If you’ve traveled to Australia from North America, most flights arrive early – 6 am is the earliest planes can land in Sydney due to city laws. This can be a problem for storing baggage until your accommodation is available or ready. Fortunately, our Airbnb host had a spare apartment available for us to store our luggage until our apartment had been cleaned. But first, we got SIM cards for our phones at the airport. There is a Vodafone store right outside international arrivals, so that was our first stop. Within 15 minutes we both had new SIM cards, and one had already activated, so we ordered an Uber ride to our apartment in Barangaroo and were on our way.
There are several options for getting from the airport to the Central Business District. I considered taking the train or a bus, but with four of us riding and carting all our luggage we decided an Uber was the most convenient for us.
Barangaroo is an old neighborhood near the Harbour Bridge. It is in the process of being gentrified, so many of the townhouses have been or are being updated. There is a massive amount of construction as the city is building a tunnel under the harbor to help alleviate some of the Harbour Bridge traffic. Construction was during the day only, and it was quiet at night.
We stayed in a newly updated apartment – here. Our host, Karen, was easy to reach and offered up another apartment to store our luggage in until check-in time. What a great location! We walked over to the Opera House, and it only took about 10 minutes. We wandered over to The Rocks, and the shops were starting to open, so we looked through them. It was sunny and warm, and we had to kill time until The Tea Cosy opened at 10 am, and it was only 8:30 am.
Cameron is a great one to find the most interesting shops, and he discovered Gannon House Gallery. There are loads of tourist shops in the Rocks selling “Australian” souvenirs. Gannon House Gallery sells art, made by Australians including brass animal figures, original Aboriginal paintings, wooden bowls, wood animal figures, and glass artworks. A brass wombat and frilly lizard, a wooden wombat and two wooden bowls for the girls made it into our shopping bag. Our main Australian shopping was complete within 3 hours of arriving!
Next, we needed Devonshire tea to keep going until our apartment was ready. We love tea and scones and look for the best we can find when we travel. We found The Tea Cosy online and decided that would be our first scone experience in the city. It was a cute shop, and the scones were decent, but we came out disappointed. The cream was weak – not thick like Devonshire cream, and the jam was just ok. We discovered by the end of our three weeks in Australia that we preferred scones with fruit in them – date was the best!