Tag Archives: Sydney

Sydney – Days 165 and 166

18th July and 19th July 2011

Sydney Harbour

Rolled out of bed just before 9am and headed out to visit Sydney Harbour. As I was walking down the street I saw the bus pull up, assuming I would miss it I took my time. Luckily it turned out to be a small mob of kids getting on so I was able to almost stroll up at a leisurely pace and hop on. As we were driving I realised they did not announce stops and other than it taking about 45mins had no idea where I was going. I asked a fellow passenger and was rewarded with “its the last stop”. Well that should make it easy then.

My wonderful friend, Maz, who I was staying with had given me her all purpose transport pass that would expire that day (thereby saving me $20 at least). I got off at Circular Quay and headed down to the bay. The next ferry to Manly Island was in 15mins so I found a spot in the sun and ate some of the left over pizza for breakfast. The Sydney Opera house was just peeping around the corner of the harbour and even though I could barely see it, it took my breath away.

First view of Opera House

At boarding time I managed to duck and weave my way to a perfect position at the front of the ferry on the 2nd level. Unfortunately, everyone else followed suit. As we headed out into the bay the opera house came into full view and was truly like some mystical structure you hear about but never believe you are going to get the chance to see.

Opera House

Once under full steam into the harbour I gave up my prize location for a wander around the ferry and settled for a more solitary position at the back of the ferry to watch the Sydney bridge and opera house disappear into the skyline on our way to Manly Island.

Sydney Skyline

The weather was near perfect, with just enough of a nip in the air as to need a fleece but not the warm jacket. I walked along the beach and then up along a walk way until I found a sun-drenched rock, perfect to sit and read on. The water below me was crystal clear and I keep expected to see fish and sea creatures cavorting below the waves. After about an hour I headed back to catch the ferry.

The ferry ride was as perfect on the ride back, with the amusing background drama of parent vs child not wanting to put her jacket on. Back at the harbour I considered catching another ferry in the opposite direction, but some music caught my ear I went to investigate. It was a group of Aboriginals playing the didgiridoo, in truth the first ones I had seen that were not sitting in doorways with brown paper packets. The main speaker was singing and encouraging us to sit with Uncle Max and take a photo. Uncle Max seemed like a jovial enough character in a loin cloth and traditional body paint. The music was haunting and the general sense of entertainment combined with culture was at our fingertips. I even picked up one of hte cd’s. It was that or the painted Emu egg that would go nicely next to my Ostrich egg, but the cd was $10 cheaper.

Uncle Max

Feeling a bit tired, fresh air and ferry rides can do that to you. I decided to head “home”. On the way I got a text from Maz saying that we had free tickets to the final Harry Potter movie and to meet her at 6pm. Perfect!!! A quick nap and bite to eat then off to the movies.

We had KFC for dinner, hate to admit it but out of all the fast food places (all of which I try to avoid at all costs) there is something addictive about the KFC sweet chilli wrap. Just so dang yummy! Then the final installment of Harry Potter. It was great seeing families, teenagers, men in business suits… it appears Harry Potter appeals to them all!

Last day in Sydney
My last day consisted of going to the coffee shop and doing some internet, mailing a few postcards and then staring glumly at my backpack, that appears to have exploded all over my friends living room floor. I swear I don’t have that much stuff. Just as I returned to the apartment the weather turned foul, the wind was howling, the rain was pouring down… so we opted for take out Thai for dinner. A perfect choice.

An OH SHIT moment!
Maz’s roommate had offered to take me to the train station at 6am on her way to work, saving me the bus trip and walk down the hill in the rain. I made it to the airport perfectly on time, lined up for checkin, was sent to the front of the line for those going to Auckland only (the plane was continuing on to Santiago), was able to get my air miles reward number entered in, everything was going wonderfully. Then I was asked “ok great now if I can just see your flight info for leaving NZ”.
OH SHIT!!! I hadn’t printed it out. I had all the info written down but had never managed to find an internet cafe (that will teach me to look harder). With a mild sense of panic the very nice lady behind the counter explained that if I just pop downstairs to the left I would find a place to print. She even let me leave my big bag. I ran downstairs, and searched for the internet place, finally I found the computer stuck behind some tables, printer was out of order. I was now reaching the frantic part of the search, I asked someone and he said there was another place further down to the right. I frantically made my way there and discovered the coin slot was jammed so had to use my credit card, $5 minimum (plus exchange rate and foreign transaction fees, this was going to be expensive printing). With a sigh of relief I got it all printed and made my way back upstairs where I was handed my boarding pass and sent on my way.

