New South Wales in winter is such a refreshing change for those of us more accustomed to temperate climates. With temperatures hitting around mid-teens Censius, there’s no need for thick winter clothing. A light jacket is all we need to get around most times — chilly winter nights being the exception.
After our road trip south of NSW, we drove to Sydney for the second part of our vacation plus a few meet-ups (planned and unplanned).
Where to stay?
Being frequent travellers to Sydney, we usually stay in the Central Business District. However, that’s not the best place with a car to park. CBD parking is costly and most hotels do not offer free parking.
Since we have the luxury of time and a fairly uncluttered schedule, we explored different possibilities from near the airport and Sydney Olympic Park to various suburbs.
We finally settled on Bondi Junction because it is close to one of our favourite malls, which is home to all the major stores. The Eastern Suburbs Line was also just a street away from our chosen accommodation and just four stops from Town Hall, giving us the option of taking public transportation if needed.
Our AirBNB apartment was so stragetically located — near to everything we need — and comes with secured free parking.
What’s at Bondi Junction?
Bondi Junction is so self-contained. Food options abound along the streets and in the malls.
For shoppers like us, Westfield Bondi Junction is a joy to explore. It is home to large departments such as Myer, David Jones and Kmart, supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths, as well as fashion chains Uniqlo and Zara, and a host of specialty shops. We love it because we have everything under one roof, plus a huge food court at the top floor. It can be a little difficult to navigate because of its vastness and exits at different levels to different roads but that adds to the excitement of the mall.
At its Oxford Street entrance is Anita Gelato, which we recommend for anyone who loves desserts. Sit indoor, alfresco or take away, the gelato comes in a variety of flavours and are real treats. We shared a triple-scoop and sat just outside the parlour for a break after trawling the mall.
Sydney has changed
Our previous trip to Sydney was in 2019 and much has changed. The tram is now operational, transforming George Street to be more pedestrian friendly.
Road work is also underway around Paddy’s Market. The market itself has undergone a makeover with some stalls replaced by others. In Market City upstairs, our go-to nougat stall in the atrium was gone! Some sections were boarded up for renovation works.
A must-do for our trip is to catch Sydney Opera House at night. Our last visit here was nearly a decade ago. It looked just as majestic as before, as did Sydney Harbour Bridge.
On a cold wintry night, there weren’t many tourists around. We were however grateful to a sensitive Korean who noticed that we were trying to take a wefie and came over to help.
Where’s the beach?
Bondi Junction is just 2km from the world famous Bondi Beach, which I first learnt of while watching the TV series JAG. It would have been a sin not heading to this beach even though we’ve already clocked up our fair share while driving south.
The beach made it a memorable last stop for us on our way to the airport.
We will be back, New South Wales.