Mathew Ramsay is an official CAPA blogger/vlogger for summer 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World, sometimes including short video snippets. A political science major and economics minor at Morehouse College, he is studying abroad in Sydney this term.
In this week's post, Matthew shares his top 10 favorite places in Sydney.
By now I’ve been in the country of Australia for more than a month. Prior to my trip I read In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, a renowned travel author. As I flipped through the pages and descriptive stories of his travel, I would sometimes pause and drop a pin on Google Maps of a place Bryson mentioned and I found interesting enough to investigate once I reached the country. Surprisingly I have visited most of these dropped pins in the Sydney area and have even found a few other favorites. Often when you are a tourist or a visitor you rarely will go somewhere more than once because you want to experience different things. I am the same way. However when it comes to my top 10 favorite places in Sydney this is not the case. These are my serenity spots. Places to chill. Get work done. Or just extremely edifying settings that I could visit over and over again…
1. SOUTH HEAD. Located in the far eastern part of Sydney Harbor, I went hiking at South Head during the third week of my CAPA semester and had a wonderful time. You can access the area by ferry, stopping at Watsons Bay, or you can take one of the city buses which in fact allows you to see very different parts of the city than the high-rise Central Business District area. There are a few restaurants at Watsons Bay and a hidden beach. The best part for me would be the view of the city and seeing boats go in and out of the harbor.
2. COOGEE CLIFFS. The famous Bondi to Coogee walk will take you to Coogee Beach (if you travel south) and here is where you can find some stunning views of the ocean and coastal cliffs Sydney has to offer. South of the beach there are some hidden trails that will take you under cliffs with the clamor of waves thrashing against the rock side. Be sure to be careful when making you way around because high tide can come fast!
3. FOUNDRY 616 JAZZ NIGHT. I was sitting bored in the apartment on Tuesday and searched on Google “what to do in Sydney on a Tuesday night." Long story short, I found this place that on every Tuesday of the week has a different come in and play a 2-3 hour session of jazz. The cover charge ranges from $6-10 and it is well worth it. Jazz, like people, comes in all different sorts of styles and varieties and I have enjoyed listening to a number of different bands.
4. NEWTOWN. I couldn’t pick one place in particular in Newtown because I love the whole area. For nightlife, this is the best place to go in Sydney especially since the implementation of lock out laws. For cafes and a bite to eat, you can’t go wrong here. Just stroll down Kings Street and you’ll find all kinds of places to shop as well as plenty of others to stop for a bite to eat.
5. THE OPERA HOUSE. This might seem cliché, but it is wonderful being inside one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. I was able to go on a behind-the-scenes tour sponsored by CAPA and saw the ins and outs of this renowned sculpture. To say the least, it’s quite nice inside.
6. COCKATOO ISLAND. A quick ferry ride from Darling Harbor will take you to one of the largest islands in the Harbour. Cockatoo surprised me with its wealth of WWII history, old bunkers and other war equipment. There is a nice café stand by the ferry port with excellent hamburgers but above all, the views from this island are stunning and worth the trip!
7. WELLCO CAFE. A short distance from the Broadway Shopping Center and the Urbanest apartments is one of my favorite restaurants to sit and enjoy a smoothie and a quick bite to eat. I’ve spent many afternoons typing assignments in the cozy interior or looking out on the street while typing a blog post in the balcony area.
8. OLYMPIC PARK. This place is massive and famous for the 2000 Summer Games. You will probably end up in this stadium if you decide to see a rugby game as I did. My favorite part was just seeing the stadium and surrounding area. During the day, there are places where you can rent a bicycle and tour the area.
9. ROYAL NATIONAL PARK. About an hour from the city limits, the Royal National Park is an excellent place to enjoy a hike or see some waterfalls. If you can make it far enough, you’ll be able to lay your eyes on the coastline and ocean.
Photo: Royal National Park from the CAPA archives
10. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA. With the course I am taking through CAPA, PSCI 3356 Campaigning for Change, I was able to go on a field trip to the headquarters of AIA. The reason why this makes my top 10 favorite places is because of the work they do here for the vulnerable and disenfranchised. If you are in Sydney for a full semester, this would be a great place to volunteer or even just to visit and see what goes on here.