Sydney, Australia is an amazing place. Getting there is half the battle. From the east coast it takes over 21 hours in flight time alone. I left on a Friday at 5 pm EDT and did not arrive in Sydney until 9 am AEDT. Pretty incredible. I wanted to start out this Sydney Guide on training and travel with a little reflection I had on the flight:
It’s odd sitting on a moving plane as the world flies by beneath you. Half asleep, half-awake you think you can feel the passage of time, but in reality all perception is lost. Distance passes as little bumps of turbulence as the plane speeds along at 550 mph. The whole process feels like moving through a dream state. The world is completely and utterly black. There is nothing quite like red eye travel over the ocean. Perception and reality blend creating an utterly new state. The body is confused yet feels alive. 15 hours passes almost like a dream.
Once on the ground it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that a whole day is gone. Saturday just disappeared. In a mere 24 hours of travel time you can be on the other side of the world. Your body and mind have barely adjusted. Every step is new ground; every plant, every person, and every site is new. Just being there and feeling the emotion is incredible. Your brain and body slowly adjusts and begins to take in this new environment.
Venturing to the Other Side of the World
I loved that little reflection that I had on the plane and after landing. It is one of the reasons I love traveling. The emotions and feelings it brings are truly unique.
Now on to showing you how to train and travel in Sydney, Australia. This is part 1 of 3 of my Sydney Guide to training and travel. This first part highlights how to plan your trip to Sydney and how to train while there. Part two highlights the best food and drink. Part three includes the best nightlife, what to see, and a view into the local culture. After you read this post, make sure you check out the other 2!
Planning Your Trip to Sydney
A trip to Sydney may take a while, but it is fairly easy to organize even if you do it when you get there. You can go anytime but it can get very hot in the summer (90+ degree F or 30+ degree C). It also gets down to 40 degree F (5 degree C) in the winter. Weather is really not a factor as long as you are ok with those extremes. The weather can be hit or miss when it comes to rain.
Flights are long anyway you look at them. They can also be pretty expensive especially if you are coming from the east coast. Think $1200-$1500 USD. However, points are definitely an option. I flew United for 80,000 points from Newark and I was able to have a lot of flexibility in my flight times. My roundtrip flight with points was only $100! 80,000 points is a lot but you can get there with a card such as the Chase Sapphire which transfers directly to United.
Lodging can be a bit expensive since it is the biggest city in Australia. However you can find a comfortable hotel for $100 AUD and a hostel for $15-20. Most was available day of, but can fill up on holidays. I would stay in Surry Hills or Newtown (unless you want to stay near Bondi beach). These are right near everything either by walking or taking public transit. They are also a bit cheaper. I found these areas to have the best food and drinks. They could be considered a bit hipster, however. If you want to be right in the center of everything stay in the central business district (CBD).
Ask a Local and Connect With the Local Tri Group
You really don’t have to plan much else since you can ask people the best spots (I’ll list some of mine in the next two posts). To get from the airport you can take an Uber for $15-25 AUD or the train for $15 (to the central business district). Grab an Opal card for free so that you can ride all public transport (including ferries). You will need at least $30 AUD to get to and from the airport. You can also take a bus which will be cheaper, but takes longer. I would not worry too much about getting around since everything is well labeled and everyone speaks English (in an awesome Aussie accent).
If you’re interested in an SIM card, an Optus card is cheap and easy. Its about $30 AUD for 6 GB for a month. This should be plenty for what you need! You also get unlimited local calling and texting. Pick one of these up in any convenience or grocery store!
Views of The Historic Rocks Area
If you’re interested in triathlon training (or swim, bike, or run training) while in Sydney, connect with the local triathlon group, Sydney Triathlon Group (STG). I swam with them a few times for free and they have tons of free runs, swims, and rides at least once (if not twice) a day. Join their Facebook group if you want to connect with some of their members and check out their training schedule.
Explore Sydney in Your Running Shoes
When I arrived in Sydney I was deep in training for a half marathon that would be happening in about a month. I also had to continue to train for my upcoming triathlons. Obviously running was high on my priority list. Running in Sydney was one of the best things I did. I had a whole week to explore the city and I did most of it on foot.
I like to get out and explore a city the day I land. There is a degree of newness and enthusiasm that infects my need to explore. As soon as I had checked into my lodging, I went out for a run. I find this a great way to get over jet lag and find all the cool spots in a city immediately. I found Sydney to be one of the best cities to run in.
My run past the Opera House and through the Botanical Gardens!
When in doubt in a new city I run towards water. Here I usually find beautiful paths and scenery. Sydney was no exception. Running near water in Sydney was easy since it is essentially surrounded by water. The first day I ran towards Circular Quay and stayed along the harbor past the opera house. The harbor is beautiful and surrounded by outdoor restaurants (I definitely came back to these later). The path is literally right along the water and surrounded by beautiful rock formations.
