AUSTRALIA DAY 12 – SYDNEY

We started off the day with a delicious breakfast at Pancakes On the Rocks which was only a few minutes’ walk from our hotel. They have such a large selection on their menus so it was difficult to decide what to order! In the end, we ordered the Aussie Sunrise and the Big Breakfast to share. The restaurant was not very busy that day but it appeared understaffed so we had to wait a while for our food. Taste of the food was not bad and proportions were large. Australian breakfast is similar to North America but they also add grilled fruits and veggies!

After breakfast, we walked over to the Sydney Opera House for our 10 a.m. tour.

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The tour is 1 hour long and costs $37 per person. Tickets can be purchased online a few months in advance and you can pick the time slot that you want. The tour runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each person is provided with an audio device so you can listen to the tour guide as he takes you to various sections of the opera house. Photography is allowed except in areas where the tour guide specifies.

The tour was a good pace and covered a great deal about the Opera House’s history and present. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and kept the presentation interesting.

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You can purchase a souvenir photo booklet at the end of the tour. The booklet is printed with high quality resolution and there are many different photo backgrounds and sizes included. The price is reasonable and it makes a great souvenir item.

We spent some time checking out the souvenir store and headed over for an early lunch at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar.

We made reservations online but the restaurant was not too busy around noon. We were lucky to get a table right by the water where we had a very clear view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Service was great and the prices were reasonable for a harbour side restaurant. We were still pretty full from breakfast so we ordered a few lighter items to share. We had the cured kingfish, split grilled king prawns, storm clam and a selection of oysters.

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We are not huge fans of raw oysters but figured we should try it at least once in Australia so we picked 9 based on the recommendation of our server. T

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he seafood was very fresh and delicious! We really enjoyed each dish that we ordered but my favourite was the king prawns as they tasted very buttery.

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We had a bad experience with large clams in Taiwan so we were a little afraid of ordering it again. However, this time, the clams were not chewy at all. They were very flavourful and easy to eat.

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Next on our agenda was the Sydney Botanic Garden. Despite the fact that it was already fall in Australia, the flowers in the garden were still in full bloom. The garden was well maintained and looked beautiful. There were many people visiting the garden, many were white collars on their lunch break. The botanic garden is very big so if you wanted to see everything, you would easily need three hours. We were here for two and we were able to cover 2/3 of it on a brisk pace. While we were there, they had a free floral display at The Calyx. The greenery inside this greenhouse was very luscious and beautifully arranged. It was also a good place to catch some shade on a hot day.

Along the seawall, there are also many good spots for taking photos of the Opera House.

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I highly recommend visiting the Sydney Botanic Garden because it is very pretty and it’s also free! It is a good way to spend an afternoon near the water after a good seafood lunch!

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We hopped on a taxi and headed to Pasticceria Papa, a dessert place that my friend highly recommended, in Bondi Beach. The café had a display case full of dessert which almost stretched a block long! Everything looked so delicious even though we just had lunch not too long ago!

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We ended up ordering an éclair, a chocolate dipped cookie, a coconut pastry, a ricotta cheesecake tart and a slice of their famous Nutella ricotta cheesecake. Despite all the food we had today, we still managed to finish all the desserts! Everything we ordered tasted delicious but the winner was indeed the Nutella cheesecake! The cake was creamy and fluffy but not too rich or overly sweet. You must try this dessert when you come to Bondi Beach!

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After all that eating, it was definitely time to do some exercise to burn off those calories we consumed!

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We headed over to the beach and started the popular Bondi to Coogee Walk.

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The whole walk takes about 3 hours and passes through varying landscapes, even through a graveyard!

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For the most part, the walk is on paved road which is not too bad but at times, it can be a little scary, especially when you are walking on large rocks right beside the water where there are no barricades.

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There are also several steep flights of stairs, both up and down.

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Washrooms, convenience stores and shelter are limited on the trail so make sure you come prepared with the right gear for the weather.

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Personally, the walk was not too bad for myself because the beautiful scenery was a good distraction and plus we had our eyes on the finish line to keep us focused.

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It was such a great sense of accomplishment when we reached Coogee although it was a little disappointing that there was no sign to congratulate you for finishing the trail!

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At Coogee, we waited for my friend to pick us up for dinner. I have worked closely with this colleague for 2.5 years, communicating everyday on e-mail or Skype, and now I finally get to meet him in person! He recognized me right away from across the street and we were quickly on our way to dinner at Nishiki Wagyu Yakiniku Restaurant. It is an all you-can-eat Japanese restaurant which is right off the Pacific Highway in Cows Nest.

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The cost is $74.90 per person and there is a two hour limit. I have never been to a Japanese all-you-can-eat where they have such a large selection of grilled items, especially so many different cuts of beef!

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The food was very fresh and delicious! Unlike the buffet restaurants in Richmond, they didn’t skimp us out towards the end, they gave us the exact quantity of what we ordered each time. My favourite dish that night was no doubt the wagyu beef!

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It was so juicy and tender! For $75, it is definitely worth it. In Canada, you would not be able to get such good quality wagyu beef at that price!

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Service was also very good. It is a little out of the way but I highly recommend you to try this restaurant!

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After dinner, my friend took us to a nearby grocery store and we grabbed some essentials before heading home. It was indeed a day of non-stop eating but all the food we had were so delicious! Good thing we also did lots of exercise that day to help balance it out!

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