Sydney’s Winter Getaways! | Full Itinerary & Recommendations |

This is such a long overdue post considering that my Sydney getaways was on last July. But better late than never! I will try my best to recall all the planning that I’ve made prior to the holidays and share here with you guys. To start off, one thing about me and Eezuan is we love to travel during winter. We just love the cold and fresh feeling. Yes, the day is way shorter but the price also is much cheaper than the other seasons. And we get to wear our winter coat which makes all the pictures look way cooler than they really are. 😆

I purchased my flight tickets back on Jan 2016 which was 6 months in advance. Actually my new year resolution for 2016 was “Travel More!” and it’s a must for me to travel at least to three destinations in 2016 (stick to new year reso!). At that time, AirAsia was having a New Year Sales. I was browsing back and forth for the perfect destination and I suddenly remembered at that time that Eezuan’s birthday is on 21st July. To connect the dots, we love winter, his birthday is coming up, he never gets the chance to play snow, so the perfect holiday will be at a country which we can play snow in July. And that’s how I ended up choosing Sydney for our getaways and his birthday present. 

I bought the flight tickets through AirAsiaGo which gave me a very good deal for both flights and hotel! 

2 return flight tickets + 6D5N at Pullman Sydney Hyde Park = RM4942.84

 

After purchased the flight tickets and hotel, next thing was applying for a visa to Australia. The visa or also known as ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) will be needed to enter Australia. 

An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) provides authorisation to travel to and enter Australia and is electronically linked to your passport. It is for short-term stays for tourism or business visitor activities such as attending a conference, making business enquiries, or for contractual negotiations.

Website source : Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection

There are two ways for you to apply for ETA :

You will need your passport, email address and a credit card for this online application. The standard charge is AUD20 / RM67.68 per pax.

  • Apply through travel agent

Many bloggers recommended this option to apply for ETA as it is way cheaper than the online application. I choose to apply my ETA through the travel agent. Just send email to Intan Azlynna at eta.australia@yahoo.com with the details below :

Date
Total pax
Name
Phone no
Email address
Home address
Copy of passports
Copy of flight booking

You will be charged for only RM 20 per pax! Only RM 40 for both Eezuan and I, compared to ETA online application that could easily cost us RM 135.36. 

After you have made the payment to the travel agent, you will received your ETA through email.

Please ensure that you perform the check in too. OK TO BOARD indicates that you are clear to enter Australia with your ETA. I requested for my ETA together with the check in status. The travel agent can do this for you too with only RM 5 per pax.

You may print both your ETA and OK TO BOARD status and clip to your passport or you can just bring over your passport to airport as these have already be linked electronically to your passport in the immigration system.

Now, it’s time to fly! ➡

After almost 8 hours in flight, we safely arrived at Sydney on 26th July around 10am. The first thing that we did after arrived at the airport was to purchase a local sim card. Since I have made my research prior to the vacay, we just went straight for Optus. It’s very easy to find Optus in the airport as you can easily spot the yellow bright color logo from far. You can even see a very long queue in front of the store, proving that it’s the best mobile network provider in Australia. I forgot how much I paid from the simcards but it’s worth the price. The line connection was super fast and lasted for 6 days.

After completed the line setup for our phones, it’s time to check in at hotel. Pullman hotel was only 18mins / 7.6km from the airport, thus we just took a taxi to go there.

Pullman’s lobby

Our hotel room. The chic design looks kinda weird for a 5star hotel.

 

 

Pullman was just opposite the famous Hyde Park, which we walked in and out of the park for almost every single day when at Sydney. We even had our lunch/dinner sometimes just beneath all the big trees in the park. Nothing beats the romantic cold feeling. 😉 ♥

 

Hop On Hop Off Bus

Our first day started with touring the city with Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) bus that we have purchased for 48hours. HOHO is the most flexible way to tour the city. However, I would recommend you to just purchase for 24hours or don’t purchase at all. In my opinion, Sydney is a small city and you can actually cover all areas in just one day by hopping on and off at each station. The location between the tourist’s attractions are close to each other that you can just walk and save your money on the transportation. We used HOHO bas for only two hours and managed to cover all areas. Then, we just ditched the balance hours as we prefer to just walk on our own sweet time.

HOHO Sydney Tour can be purchased through their website.

