A Very Merry Christmas Down Under

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas in Sunny Sydney

Ever thought about spending Christmas in sunnier climates? It might not suit everyone to say farewell to turkey and stuffing and opt for a cheeky Barbie on the beach or an Aussie Christmas dinner complete with freshly caught prawns; but it is certainly something different to try. It didn't take me long to get over my fear of seafood and have a taste of
everything - including oysters!

Relaxing in Sydney
Christmas is a wonderful time to visit Sydney. With temperatures hitting the mid-30s it's a great time to relax on one of Sydney's 37 beaches. From Bondi and Coogee beach on the south side of the harbour, to Manly and Palm Beach in the north; whether it's surfing, sunbathing or snorkelling you're into, you are sure to find the perfect spot! If the beach isn't your thing, the Royal Botanical Gardens are the perfect place for a picnic, sunbathe or stroll. You may even spot a lovely summer wedding as it is quite a popular spot to tie the knot!

Royal Botanic Gardens, a truly memorable place
Shopping in Sydney
You'll be spoilt for choice if you want to do your Christmas shopping in Sydney or pick up some treats for family and friends back home. One shopping gem not to miss is the richly decorated Queen Victoria Building (QVB), built in 1898. It is filled with stained glass windows and beautiful Romanesque architecture and even has an original 19th century staircase. The giant Christmas tree below is located in the central dome and is definitely not to be missed! If it's designer fashion you're looking for, the Strand Arcade is the place to be. It is the only arcade built in Victorian Sydney left in its original form today.

Giant Christmas tree in the Queen Victoria Building
Things to see and do in Sydney
If you're looking for waterfront restaurants, an IMAX cinema, aquarium or maritime museum then look no further than Darling Harbour. What used to be a dockside area, Darling Harbour has become a major tourist site. My top tip is to head to St. Moritz Chocolate Cafe and grab some Belgian waffles smothered in chocolate sauce! You may even get to see Santa and his elves surprise you by turning up on jet skis whilst you are listening to Christmas carols ...

Darling Harbour by night
St. Mary's Cathedral
Nativity scene outside St. Mary's Cathedral
Sensational Sydney
No trip to Sydney would be complete without visiting Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is well worth climbing the 200 stairs to the top of the Pylon Lookout for some fantastic views (it is also a lot cheaper than the Bridge Climb, though perhaps not as exhilarating). Visiting the Opera House is a real treat. Whether you go on a tour, watch a performance or just admire it from afar, it will certainly be a highlight of your trip!

Christmas Eve at the Pylon Lookout

View of the city from Watson's Bay