Our journey back to United States from New Zealand had quite an interesting flight itinerary with an overnight layover in Sydney, Australia before finally heading back home. Before we even arrived in Sydney we had a long layover in Wellington with just enough time to go out and explore the city which was totally worth it. When we finally landed in Sydney at 5:45 PM we had exactly 16 hours and 45 minutes to wander the city before the long flight back to the United States.
To recap this was the final city on our trip down under. We had spent a wonderful week in Melbourne with some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. After that Beth and I had a go at driving on the left side of the road on the Great Ocean Road. From there we said a temporary goodbye to Australia and landed in Queenstown, New Zealand to hike in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.
What We Did on Our Overnight Layover in Sydney
Getting off the plane in Sydney we headed straight to the train to take us downtown. Luckily Beth had spent a week in Sydney when she student taught in Australia a couple years ago. She was a pretty good guide as we wandered around the city.
We stayed at Napoleon on Kent Apartments which was just a short five minute walk from the Wynyard Station which provided easy access to the airport train. The location was also just a 15 minute walk from the main sites in Sydney, the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. I would suggest staying near here for the convenience factor no matter how long your vacation is in Sydney.
Sydney Harbor Bridge at Night
With the sunset we decided to venture out on a walk up to Millers Point and then on The Rocks. The views of the bridge were incredible at night! The bridge was perfectly illuminated with all the lights and was fun to watch the many passenger boats cross the bay.
Sydney Opera House at Night
As we continued walking the harbor Beth remembered where her favorite ice cream shack was. She had to get some which was near the Circular Quay. Both of us were happy to end our trip with such a great view of the opera house.
Napoleon on Kent
We ventured back to Napoleon on Kent which really was a serviced apartment complex rather than a hotel. I really liked the room and location as it was basically a large one bedroom apartment. It had a full kitchen, living room, and a standalone bedroom which would be perfect a long stay in Sydney. It was also really cheap thanks to an Orbitz promotion where I got $50 off a $100 reservation. Score!
But we did run into an issue…. One that I never thought could happen. The electronic door handle literally ran out of batteries as we tried to get back into the room that night… This mean’t the door wouldn’t open so were trapped outside with all of belongings and passports stuck inside. To make it worse this was not a normal hotel as there were no staff available after 8:00 PM and we had no working phone or nearby WiFi connection (the password was in the room!). So we went back to the checkin office which had been closed up… There was no hotel phone in sight or any tenants anywhere. But then I had an idea! There was an intercom system for late checkins at the front door. So I tried that and after waiting and calling for a couple minutes someone picked up. Thank goodness! They had a super come down and help us out. Anyway she was nice and got the door fixed but it was still not a fun experience. Never thought that would be a problem ever.
Sunrise Over the Sydney Opera House
The next morning we were up early to stretch our legs and explore Sydney in the daylight. We managed to catch an amazing sunrise over the opera house before heading to the airport. Our flight was departing at 10:30 AM so we left at 8:00 AM from the train station. We made our first flight and after another two flights we finally made it back to Indianapolis. We did have to run through San Francisco airport to make our connection thanks to delays in Sydney. Global Entry really helped too.
Although we did not have much time in Sydney I still enjoyed the city. We would have loved to spend more time and see some of the beaches and to meet some people but we had to get back home. The 16 hours we spent there was just enough time to understand why Sydney is always raved about. The location on the harbor and how easy it is to navigate are reason enough to visit Sydney. A quick stop in Sydney is worth it but you will be yearning for more!
As for our overall trip saying that it was amazing would be an understatement. Both Beth and I had a great time on our adventures throughout Australia and New Zealand. While it was a long trip by American stands at just over two weeks I wish we could have stayed longer. We can’t wait to explore more of both countries!