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Sydney By Night (Warning: A LOT of Photos)

by Tony · 8 comments

Lights on Sydney harbor bridge

I always struggle when ranking my favorite cities for other people, not because I don’t have them, but because my experience in a city is uniquely my own.

The littlest changes to what you see or do can dramatically impact your final verdict. Did it rain the entire time and you never got beyond the few blocks surrounding your hotel? Were a couple of locals rude? Did you eat a bad meal?

And if you get beyond just the little ways your experience can be shaped, then forming an opinion you can trust becomes truly difficult. How, as a tourist, can I effectively give my opinion of a city when I almost never get past seeing the most superficial aspects of it? Even when trying, it is hard to dive deep unless you know a local who is willing to spare a few hours to show you around.

But living like a local is what we strive for.

When getting to Sydney, we knew of the major places to check out: the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. But we wanted to see way more than just the first few pages of the guidebooks.

That’s why Arribaa.com sounded so appealing. It allowed us to experience Sydney in many different ways from the vantage point of the locals who love it… and only for a fraction of the price that a larger more formal tour group would have cost.

How Arribaa Let Us See The Real Sydney At Night

First, what exactly is Arribaa?

Arribaa finds local people who are passionate about sharing the things they love about their hometown with travelers and turns them into tour guides. This lets the traveler have a local experience, with a local, that is often much more impressive than any formal tour.

With a multitude of options for Sydney, we decided to start our adventure in the city with a pub crawl and night time photo tour… on separate nights of course :).

In order to show you how much we truly enjoyed both of these tours, I’ve decided to give you a brief description of the tours were and then a whole lot of pics to see for yourself how much fun we had.

Night-time Photography Tour with Luke

Don't give us a tripod

Luke works full-time in TV production, but spends one Saturday a month hosting 8-12 people on his photo tour of Sydney.

Words that describe Luke: Enthusiastic, passionate, encouraging, relentless… basically everything you would want in a tour guide that is showing you around Sydney for 4 hours and covering over 6 kilometers of ground.

We were the only ones in class without a DSLR, but Luke said our Panasonic LX5 was more than up to the challenge. He even provided us with a large tripod so that we could finally try to get those awesome slow shutter shots that all of those pros always get.

The best way to show you exactly what we learned and how much fun we had would be to show you our best pictures, which are posted at the end of this article below our bar crawl pics.

But before you start checking out the pics, let’s talk about our bar tour in Sydney.

Cocktails, Dumplings, & Stumbling Through Sydney

Arribaa Bar Crawl Gang

Colette and Vinko, two of the cofounders of Arribaa, were kind enough to show us some of the coolest bars in Sydney. We also were able to learn more about their backgrounds and why they started Arribaa.

But Colette also said that if people really want one of the best bar crawls in Sydney, they should check out what Neil is offering on Arribaa. Good to know!

Colette told us that they started Arribaa “because they realized that their most amazing travel memories are those where a local took them under their wing and showed them a rocking time. The website already has over 110 quirky experiences in eight countries!”

In between discussions of business, there was also plenty of drinks and bar food. Just as with the photo tour, the best way to experience the fun we had with Arribaa is through pictures.

So we have posted just a few of the many ridiculous pics we took from the Arribaa bar crawl that should accurately show what a blast we had. If you want to see all of our Sydney photos, check out our album on facebook.

Sydney Bar Crawl Photo Essay

Dumpling On Sydney Bar Crawl

Every good pub crawl should make food an important aspect of any adventure…

Pizza on Sydney Bar Crawl

Vinko knows (and apparently really enjoys)  the importance of food when drinking!

Secret entrance Sydney Bar Crawl

Never would have found this bar without a local’s help…

Wall of whiskey on Sydney Bar Crawl

But so glad we went in… A giant wall of WHISKEY!

Guys pose

A good pub crawl should be informal and fun.  No problem! Here is Vinko and me showing how guy’s pose for pictures…

Girl's Pose

And now how girls pose for pictures! (Alcohol had no influence on this photo… I swear)

Sydney At Night Photo Essay

Meg during photo tour of sydney

Was Meg ready for a Photo Tour of Sydney? You’re damn right she was!

