How to See Sydney in 72 Hours - Part 3
Day 3 - Exploring the Blue Mountains
One important part of our Sydney experience I have yet to mention is that we stayed with family friends. Their hospitality and fellowship was truly the highlight of our trip. They were such gracious and helpful hosts - we are so thankful for them! They played a major role on our third and final day by recommending we take a day trip to the Blue Mountains. After two days in Sydney, we felt like we had seen the big sights and were excited about the possibility of seeing another part of Australia - the mountains!
We took a train from Sydney to Katoomba. Once we arrived, we purchased tickets for the Blue Mountains Hop On Hop Off bus. Initially, I was surprised to learn that there was a bus tour of a mountain area, but it was so helpful since we didn't have a car. We had the best driver (Jimmy!) who shared so many interesting facts and also was really funny (and smart!). The bus stops at 29 different places and we got off at 10 or so of the major stops. Some of the stops were just lookouts with no walking required, and a few of the stops required a bit more walking/hiking to get to the lookout point. The day started out cloudy but cleared up by noon. It's a beautiful area and easy to reach with public transportation.
We arrived back in Sydney around 4:00 p.m. On our final evening, we had dinner with our friends at a local Thai restaurant, Blue Chili. We left early the next day for New Zealand. We loved every minute of our time in Sydney and are so glad we decided to add it on to the trip!
- Transportation: Public transportation is excellent. While we did a ton of walking, we also used the bus system multiple times a day. It's easy to navigate, reasonably priced, and covers a large portion of the city. We also used the ferries and trains, which were equally impressive. We used an Opal card to get around on the buses, trains, and ferries. You can order the card online or purchase one at major transportation hubs.
- Cost: We heard before we traveled that Sydney is an expensive city, and I would concur. :) We were very fortunate to have friends to stay with so that cut our costs significantly. We were primarily in very touristy areas and found the food to be only be so-so and expensive. In hindsight, I wish we would have found a grocery store and picked a few items for snacks and lunches. Sydney is also an expensive place to travel because of all of the activities - bridge climb, boat rides, entrance fees, etc.
- Visa: You do need a visa for entrance to Australia. It's very easy to obtain and can be done online.
- Other: Pack sunscreen. Wear layers.