Up to the point where I was asked for the dreaded flight info I had really needed the bathroom. It is amazing how your body goes into survival mode in panic, as I no longer needed to go, at least not until everything stopped clenching and relaxed.

Not only was my flight on a Chilean airline, LAN, and therefore at risk if the volcano in Chile had burped again, but the weather was also outrageous and I had this gnawing fear that I would have to stay in Sydney longer. As I walked to my gate I looked at the info board only to see my flight displayed thus:

LAN Flight 800 gate 30 delayed-Wed

Forgive me, but has anyone else had a flight appear delayed for an entire day. I nearly had a heart attack. But then it changed to on time, apparently someone had pressed the wrong button. Go Figure! Without any further instances I settled in to wait for boarding.

At boarding I was very pleased to discover that I had a whole 4 person row, that they had yummy FREE snacks and an excellent entertainment system. I almost wished it was a longer flight.

Next entry will be my fun experience with NZ immigration!


Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Gold Coast – Days 162 to 164

15th July to 17th July 2011

Return to the Gold Coast

Another early morning, up at 6.30am. Had to pick my way through the wreckage of my dorm mates luggage and went to have the free pancake breakfast at the hostel. The weather had taken a definate turn for the worse and it was miserably rainy and cold. A bunch of folks at the hostel were not impressed as they were leaving that morning for a 3 day camping trip on Fraser.

Note to self: What not to say to these guys “the weather was fabulous yesterday!” I just couldn’t resist.

Then met “Sparrow” our driver for the return bus to the Gold Coast. Due to a damaged tire we had to make a side trip and got to spend a glorious morning in the town of Gympie! Gympie used to be the murder capital of Australia… just the place you want to go.

But, considering we were at least an hour behind schedule Sparrow managed to make up time and we arrived spot on in Surfer’s Paradise. Chris came to pick me up and we went to fetch SJ on the way home. Back at home, I made lunch and later dinner. SJ was running around pretending to be a spaceman so I grabbed the aluminum foil and turned him into one.

Spaceman SJ

A Change in the Weather
It appeared as if the crappy weather had followed me, that or Karma for my comment to the campers. We had hoped the weather would be as perfect as it had been for the last 2 weeks so we could spend the day at the beach. Instead it was rainy and cold. Chris and I did the chores, this time I was asked to clean the bathrooms and toilets…

We had thought of going to the movies, the Klopper’s taking SJ to watch Cars2 and me to Harry Potter. I decided to rather save the money and hang out at home and get some stuff done. This was such a good idea that everyone decided to just chill out at home and Coral went with SJ to get a few videos.

I had been requested to make my lemon stuffed chicken again, apparently it was quite a hit. As my flight left quite early and I wanted to try and finish the “Power of One” so I could leave it for Chris, I called it a night.

Finished the book around 11.30pm!!

Sydney Bound!

My flight was leaving at 8.55am, so we were out the door by 7.30am. Would have preferred to go earlier but it all worked out ok. I walked upto the checkin counter and was amazed that there were only 3 people waiting. Then I realised that was the international flights. My flight had a line almost out the door and me only 30min till flight boarding. I asked someone and was directed towards an empty counter, apparently they expect some of us to come right on time. I was offered an aisle seat with more legroom. After a general giggle from both the guy checking me in and myself, as I am the last person needing extra legroom, he clarified that I looked fit enough to help out. I mentioned I was a vet nurse and he asked if I could help fix the Hendra Virus then (the virus spread by bats, infecting horses and then humans). I asked if we expected any horses on board?

