Our final stop on the #honeymoondownunder was Sydney!
I was so, so excited to go to Sydney. When my sister was in college she studied abroad in Sydney - my parents went to visit her but I got asked to staff my very first MOTL trip and decided to do that instead. I have always been bummed that I never got to visit - and so this was a long-awaited trip!
We stayed at the Sydney Intercontinental for four nights and I have to say, I thought the location was fantastic. We were a five-minute walk away from the Sydney Harbor and the Opera House, which was very convenient for all the sightseeing we wanted to do... and we did a lot!
(I will make one caveat about visiting Australia during this time of year - yes, it's their summer there, and yes, the weather is stunning, so it's easy to want to visit around the holidays, but many restaurants and shops in Sydney close down for the week between Christmas and New Years. We still did mostly everything we wanted to do, but there were a couple of things that were unfortunately closed and I was disappointed! Just thought I'd point that out in case you are planning your own trip.)
Anyway! Onto the fun! These four and a half days in Sydney were our real "touristy" days and we packed a LOT into them. On the night that we arrived, we kicked off the fun with dinner at a famous Sydney restaurant, Rockpool Bar & Grill - we loved the art deco ceiling in the restaurant! And on our first day, we visited Bondi Beach, where Bailey lived when she was in Australia, ate lunch outside at a fabulous and very chic restaurant called Bill's, did some shopping and of course, admired the beautiful beaches.
We purposely planned our trip so that we would be in Sydney over New Years Eve, so we could experience what it was like being the very first people in the world to celebrate the new year! Years ago, when Bailey studied in Sydney, she had told me a story about a world famous restaurant - Tetsuya's - and ever since then, for years, I had wanted to go. New Years Eve was the perfect time to have that amazing meal, and I made our reservations there almost a YEAR in advance.
We had a nine-course degustation menu featuring French and Japanese influences and it was phenomenal. I was SUCH a tourist and insisted on bringing our fancy camera and photographing each and every course - I won't post them all, but these were my favorite - oysters with caviar and ginger, and their most famous dish - confit of ocean trout with salmon roe. Out of this world. It was a wonderful last meal of 2014 and a very special memory we will always have.
After dinner, nearly every street in the city was closed, so we joined the thousands of people who were walking in the streets heading towards the Sydney Harbor Bridge to see the fireworks! We arrived around 11pm and found a spot where we could see them... and an hour later, we were two of the 1.6 million people watching the fireworks live and ringing in 2015!
Rami was so excited for the first day of 2015... I had promised him a trip to the world-famous Taronga Zoo! We took a ferry there - it was a beautiful day and we sailed right past the Opera House. See how big Ram is smiling since he knows he is going to get to see the animals?! #shouldabeenavet
The zoo was amazing. We got to see all the indigenous animals of Australia and lots of other cuties as well! Some of our favorites - I liked the wallabies and Rami loved the echidnas (basically like tiny spiny anteaters). We both loved the seal show and I was OBSESSED with the tiny penguins - I seriously took like forty photos of them.
I was looking forward to seeing real kangaroos but they were slightly terrifying - look at that thing's arms! They're huge!
I can't believe I am posting this picture on the internet.. after the zoo, we wandered around the harbor for a little while, and ended up booking two seats on a "Sydney Thunder Jet" - basically, a half hour long boat ride that dips and twirls and nosedives and spins you around the water until you are SOAKING wet. We declined the protective ponchos and ended up looking like two little drowned rats, but it was SO FUN!
On our last day, we took a private yacht ride on the harbor with a tour guide who took us out on the water and pointed out the famous real estate that surrounds the Sydney Harbor... it was very cool and we enjoyed ourselves very much, UNTIL the guide had a bit of a rough patch controlling the sails on the boat and we ended up nearly tipping over into the water #panic #notokay. After that frightening incident (which I am telling very calmly - BELIEVE ME I was flipping out and so was normally very calm Rami), we recovered by taking the ferry to Manly Beach, about a half hour boat ride away from Sydney, and walked around that little beach town before enjoying a delicious lunch at Manly Wine. I have to say - all the restaurants in Sydney (and surrounding areas) are SO cute, chic, and well-designed. Everything was Instagram-worthy! I could have taken a billion photos!
On our last night in Sydney, and our last night of vacation overall, we did something very cool... we saw a show at the Sydney Opera House! It was Rami's idea and he picked the show - we saw "All You Need Is Love," a Beatles spectacular featuring a 50-piece orchestra, with all the Beatles hits sung by four amazing Australian musicians. I think we'll remember it forever - what a once in a lifetime opportunity! We finished the night with dinner at an amazing Chinese restaurant - Mr. Wong's - and it was the perfect end to our vacation. Some great music, a little stir-fried shrimp and some dumplings... everyone was happy :)
So... there you have it. A two-week, four-city trip of a lifetime. Our honeymoon was everything I ever dreamed of and more. It was relaxing, it was adventurous, it was luxurious, and it was FUN... and I got to experience it all with my brand-new cute husband, who also happens to be my best friend :) We will never ever forget it!