Graduation Trip #1: Sydney (PART I)

So I decided to get my almost non-functional laptop moving… Saved a draft of this post for seven-months because my laptop is almost as good as dead. But since I’ve lots of time now, let me just be super patient to finish up this post.

Well, I think every student deserves a good break after slogging in Uni for 3-4 years. We might not have a job or enough savings but they always say go for the experience! Besides, life is just too short! 

I would have to applaud Julius’s girlfriend, Yiing, who planned this whole trip for me! All thanks to her, I basically have nothing to worry about. Also have to thank Julius for being such an accommodating photographer/host (because he slept in the living room for 5 nights, so paiseh)!

{ 6 DAYS 5 NIGHTS IN SYDNEY (AS PLANNED BY YIING) }
Day 1: University of Sydney + Checking out Sydney nightlife/CBD 
Day 2: Bondi Beach + Darling Harbour
Day 3: Supposedly The Rocks Market but it RAINED the whole day so shopping at Direct Factory Outlet instead
Day 4: Blue Mountains Road Trip + Luna Park 
Day 5: Circular Quay + Shopping in CBD
Day 6: Sydney Fish Market and back home! 

Some tips or two before moving onto the trip… 

1. VISA

You will need a visa to enter Aussie if you’re a Singaporean. I applied through my friend’s family agency, Ik Chin Travel. If you’re need a visa urgently, you can call 6535 4334 and look for Emily. She can get it done almost immediately and it only cost $20. And best thing is you don’t need to go down the agency, just need to drop them an email with your particulars. This is not advertorial btw, just helping my friend to get more business! 

2. CUSTOM CLEARANCE 

If you had watched “Border Security”, you would know how strict the Australian custom is. So if you’re bringing any kind of food items, remember to declare them. Also declare your medicines just in case! 

3. PREPAID CARD

If you need a prepaid card, head to the Optus Counter in the airport. They sell sim cards for AUD20 with 500mb of data if I didn’t remember wrongly. But I chose to get a $10 sim card first since I’m unsure how much data I will use and I can always choose to top-up later. The coverage is pretty good and Optus is one of the cheapest option around so if you’re in Aussie for a short trip, I would recommend it! I heard Vodafone is much cheaper than Optus but they have pretty bad coverage (according to Julius) so I guess just save the hassle and stick to Optus?  

4. PARKING 

Parking is extremely expensive in Sydney especially in the CBD area. So if you are renting a car, I suggest you do it for the purpose of road trips and not drive too much in CBD. I remember seeing signage that says parking is ONLY $24/hour… So much for emphasising the word only?!! Public transport is also expensive but I guess that’s the most affordable way to get around the city so you basically have no choice! 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Water is really expensive in Sydney. $3/bottle. So remember to fill your bottles if you don’t want to spend that amount on water. Tap water is also safe for consumption. 

DAY ONE: UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY & CBD

Lunch @ The Grounds of Alexandria

img_1687A late lunch for me since I touched down late morning. Apparently this cafe is pretty famous among the locals and tourists.It was the first cafe I visited in Sydney so I was pretty amazed! Food was good and I love how they serve their coffee. The ice coffee was served in the form of ice cubes and you basically pour the milk/syrup accordingly to your liking. Very unique!

There were also some random stuff going on such as a florist and a pony stable! Ambience was definitely right for chilling. 

After brunch, we headed to Sydney Uni for a mini tour. Julius claimed his school as the ‘Hogwarts of Australia’ so I was expecting quite a bit. And true enough, it didn’t disappoint. Lots of yellowstone buildings so it was a really good place for photos.

There were also a couple of tour buses when I was there. Well, it seems like schools (e.g. Ewha Women Univ in Korea) are becoming a popular tourist attraction.

‘Hogwarts of Australia’ is apparently a legit claim because Sydney Uni actually comes up as the top results when you Google that. 

Besides the yellowstone building, there was also a graffiti wall somewhere in the school. Pretty cool because who would had expected a graffiti wall in a… school? 

Also I loved how clean the lawns are in Aussie. If only Singapore isn’t that hot and the lawns are less muddy.. it’ll definitely be a good chilling spot! 

Dinner @ Mary’s


Mary’s is located in a secluded area and I didn’t expect them to be selling such juicy and tender fried chicken. Well, basically because the facade of the restaurant looks like some sort of illegal gambling/prostitution den. Other than fried chicken, they also serve burgers and a wide variety of beers. So if you’re a beer person, it’s a good place to go!

