A 4-Day Sydney Itinerary on a Budget

Traveling overseas doesn’t always mean spending a fortune. Yes, the plane tickets may be expensive at times, but you could still get lucky with various deals and promos so keep an eye out for these and grab them right away! Also keep in mind that there are often plenty of beautiful sites that anyone can visit for free, you just have to know where to find them. And if you are really serious about making the most of your trip, staying in a lavish hotel is nice, but it’s not necessary; your accommodation will simply be a place to rest, recharge, and store your luggage. So as long as you have a clean and safe place to stay, then you’re all set.

The following itinerary  is based on our own 4-day trip to Sydney last October 2016.

Day 1:

  • Arrive in Sydney.
  • Check-in to your accommodation. If you are arriving early (before the check-in time), ask the front desk if they can store your luggage so that you can start exploring the city.
  • Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. If you want a good photo with the Sydney Opera House in the background, take a ferry from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay or vice versa. The fare costs approximately AUD$4.00.
  • Lunch and drinks at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, located in the Circular Quay area. Otherwise, there are also other restaurant options in the area. If you are dining outside, just be wary of the resident seagulls that will try to snatch food from the table.
  • Sydney Opera House.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • Try out the different weekend markets. If you are in Sydney on a Saturday or a Sunday, going to the weekend markets is another good option. To know more about them and where they are located you can visit this website http://www.sydney.com/things-to-do/fashion-and-shopping/sydney-markets.

Day 2:

  • Breakfast at The Grounds of Alexandria. Building 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria, NSW. This is a place that you wouldn’t want to miss. The food, the drinks, and the ambiance just complement each other so well.
  • Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art and White Rabbit Gallery. All offer FREE ENTRY!
  • Bondi Beach and Bondi Icebergs Pool. Lounge and relax for the rest of the day. There are several cafes and restaurants around the area so you surely won’t be famished.

Day 3:

  • Breakfast at Devon Cafe. 76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, NSW.
  • Visit Cockatoo Island. It is located in the middle of the Sydney Harbour. In order to get there, just take a ferry from Circular Quay and the trip will take about 30 minutes. Visitors can also opt to stay for the night with the different camping and alternative accommodation options. Apart from that, there is NO FEE to enter.
  • Stroll around the Royal Botanic Garden. You will get to see an unobstructed view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
  • Dinner at KOI Dessert BarDid you enjoy watching Reynold on MasterChef Australia? If yes, then this is the place to go if you want to try any of his delectable creations and that includes the famous MOSS!

Day 4:

  • FREE DAY! Wander around the shopping district including the Queen Victoria Building, the different outlet stores, Westfield Sydney, and many more!

We hope this itinerary will be able to help you with your travel plans. Remember, traveling doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg, you can always do it on a budget.

Read more about our Sydney holiday: Sydney, Australia: Our Travel Blog.

 

Best Dessert Places in Auckland

A staple part of our Saturdates are desserts, not just any desserts, the perfectly crafted, artistically presented, and conveniently located in the heart of the city desserts. Because of our fondness for sweet treats, we have made a list of the best dessert places/ bars (in no particular order) that we have tried in Auckland.

1. Miann

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Miann is among the shops found along Fort Street. It offers a wide array of dessert options including gateaux, gelato sticks, gelato cakes, macarons, and chocolate bonbons. The prices range between $2.80 to $12.00. It is on the pricey end, considering the portion sizes, but the taste and flavor of everything that we have tried were just impeccable. You can discern the different flavors infused in every dessert. Our personal favorites are the macarons because the description on the display cards are really what you’ll get, not just a sweet macaron, but a flavorful one.

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Contact Details: 57 Fort Street, Auckland | 0212618172
Opening Times: Monday to Wednesday – 10am to 10pm
Thursday to Friday – 10am to 11pm
Saturday – 12pm to 11pm
Sunday – 12pm to 10pm

2. Milse

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Milse is almost Miann’s twin. Their menu consists of very similar heavenly options which we credit to the fact that the chef, Brian Campbell, who established Milse is the same person who owns Miann. So when you look at the display case, you’ll almost see Miann in Milse and vice versa. The presentation may be very similar but the flavors are remarkably different (based on the desserts that we’ve tried). The price range is between $2.50 to $8.00 (not including the full-sized cakes which start at $35). The dessert bar is located at Tyler Street in Britomart. It’s quite a tricky place to find especially if you are new to the area. From the Britomart train station, just follow Tyler Street and it should be on your right hand side.

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Affogato

Location: 31 Tyler Street, Britomart, Auckland
Opening Times: Everyday | 10am until late

3. Giapo – Haute Ice Cream20160305_163517

Giapo is not your typical ice cream shop. Upon entering the shop, you’ll notice that the ice cream tubs aren’t on display and the only way for you to choose a flavor is through the help of an ice cream concierge. They will assist you through the taste testing process. Giapo mainly encourages their customers to make a decision based on what they’ve tasted, rather than seeing what’s on display. The price range is between $8.00 to $25.00 depending on how many scoops and on whether you prefer your ice cream to be served in a cup, regular cone, or deluxe cone. After you’ve made your choice, all you have to do is to wait for the beautifully presented ice cream. Our personal favorites are On My Way to Kerikeri and Christchurch Hazelnut.

