One year honeymoon around the world...17th April 2007 to 9th March 2008! Yes we're home!!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Australia! Week One - Sydney to…Great Pacific Drive

Friday 19 October – Arrived in Sydney, dropped our bags at Marc & Andrea's house in Paddington and went out to a bar called Opera Bar with great views of… you guessed it, the Opera House! And the Bridge too. This is my first time in Australia and was very impressed by the Opera House at night but not so the Harbour Bridge at night – it didn't look particularly big. Got dinner at a noodle fest in the park – good (cheap) food and atmosphere and music cool too. Reminded us of Frankfurt fests. After we went for a drink at Orbit bar which as the name would suggest "orbits" its tower giving a full view of Sydney at night. Would like to go there again in the day. By now it was 11pm but with the 3 hour time difference with NZ Ben and I were shattered so headed home.
Sat 20 Oct - Went out for brunch in Paddington then took bus to Bondi Beach for a few hours sunbathing – or sunsleeping as we did. Warm but stayed in shorts and strappy top: bit of a breeze. Lots of surfing. Would like to have a go on a very warm day as I will undoubtedly spend most of my time in the water. Bus back to Paddington and we went to the Paddington Inn (pub) to meet Tracy & Justin who we met on the Galapagos Cruise. Dinner back at Marc & Andreas – plan was to get an early night so we could get up for the Rugby World Cup Final (England v South Africa) on Sunday morning.
Sun 21 Oct – Alarm went off at 4.30am. I opted to watch the game on the couch with my duvet and the boys went to a pub in Bondi. I went straight back to bed after the game (we lost) and the boys continued boozing till the early afternoon. Andrea and I went to The Rocks to the tourist info so I could pick up leaflets and then we strolled the weekend markets. Back to Paddington for lunch then Ben and I went to a local park: Rushcutters Bay Park and sat in the sun for a few hours. Marc cooked a very yummy Roast Dinner – our first since we've been away. Early night for all after our early morning.
Mon 22 Oct – Up at 8am. Our new schedule attempt after our lazy mornings in NZ. Lots to do and see in Sydney. Beautiful warm sunny day. Loving the weather. Went to the Opera House and got tickets for the tour. Interesting tour; average guide. Got to see a drama theatre and the Concert Hall. Think it's much more impressive from the outside – though tour is a must-do. Also close up the outside is in need of a refurb. Amazing building and location nonetheless.
Went for a stroll under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. By daylight the Bridge is at its best. Watched people walking across. Plan is to do the Bridge Climb with Marc & Andrea on Christmas Eve. My Mum & Dad gave us the money to do it as our Christmas Present 2006 so seems quite appropriate to do it at Christmas 2007. Wandered round The Rocks and popped into the Information Centre and bought YHA passes. I so should have done this a couple of weeks earlier as it's 10 Dollars cheaper for under26's and I'm now 26 and 3 weeks! Darn! I did try to blag it but no go. Headed home as we were cooking dinner tonight. Ben cooked a fab Indian meal.

Tues 23 OctBen's Birthday!! Weather starting to turn grey today. Went for brunch as it was Ben's birthday. Then took bus to City and got a monorail daypass and went to Darling Harbour. Ben spotted the Australian Maritime Museum from the monorail and decided he wanted to go there for his Bday. I think it was the submarine in the Harbour that swung it. We used our YHA cards for the first time and got 20% discount on the entry fee. Went on a guided tour of the HMAS Vampire – a large war ship. Very interesting and wouldn't fancy working/living on one myself. Walked through the submarine also – I was very tall at 5'6'' and had to duck nearly everywhere. Claustrophobics would not like it as you have to climb down a small ladder to get in and crouch through 3 internal circular doors to pass through the cabins/engine rooms. The museum was extremely comprehensive with everything you can think of that is linked to Maritime and the sea. They had a good exhibition on jelly fish that I liked. Could have spent all day in there as there is so much to see. Got lunch and found the outdoor exhibit "Earth From Above" in Darling Harbour next to the Urban River (fancy stream fountains). I assume this travels the world so if you get chance to see it you must. I loved it. Excellent photos. Some shots were mesmerising and we spent a while strolling up and down the two rows of large freestanding prints. We'd been to some places and are going to visit others.

Do check out online…

We continued to stroll through Darling Harbour and jumped on Monorail again into City Centre. Looked in some shops and then got coffee at Gloria Jeans – it's a chain to rival Starbucks in my opinion – great coffee. Met Marc & Andrea in pub and then went for Ben's Birthday dinner in Chinatown.

Wed 24 Oct – Had planned to do Manly Beach walk but it was overcast when we woke (at 8am again...we're doing well). Spent morning chilling/planning. Wanted to walk into City but was starting to rain so jumped on bus and thought we'd walk back. Got bus to The Rocks and walked up to the Observatory. Had a good look round the (free) museum/exhibits sitting down to watch a good half hour of a Captain Cook programme. Weather still dreary so went to The Rocks (free) Museum and saw how the Europeans colonised the rest of the "new" world. Looked round a few shops but still raining, and getting harder, so went back to Paddington. Bought dinner and sat in front of telly J Can't beat that.

Thurs 25 Oct – Hire car booked from today for 1 week. Plan is to drive to Melbourne via the Grand Pacific Drive down the Southeast Coast, check out Thredbo and Mount Kosciuszko (highest mountain in Oz), do the Great Ocean Road (South Coast in Victoria), Phillip Island (to see Penguin March) and then return the car to Melbourne. One day in Melbourne then we fly to Perth!

Ben collected car. We packed up our 2 large backpacks and our daypacks and hit the road around noon. We left a considerable amount of stuff at Marc & Andrea's which we intend to ship home at Xmas along with our tent. Drove to Wollongong about an hour south of Sydney, had Subway salads for lunch and went in search of the Buddhist Temple mentioned in several guidebooks as MUST SEE. Was my call to go there, bit out of the way but eventually found it and Ben was impressed (me too!). The Nan Tien Temple: Huge place. Beautiful shrine/temple room. The walls were covered in hand-sized Buddhas in each room was at least 1 very large Buddha. I understood it was to mean that every "little" person had the ability to become a bigger Buddha. (I think). Very excited about Asia now!

Back on Grand Pacific Drive: next stop Jervis Bay. We stayed in Huskisson. Found a half-decent campground after looking extensively for the hostel which must no longer exist. Went out for dinner (no kitchen at campground) at 3Gringos and had a fab meal. Very yummy prawns, steak & veg and strawberries & cream. The 3 course set menu was cheaper than a main on its own!

Back to Tent and a street light had come on DIRECTLY above our tent! Whoops! Couldn't be bothered to move it – but inside we could read without headtorch! Out came the airline eyemasks. Will remember to check for lights next time we camp.


Sam x

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