Luna Park

Starting the Photo tour of Sydney at Luna Park… super creepy!

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbor Bridge looking awesome, per usual.

Sydney Harbour Bridge At Sunset

Getting up close and personal with the Sydney Harbor bridge.

Dance break

You just got served… dance break during our photo tour!

Bridge view of Sydney

View from the bridge of Sydney… truly awesome.

Sydney bridge shutter blur

Messing around with our camera settings and finally got that cool blur effect…

Lights on Sydney harbor bridge

One of my favorite views of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Sydney Opera House

The iconic view of the Sydney Opera House at night.

Don't give us a tripod

This is why you shouldn’t give us access to a tripod…

So can you tell how much fun we had with Arribaa and their tours?

An amazing pub crawl, an amazing night-time photo tour of Sydney, and still so many more possibilities. We barely scratched the surface of Sydney and still fell in love.

Plus, we love the idea of locally hosted tours so much that we are considering hosting our own tour through Arribaa wherever we setup up our home-base back in the states. Would you take an UnRulli food & wine tour?

Your turn: How do you experience a city more intimately? Do you ever meet locals to get a better feel?

The experiences we enjoyed with Arribaa were sponsored, but as always, our opinions are our own.

About Tony
Quit his job to try actually following his dreams for once... and is currently loving it. He is working hard to to make this life-style permanent by writing about his adventures and brainstorming money making opportunities with his partner-in-crime, Meg.

carol riley November 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Good writers!!! What a kick. Your travels are so entertaining and I admire your style. I’ve never liked being a “tourist” either and hit on locals for recommendations . Tony may remember me from visits to Golden Valley where I inspired Maggie to adopt Uncle Lefty on the North Shore. At the moment, I’m in bed post flu and am going to read all of your articles for entertainment. Thanks. I’m happy for you and send love and hugs. Carol

Tony November 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Thanks, Carol!

Of course I remember you! Sorry you’re sick, but hopefully we can be entertaining! If you really want, you can check out a few of the articles listed here to get started: http://www.landingstanding.com/who-is-landingstanding/

Thanks for the encouragement!

Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) November 18, 2012 at 4:26 am

What a cool service, and what Great time it looks like you guys had! I love that you were able to see the quirkier parts of Sydney; it is so true that guidebooks are generally pretty lacking when it comes to seeing a place in its real element and nothing beats having a local take you under their wing. I hope that we will hit up some places that Arribaa has coverage so we can try this out as well!

Tony November 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Guidebooks can be a great starting point, but the problem is every tourist has one so the places listed end up being filled with… TOURISTS!

I know from living in Boston that the places listed in guidebooks are great, but that we could take people to way more interesting places.

If you end up using Arribaa, let us know. I would love to hear how your experience was!

JR November 18, 2012 at 7:41 am

What a great idea? Arribaa sounds like they hit a great need. The tours looked and sounded like a lot of fun. You had me worried at first with that serious pic of you and Vinko….. I am so glad the real Tony came next in the pics.

Tony November 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm

The real Tony? That was my interpretation of how Meg takes photos! hahaha

Arribaa definitely makes visiting a city more interesting. So many more options now of cool things to do and see!

Colette November 20, 2012 at 8:03 am

Lol, you guys are ridiculous! I had such a great night with you, I still have to post my photos and I’ll let you know once they’re up. Have an absolutely SMASHING time in Aus and if you’re hitting up Melbourne and Brisbane area, do check out some of the other arribaa hosts too – they’ll show you an awesome time and make you feel right at home all over Aus (you know you’re never leaving…).

Tony November 20, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Thanks, Colette! We really might never leave… Australia has been amazing!

And we had such a fun night with you and Vinko… best tour guides ever! Plus, besides the great drinks with you two we also took some of the best pics of our lives with Luke. It was all fantastic!

Hope you two stay well and that we can go out again next time we’re in Sydney!

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