Hop On Hop Off Bus for 2 pax =  GBP71.05/ RM394.42

Please be extra careful on the foreign currency every time you make any purchase for overseas related. I purchased the HOHO tickets with AUD total in mind. I even converted the AUD price before I made the payment. Little did I know, the price was in GBP! 😯 I missed out the currency symbol as I thought it will be charged in AUD since I bought the tickets for HOHO Sydney. The website payment currency is in GBP as the company headquarter is based in UK, so please take note on the currency before you make the same mistake like I did.

With over 24 stops along the route, we just walked to any of the stops to start our city tour. All the stops are just walking distance to each other.

Our ride for the day – Hop On Hop Off

Let’s go!

City tour with HOHO

Hop On Hop Off Cruise Ride

Similar to Hop On Hop Off bus, you can purchase the cruise ride tickets on HOHO website. Yes, I made the same mistake too over the GBP and AUD currency as i bought both bus and cruise tickets at the same time. We boarded the vessel at Darling Harbour. The whole journey covering 7 famous Sydney’s harbour attractions took over 1.5hours to complete the waterside tour. I am not someone who enjoyed watching the views during daylight, thus I fall asleep during the tour. The windy air just made me so easy to fall asleep. I just woke up when we finally arrived at Opera House. As long as I can remember when I was still awake, the magnificent views of Opera House ad Sydney Harbour Bridge from the cruise was definitely worth the price.

Hop On Hop Off Cruise for 2 pax = GBP 46.12 / RM 256.03

 

Cruise tickets need to be redeemed at the cruise counter just opposite the bay

Hop On Hop Off cruise ride

We are ready to cruise away!

The breath-taking view from our cruise

The iconic Opera House

One of Australia’s most photographed landmarks – Sydney Harbour Bridge

 

Sydney’s Attractions Combo Deal

There are 5 main attractions at Sydney :

You can purchase the 5 attractions combo deal or you can choose to combine which attractions that you would like to purchase in the combo. The more attractions you purchase, the lower the price is. Please buy online as it is way cheaper than buying directly at the counter. If I’m not mistaken, i think it’s about 30% price difference between online purchase and counter. You will need to choose a date for your visit to the first attraction, and you will get another 30days to visit other attractions in the combo.

I purchased the combo deal for 3 attractions : 

Madame Tussaud’s Sydney + WILD LIFE Sydney + Sydney Tower Eye for 2 pax = $130 / RM439.02

On the last-minute decision, i purchased tickets for Plus SEA Life Sydney Aquarium, just because it was located right besides Madame Tussaud’s and Wild Life Sydney Zoo. It will be much cheaper if I have included it in the combo deal. For separate tickets, the cost for Plus SEA Life Sydney Aquarium 2 pax $58.80 = RM 198.57

You may collect your tickets at the place which you have purchased the combo. I collected mine at Madame Tussaud’s since I purchased the tickets from Madame Tussaud’s website. Madame Tussaud’s Sydney, WILD LIFE Sydney and Plus SEA Life Sydney Aquarium are all located at Darling Harbour, just besides to each other. You can reach here by using Hop On Hop Off bus.

Tickets collection counter

Main entrance for Madame Tussaud’s, WILD LIFE and Plus SEA Life Sydney Aquarium

 

Madame Tussaud’s

Madame Tussaud’s have many branches all over the world. It’s basically the same with all other locations. If you have never been to one, I would recommend for you to purchase the ticket. We enjoyed ourselves and took so many pictures here! I love this place! Here you can take photos with almost all the A-list celebrities such as Rihanna, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and many more! Not to forget, you can also meet Obama, Mahatma Gandhi and other world leaders. You can even get your wax cast of your hands. 

The ever so gorgeous Marilyn Monroe!

Love you Taylor, forever & always!

 

“I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people’s minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing.” – Audrey Hepburn

So much respect for this Royal Family 🙂

Bieber fever anyone? 

Eezuan and Wolverine are inseparable

The Music Shop

 

WILD LIFE Sydney & Plus Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Honestly, it’s no different with the other zoo or aquariums. Only purchase the ticket if you are coming with kids. They will love it! It have 10 different zones where you can be close and personal with kangaroo, koala (you are not allowed to pat koala here), Platypus, watch Tasmanian Devils in their dark habitat zone and many more. You can also watch different species of fishes and birds. There are also keepers who will be accompanying you in each zones and give informative talks on the iconic Australian animals. Wild Life Sydney Zoo is much more small than Taronga Zoo, as this zoo is located in the city center. If you prefer bigger zoo and would like to pat koalas and interact with big animals such as giraffe and elephant , I would suggest Taronga Zoo. Otherwise, for just a normal Aussie animal experience, Wild Life Zoo is the great place to visit! You can complete touring the zoo in such a short time and go straight to the Sea Life Aquarium just besides the zoo. In the SEA Life Aquarium, you can get close to seahorse, dugongs, sharks, turtles and more than 700 species of Aussie’s sea life creatures.

