Best hotel in Syndey: The Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour, in Pyrmont’s Darling Harbour neighborhood! Enjoy this travel review: What to do in Sydney, Australia!

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One of our favorite trips and travel experiences was to Sydney, Australia. Last summer, Paul and I were lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in Austrailia. We flew into Sydney, and spent a week in Maitland and Moree where my husband was speaking in some of the schools. [NOTE: we are very much away of the fires happening now and sending prayers, love and comfort to the land and our friends in Australia.]

What to do in Sydney, Australia

We ended our time in Sydney for 5 days and today’s post is a small recap of our time. Did I mention the sunsets in Australia are out of this world?

You may recall our trip to Prague last year, Where to Stay in Prague: Cosmopolitan Hotel, and What to do in Prague Czech Republic (partnership with the Czech Tourism Board), that was another incredible experience for us in 2019.

We had such an amazing, unforgettable time, with so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We’ll never forget the people and the hospitality in Australia! Plus, the food was also amazing! [Above photo: The Cunning Culinarian in Maitland.]

Sydney, Australia

Hospitality runs deep in Australia. We’re still talking about how pleasant and happy the people were.

They say that, more than the nightlife in Sydney, health and happiness are super important: 79 percent of the population feel content and 71 percent hit the gym, beach or pavements each week, making them the fittest city in the world.

And then there is the Australian culture!

Plenty of cultural opportunities

Sydney is so unique, beautiful, and has plenty of cultural opportunities. It has the incredible food scene, upscale shopping, and the big-city feel of New York City.

We loved the location of our hotel, right by Darling Harbour, with a quick ferry to the Opera House.

Another Sydney favorite was taking the ferries to many sightseeing destinations. Not until the last day did we even take an Uber. We either walked, or took a ferry to cross the harbor.

The ferries offer some of the best views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Where to stay in Sydney, Australia

In the city’s center, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour is in Pyrmont’s Darling Harbour neighborhood. We loved this quiet hotel and excellent location for shopping the city’s center. The ambience of the hotel is out of this world (plus, they play 80’s music which we loved!)

We were so close to the Sydney Tower and Sydney Harbour Bridge, and you can also walk to Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

We also used the Pyrmont Bay Light Rail Station (a 5 minute walk from the hotel) several times. Such an easy city to get around in.

We enjoyed several meals at Mister Percy, an in-house restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner daily. They had the most elegant, beautiful, delicious breakfasts!

With a happy hour every night, with the perfect “nosh.”

Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour

The Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour is a smoke-free hotel, with a 24-hour fitness center and a bar/lounge.

We definitely took advantage of the concierge services, as they helped us with our activities.

The rooms were modernly designed, soundproof, with touches like a free minibar items and bathrobes.

Our room was surrounded with the original brick from 1988! And above, our usual tradition, a kiss on the bed in the hotel room :) 

They also keep the “loot bag” full every day!

More things to do in Sydney

We heard that the Blue Mountains were a must-see, densely populated with oil-bearing eucalyptus trees. This World Heritage Area is one of Australia’s most spectacular natural parks, and located less than 2 hours away from Sydney by car or train.

You can also take a tour of the popular beaches, like Bondi and Manly. There are also a few “hidden” beaches, like Rose Bay.

Manly Beach

Dawes Point Battery has great views of the Sydney Opera House, where you can see the main ferry station, so you can watch all the ferries come in and out.

You can also see across the harbor to Luna Park, a historic amusement park in Sydney.

Taronga Zoo

Australia is definitely known for its exotic animals, and the Taronga Zoo is one of Sydney’s most popular attractions.

Taronga Zoo is a leading zoological garden and habitat to nearly 2,500 animals, including many exotic, rare, and endangered species.

What a great place in Sydney to get an up-close and personal experience with Australia’s unique wildlife.

To get to the zoo, you take a relaxing ferry ride across the harbor, with stunning views along the way.

Muriel’s Wedding

We had the amazing opportunity to see Muriel’s Wedding, the Musical on opening night at Sydney Lyric Theatre.

The Lyric Theatre was a short walk from our hotel.

Where to eat in Sydney

Sydney has such a fun vibe and incredible food scene.

Right around the corner from our hotel was the most charming neighborhood. The cafes filled the freshest plates of eggs, pancakes, waffles and more.

We also ate at these restaurants:

Mr. Wong: Mr. Wong is one of the largest restaurants in Sydney. The modern Cantonese-style menu features over 60 dishes, from dim sum to Sydney’s famous mud crab, as well as an unrivaled dim sum selection. Loved the sweet and sticky pork ribs, dim sum. We’re so glad we got a reservation here. What an experience!

Chin Chin

Mr. Percy – the restaurant at our hotel with the BEST terimisu EVER!

Sydney Fish Market

Fisherman’s Warf Seafood

Manly Ocean Foods

Live Jazz in Sydney

We loved our night at Venue 505, which we highly recommend. If you saw my Instagram story, you might remember how talented this group was!

The Albert Hotel

Before we got to Syndey we stayed in Maitland, visited Newcastle (a quaint, historic beach town), stayed in Moree, New South Wales at the cutest hotel, The Albert Hotel.  

You also have to visit the Moree Hot Springs!

My husband did, but I was too busy soaking in the cute little vintage tub back at the hotel.

All about the schnitzel

Two favorite places to eat in Maitland were Coquin, Mo’s Burger and Bowl (for a schnitzel sandwich), and The Cunning Culinarian. We learned in Australia, it’s all about the “schnitzel.” [Soooo good!]

Paul and I walked to The Cunning Culinarian several times because it truly was our favorite place to eat! Classy, healthy, gourmet, the nicest people!

Tamworth, the “Nashville” of Australia

Driving back to Maitland, we stopped in Tamworth, the “Nashville” of Australia, for lunch and a quick visit. You have to get a picture with the “big golden guitar.” This is where they host their music festivals. Also, eat fish and chips at The Pub Group HQ.

3 hour train ride to Sydney

We then took the train into Sydney for the remainder of our trip.

Sydney has so, so much to offer–so much beauty and culture and delicious food. The beaches are more like tropical islands, and breathtaking.

Then there’s also the shopping, lights, landmarks, architecture and culture of a big city. And don’t forget the happy people!

Sydney truly has it all! And did we luck out with the most amazing weather (in June), or what? 

4 hour layover in Honolulu

We had a 4-hour layer in Honolulu coming back, so naturally we quickly changed into our swimwear at the airport.

Did you know you can store your luggage and they will bring it to you when you get back to the airport for your next leg? Yes! You can do this for a small fee. 

So with a long layover, on a sunny day, we HAD to do it.

Next up, Denver Colorado!

We stayed at the Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour in downtown Sydney. All opinions for this post are my own!