Sydney 8 years on...
I arrived in Sydney to rain, rain and more rain. It was safe to say that I was entirely soaked when I walked into Goose's house.
(Goose and I did our undergrad together many years ago and then she moved to Australia for a couple of years)
But in true Australian fashion, the weather soon changed and the city lay waiting for me to re-explore.
After a quick peruse of the train map, getting on the correct train and getting to my destinstion; it was amazing how fast the routes and roads came flooding back to me.
Highlights: Spending Christmas and New Years with Goose's family and friends. It truly was a charming English Christmas and a fabulously hot Australian New Years. Spending a day with family at Palm Beach, seeing another old uni pal LW and seeing my pal JD that I met in Canberra. Truly blissful.
The Blue Mountains:
The Blue Mountains are pretty easy to get to from Sydney; they're literally a train ride away (Central station to Katoomba). If you have hiked a fair amount then you will be slightly underwhelmed.
I decided to stay in Katoomba as it was an easy route from the train station and an easier route to the hiking trails. In my opinion it's a nice taster to the hiking game if you're new to it; but definitely be aware of how arduous the Giant Stairways will be if you're going up. (down is fairly easy)
Sydney truly is a beautiful city and if you like London, UK; then you will absolutely love Sydney. The similarities are uncanny.
Things to do:
Definitely get an Opal card so that you can top it up and 'tap' on and off on the public transport
Get a city map so that you can walk around and appreciate the city
See the bridge and Opera house, walk along the harbour, have some lunch
Walk from Bondi beach to Coogee and back again (coastal walk)
Get a ferry to Manly from Circular Quay
Climb the Sydney Bridge
Walk through Hyde Park
Go to Katoomba and do a hike in the Blue Mountains
Shark Bay, Milk Beach and Watson Bay