We went DOWNUNDER just to show you how’s life on the Sun Coast. Final Destination: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.

Flying to Australia from North America, total transit time can add up to 20 hours or more.

As the Boeing 747 makes a loop over the ocean to land at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International airport, the details of the city’s skyline come into view one skyscraper and city block at a time. With the sun already up to greet you when you lift the window shade, the eye is immediately drawn to the Opera House on the harbor where water and land fit together perfectly like puzzle pieces.

5732It’s enough to leave you speechless before even setting foot on the ground.

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An early morning walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an easy start to your trip. Watch the city wake up as people pass you on their way to work, stop for a coffee, or go for a morning jog. Break out the camera for an unforgettable sunrise over the harbor and look back in awe of the central business district. Despite the fact that it may look like a normal cluster of offices, it’s still difficult to absorb that you’re half way around the world.

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Sydney’s Chinatown is home to some of the city’s cheapest and most delicious eats. As Asia’s closest neighbor, the authenticity, flavors, and colors of Asian delicacies in Australia is dangerously and deliciously similar. From Penang Kitchen on George Street, with windows open, a soothing breeze will keep you cool as you slowly sip your steaming, spicy Chicken Laksa (personal house recommendation). The head chef is from Penang, Malaysia and uses fresh ingredients in all the dishes. It may not get more authentic than that.

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Bill Granger, Sydney’s breakfast guru, has a joint in Surry Hills that is both modern and hipster though it attracts more businessmen and soccer moms than anything else or so it seemed. Located on the quiet end of Crown Street, anyone can pop into Bill’s for coffee or a full sit down breakfast. Though the café claims to be Italian, the menu is quite unique. For breakfast, try the ricotta pancakes with banana slices and honeycomb syrup. You may never care to eat plain pancakes again.

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Can a cupcake be so simply decorated and look anymore appetizing than that? Cupcakeries (made up word, just go with it) are currently all the rave making competition fierce. Any flavor or size cupcake will set you back anywhere from $3-6, but who cares? You’re on vacation, and cupcakes make for a light mid-day snack. Pictured above is a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting found in the underground food courts of the city’s luxury department stores.

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Though Sydney’s art scene is no competition to Australia’s artist capital, MELBOURNE (here you can also find our favorite PATRICIA PICCININI), doesn’t mean the city’s mural and graffiti should go unappreciated. This mural can be found in the stairway of Bounce Hostel across from Central Station. Stay hungry!

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Once the Sydney Opera House comes into view, everything else around disappears. It captures the attention and breath of everyone who passes by. It is undoubtedly one of those iconic landmarks that is fulfilling to see in person. Take a tour, or better yet, treat yourself to a night out at the opera.

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It’s difficult to find a bad angle for a photo of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It demands the spotlight on the postcard to be sent back home. Admire the bridge from the front of the Opera House, walk across it, get up close via a harbor ferry, or eat lunch with a view from The Rocks listening to Oz next sensation: BEC AND BEN.

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Even on the clearest spring day, Manly Beach will be free of crowds, if you know the right time to go (mid-day during the week). Take a stroll along the beach with a friend or significant other (you can maybe be lucky and find international model MADELEINE RAE MASON sunbathing), leave your footprints in the sand, take a dip in the ocean, and even try your hand at SURFING. Manly is more loved by locals than Bondi Beach and is a popular place to sleep during the summer when a house without air conditioning is too unbearable to rest one’s head.

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As the storm clouds start rolling in over Manly Beach, boats begin to dock, and tourists and locals duck back into their hotels and houses respectively. The waves remain calm, and the waterfront dotted with low-rise buildings look like something out of European coastline.

Text and pics are Kimi Sugiyama © All rights reserved