The Sydney Guide to Running
Sydney really is the perfect running city. Once you get out of the central business district (CBD), it is generally quiet and filled with running paths. You will also come across others running all over. Sydney is a very active city with lots of people doing all sorts of fitness (Australia is very active in general). You can run along the water or through multiple parks.
One awesome view I had while running!
Darling Harbor is a great place to head to run. You can run by all the restaurants and across the bridge towards Pyrmont Bay. Keep going if you have it in you and head towards the Anzac Bridge (the big cable stay bridge). This run is so quiet and beautiful. It offers great views of the city and water since you are frequently elevated above it.
Darling Harbor Run
Get in Some Long Runs and Explore More
Another great run is across the Harbour Bridge. This famous bridge is great to run or walk across even at night. You can get great views of the Opera House and the harbor. Combine this with a run of the nearby Royal Botanical Gardens and get a view of sea and flowers.
If you are up for a long run, head to Bondi Beach (about 4 miles from the CBD). You can take a bus out there if you want and run along the coast. From there you can walk or run along the awesome Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk. There are few better views of the coast. Think cliffs and crashing waves! It is an out of this world run.
Harbour Bridge Run
Swimming in Sydney
Swimming in Sydney is unlike any other city. There are public swimming pools everywhere. It is really easy to get a day pass for $6-8 AUD. Feel free to walk in anytime and get your swim on. As mentioned earlier, STG has coached swims which will they likely let you participate in (just let them know).
The pools are either indoor or outdoor and scattered across the city. The city of Sydney has a great site on their locations and hours. You can even get lessons if you want. Just hit up the one closest to you. The pools are really great because the majority of them are Olympic sized. It was super refreshing for me to able to swim in these huge pools. You can really get into a groove without having to turn around all the time.
Be careful when swimming in the ocean as there can be some intense currents. Bondi Beach actually only allows swimming on a very small section. Anyone outside this section (who isn’t surfing) is hustled back between the flags. Ask people where the best swimming spots in the ocean are (Aussies are super friendly). There is even a pool at Bondi right on the beach. The ocean water actually washes into it!
Exploring in the Saddle: Biking in Sydney
Biking in Sydney is just like running. Beautiful vistas are everywhere along with abundant bike paths. It is more difficult biking in the city especially if you are not used to biking in heavier traffic. Finding a bike is easy and not as pricy as you think. I rented from Bonza Bikes located in the Rocks. If you rent for 4 hours its only $19 AUD. The full day is only $29 (24 hours). I rented the bike in the early afternoon and they actually let me turn it in after they closed (super nice people working there). The bike is a heavy hybrid bike, but all of them were in good condition. They even offer tours if you want someone to lead you around. There are also plenty of other bike shops around the city especially if you want a lighter and faster bike.
Bike route out to Bondi and back
Coastal Biking is the Way to Go!
I biked out to Bondi Beach via Watson Bay on a sunny Saturday. I highly recommend this route since it is very scenic. However getting out towards Watson Bay can have a lot of traffic and a limited bike lane. If you’re worried about this stick more to the bike path that heads straight out to Bondi Beach and bike up to Watson. Watson Bay offers amazing views of the coast. It is elevated above the rest of the coast so it does involve some hill climbing. However, this means amazing views of the sky line and Sydney!
You can do a lot of nice riding along the coast there and continue south past Bondi. I had a really nice day biking in Sydney and enjoyed seeing more of the city quickly. Just like anywhere else, biking is a great way to get to know a city better. Sydney is no exception; it offers amazing views especially along the coast. If you are up for a long ride try biking to Manly Beach. Although I didn’t do this, it looked like a great route. If you need to throw some bike training into your routine, Sydney is the place to do it.
Don’t be Afraid to Train in Sydney
If the weather is really bad, there are a lot of gyms around the city. I ended up going to Fitness First since they had a free week promotion. They honestly did not have the best equipment, but it was cheap to go. Check out what’s around.
Training is Sydney is really fun and easy. The local population is super active which inspires you to get out there. The city is beautiful in skyline alone; the beautiful water and park views are an added bonus. You can definitely find some quiet spots to run and bike around the city. Don’t lose fitness while in Sydney, Australia. The beautiful scenery and people make it hard not to get out there! Sydney inspired me to explore which made training easy.
To train right in Sydney follow these easy steps:
- Connect with the local triathlon group, STG beforehand
- Get an Opal card to get around the city (you can use it to get back if you go too far)
- Run around Darling Harbor and Circular Quay
- Swim in any of the Olympic size swimming pools
- Explore the city in the saddle along the Bondi coast or bike out to Manly Beach
Training in Sydney is really fantastic. I enjoyed all the runs, swims, and bikes I was able to do. I don’t regret anytime I spent training because I often experienced more while doing it. Sydney is a big city and training can help you explore it. Part two highlights the best food and drink. Part three includes the best nightlife, what to see, and a view into the local culture. After you read this post, make sure you check out the other 2!
Coastal Views 🙂
Have you trained in Sydney? What are some cool fitness spots you have found? Let me know in the comments. As always email me with any questions.
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