Once leaving Cairns, I headed off to Sydney to see what all the talk was about for Australia’s most famous city. I arrived in the late afternoon as travling around Australia does take some time. Contrary to popular belief, Australia is, in fact, and GIANT country, and it takes a long time to go anywhere since cities are very spread out. As an example, my flight from Melbourne to Cairns took about 3.5 hrs, and my flight back down to Sydney from Cairns took nearly another 3.5. All-in-all, by the time I actually got to my new residence in Sydney, it was late afternoon and I had little time to do much of anything.
My hostel in Sydney was much different than the other two I’d stayed at up to that point of the trip. It was called Blue Parrot and was located in the Potts Point, Kings Cross area of Sydney. On the map, this didn’t seem too far away from the Opera House or Royal Gardens, but it was much further than I really anticipated. I personally wouldn’t stay here again, but if you’re one for quite, charming hostels, you should definitely hit up the Blue Parrot.
I was fortunate to already know a few people who were going to be in Sydney during the same days I was, so once I settled into my hostel, I headed out to meet up with them. These three Canadians were the same three from my diving trip in Cairns, so I felt pretty comfortable with them and had been enjoying their company along the way. I was excited to get to spend a few more days with them in Sydney since the people in my hostel room were fairly quiet and didn’t seem too interested in meeting new friends to hang out with.
Our first night in Sydney we went out for dinner along one of the harbors and had a really fantastic meal. We were suprised with a free firework show right in front of our restaurant and ended up spending a bit too much money on dinner that particular night.
After dinner, we hit up a few hostel bars, but called it a night fairly early due to some unwanted individuals. This night in particular, though, was the first time I’d ever really seen a full on international club scene. Maybe it was this particular bar, or maybe it was the unbelievably strong drinks be sold at said bar, but until this night, I’d never actually witnessed stereotypical “agressive male mating ritual behavior.” if you watch Planet Earth, you see different animals acting quite aggressively in order to win the affection of a female. I assumed humans were past this phase of evolution, but I was quite mistaken. I was out with 2 girls and another guy and it seemed like a constant battle to fend off the unwanted Brazilians and Italian travelers from our two girl friends. After continuous attempts to pretend we were with the girls and what I like to call “blocking”, these guys really didn’t seem to get the hint. Eventually we all decided to leave as it really didn’t seem like there was any end to the continued attempts in sight.
Day 2 of Sydney my friends and I decided to do a beach day out to Bondi Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world. Bondi is well known for it’s picturesque view, surfing, and generally calm break, and it was a perfect place to just chil after a lot of travel the day before. We enjoyed a couple hours on the beach followed by some local asian food at a restaraunt down the street.
The Iceberg Pool at Bondi Beach is also a neat attraction in Sydney which I had to see on account of my swimming background. The Iceberg Pool is an oceanisde lap swimming pool that has stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It is a very neat place to see if you’ve got a swimming background simply for its fame and bizarre design.
Day 3 of being in Sydney I traveled to the Blue Mountains about 2.5 hours west of Sydney. These are generall described by Australians as “The Grand Canyon of Austrlia,” and I’d say that that’s fairly appropriate. Obviously it’s not nearly as grand as the Grand Canyon, but it certainly is large. The Blue Mountains are fully vegetated and provide lots of great hiking and picturesque views. I traveled up there with one of my Canadian friends and we had a really great time hiking for the afternoon. It was a different view of Australia that I’d not yet seen yet and I was really glad to be able to see this part of the country. After another 2.5 hour train ride home and a quick nap, I met up with friends again for dinner in the Royal Gardens. The Gardens in Sydney close at sunset, so we really didn’t get that much time, but had a fun experience getting lost inside them and then quickly escorted out of the park by a security guard. It felt a little bit like those times in high school when I had to run from the police off the golf course, but that’s a story for another time.
My last day in Sydney I decided to complete all of the “touristy” things in the city. I hopped onto a walking tour early in the morning which lasted around 4 hours. A friend I’d met in Melbourne who happened to have traveled up to Sydney the day before this joined me along the way and it was really great to have some company with me. Though long, this tour really covered everything in the downtown area that you need to see in Sydney. I’m personally not a huge big city guy, so the walking tour really allowed me to see exactly what I felt like needed to see within the city. We toured the Opera House, Harbour, and other key features of Sydney, but the day was really capped by an awesome hike up the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I met a new friend during the tour from Sweden who ended up spending the rest of the day with me, and we decided to hike the bridge together. The bridge climb can be a very expensive way to see the city so we decided against it and just walked the bridge. But a fair warning on the bridge climb should you decide to do it, you aren’t able to take any phones or cameras along the way, so make sure you’re ok with that before you actually start the climb. If you really just want pictures from the bridge, the walk is free and gives some amazing views of the Opera House.
After our climb we headed back over the the Royal Gardens and out to Mrs. Macquarie’s Point which is rumored to provide the best panoramc views of the city. Boy did this not disappoint. Mrs. Macquarie’s Point extend far out in the Sydney Harbour, and thus gives you nice views looking backward towards the city.
This capped the last full day of touring through Australia and it was a great way to finish things off. For my last night in Sydney, I met up with my Canadian friends again and a few Swedish girls who were friends with my travel buddy for the day. We had a relaxed night drinking in the park and exchanging stories about our travels. Everyone there had been in Australia for a much longer time than me, so it was great to hear about some of the things I didn’t get to do while I was there that I can hopefully checkoff my list the next time I visit Australia.
All-in-all, my trip down under was exactly what I was hoping for. It gave me my first taste of solo traveling, and brought me to the realization that this is exactly what I want to be doing with me time.