Sydney, New South Wales

June 22, 2017

Belated Happy Father's Day to all the superhero dads out there!

I know, my greeting is four days late and this travel post is waaaayyy long overdue already.  But as they say, "It's better late than never!" So, here I am, finally writing down the last part of our family's trip to Australia featuring the very touristy Sydney!  *Saving the best for last only for you, my dear readers.*

But before that, allow me to first share with you a short story about my youth that's apt for this week's Father's Day celebration:  When I was growing up, I was never allowed to a sleepover.  I got an overly protective father who's very paranoid of the possible harm his daughter might get into.  Hence, I never really got the chance to travel and explore the Philippines.  Back then, I felt envious of my friends who can freely go on a travel adventure with their barkadas/special someone.  I thought my papa's weird and I cannot understand his rationale why I always have to be the only one in the group who can't join an overnight trip to wonderland.  I was confused but I obeyed wholeheartedly because of my love and respect for him.  Fast-forward to this day, I have eventually come to a full understanding of how it actually feels like to be a parent -- of how vulnerable a child will always be to the eyes of his mum/dad no matter how old he/she has grown.  I'm glad I've chosen to obey, for I cannot imagine the heartache I may have caused them had I chose to do what would please me back then.  No, don't feel sorry for my very boring teenage life.  I may have not had the chance to enjoy it as much as you did, but I'm grateful still, for I have been blessed with a husband who doesn't only love to travel and give me the opportunity to see the beauty of the world, but also does his best to be a great father to our son.  Come to think of it, it actually pays to be an obedient child, right?  And my papa's right all along -- that it's sweeter and even more memorable to travel the world and experience many firsts with someone whom you vowed to spend the rest of your life with.  Indeed, parents know best!  Thank you so much, dear Heavenly Father, for blessing me and my son with the best dad in the whole wide world!

Going back to Sydney, there are definitely a lot of things to do and places to see in New South Wales' capital city.  However, should you find yourself short of time to see everything it has to offer, below are my suggestions on what's not to miss.

Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is a large recreational and pedestrian precinct situated on the western outskirts of Sydney's CBD (Wikipedia, n.d.).  It's the perfect place for shopping, dining, and entertainment -- no wonder a lot of tourists and locals flock to this place.  This is also the very first attraction we went to upon arriving in Sydney (late in the afternoon) hoping that we could see their famous fireworks display.  Unfortunately, they didn't have it that night, so we ended up simply enjoying a glass of ice cold chocolate drink from Lindt.

Harbour Bridge
Another iconic structure that screams Sydney, Australia is the Harbour Bridge.  You can admire its impressive architecture from afar by walking along Circular Quay or have an up close and personal experience with it by going on a bridge climb -- that's literally hiking on top the bridge for 1.5-3.5 hrs to learn more about its history and see the breathtaking view of the city.  It's also possible to do a marriage proposal or even get married on the bridge.  How crazy is that!?!

Opera House
Sydney's best-known landmark and perhaps, one of the most popular performing arts centres in the world is the Opera House.  It is open to the public for free but you have to avail a guided tour (AUD 37/head) in order to gain access to the theatres, performance halls, backstage, etc.  Make sure to book your ticket online to get 10% off from the standard ticket price.

Royal Botanic Garden
If you are travelling with kids, then I guess it's best to drop by the Royal Botanic Garden that's located a few steps away from the famous Opera House.  You know, kids don't appreciate history and architecture as much as adults do.  So give them a breather from all the boring guided tours and let them run around this 30-hectare garden and enjoy the beauty of nature.

The Rocks
History geeks will surely love this place.  Discover a more historic Sydney, like as if you've travelled back in time, by walking around The Rocks.  Apart from the old buildings, cobblestone streets and monuments, there are also a lot of bars and restaurants along the area as well as a weekend market where you can shop for home-grown arts and crafts.

St Mary's Cathedral
If your visit happens to fall on a Sunday or should you have a little more time to spare, then try to visit this picturesque church located in heart of the city.  It's unbelievably majestic!  We attended an Easter Sunday Solemn Mass in this cathedral and I must say that our experience was really one for the books!  The Eucharistic celebration lasted for 2 hours (which also included a baptism ceremony incorporated into the Holy Mass) and all the songs sung by the choir were in Latin.  It felt like as if we attended a Mass presided by the Pope or went to the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.  Lol!

Sydney Tower
Don't have the time to do the bridge climb in Harbour Bridge but would definitely want to see the panoramic view of Sydney?  Then I guess, Sydney Tower Restaurant's buffet is your best option!  Here, you'll get to enjoy a scenic view while filling your tummy with unlimited food.  Just like hitting two birds with one stone!

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