I’m back! I haven’t written in a couple of weeks as I’ve been travelling round Australia and Fiji on a trip of a lifetime.
I had the most amazing time – I saw a lot beautiful scenery, took a lot of photos obvs, walked everywhere, relaxed to the max, read 3 books, sunbathed a lot, swam a lot and generally had a fabulous 2.5 weeks away having lots of fun.
So I flew to Sydney on Saturday 19th May from London Heathrow with Emirates. I flew to Dubai which was 7 hours and then flew to Sydney which was a further 14 hours – it’s a long old way! The journey was quiet pleasant; I watched a few movies, tried to sleep a lot to pass the time and read books. I highly recommend flying with Emirates, it was very comfy in economy and the crew really looked after everybody onboard also.
Once I arrived in Sydney, my friend came to pick me up and I stayed with her at her house for the next week in the city. I didn’t feel jet lagged at all really which is good as I had a lot planned for my 5 days of sightseeing.
My top 5 favourite things I did in Sydney were…
1). A visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens…
On the first day I walked from the Paddington area where I was staying down to the CBD – about a 40 minute walk. The CBD is the general central area of Sydney and where you’ll find most of the tourist areas to visit. The Royal Botanical gardens are next to Sydney Harbour where you’ll also find the famous harbour bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The gardens are beautiful and contain lots of glorious plant life and information on the types of trees and plants kept in the gardens. It’s a lovely place to relax in and read a book, there are several little bars and cafes to stop at too and have a coffee or a G&T.
2). A boat trip from Sydney Harbour….
On one of the days I was walking round the harbour and made a last minute decision to buy a ticket and hop on a ferry – when you’ve got a lot of time on your hands its a great feeling to be that spontaneous! The ferry I ended up on took me past the Sydney Opera House, past the shores of North Sydney and onto the beautiful areas of Watson’s Bay and Manly (my new dream in life is to be able to afford one of the houses in Watson’s Bay with huge windows and a balcony over looking the water surrounding the city and views of the Harbour Bridge, I will sit out on balcony reading a book with my sun-kissed skin from living in Sydney – haha such a dreamer!). Watson’s Bay is like the Greenwich of London, lots of calming green space and still close to the city but further enough away to feel like you’re not in the city at all! The boat takes you past Watson’s Bay on route to Manly and goes past where the bays of Sydney open up to reveal a gap that is the start of the Pacific Ocean, on the boat you turn the corner and suddenly the ocean is right there! I have always found looking out over the ocean to nothing but water so exciting, as a little girl I’d ask my parents if I were to keep going what country would I next come to and I still think that now. Thinking about it makes your life, in particular your worries, suddenly seem so small compared to how large the world is! Manly is like your typical chilled out surfers paradise, Australians say people from Manly live in their Manly bubble and never leave it so to speak. To be honest I can clearly see why! The area has beautiful long beaches, perfect for surfing obviously, and a national park with incredible views if you walk through it (more like hike through it, it’s very hilly!). Everybody seems so happy and they should be with their stunning views from their houses out to the ocean. Even going for a run sounds more appealing to me in Manly than it does in London (ps, I hate running but force myself to do it on a regular basis so that I can stuff my face in chocolate). If you ever find yourself in Sydney with a day to kill, take a trip to Manly and hang out on the beach or visit a coffee shop and watch the beautiful Manlyers (just made that up) go about their sunny lives.
3). A visit to The Chinese Friendship Garden…
This garden isn’t in your usual Sydney tourist books, it was recommended to me by a local as a must visit. It’s a garden created by The Chinese Government as a gift to the people of Sydney as a sign of the friendship and respect both countries share towards one another. The gardens are located in Darling Harbour, the left side of the CBD area. It costs around $5 to enter and the inside is just stunning, you immediately feel like you have entered another world. If you slowly walk around and take in the breathtaking views, read about the architecture and plant life (everything built and planted is symbolising something, it’s so interesting) you can easily spend a couple of hours in that world of tranquility.
4). A visit to Bondi Beach…
Bondi is located east of Sydney and there are regular buses that stop there if you would be using public transport. Bondi is another part of Sydney that is so beautiful that people who live there live in their ‘Bondi bubble’. It has a large bay with a beautiful wide and long beach that looks out over the ocean, it is perfect and very popular for surfing also (there were a lot of eye catching surfers running along the beach when I visited, it’s that the kind of guy you’re into!). There is a large pavilion and a few cafes and shops located on the beach front. I also delved into the main streets/local area of Bondi and stumbled across some cool boutique clothing stores and even a few vintage shops (my favourite as you’ll know from previous posts). I actually bought a few vintage items while I was there and they were very reasonably priced…
5). Coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi (or the opposite way round depending on your preference!)…
On my last day in Sydney I put on my ‘activewear’ and took the bus down to Coogee beach in East Sydney and did the 3 hour walk along the coast line from Coogee to Bondi. The walk is quite tough and not for the light hearted, it consists of a lot of steps up hill (and down hill obvs) and if you want to get close up to the cliffs and the water then a walk on uneven rocks is needed (be super careful though!). However, it is well worth it as the views are stunning! I even saw some dolphins! There’s an area in Coogee where I started the day called Dolphins Point and as I learned, it’s called that for a reason! There were two dolphins swimming and showing off quite close to the cliffs, it was amazing to see (we don’t often see dolphins in their natural habitat in London funnily enough). I finished the walk at Bondi Beach and ended the day with a swim in Bondi Iceburgs Pool. This is a famous outside pool club that is also accessible to non-members by paying around $8 AUS for a one day pass. The pool is open all year round (but is considerably colder in the winter) and is well worth a visit as the views of Bondi bay and the ocean when your swimming is incredible. They have lockers also to put your personals in and you can rent towels as well (you will need to bring your own swimming costume though – eww imagine rented swimming trunks/bikinis!).
On my last few days in Australia I flew to Brisbane and stayed in Byron Bay for a couple of nights. Byron Bay is amazing and has a great surfer chilled out vibe (the amount of people I saw walking down the street barefoot, again you don’t get that in London!). Byron Bay is about a 2 hour drive from Brisbane, my friend and I easily rented a car from the airport to get there but there are also coaches you could get but they take longer. We stayed in Wake Up which is a trendy youth hostel (but not the skanky kind with bed bugs!). Byron Bay have lots of great restaurants, clubs and clothing/home boutiques. I bought a playsuit that I then wore in Fiji in Byron and I’ve worn it again in London on a hot day, I love it!
On one of the days in Byron, we visited a waterfall in the mountains further inland, about a 45 minute drive from Byron. The views were just breathtaking, I never thought I was afraid of heights until I got up to the top and stood on the viewing platform and looked down. I suddenly got these weird feelings in my stomach and had to go back (total chicken I know!).
Overall I absolutely loved Australia, yes I only visited two areas and I am sure Melbourne, Perth etc are equally as beautiful as I discovered Sydney was. If anybody is thinking of visiting I would say just do it! Figure out your budget and if you can go then book the flights, book the hotels and off you go! I promise you won’t regret it. A few people have asked me if I would consider moving to Sydney after visiting but the answer will have to be no, I am too British and love London too much to up and leave, no matter how beautiful Sydney is.
Australia, you beauty, I will be visiting you again don’t you worry!
Lots of love, xxx