Land of Oz

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Hailey Johnson/File

In the land of Oz, there’s a lovely harbor town that offers welcoming beaches and clean city streets. For those of you who haven’t ventured down under, you should know there’s more in Australia than just creepy crawlers and crocodiles that want to kill you. In particular, Sydney, Australia, is home to the iconic opera house and the world’s most delicious desserts.

The combination of food and available adventures in Sydney just may tempt you to take up residence in the beautiful country.

Just make sure you announce any livestock you many bring along to avoid any obligation of an insincere apology to Australia’s government (cough Johnny Depp cough).

Of course, Sydney is on the coast, so one of the major attractions is its beaches. Some of the most popular beaches include Bondi Beach and Manly Beach. Although they take a bit of travel to reach from the center of the city, they’re well worth the ride. In the case of Manly Beach, that ride consists of a pseudo-harbor cruise.

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On the way to the pristine beach, you must cross the harbor and take a close-up shot of the Sydney Opera House. Once at the beach, you can grab a Bare Naked Bowl (best açaí bowl in Sydney) and maybe take the Manly to Spit Bridge walk.

Manly Beach isn’t the only beach with a hike and delicious food. Bondi serves as the starting point for the famous Bondi to Coogee walk and is home to nutritious lunches at Bondi Wholefoods.

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If noms are more important to you than beach-going, there’s no need to leave the main hub of the city. For cheap groceries and a wholesome meal, Paddy’s Market in Chinatown is the place to go. For a nice meal or a special gelato treat at Gelato Messina, hit up Surry Hills.

If you’re up for a short drive, The Grounds of Alexandria is a former pie factory that now serves as a restaurant, food truck, flower shop and garden. Its fountain and flowers create the perfect backdrop for photo-ops.

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For more dessert, over by the harbor in an area dubbed “The Rocks,” find Pancakes on the Rocks to eat the most fattening, enjoyable stack of pancakes you’ll ever have. The Rocks has fancy restaurants as well, but pancakes …

The Rocks also offers a large weekend street market that consists of local vendors wrapping their stands through the streets and selling artisan gifts.

A few blocks down from the pancakes and street market is the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The museum is free except for special exhibits and has a lovely rooftop sculpture garden and restaurant.

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Up the hill from The Rocks, you can find Observatory Hill, which has a unique view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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Nearby is the entrance to the bridge. A short walk across the bridge offers the perfect view of the harbor and leads you to Luna Park, a small but spunky amusement park.

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From Luna Park, you can spot the Sydney Opera House, which sits nicely in front of the Royal Botanic Garden. The gardens extend for more than 70 acres, providing charming landscapes and sculptures for your viewing pleasure.

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Sydney’s offerings are limitless and extend to the very borders of the city. On the western border lie the Blue Mountains, an earthly getaway, and to the south is the Royal National Park, an expanse of wilderness with priceless scenery.

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There are many more options for adventures in Sydney, including opportunities to learn more about the aboriginal presence across the entirety of Australia. Although the country does offer many beautiful sights and activities, it’s important to remember how the place came to be. I urge anyone thinking of exploring this beautiful country to be educated on and conscious of the country’s history.

It’s a wonderfully welcoming place to visit and live.

Contact Hailey Johnson at [email protected].