The flight went smoothly and I managed to find my way to Bondi Junction where I met Maz. Maz had been a surfer with me back in 2008 and this was the first time we had met up since. Catching the bus to her house we caught up on each others news. Then we went out for brunch and Maz bought me the best breakfast ever. A bacon, chive, potato, cheese omelette with turkish bread and an extra side of bacon. UN BE LIEVE A BLE!!!!!!
The coffee was great too. Then we went with her friends to the little sunday market and I managed to pick up a new hat. I tried to bargain with the guy, who wanted $25.
Me: would you take $18
Guy: NO!
Me: ok here is $25

He was definately NOT the bargaining type and seemed almost insulted. Oh well, can’t blame me for trying.

Saying cheers to her friends we went for a walk down to Bondi Beach. I must admit it is a lot smaller than I expected but still not bad for being in the middle of the city.

Bondi Beach

There was a Christmas in July fest going on with an iceskating ring, free chai, Oktoberfest food and fake christmas trees. The chai was delicious and the atmosphere fantastic.

Christmas in July

We planned to walk up along the headland and over to the next beach, but a huge cloud had other ideas and the heavens opened as we were running back to the chai tent. We then decided to head home and Maz made us pizza for dinner. Tomorrow its all about exploring the Sydney Harbour.

Maz and me

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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Sydney/Canberra – Day 112-117 – I’ve Come to a Land Downunder

April 30th – May 5th 2011

Arriving in Sydney around noon I felt like I had been run over by a freight train a few times over. I made it through customs and immigration before the substantial caffeine rush I had been working on all flight started to wane. Then I had to figure out the shuttle to the hostel. Due to a miscommunication on arrival dates my friend turned out to still be in Indonesia resulting in a hostel check in. After wandering round like a lost puppy for about 20minutes I finally figured out where the meeting point was and was found by the shuttle about 10minutes later. After a few stops to pick up others we headed out into Sydney. I was staying at a hostel called The Maze, one of the older and more popular hostels, according to the website. It turned out to be quite large and maze was an understatement. I am sure there are backpackers wandering the halls lost for decades trying to check out.

I was shown a 6 bed dorm and as I placed the key in the lock I relished in the thought of collapsing in a bed… only to discover the lock was busted. Too tired to lug my bags down 3 flights of stairs I left them and went in search of someone. Luckily I found someone only 2 flights down and soon had the manager and assistant manager attempting to open the room. Eventually they offered me a free upgrade to a 4 bed dorm and I was led back into the maze. As it turns out sheer exhaustion appears to have given me a better sense of direction as I found the room before the assistant manager who had argued with me that the hallway, that ultimately contained my room, was not the right hallway. But I managed to open this door only to discover that I would have the top bunk of the squeaky beds, I remember when I used to love top bunks… does this mean I am getting old or smarter??

As it turned out I was too tired to sleep and so had a shower and then headed out to try find a meat pie for dinner. I was directed to an Irish pub and what I got was essentially so so irish stew with a massive pastry dome and some chips. At least the pastry was good.

There were certain signs that let me know I wasn’t in the States anymore, such as:

It turns out that finding wifi in South America was way easier than finding it in Australia, and when you do manage to find some it costs you an arm and a leg. So when I purchased my 24hr internet card (giving me 24hrs from the time of activation) I was determined to use it to the fullest and managed to keep myself awake watching online tv until a whopping 7pm Aussie time. Then I promptly passed out.

Canberra bound
Due to the price of things and general confusion as to what the heck I was supposed to do in the land downunder now that I had made it here, I decided to head to friend’s house in Canberra. Most who I told of this plan looked at me dumbfounded saying “but there is nothing in Canberra”. Turns out there is a beautiful lake, good friends and a free couch… sounded good to me. I spent the week getting over jet lag, fighting off a cold, watching internet TV and working on my blog. All in all a great week.
Some pics from Canberra:

During my recoup time in Canberra I browsed the gumtree posts, essentially the same as craigslist. I cam across the following ad:
Experience Aussie Farm Life
Free accomodation, free food, free horse riding or riding lessons all for only 3hrs of work a day. Set on a beautiful beef farm near the town of Boorowa.

Sounds near perfect, so I called up and headed out… little did I know…

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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Australia, RTW, Travel, Uncategorized


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