Sydney: Sun, sand, sights, surprises!

I’ve written a bit more about my time in Sydney and Melbourne for the Oakville Beaver, check that article out here.

After a whirlwind five days in Sydney, I’m now in the most “liveable city in the world,” Melbourne! I absolutely loved Sydney and did so much in the short time I was there. I also spent a lot of time on rooftops, but that’s because beer just tastes better when there’s a nice view involved. One night, three Australian friends I met in Europe two years ago and I spent some time on the roof of our hostel with some pizza and beer. While hamming it up for pictures backed by Sydney’s skyline, we were suddenly surprised to see fireworks go off right next to the Opera House! Now, that’s how you make a beautiful view even better.

You can’t really see the view behind us, but I promise it’s pretty!

Since I couldn’t get enough of the view of the harbour from above, I also climbed to the Pylon Lookout on the Harbour Bridge. Travel tip for the poor people: if you can’t afford the relatively pricy bridge climb that allows you to hike the entire bridge (I couldn’t), the Pylon Lookout is another option that allows you to “climb up the bridge,” though to a lesser degree. The views are just as pretty, too!

At the Pylon Lookout, Harbour Bridge, Sydney!

In other news, I saw my first koala and kangaroo! I figured I couldn’t leave Australia without spotting at least one of the two. I kind of cheated though, because I saw them at the Taronga Zoo. Still! It was a hot hot hot sunny day when I visited the zoo, which was a short ferry ride from Sydney harbour. You could even see Sydney’s famous skyline from some parts of the zoo, which was a sight all it’s own.

My first kangaroo! Well, it wasn’t my pet, but you know what I mean.

New legislation has made it illegal to hold koalas, so I booked what the zoo calls a “koala encounter.” Basically, this entailed getting about 10 minutes with one of the little guys and posing for pictures next to them. Yes, I loved every second of it. Yes, I am a huge tourist. My favourite thing about koalas is that they sleep all the time. The rumour is that they sleep so much (20 hours a day!) because they are constantly drunk off Eucalyptus. Apparently that’s a myth, but I like to think it’s true.

Cayley, Lincoln the sleepy koala, me, and my Aussie friend Kim at Taronga Zoo.

Due to the fact that I’m a tourist, I obviously toured the Opera House. There’s a picture of it on my credit card for goodness sakes! I had to do it. I did the cheap tour option (obviously), but it was informative and cool to get inside such a well-known building. Lesson of the day: the tiles on the Opera House aren’t all white. Rather, they are a combination of white and cream tiles, and some are glossy while some are matte. The more you know!

On the tourist front, I also went to Bondi Beach. Even though my Australia surfer friend warned us that Bondi paled in comparison to the nearby Maroubra Beach, Cayley and I decided to visit both. Of the two, Bondi is definitely busier, though both have the sea, sun and sand that make Australia beaches world famous. We did get clobbered by the waves so much that both Cayley and I lost our sunglasses in the sea (I know, we shouldn’t have brought them in, but they’re permanently on our head and we forgot). We also lost our bikini tops a few times, though thankfully they were retrieved without any noticeable public nudity incidents. Some women on the beach clearly didn’t mind losing their tops though (I don’t even think they lost them! My word), which was yet another example of how Aussies just seem more relaxed than Canadians. Let’s work on that, people. I think they’re having more fun than us!

A lot of people visit this beach.

We were so distracted by the fun-having Aussies that we almost missed our overnight bus to Melbourne. We ended up having to run through the city with our bikinis and beach clothes on, which sounds Baywatch-esque, but in reality was the complete opposite. We grabbed a taxi from our hostel with ten minutes to go until our bus was scheduled to leave at 8pm, and as the clock ticked to 8:01, we admitted defeat. Arriving at the station at 8:07, we trudged with our bags up to where the bus was supposed to be. Guess what? It was there! We jumped up and down, high-fived, freaked out, then got on the bus. I have never been so happy to get onto an overnight bus, let me tell you.  Even if I had to spend the next 12 hours in a sandy bathing suit and dress.

Some other Sydney area adventures included a visit to the vintage-y looking seaside town Manly, which obviously included a nap on the beach. That seems to be the theme of our Aussie adventures, and it’s awesome. Napping is cool, but napping on the beach is way cooler. We also had a Slurpee picnic (read: no food, just Slurpees) at Hyde Park, a huge and pretty park in the middle of the Sydney. Basically, we did a lot of running and sitting. Also, eating and drinking and slurping and viewing and ferrying and dancing and talking and loving life. I loved Sydney and hopefully will be back someday!

The view from the Manly ferry!

Now I’m in Melbourne, staying with a friend I met on safari in Kenya. She lives in a quaint little suburb just outside the city, which is a welcome change to our go-go-go lives. While living in dorms and meeting new people is good sometimes, it’s also nice to have a room to ourselves for once. No Irish snorers or drunken Brits to contend with here, just a cuddly cat(!).

Bye for now!

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