The place to see dugongs

Sea Life Aquarium’s souvenir shop

Tasmanian Devil

Australia’s national animal

 

 

 

 

Bondi Beach

Hop On Hop Off have two routes, one is for Sydney Route and the second one is for Bondi Beach Route. We went to Bondi Beach using the same Hop On Hop Off 48hours ticket that we have purchased earlier. The journey took about 1 hour to arrive to the beach. It was very windy and chilly sitting on the top of the bus but the wonderful view along the way just makes everything worth it. There were no crowd as we went there on morning. It was a sunny but quite cold day at the same time. Despite the winter season, there’s still people went swimming and surfing at that time. The beach was very beautiful with very blue crystal clear water and golden sand. We strolled around the beach and just enjoyed ourselves taking pictures in front of the beautiful waves. We bought our picnic seafood lunch at Fishmongers after surveying few little cafes. Beware of the birds as they too would like to join your picnic on the beach. We had to pack our food as the birds were coming one by one to steal our food. Nevertheless, great food, great view, great atmosphere, great company, what else could I ask for?

Bondi Beach here we go!

Beautiful views along the way

Just arrived at Bondi Beach

Hands down the best beach I’ve ever seen! Look at the blue crystal clear water!

Bought our seafood picnic at Fishmongers

Picnic by the beach

    Half an hour before birds attacked us 😛

A must visit when you’re in Sydney!

 

Sydney Tower Eye

Sydney Tower Eye is the tallest building in Sydney. The entrance is located at Level 5 in Westfield Sydney shopping mall.  Since we went there on weekdays, there were not a crowd surrounding the area. If you have been to other towers such as KL Tower, in my opinion it is not much difference with this tower. The only difference is you get to see the whole spectacular view of Sydney from atop the tower.

Spectacular view for above

 

Sydney’s city view

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe is a must visit place for us every time we go on vacation. Most of the times I will choose a place where Hard Rock Cafe is just nearby the place. Finding Hard Rock Cafe Sydney was easy as we just use Google Map all the time to find the location for all places. It’s located inside the Harbourside Shopping Centre at Darling Harbour. Since we went there on the afternoon, we just dropped by the Rock Shop to buy few souvenirs for family and close friends. We didn’t get the chance to go there at night. Usually we’ll spend time dining in the restaurants while enjoying the night live band. We just love the ambiance in HRC’s restaurant.

 

Queen Victoria Building (QVB)

The Queen Victoria Building or also known as QVB, is the amazingly stunning old building in the center of George Street. It is definitely worth wandering around the unique interior of the building. If you love health and beauty, you will definitely love this shopping mall! The shopping mall houses world’s high-end brand such as Lush,  Mecca Maxima, Aveda and many more! We just dropped by to buy some Haigh’s chocolates. Only took over half an hour to walk around the building.

In front of QVB 

Queen Victoria Building’s architecture

Don’t forget to drop by at Haigh’s Chocolates, the famous Aussie’s chocolates. You can get free samples when you buy any chocolates from the store.

 

Discount Chemist

This is my most favorite place in Sydney! Discount Chemist is basically a store that sells mostly vitamin supplements, perfume, facial care, makeup and beauty products. The vitamin supplements are definitely WAY cheaper than in Malaysia. Discount Chemist have many stores over the country, so you can easily shop at any branch near to you. Almost everything that you want, you can find it here. You can also find Swisse, the Aussie’s leading multivitamin and supplement brand which I highly recommends! They also have their own facial products. I bought Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask and it was so good! My face loves it! I wish I have bought more Swisse products. Back to the supplements, you cannot go here and not buying Blackmores’ multivitamins. Blackmores are SO cheap here as they are Aussie’s leading supplements. I bought Blackmores Glucosamine, Omega Triple Concentrated Fish Oil, Men’s Multivitamin Performance, Women’s Multivitamin Vitality and Bio C 1000. Fish Oil will only cost you around RM100 for 3 months stock. Now that is cheap! We also bought Calvin Klein perfume as the perfume also is cheaper here than in KL. An hour spent here costs me around RM500 as the products were so tempting! I’m a sucker for facial care and health products. 😆

A must go store at Sydney!

