I visited Australia in October of 2019. And babyyyyyyyyyyy!!! 😩😩 When I tell y’all that the 19 hour flight to Australia was NO JOKE! The flight is not for the faint of heart. And I WON’T be doing it again unless I’m going first class, and even THAT option is pushing it. MARK 👏🏾MY 👏🏾WORDS!👏🏾
My flight was only $460 USD, so it was worth it to knock this off my bucket list. I snagged this deal the day it popped up on my phone in February of 2019. They had deals from a lot of different states around the same time so I was telling everyone that I knew. I flew United Airlines, and got two free checked bags with my airline status.
Because I’m bougie (🤷🏾♀️), and I have Titanium Elite status with them, I opted to stay at a Marriott hotel. I knew it’d be expensive, but it didn’t matter to me. We still YOLOing through life right? I picked Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection. This place was luxury and dreamy and PRIME! I stayed a total of six nights and was able to use my Marriott points to pay for two of the six nights. And because of my Elite status, I get Suite Night Awards every year as amenity gifts and was able to use those for the entirety of my stay and collected a free upgrade to two different suite types throughout the six nights. In total, I payed $972.70 USD out of pocket for four nights, about $243/night. This is pretty standard pricing for hotels in Sydney.
The hotel is situated right on the Sydney Harbour and walking distance to EVERYTHING! The only time I caught an Uber was to and from the airport, and to and from Bondi Beach.
P.S. If you’re looking for even more luxury, The Park Hyatt Sydney is right around the corner from Pier One, but get ready to pay astronomical rates! The only difference in view at the Park Hyatt (if you book a room with a view) is that the Hyatt faces the famous Sydney Opera House and Pier One faces the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The staff at Pier One was so kind, friendly, and eager to help. I was greeted upon arrival by the hotels Guest Experience Manager Maria. My room was not yet ready (which was disappointing after a 19 hour flight), granted it was only about 9;00 A.M. and being in the hospitality industry, I know the routine with check-in times. Maria took great care of me while I waited. We sat and chatted, grabbed coffee, and she gave me excellent recommendations on what to do and see while in Sydney. The hotel also offered to store my luggage and let me use the fitness center showers to start my day. By the time I got out the shower, my room was ready.
My first room was gorgeous. More than enough space for just me. Plus I had a balcony with a great view of the harbour. Room two was an all out suite, but opposite of the first room, had no outdoor balcony space.
I went back and forth on what to do first in Sydney. Did I want to just soak it in, which is what I normally do, or pay for experiences? I opted for both. I don’t usually enjoy booking tours or activities but I did not fly ALL this way and another 16 hours back just to say I “looked” at Sydney. Bloop, no ma’am. 🙅🏾♀️
I chose to pay for the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb, and the Featherdale Wildlife Park Excursion. I booked the BridgeClimb myself online, and had the concierge of my hotel book my Featherdale tour.
The BridgeClimb was about $177 USD (give or take a few dollars with conversion rates). WORTH IT! Not only did I get in a great workout (over 1,000 steps!), but the views from the top of the bridge are UNMATCHED. I opted and booked the night walk. You start the climb as the sun is setting, which again is a gorgeous view, and descend the bridge at night in the dark.
I chose to do the Featherdale Excusion because who comes all the way to Australia to not see a kangaroo 🦘 or koala 🐨? Such a great experience! Not only do you get to be around free roaming animals including kangaroos, but you can take pictures with the Koalas. The excursion also included a trip to the famous Blue Mountain National Park and a cruise back to port, which was walking distance from my hotel.
Some other honorable mentions on what to see and do while in Sydney
Sydney Opera House
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Royal Botanical Gardens
Bondi Beach/Icebergs Beach Club
Bondi Beach Sculpture Walk (seasonal)
The Butcher’s Block Restaurant
Cockle Bay Wharf
Quick Tip: I did not have time to do this, but, if you’re flying all that way, might as well check off New Zealand from your bucket list too.