays, travelers have a lot of options when it comes to accommodation. If you’re in for a luxury travel, go check out the high-end hotels of Sydney such as Park Hyatt Sydney and Shangri-La Hotel Sydney – places my hubby and I only admired from a distance. 😊 If you’re a practical YOLO backpacker traveler who just needs a place to rest and freshen up, then you better check the many affordable hostels in Sydney. You can book a room with a personal toilet for as low as PHP3,000+, and you can choose to rent a bed with a common toilet for less. There are many backpacker hostels in Kings Cross, Sydney. 😊
What I’ll be sharing with you in this blog post is the accommodation in between the expensive luxury hotels and the super affordable hostels. If you’re looking for a not so expensive yet posh and comfy accommodation, then renting an Airbnb property might be best for you.
The Airbnb apartment unit where we stayed during our Sydney trip was at the heart of Sydney. It has 2 bedrooms, a nice bathroom, spacious living room, dining room, kitchen, and laundry area. Plus, it has a veranda with a spectacular city view. If you’re a family (couple plus two or three small kids), this Airbnb accommodation in Sydney is perfect for you.
Click here to know more about this Sydney accommodation.
Every travel blog I read for my Sydney travel research instilled in me the importance of the Opal Card when in Sydney, Australia. And yes, I experienced the value of this mighty transport card myself during our trip. Since Sydney has a highly effective train system, the best way to roam around the city is by train. Thus, the importance of the mighty Opal Card! 😊
Upon arrival at the Syndey International Airport, the first thing we did was to buy an Opal Card with a “load” that we can use for seven days. We paid around PHP2,000+ each.
The Opal card can be used on the following:
- All Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink Intercity trains
- All buses in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter and Illawarra
- All Sydney Ferries and the Stockton Ferry in Newcastle
- Light rail
If you have friends and colleagues that you need to meet in Sydney, it’s best to get a SIM card for easier communication.
Hubby and I bought an Optus SIM card at the Sydney International Airport for only 10 AUD (PHP400+). It’s good for 7 days, and allows you to make up to 100 mins talk and unlimited text, and 15 GB data.
I had to spend two days for the business expo and a half day for the ingress of the expo. That left hubby and me with only a little more than three days to do our Sydney tour. With such limited time, we chose only the tours that were near our accommodation and tours that were flexible in terms of schedule.
I booked the Sydney Big Ticket from https://www.sydneyaquarium.com.au For only AUD70 (PHP2,800+), the Sydney Big Ticket took us to four amazing Sydney tourist spots: Sea Life Sydney, Wildlife Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney, and the Sydney Tower Eye.
I also booked from the same website, our Big Bus Hop On Hop Off Tour. It is a practical and enjoyable way to visit the iconic spots and famous places in Sydney. For only AUD30 (PHP1,200+), hubby and I were able to explore Sydney at our own pace by hopping on and off the big red bus.
Sea Life Sydney
Wildlife Sydney Zoo
Madame Tussauds Sydney
Sydney Tower Eye
Big Bus Hop on Hop Off Tour
Through the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour, you can visit the …
Sydney Opera House
St. Mary’s Cathedral
Too bad we didn’t have enough time to visit Blue Mountains, another famous tourist spot in Sydney.
What to eat in Sydney
For our “budgetarian” diet, we had pies and sandwiches for breakfast. We spent around AUD 3-4 (PHP120-160) for this simple meal. My favorite was the beef pie we had at Pie Face cafe. Plus, add a little more dollars for the cappucino.
For lunch and dinner, we usually went to famous fast food stores like KFC and McDonald’s. A meal costs around AUD5-10 (PHP200-400). Remember, it’s a forced NO RICE diet in Sydney. 🙂
Sometimes, we pampered ourselves with pricier, tastier meals. 🙂 When my client was with us, she treated us for dinner at the Hurricane’s Grill in Darling Harbor. We had drinks, grilled calamari as appetizer, Top Sirloin Steak, and a Rump.
Hubby and I also went on a dinner date at this restaurant (Oops, I forgot the name!) in Harbourside Shopping Centre. There are so many restaurants to choose from in that location. Plus each resto offers a great view of the harbour. 🙂
Of course, it’s a Filipino custom to buy pasalubongs for loved ones and friends at home whenever we go out of town or out of the country. Here are the go-to shops if you want to buy those pasalubongs and souvenirs without spending too much:
Paddy’s Markets is Sydney’s version of our Divisoria/Greenhills where “tiangges” abound.
It’s located along Hay Street in Haymarket, which is just across our Sydney accommodation.
The souvenirs here are just the same as the ones we saw in the high-end souvenir shops…only cheaper! 😊 You can actually buy 3 packs of Kangaroo/Koala keychains for only AUD10 (PHP400). Not bad, right?
Thai Kee Express inside Paddy’s Markets
Everyone told us to buy Timtams from Coles, a famous supermarket in Australia. And so we did. However, on our last day in Sydney, hubby and I discovered another supermarket called Thai Kee Express. It’s located inside Paddy’s Markets, and the Timtams in Thai Kee are cheaper than the ones we bought from Coles. Well, just a little dollar difference, but still small difference matters when you’re computing in PHP. 😊
I’m so thankful that I was given such work-related opportunity to visit Sydney, Australia. It’s a clean, orderly, calm city where everyone (yes, it’s multi cultural) can just chill and enjoy. 🙂