Where a “Walkabout” is actually possible – Sydney

Although pretty mentally swamped when planning for my visit to Sydney, Australia, I did take a general inventory of certain sites that I HAD to see while in the city. The Sydney Harbour Bridge (which people pay $200 to walk across, apparently), the Sydney Eye, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and of course, the Sydney Opera House.

On the way from my departure gate to customs, I grabbed a Sydney City Guide which clued me in to other seemingly worthwhile destinations. The map inside was alright, though it was fairly narrow compared to the walkable distance a reasonably fit person could walk, so I found myself guessing and wandering. I am fantastic at wandering.

Sydney has several neighborhoods, many of which have distinct personalities (according to the guide).  They’re all quite close to eachother, as well as to my hostel (in Darling Harbour) so I had an awesome time getting a pretty thorough (though short) look at the city.

My basic (tight-wad) guide to several, (but not all) of the neighborhoods:

Darling Harbour area – a lovely walk surrounding the quieter of the harbours – a great place to take the in-laws for lunch to show them how sophisticated you are. The Darling Harbour bridge is also awesome for morning runs – not too many people, but gorgeous views of both Darling and Sydney Harbour.
King’s Cross – where people go to purchase drugs, get mugged, or slurp some quality Chinese food.
Chinatown – on the border of King’s Cross. Perfect place to get a manicure, a ridiculously indulgent dessert, or some dumplings from a street vendor. Also home to a budget-friendly Asian grocery store with a lovely bulk nuts/fruit shop out front.
The Rocks – an old-fashioned, yet quite pricey area perfect for a Sunday spent gallery-gazing, antiquing, drinking afternoon tea, or maybe trying some high-end brews.
Paddington – shopping spree! I’ve heard it’s a nice nightlife-hangout as well.
The Beaches (Bondi, Coogee, etc.) – beautiful scenery surrounded by hundreds of small cafes and eateries. A great destination for foodies and organic/veg lovers. Easily accessibly by bus.
Circular Quay – The most famous views of Sydney. Take the 555 bus (free) on Elizabeth or George Street to get there more quickly. Bring a picnic lunch to eat on the stone/wooden benches surrounding the harbour, or be a big-spenda at somewhere like the Four Seasons. This area is really close to the business-district, so (excluding McDonalds) you won’t find budget eats nearby. Cheapest is probably the stands right on the edge of the water, by the train station.