We were really lucky to get a seat that day because the queue can be quite insane. The restaurant was also super dark and there were constantly loud heavy metal music playing so if you’re looking for a place to relax, this might not be the place you want to visit. But for fried chicken and beer, YES PLEASE!

As I was quite tired from my flight, we just checked out the CBD after dinner and we called it a day. Shops in Aussie close super early so… No shopping. Just some pretty buildings, restaurants, pubs and clubs. Crowd can get a bit rowdy but it’s pretty much the typical nightlife scene you see in Singapore. 

DAY TWO: BONDI BEACH & DARLING HARBOR 

Brunch @ Circa Espresso

Apparently another famous cafe. I guess you can never go wrong with what the locals recommend right? Again, this place is always packed so be prepared to wait! And since it was a Public Holiday, consumers are required to pay a “Public Holiday Tax” in most restaurants!

Try their baked eggs! It’s highly raved and yes, very good!

After brunch, we headed to Bondi Beach as quickly as possible because we knew it was going to rain in the late afternoon!

Got fish & chips and fried mars bar opposite Bondi since Chao (Julius’s room mate) was hungry. Portion was super huge and the mars bars wasn’t like those sold in Chippy’s in SG. 

I guess you cannot miss the Bondi Beach out since you are already at Sydney right? Just that the beach was really crowded so if you want somewhere less crowded, try Manly Beach or Gordon’s Bay? 

The place was super good for OOTD and I just had to take a few shots… 

And on the other side of the beach, there’s the Bondi Icebergs where there’s a swimming pool in the middle of the sea. 

If you continue walking further, there’s the coastal walk which I totally recommend! It’s a pretty long walk and you can see quite a lot of things while walking…. Like a cemetery.

After walking for a bit, we realized that a storm is coming. True enough, not only was it a storm, but a hailstorm!!! We were in the car on our way back home so just imagine the hail hitting the car continuously. Julius was screaming at the top of his voice because he’s worried that his car would get damaged! Haha how funny and scary!

Dinner @ Palsaik Korean BBQ 

You would have probably heard of PALSAIK if you’ve been to Korea. Yup, this is the popular “8 Flavour Pork” restaurant. I’ve heard a lot about it during my exchange in Korea last year but I didn’t get to try it. So I finally get to try it this year in Sydney.. And I ate this again in Korea in May (right after my Sydney trip) and I have to conclude that PALSAIK Sydney taste better than PALSAIK Korea. Strange isn’t it?

After dinner, we decided to try our luck (it was still raining!) and visit Darling Harbour since there’s fireworks every Saturday! Super touristy but since it’s free, why not? Super Singaporean. :D 

The view was also really nice at night. So Julius and Yiing was enjoying their romantic stroll while I was a lightbulb! If only Ben was there! :< 

Supper @ Pancakes On The Rocks

After Darling Harbor, we headed to Pancakes On The Rocks for supper!! I’ve crazy appetite when I travel. We went to the branch @ The Rocks because it’s 24 hours. It gets pretty crowded late at night because 1) most restaurants in Aussie are already closed, 2) people have this for supper after clubbing/drinking. 

We ordered the “Strawberry Patch” and wedges to share. Nothing much to shout about. Pancakes are just pancakes to me.

DAY THREE: DIRECT FACTORY OUTLET

Wanted to go to The Rocks Market for breakfast since I heard that they sell pretty good food. But sadly, it was raining the WHOLE morning & afternoon so we decided to give it a miss. 

Winter in Australia is pretty cold!! 

Lunch @ Chat Thai 

Don’t ask me why am I eating Asian food in Australia but Julius claimed that Sydney have one of the best Asian food so we decided to go THAI that day. Went to one of the most popular Thai Restaurant in Sydney, Chat Thai. 

Have to say, it’s really comparable to what you get in Singapore, or even better! 

Headed to the Direct Factory Outlet after lunch and was hoping to get some really good buys.

But NOPE, DFO was such a let down! It was crazily crowded probably because it was a weekend and also the rain forced many to stay indoors. 

They have big brands such as Coach, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and local brands such as MARCS, Cotton On etc. Wouldn’t really recommend this place because there’s not much stuff to buy. 

That’s all for now! Will be back with Part 2 of my trip where I get to see the scenic part of Sydney! 

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