I only have 6 days on Sydney, and 7 days for total including the travelling time. That means, I had to go back to Indonesia on the 6th days. So, that day was the last day in Sydney and I changed the game a little bit. I always been a fan of adventure and to try something unique. Weeks before, I searched through Airbnb and stumble upon this experience of kayaking near Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and I immediately attracted to it. Aside from hiking, I didn’t have anything on my mind at that time, and I thought that kayak was just perfect activities to do, something for a change, and obviously, it would give an additional point of view of Sydney Opera House and Harbour bridge. So, I booked the adventure.
Harbour Bridge and Opera House Kayak (Airbnb Experience)
The meeting place for kayak was at D’albora Marina at Rushcutters Bay at 8am. It was a very beautiful morning with no clouds, bright as the brightest day can be. I was greeted by Mitch, the guide, and he told me that the other participants cancelled out. That made me the only kayaker for the day. Basically, it was a private tour/kayak then. I only brought water, applied some sunscreen and that’s it. But, the guide offered waterproof phone case and a visor, and that really helped!
The Kayak started out nicely, we got out from the jetty to the open sea toward the Sydney Opera House passing Elizabeth Bay. The guide gave commentary about the historical places around the Elizabeth Bay. And as we got to the Sydney Opera House, things got more exciting. A lot of Boats, small and big started coming our way (or we came in their way!) so we had to wait before continue paddling. And then, we finally approached the Opera House and it was such a different view and experience to get very up-close and personal to the magnificent building. I especially wowed, because since Day-1 I didn’t have a chance to go to the Opera House closely. I just went to some places to take picture of it from afar. So, yeah! That was definitely one of the best experience that I had in Sydney, and I would love to do it again in a heartbeat (read: after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided).
Royal Botanic Garden in the afternoon
On that day, i also had a plan to visit several places, such as Anzac Bridge, Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney Tower Eye, Queen Victoria Building and Anzac Memorial. Those places are nearby, and I thought I could see some of them when the time permits. But, after taking kayak that very morning, I realized that Royal Botanic Garden could be the best place I had been waiting for; a spot where I could get Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the same picture. So, I changed my plan and went to Royal Botanic Garden after the Kayak.
Royal Botanic Garden opens from 7 am to 6 pm. It covers the area of 30 hectare, home to venue and public recreation, thousands of different plants, beautiful gardens, cafes, and many more. But, the only part of the garden that intrigued me is the Mrs Macquarie’s Chair (also a lookout point), which is part of Mrs Macquaries Bushland Walk. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is an exposed sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench, on a peninsula in Sydney Harbour. It was hand carved by convicts in 1810 for Elizabeth Macquarie, the wife of Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales (source: Wikipedia).
Once I entered the garden, I was distracted by so many things; The Government House, Parade Ground, and the ponds. After a quick detour to the Government House, I went back to the original path towards Mrs Macquarie Chair.
Once I made the turn, the Sydney Opera house started to appear, with the background of Harbour Bridge. And the more I got closer to Macquarie Chair, the view just kept getting better and better, with the Opera house right on the middle arch of the Harbour Bridge! Not only this was the perfect view, it also combined both landscape from the same viewpoint. At that moment, I knew I should stay there for the sunset. I just had to do it.
After I explored the area for quite some time ( I mean, a very loooong time I lost count of time), I went to Sydney Tower Eye. I had to go there since I already purchased the ticket online and it cannot be refunded.
Tips: Spend 3-4 hours around the garden from afternoon till the sunset, chill and relax, continued by watching movies at Westpac Outdoor Cinema
Sydney Tower Eye
I knew I had to come here, since it gives 360 degree view of Sydney from that height, and I would love to see them from there. Sydney Tower Eye is Sydney’s tallest structure at 309m and finished its installation on 1981 (source: Wikipedia)
Sydney Eye Tower reminds me of One World Observatory in New York and Sky Point Observation Deck in Queensland, Australia. Without meaning to count, to date I have visited three sky observatory including Sydney Tower Eye. And By the way, The ticket to the tower can be purchased online and it costs $23 on the off-peak season. Sydney Tower eye is located in the Westfield Shopping Center (at the corner of Pitt Street and Market Street in the heart of Sydney’s retail precinct). Head to level 5 for elevator that will take you to the observation deck.
Tips: spend about 1-1,5 hours, and try some of the meal offered at Level 5 (Westfield Sydney Food court for delicious food vendors)
Royal Botanic Garden for the Sunset
After dinner, I went back to the Royal Botanic Garden, and this time I went straight to the Mrs Macquarie Chair lookout.
In the afternoon, the main road that’s heading towards Mrs Macquarie chair Lookout is closed because the Westpac Open Air Cinema takes up the space. So, if you want to go to Mrs Macquarie Chair Lookout, you can go using Mrs Macquarie Rd or using the narrow pedestrian walk in the surrounding garden.
Oh, and by the way! If you have spare time and money, may as well watching movie in Westpac Open Air Cinema. This is the only way to watch a cinema, outdoor, with the background Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge (not an ad though – since I almost bought the ticket myself). The ticket costs $40 at that time. This following picture below was taken on my way back home, and from where i took the pic, it was not in the direction towards Opera House & Harbour Bridge. The movie that was played that day was Knives Out.
By the time I arrive at Mrs Macquarie Lookout, dozens of photographer had erected their tripod and waiting for the golden sunset to arrive. I didn’t expect this, and waited for quite sometime myself to get the right spot for photographing the Sydney Opera House & Harbour bridge during the sunset. And boy it delivered! Right after the sun set, the purple hue came in and painted the sky beautifully. And that was the perfect day. Needless to say, it was the best view with the best sunset color, and to be fair, the whole 5 days trip to Sydney had been so wonderful and perfect.