Some parts of Sydney we visited outside the walkable downtown area:
Manly and North Head Sanctuary
We decided we had to check out Manly since it was just a 30 minute ferry ride across the harbour. I was pretty excited since I had been wanting to ride the ferry all week so I would have an excuse to get an Opal card (the Sydney public transit card) and feel like a local. The ferry was impressively timely and there were lovely harbour views on the way across. We got to Manly just in time for lunch, so we got some enormous portions of fish and chips and ate on the beach, since it seemed like that’s the thing to do there.
After meandering along the beach and main street for a bit, we decided to go into North Head Sanctuary and hike up to Fairfax Lookout. It was a bit of a trek, but there were lots of coastal views along the way. Since North Head is basically the tip of the harbour, there is also lots of residual military stuff along the way from when it used to be an active point of defence. When we got to Fairfax Lookout a storm was rolling in over Sydney, so we got some crazy views of the harbour under the clouds.
It rained a bit our way back but quickly let up. It think this may have been to our benefit because shortly after we spotted an echidna, which are usually hidden during the day when it’s hot out. It was super cute and also the first Australian animal that we’d seen in the wild, so we were pretty pumped. As the sun emerged we also spotted a number of basking water dragons on our way back to the ferry.
Bondi Beach and the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
Even though the Telstra guy who sold us our cell phone said that Bondi wasn’t that great (having become quite touristy), we figured we couldn’t go to Sydney without seeing Bondi Beach. We went on a sunny day during the week and found it not too busy at all. We watched the surfers and took pictures with the fun artwork along the boardwalk (basically made for social media) before deciding to do the coastal walk to Coogee Beach.
The walk was gorgeous and we passed through a number of other little beaches and suburbs. There were many other people running and walking; we think that the pressure to look good must be high in Sydney since there are so many beaches. We made it to Coogee in a couple hours, good time despite the number of photo ops we stopped for, and the fact that Chris got mesmerized by some very good (but very aged) lawn bowlers halfway.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
We stopped at Featherdale Wildlife Park on our way out of Sydney, since it’s quite a ways from the city centre. Featherdale is a smaller, less well known Sydney zoo that specializes in Australian animals only. It’s super fun because unlike the bigger zoos, you can go right into the wallaby/kangaroo habitats at Featherdale to pet and feed the animals (the food is ice cream cones of grass, haha).
The roos are super adorable, kind of like mute puppies, so we spent quite a few dollars on food. Chris mostly wanted to feed his to the Cassowaries though, which are cool but a bit scary to feed, in my opinion.
You can also pet a sleepy koala, and see various other Australian animals including wombats, dingoes, quokkas, and kookaburras, as well as the less cute ones like crocodiles and snakes.