Flight Centre’s Natalie Wills recently travelled to Sydney, Australia to celebrate her best friend’s wedding and spend a weekend with the girls. From transport, where to stay, where to shop and more importantly where to eat, Natalie shares what the big bustling city of Sydney offered on a budget.
Sydney can be perceived as an expensive city - it is such a big city with so much to see, do and buy, it's not hard to spend a lot of money! But you can still shop, eat, sleep and play on a budget in Sydney. Here's how I did it.
Getting to the city from the airport
The best value and often the quickest is the train. Trains run from Sydney International Airport to several of Sydney’s central train stations and costs around A$15 one way.
For a group of 3 or more, a taxi could be a better option at around A$40 one way.
I, however, was picked up by a chauffeur driven Mercedes pre-arranged by the bride-to-be. Our chauffeur, named Andy, was a chatty little Greek man and a real character who gave us a bit of a sightseeing tour as we headed into town. Admiral Chauffeur Driven Cars offer a fantastic service and for around AUD$130 you too can drive into the CBD in style!
Accommodation in Sydney
We stayed at The Holiday Inn in Potts Point which is 2 minute walk to the Kings Cross train station and just a 20 minute walk to central George St. It was clean, comfortable and central – the perfect base to have an amazing weekend in Sydney.
If you’re looking for something a little more upmarket offering good quality at a reasonable price then The Mecure Sydney and The Sebel Surry Hills are conveniently close to the central train station. Also the Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour is quite a popular choice offering easy access to shops, museums and all the attractions available in Darling Harbour.
Markets and Shopping
Pitt St Mall in the centre of town is a great spot for shopping. Next to it is the QVB building and the Mid City Mall – here you’ll be spoiled for choice!
For big brands head to Paddington and down Oxford St. The stores in this area are intermixed with boutique type stores. I even spotted Kate Sylvester and World stores. Saturday is the best day to go as Paddington hosts a market which has lots of arts and crafts, jewellery, fashion and food.
For an alternative outlet for local crafts and bric a brac, Glebe markets are held every Saturday where you can find a range of jewellery, clothing, leather goods, and food. It’s not very big, you could probably get around it in about 20 minutes but worth a look.
Eating with the girls
Don’t miss Westfield Bondi Junction (a huge shopping mall). They serve amazing thin based pizzas with a variety of toppings at approx AUD$20 per pizza - try to get a balcony table if you can and watch the sunset.
For breakfast after a night out head to the Bunker, located in Potts Point. It’s an urban chic café with old brick walls and old wooden tables. Small, but very popular so get there nice and early for breakfast. Their coffee was fantastic – and just what you need after a big night out.
Surrey Hills is a great spot for bars & restaurants. I had the best lunch ever at a delicatessen Madam Char Char which serves the freshest of salads like the shredded chicken, pearl barley, toasted almonds and pomegranate salad. At AUD$10 per serving, the food was delicious and surprisingly very filling.
The Chef’s Gallery on Bathhurst St is an Asian restaurant a friend recommended as a good cheerful place for dinner. It was BYO, the dinner chef’s make handmade noodles in front you in the kitchen and they serve the cutest little “piggy faces” as dessert. It is a nice place for dinner, but perhaps the wrong place to go if you want ambiance and little intimacy with a dinner date.
There is always an exciting buzz happening in the Sydney. With nonstop activities and attractions, a vast number of shops and markets it makes it a shoppers dream destination. For those who love to eat and dine out, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars that offer a variety of yummy cultural dishes, which always give you a reason to go back for more. I love Sydney, it is the perfect city for a girl’s weekend escape and living so close to Australia makes it an ideal destination for an affordable weekend holiday.