For joint pain, Glucosamine is the perfect supplement to ease the pain. 

My first time seeing Kangaroo supplements 😯

 

 

All the eye-catching products  

The normal cramp view as soon as you step into the store. Mostly China tourists, so if you’re small like me, work your body into the spaces! 😀

Shopping done for tonight

Coles

You can buy groceries in small convenience stores around Sydney or you can head to Coles, a big supermarket where it have massive choices for all groceries that you want to buy.

The world’s most popular chocolate biscuits – Tim Tam! So many flavors available here!

My most favorite fruit in the world!

Uncle Tobys Oats was SO delicious that we ate it for breakfast for 6 days straight.

 

Aussies’ famous ointment – Papaw. It’s so versatile that you can use it on chapped lips, wounds, insect bites, dry skins, nappy rash and many more!

Green tea. Must buy item every time I go on vacation.

Some of the things that I bought at Discount Chemist and Coles.

Behind all the glamorous pose, this heavy bag pack accompanied us all the way.

 

Snowy Mountain

This is the highlight of our Sydney’s winter getaways! The only reason why I chose Sydney as our holiday. SNOW! Eezuan’s happy face while watching snow for the first time in his life worth every money spent on this holiday. This was indeed the most difficult plan for me to do. I had to read like so many blogs to find info on this place. The only place for you to play snow in Sydney is at Snowy Mountain. It is 6 hours drive from the central Sydney. How to go there? Can I fit it into just one day trip? After days of research, I decided to go with Greyhound. You can go to Snowy Mountain by taxis, trains, buses or even flights. I chose Greyhound as it is Aussie’s respectable long national distance bus service. And it certainly live up to the expectation! We took off from Sydney Central Station around 7am. It took 6 hours to arrive at Snowy Mountain. The long journey was very comfortable as we have free on board wi-fi, in seat USB chargers and most importantly on board bathrooms! Since there was so limited info on the Internet on how to go to Snowy Mountain from Sydney, i purchased the wrong destination. Well, not exactly the wrong destination. From Sydney, you need to go to Thredbo which Snowy Mountain is located at. I purchased Jindabyne which is one or two station before the Thredbo. Luckily, when we stopped for refreshments at one of the station, Eezuan spent time talking to the coach driver and he was the one who informed us that we had the wrong destination. But worry not, Greyhound counter is just at the pit stop, so I just bought other tickets and the staffs were very helpful. I only needed to add another $20 to go to Thredbo.

We arrived at Snowy Mountain around 1.30pm. I purchased return tickets on the same day as I did not want to spend a night at Snowy Mountain which can cost us more. Our return time was only 4hours gap from our arrival time. We only have 4 hours to play snow! We didn’t mind as long as we get to play around the snow! 😀 We went straightly to the rent store to rent toboggan and ski boots. 4hours passed by so fast when you’re having the good times. Happy birthday baby ♥ I hope creating memories together is the perfect birthday present for you.

Around 5.30pm, we traveled back to Sydney and reached the city at midnight. My best advice if you would like to go to Snowy Mountain with Greyhound is to purchase a travel insurance. Any insurance will do as long as you have it. The coach driver drove the bus like a F1 driver.  I was pretty sure at that time our bus will be going down the cliff! No joke. All the cornering around the cliffs in the darkness with full speed have left us praying along the journey! He must have some kind of professional driving skills to be able to drive under such circumstances. Nevertheless, Snowy Mountain is definitely worth a visit!

Greyhound coach tickets for 2 pax = $244.80 / RM 826.71

6 hours journey to Snowy Mountain with Greyhound Bus, 12 hours total for return trip on the same day

Just arrived at Snowy Mountain!

The happiness. As long as we’re together, nothing else matters ♥

Didn’t get the chance to ride this as it’s almost closing time.

When your partner is 7 years younger than you, you gotta compromise to do all the childish things 😛

The reason why I love him. And also the reason why I cannot leave him alone. 😀 Not sure what happened, but every time I left him, I returned with him lying on the snow.

