In this post, CAPA Alumna Lilly shares 5 things you must do when you study abroad in Sydney!
Last spring, I studied and interned in Sydney, Australia with CAPA. It was the best experience and I created so many amazing memories. While there, I got to become a local and explore every inch of Sydney. I wanted to share five places and experiences that I enjoyed the most and highly recommend to anyone spending time in Sydney.
1. Find Hidden Gems at Sydney's Markets
There are many markets throughout Sydney at different times of the year. My friends and I loved going to different markets to find cute clothes, jewelry, and souvenirs. Our favorites were the Kirribilli Market and Glebe Market. The Kirribilli Market is huge and is right under the Sydney Harbor Bridge in North Sydney. It is open the second Sunday of each month so make sure to plan ahead of time. They also have a lot of great food options. My friend and I became obsessed with potato tornados. The Glebe Markets are similar but have more unique vendors. They are open every Saturday and are within walking distance from the CAPA center. I highly recommend grabbing brunch in Glebe while you are there, it is a very cool area. My friends and I loved a place called Wedge Espresso – it’s small but a cute local place with delicious food!
2. Pet a Kangaroo at Featherdale Wildlife Park
A trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park is part of one of the excursions included with CAPA. The park is a little farther away from the CAPA Sydney center but it is definitely worth the ride. It has every Australian animal that you would want to see. Kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, tasmanian devils, dingoes, and my personal favorite, wombats, are just a few of the animals that can be seen. Taking a selfie with a kangaroo was something that was high up on my Australian bucket list and that can be accomplished at Featherdale. They have an area where the kangaroos and wallabies just roam around and wait to be fed and pet by visitors. I loved this place so much that I brought my family back when they came to visit.
3. Visit the Bondi Icebergs Club
Bondi Beach is a must visit when in Sydney – it’s a major tourist destination for a reason. At one end of Bondi Beach, you will find the Icebergs Club which is home to the most beautiful ocean pool. Apparently, it is the most Instagrammed spot in Australia and I can definitely see why. Everywhere you look is picturesque. Anyone can access the club for the low cost of $7 AUD. There are two pools, one is relatively shallow where kids were taking swimming lessons and the other is a large lap pool. Don’t worry though, they close off a lane or two for leisure swimming so laps are not necessary! They also have a little place where you can grab some food and drinks. I would definitely recommend getting to the Icebergs Club early so you can get a good spot. The area of Bondi is one of my favorite areas of Sydney so once you are done lounging by the pool I would suggest walking around the area and grabbing dinner at a local restaurant.
4. Take a Day Trip to Newcastle and Wollongong
Newcastle and Wollongong are both amazing places that can be seen in a day and accessed via train. Newcastle is north of Sydney and about a two-and-a-half-hour train ride from Central Station. I recommend taking an early train so you have the whole day to explore, plus my friend and I ended up sleeping the whole way there. When we arrived, we grabbed brunch at an adorable place called Three Monkeys. If you go there, definitely try to get a seat on the back patio. After walking around the downtown area, we headed to the Bogey Hole. This is something that we heard a lot about and were excited to see. The Bogey Hole is a natural bath cut into rocks surrounded by crashing waves, it truly is amazing. There is a trail leading to it from King Edward Park, which is also beautiful.
Wollongong is south of Sydney and about a two-hour train ride from Central Station. My friend and I came to Wollongong without much planned besides visiting the botanic gardens and Nan Tien Temple. When we first arrived we walked around downtown, grabbed a bite to eat, and visited the beaches. After relaxing in the sand for a little, we were off to the Wollongong Botanic Gardens. This was one of the most peaceful places that I have ever been. The grounds were absolutely beautiful and so spacious. The Nan Tien Temple, a Buddhist temple, was also an amazing experience. It was so interesting to learn more about the culture and roam around the beautiful grounds. Make sure that you bring a sarong and wear a shirt that covers your shoulders because there is a strict dress code to enter the temple.
5. Discover Sydney's Smaller Beaches
The three most popular beaches in Sydney are Bondi, Coogee, and Manly. They are all amazing but there are a lot of smaller beaches that are beautiful and less crowded. Two of my favorites were Tamarama and Watson’s Bay. Tamarama is still a relatively large beach and is one of the main stops of the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. I discovered this beach towards the end of my trip which was disappointing because it ended up being my favorite. When you are there make sure to climb up the cliffs to the right of the beach for the most spectacular views. There is also a little cafe at Tamarama where my friends and I got delicious smoothies. Watson’s Bay is a lot smaller and are home to calm waters which make swimming a little less intimidating. You can get to Watson’s Bay by ferry from Circular Quay. There a lot of cute restaurants in the area, including the glamorous Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel that you will see when you step off the ferry. I highly recommend taking a hike to the Hornby Lighthouse while you are there, it is absolutely beautiful.
I can honestly not say enough good things about CAPA, Sydney, and the study abroad experience as a whole. Make sure to take the time to fully explore the city and country you are living in and enjoy every moment! I hope these tips and suggestions are helpful if you choose to spend your semester abroad in Sydney!
Meet Lilly Reding, a Stonehill College student studying Marketing. She studied abroad in Sydney during Spring 2018 and is a CAPA Ambassador this spring