Money Diary (Travel edition): #7 Weekend in Sydney

T had a conference in Sydney from Sunday (night) to Thursday a couple of weeks ago, so we both went up on Saturday morning and had a short Sydney 2-day weekend trip (he stayed on for work while I left on Sunday night). His flights and the hotel were paid for by his work. I don’t have time to organise photos (flying off soon and scheduling this post) but the Sydney Instagram stories are saved as highlights in my Instagram.

Our flight was with Virgin Australia and booked just over a month beforehand. I would personally never leave it so late because it gives me too much stress, but I had to wait for T to sort out his flight before booking mine. $294.63

Hotel was very central (near Town Hall and St James stations, and around the corner from QVB). It was located in a quieter street, in a hidden little building. The hotel was very basic but good value. T went against my choices and picked one half the price so as to use less of the group’s money, LOL. (Paid for by T’s boss; $141.74 (Saturday) + $103.89 (Sunday) = $245.63) (2 nights for 2 people)

We get up bright and early and drive to the airport. I discovered parking there for two days (with a company near the airport, not in the airport itself) would be cheaper than public transport. We arrive at the car park and then take a short shuttle bus to the airport. I will pay when I depart.

On arriving at Sydney airport, we take the Airport Link to St James station. We can use our credit card to tap! Melbourne doesn’t have a train system from the airport and our transport cards and readers are so bad. I’m jealous, Sydney! $17.39

After checking into the hotel, we walk for over an hour to lunch. It took a bit longer because we took a wrong turn and didn’t check our phone’s map for a while. Roads are very complicated in Sydney. We have lunch at Rara Ramen. T picked this one out of five ramen restaurants I shortlisted. The ramen was very average though. We each have a bowl of ramen, share gyoza and a yuzu ramume. $46.70

We were meant to have ramen with my friend but she missed her bus into the city. So we meet up at Koi Dessert Bar, my favourite dessert place! We have chocolate delight and yuzu mango desserts (my friend has some earl grey jar dessert). I’ve had the latter several times in both Sydney and Melbourne’s pop up. $21

We walk to an escape room I booked for T and I. Due to some circumstances, my friend only ended up being in Sydney due to not being able to fly out. I emailed the escape room ahead and they confirmed I could just bring her along and pay the difference when there, as I already paid online. As it turns out, she had already done that particular escape room (there are three), so we say our goodbyes there. $88 (two people)

We walk back to the hotel to chill for a bit. T’s knee is playing up again so we decide to take an Uber to dinner, although it’s only a 20-30 minute walk. $12.37 + $1 (tip) = $13.37

The first thing I did after booking my flight was booking dinner at Chaco Bar, which we came to last year. It is T’s favourite restaurant (ever) because he loves Japanese skewers and these guys’ skewer game is really strong. We get drinks and go straight into skewers. We order three rounds of skewers, including ordering four of one skewer. I also order a second drink, we try a non skewer dish, and finish with dessert. The verdict is to stick with skewers here. We stuff ourselves silly and it’s still not that expensive (considering we had three drinks and we ordered this fancy skewer twice at $24 each). I left a ~$15-20 tip and there must’ve been a small card surcharge. $182.48

T is feeling a little better after taking a break from all the walking, so we decide to slowly walk home.

The next day, we head to Bourke St Bakery (Barangaroo) and share a pie, quiche, croissant and danish for breakfast. $19

Because we “have” to play Pokemon Go Community Day for the next three hours, we decide to Uber to the Royal Botanical Gardens even though it’s only ~20 minutes away as I want to visit the Calyx again and we are running out of time. As it turns out, because of the Sydney marathon, the Uber driver drops us off like 15 minutes away, so we wasted time and money. I’m quite grumpy that the driver just drops us off with not much explanation and we still get charged the full ride as though we made it to our destination. $10.22

I spend about 5 minutes at The Calyx (T doesn’t join), which is beautiful. Entry is by donation. $4

It is really hot and I am dehydrated from walking around. We grab a 7 Eleven slurpee. $1

We have a late lunch at Home Thai, which seems to be highly rated on the Internet, but honestly is some of the worst Thai food I have ever had! We have a grilled pork dish, pad thai and a lemon lime bitters (still feeling dehydrated). $30.50

We grab two lattes at Coffee Pitt and walk back to the hotel. $7

I finish packing up and T gets ready to leave for his conference. I get confused about the trains and why I can’t find the train to get back to the airport. But as I have lots of spare time, I quickly walk down to Sephora to take advantage of the black and gold member 20% off sale. My Mum has expressed interest in a foundation brush so I grab her my favourite one. The shop is so packed I don’t stop to look at anything else. (She ends up insisting to pay me back the $24.80)

I get my luggage and go the train station. I discover the reason Google isn’t showing trains is because the Airport line is down for today. I could take a train and then a bus… but I decide to just Uber because I have no idea how much extra time it will take. $32.73 + $3 (tip) = $35.73

It is a breeze getting through at the airport and I am left with almost two hours! I sit down at a cafe and have a jaffle and ice tea (still trying to rehydrate!) while watching stuff on my phone. $15.10

My flight is delayed and my neighbouring passengers are really annoying and loud. They were clearly drunk getting on and were still allowed to purchase three whiskeys each, for a one-hour flight. I am really put off by Virgin’s behaviour. When I get to Melbourne, I call and find the shuttle bus to take me back to the car park. I pay for parking as I leave. $31.25

Two days in Sydney
Total actual spend: $817.37
(minus hotel as it was paid for by work)
Total actual cost for one person: 294.63 (flights) + $423.80 (everything else) = $718.43 (with hotel and food/drink/hotel/activity/transport costs divided if they covered two people)