Time to go home

 

Paddy’s Market

Paddy’s Market is basically a very large market that have almost every tourist souvenirs that you want to buy. We spent hours walking through the numerous shops and there’s so many things in the market such as fridge magnet, soft toys, shirts, key chains, sweatshirts and other China made souvenirs. Most of the stalls were selling similar items but with different price so you need to survey first before proceed to buy anything. You can even bargain if you buy in a large amount. I would highly recommend for you to go to the souvenir stall in my pictures below. I couldn’t remember the stall number or the location, but you can just find the stall with the same owner as my picture. There were the cheapest stall and so friendly with customers. Highly recommend! There’s also a fruit market near to the shops which are way cheaper and fresher than the supermarkets! Make sure you check out the fresh market too!

In front of Paddy’s Market

The cheapest souvenir stall in Paddy’s Market

All types of souvenirs are available here

Bought this cute wombat for me

With the friendly owner of the souvenir stall (hijab) and her staff

You can buy shirts just in front of the souvenir stall. It’s the cheapest stall for shirts.

 

Shopping for family and friends done! 

LUNCH/DINNER MEAL

Now, it’s time for FOOD! I didn’t have the complete list of our food journey as usually we were already hungry at the time we went for lunch or dinner. Didn’t get the chance to snap the food. I spent almost RM 2000 for 6 days of lunch/dinner meals. I prefer to dine out while on vacay as I can get the taste of local food. Below are few of the restaurants/cafe that we’ve tried.

  • Ali Baba Kebab Palace

This is just a normal kebab stall which we passed by everyday from our hotel. It can never go wrong with Kebab and we indeed love Kebab! They also have pizzas, sandwiches, salads and fish and chips. But I recommend for you to stick with their main menu – Kebab.

Chicken Kebab for 2 pax = $20 / RM 67.23

 

This is one delicious kebab! Actually all kebab are delicious to us. 😀 Enfes Kebab is located inside Harbourside Shopping Centre, same mall with Hard Rock Cafe. It’s in the food court. Cannot remember the price though, but it’s good!

 

We craved for Malaysian food so bad while we’re at Sydney. Got tired eating all the western meals. Our face just lighted up when we saw the Mamak’s signboard from far! Mamak is a Malaysian restaurant serving Malaysian dish. One thing for sure, their roti canai is the bomb! 

1 Roti Canai $7.00
2 Nasi Lemak $10.50
1 Teh Tarik $4.00
1 Milo Tarik $4.00

Total : $25.50 / RM85.81

Happy tummy, happy us :mrgreen:

Not much to tell about this restaurant. Basically, it’s a restaurant that serves Thai food. We wanted to eat hot soup as we were freezing cold on that night. I don’t recommend this restaurant as it was not good. The soup was lack in flavor, quite tasteless. Dim sum is quite good though. And tom yam fried rice is just a normal fried rice that you can buy at any other place.

Chicken Dim Sum (5 pieces) $8.00
Tom Yum (Mild) $ 10.00
Tom Yum Fried Rice (Mild) $13.00
Steamed Rice (Large) $3.00
2 Water $5.00
Total = $66.00 / RM222.10

Again, our Malay tongue craved for Malay food to survive. I went here as few blogs recommended this place. Similar to the name, the restaurant served Indonesia dish such as gado-gado, ayam minyak and others. Durian pancake, pisang bakar and other delicious desserts are available here too. Our meal portions were so big that we can actually share a plate.

Es Cendol $8.95
Meehun Goreng $17.95
Nasi Goreng Indonesia $17.95
Ice Lemon Tea – forgot the price
Total = $44.85 / RM150.93

Cendol excites him more than the actual meal

If you go to Sydney and you love seafood, you must go to Sydney Fish Market! You can have a taste of Sydney’s freshest seafood! We went straightly to Peter’s which located inside the fish market. It can be quite confusing to find the market but just follow the crowd and you will find it. The seafood platter was so good, so fresh and still hot at the moment we bought it. I didn’t remember the price but it was definitely worth it! The only problem was the fish market is located quite far from our hotel, approximately 2.5km, 30 minutes walking distance. So we only went there once. We would probably go there everyday if it’s nearby the hotel! It was quite packed with tourist by noon so it was quite difficult to find an empty table. We managed to find empty table outside of the cafe, and it was very relaxing to eat just besides the bay with the windy cold air.


 

That’s all for my Sydney winter getaways! It took me full 3 days to complete this super lengthy post! I hope it can help you in planning your next vacay if you choose Sydney as your getaways. Maybe it’s not quite a budget friendly itinerary, but you can always customized the plan according to your preference 😉 Short clip made specially for you to watch below! Have a happy holiday! ♥

Much Love,

Fakhitah Iqbal