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Location: 279 Queen Street, Auckland (beside to the Civic Center)
Opening Times: 12noon until late

4. Petal – Kiwi Cupcakes

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Our Wedding Cupcakes. Photo credits to: Ralph Bella Photography

Cupcakes are now being sold almost anywhere, but the cupcakes from Petal just stand out. The cake, the icing, the flavors and the textures just form a perfect combination (need I say more?), this is also why we had cupcakes instead of the traditional cake for our wedding.

If you are keen to try these cupcakes you can purchase them at their Newmarket or Takapuna shop. You can also find them in various events around Auckland like the Taste of Auckland, and the Auckland Coffee Festival. If you prefer to go to their shop, make sure that you go early because cupcakes get sold out very quickly (that’s how good they are! 🙂 ).

Location: 8 Teed St., Newmarket | 106 Hurtsmere Road, Takapuna
Opening Times: Monday to Friday – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday – 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday – 9:30 am to 4:00 pm

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Gelo’s Pride and Joy

Gelo has been into reef keeping for more than six years now. He started his first marine aquarium back in the Philippines after he received a tank set-up as a Christmas gift. From then on his interest and love for these aquatic creatures thrived; his simple hobby turned into his passion. Moving to New Zealand didn’t hinder him from setting-up another tank. As soon as he got settled, he started tending to a nano tank which has flourished into this amazing set-up!

So sit back, relax, and enjoy this short clip… A glimpse of reeferBOO’s marine tank.

* Watch in HD!

Have a relaxing day everyone!

Kay & Gelo

Our Tramping Essentials in New Zealand

Tramping is one of the many activities that we love doing especially during summer. New Zealand is dotted with lush parks and reserves that makes it one of the best places on Earth to explore by foot. And during our travels, we always make sure to bring the following essentials to make our tramping trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

1. SUN PROTECTION; The works; including sunscreen, UV protection clothing, head-wear , and sunglasses.

Wherever you are in the world, sun protection should be a priority. And its importance is particularly magnified when you are exposing yourself under the harsh New Zealand sun.

2. A good pair of FOOTWEAR.

While tramping, don’t ever forget to wear a comfortable pair of shoes. Regardless of the difficulty level of the track/s, do not take your feet for granted. Tough but comfortable footwear can mean the difference between being able to go out and do it all over again the next day, or being stuck at the hotel/camp nursing bruised and blistered feet. Our choice of footwear during summer, particularly when we visited Tutukaka Coast, are the Keen Clearwater CNX Sandals. These footwear are very versatile, lightweight, and comfortable; they allowed us to explore the dry tracks and mountain trails straight from the beaches and streams, without that slippery feeling of wet shoes.

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3. Towels and Spare Clothing

Towels and extra clothes are very handy for a number of different situations; whether you wish to avoid feeling cold after a quick dip in the water, feel refreshed after getting sticky with sweat from all that walking, or (depending on your location) when you decide to go directly to the cafe or the restaurant for a quick meal after a day of exploring.

4. Water/ Coconut Water

Keeping hydrated while hiking is really a no-brainer, your body needs fluids for it to be able to function normally. Always remember to bring enough fluids to keep you hydrated all throughout the trip, keep in mind that it is very easy to get dehydrated without even realizing it, specially during hot days. We try to avoid sugary energy drinks and opt for plain old water or coconut juice instead. We love the taste of cold coconut water, and it also has the added benefit of replenishing the electrolytes that your body loses through sweat.

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5.FOOD!

Do not ever forget to bring some snacks because you are about to embark on a physical activity that can quickly deplete your energy stores. And it is when you’re tired and hungry that you are most prone to making silly mistakes that can cut your trip short. We always pack plenty of fruits, sandwiches, chips, and chocolates (just for that extra boost of energy 😉 ).

6. A Reliable Backpack

Because we only hike for two to three hours at a time, we usually carry one reasonably sized backpack each. Our criteria when we chose our bag, which is the Under Armour VX2-T Backpack, are the padded straps (because comfort is everything!), its water repellent finish and water resistant zippers (which means that we can explore rain or shine), and its ability to accommodate all of our essentials without being too big or bulky.

7. Camera

We use three different cameras when travelling, two for taking photos and one dedicated camera for taking videos. We use the GoPro Hero 4 for videos because it is handy, straightforward, and can come in a variety of cases to fit whatever setting/weather you want to use it in. But because it has that fisheye effect, we still use different cameras to take still shots. The Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, which is a mobile phone, and the Olympus PEN E-PL1 are very handy for taking photos when you are outdoors; they are not too bulky nor too heavy to include in your backpack. They also take good quality photos (refer to all the photos in the blogs, although some have already been edited in Photoshop).

Wherever you are and whatever your tramping plans are, always keep in mind to pack and bring all the essentials; because sore feet, a dehydrated body, and badly sunburned skin are all easily avoidable inconveniences that have no place in your holiday.

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The North Island Road Trip

Planning a trip for a family of 20 is not easy, but it was worth it. It was a week-long adventure after our wedding day. Although it didn’t begin on time, we had to forego the trip to Tutukaka Coast because of the unpleasant weather, it was still an experience that we will always be thankful for.

Day 1: Matakana and Goat Island
Day 2: Hamilton Gardens and Hobbiton
Day 3: Rotorua
Day 4: Rotorua
Day 5: Tongariro National Park
Day 6: Waitomo Caves

* Watch in HD.

Camera: Go Pro Hero 4

Editing Software: GoPro Studio

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