December 26, Saturday (Public Holiday)
Initially, we were supposed to do the Bondi to Bronte beach walk but the weather app said it would rain that day, so we ended up changing our plans. Instead, we opted to stay in the city and do some exploring
Free City Walking Tour, 10:30am / 2:00pm (Meet up at Town Hall)
- I’d definitely recommend this tour to budget travelers willing to walk a bit. Tour lasts two hours but you get a better idea and flavor of the city you’re in afterwards. In fact, I’d recommend that you do this as early on in your trip as you can, as it then gives you a better idea of what you want to come back and explore further later on. I first discovered free walking tours when I was an exchange student in Europe (short on cash but rich in time). And since then, I’ve never looked back – it’s definitely far more enjoyable compared to paid tours (or even Hop On Hop Off buses) as you get to travel the city on foot and hear the tour guide expound further on quirky spots along the way. It provides a richer, more meaningful experience while allowing you to see and learn about non-traditional tourist spots. At the end, just don’t forget to tip the tour guide as this is their main source of livelihood – and you do want to show how much you appreciated their tour!
- Don’t forget to grab the Walking Tour map as well, as it’s the best one I’ve seen of Sydney so far – with its detailed roads, and mapped out transport options to out-of-town scenic spots (with fares listed!)
Sydney Fish Market, Pyrmont area (7:00am to 4:00pm)
- Sydney Fish Market is quite far from Circular Quay, which is where we ended the Free City Walking Tour. So from there, we ended up taking a train to Town Hall, then walking to the Fish Market. Took us around ~45 minutes in total, as we took the scenic route by passing through Darling Harbor first, and taking photos of the many Santas lying around (including the brick Santa)
- We got to the Fish Market around 2:15pm, and boy were there a lot of people! We scouted the area for a bit, and ended up buying at Peter’s – simply because that was where we found available seating
- Seafood was extremely fresh and delicious – you can buy a variety of seafood there and request them to cook it a certain way. However, as we were in a bit of rush (we wanted to be at Paddy’s Market by 4:00pm), we opted to go for food that was easier to prepare and eat, e.g., sashimi (salmon, tuna, kingfish), fresh oysters, baked oysters, baked scallops, baked lobster tail, and grilled salmon. All in all, an extremely satisfying meal – and definitely worth the long walk!
Paddy’s Market, Haymarket (10am to 6:00pm, Wednesdays to Sundays)
- Go here if you’re looking for cheap souvenirs, but at decent quality!
- I swear, my family spent so much at this market because everything was pretty cheap – from tops to pants to caps to tea towels to magnets to boomerangs to keychains. Most of everything you wanted could be found here! Plus we compared the prices of Paddy’s Market to other souvenir shops we came across in the following days, and Paddy’s Market was at least 50% cheaper (but same manufacturer and design)
- Prices across the market are pretty much the same, but avoid the ones by the entrance as they tend to be pricier. Don’t think haggling will get you anywhere, but there are bulk prices available. Credit cards are accepted in the market as well
Darling Harbor and Harborside Mall (until 9:00pm)
- After Paddy’s Market, we decided to walk back to Darling Harbor to explore it further. Place was really nice and peaceful, and there are a couple of things to do there (Australian Maritime Museum), as well as Sea Life Aquarium, et al. We didn’t bother doing those as my mom’s not fond of museums but perhaps we might do the Australian Maritime Museum in the future – heard that one’s really nice! We opted to just walk around and take lots of photos instead
- Afterwards, we dropped by the Harborside Mall so mom could get some shopping time in. I think it’s great to shop for basics here in Sydney during or after the Boxing Day sale, as prices are dirt cheap (cheaper than the Philippines!!) By basics, I’m talking about plain tops, shorts, slippers, and the like. I think the discounts seemed pretty generous across the board, but I wasn’t terribly interested in shopping for other items so didn’t bother checking (our tour guides and hotel concierge said the Boxing Day sale isn’t that great however)
- The fireworks display at 9:00pm every weekend was pretty nice (according to my dad and brother, as I was busy paying for my purchases at that time). The Pyrmont bridge will give you a great vantage view, so might be good to watch it from there in case you’re in the area
Snack at Oz Turks Kebab (along George Street, near The George)
- Our walking tour guide introduced this tiny restaurant to me and it’s good! Make sure to try their kangaroo kebab! I love it – it’s the only food I don’t have a photo of as I gobbled it up quickly
- To be fair, kangaroo tastes just like beef except a bit tougher as it’s lean meat. So, the reason why I love it might be because I love kebabs in general – but still try it – it’s an Australian delicacy! The store is open 24 hours, and accepts credit cards (with a AUD 1 additional charge)
For my other days of travel, feel free to click the links below to read more on specific parts of our 7-day Sydney journey: