Tuesday, 20 October 2015

We flew to Sydney with Quantas and the plane wasn't half as impressive as Qatar, however the braised beef with mash potato and steamed vegetables was very good. I watched A Royal Night Out and Man Up before getting some sleep but it was quite a turbulent and unsettled eight hour flight. Upon arriving in Sydney just before 8am we were greeted with grey cloudy skies. After a bit of a nightmare trying to find the airport shuttle bus pickup point to our hostel, we set off on the hour long journey to Nate's Place. We arrived around 10 but couldn't check in until 2, so went downstairs to the Peter Pan travel agent which is the largest travel company in Australasia. We managed to kill an hour and a half with a lovely girl called Yasmin who came travelling 18 months ago and is now living in Sydney. She's done it all and knows exactly what position we were in which was great because it meant she could give us recommendations while understanding our budget. After agreeing to go away and have a think over lunch while she put a quote together for us, we stepped outside to rain. When I planned this trip and thought about getting to Australia, I did not envisage spending my first day in the rain. It literally felt like being in England on a drizzly Tuesday morning, not the other side of the world.

Sleep deprived and a little unsettled we went to 5 Boroughs for lunch which was a kitsch little cafe round the corner next to Kings Cross train station. I had the Nutella pancakes and they were so good but SO filling. With another 2 hours to kill we made our way back to the hostel to chill in the TV room until it was time to check in. And then it happened. Delirium hit. 3 hours sleep resulted in laughing at anything and everything. The highlight being when Usher - OMG came on the TV and a group of three boys in the corner started singing along. We hadn't met any of these people properly and you know when you're in a situation when you really shouldn't laugh but everything in your body forces you to laugh? Me and Abby were crying over something that was completely heightened by pure sleep deprivation. After napping until check in, we made our way up to our 12 bed dorm and fell into a deep four hour sleep before eating and getting ready to go out. 

Australia can be pretty expensive for food especially when you're eating out three times a day, so we decided to be thrifty and buy pasta and sauce for dinner and ham, cheese and rolls for the next day's lunch. That evening we headed to the Kings Cross Peter Pan branch where the pre party was with free alcohol and pizza. Great start. We met a girl called Emily from Manchester who travelled, went home for 6 months and then moved to Australia. We then all headed to World Bar and stupidly forgot our ID after three weeks of anything goes in Thailand. After quickly popping back we went in and had such a fun night. The drinks were pretty cheap, the music was good and it felt like being in an upmarket bar in London. The alcohol laws here are strange as you can't buy shots or a doubles after 12am, a law which attempts to combat street fighting under the influence. World Bar didn't serve doubles full stop and some parts of Australia are stricter than others. 

After a long day we collapsed in bed by 1am and woke up for free breakfast before 10. And then tourist day commenced. The weather had massively improved since the day before which instantly perked us up and after a quick pit stop at Peter Pans for a final quote, we spent five or so hours seeing the sights in Sydney. It's funny because Sydney has a lot of the same place names as England like Kings Cross, Hyde Park, Oxford Street and an M1. We walked through the Botantical Gatdens and Hyde Park through to a viewpoint where we could see Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. One thing we did notice while walking though Sydney was how beautiful it was. Gorgeous greenery mixed with high-rise sleek buildings - a cross between London and New York as well described by Abby. There was also a lot of runners and I mean A LOT. But by their jerseys we realised they were part of the Sydney Corporate Cup. It's a very fit and healthy country anyway so we weren't surprised to see people exercising in the park, but the influx of runners was astounding. After eating our lunch on the steps of the opera house, we walked down George Street which is the main shopping area and even popped into Topshop.

Oh, and they even had a dedicated cyclist lane which is quite possibly the best invention ever. We then walked to Darling Habour where we enjoyed an ice cream and a glass of bubbly overlooking the harbour. One of those this is the life moments, you know. After HOURS of walking we made our way back to Peter Pan to pay and spent nearly 3 hours in there with Blakie who literally booked everything for us and even gave us beer. We booked Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Magnetic Island and snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef as well as our Greyhound travel pass (unlimited hop on hop off buses from Sydney to Cairns) and a flight from Cairns down to Brisbane before we fly over to New Zealand. We originally booked an overnight bus to Byron Bay for the Friday but couldn't get accommodation as all the surfers usually head there for the weekend, so ended up booking two more nights at Nate's, changing our bus to Saturday night and booking three nights at the Arts Factory where the Inbetweeners 2 movie was filmed which will be fun. 

After eating we stocked up on some goon which is the cheapest version of wine in Australia - a backpacker's best friend. You can get red or white and it's 10 dollars for 4.5 litres which is the equivalent of 6 bottles (11%) for under a fiver. It doesn't taste amazing, but I've drunk worse so it's a great way to get drunk on a budget. After planning on going to Side Bar we ended up at World Bar again with one of Abby's school friends she hadn't seen in 5 years. World Bar seems to be open every night apart from Monday and it's a good little bar/club in Kings Cross which is nice and local to where we were. In the morning we had to check out and check into another room as we booked another night but the same room wasn't available, so after that nuisance we topped up our Opal cards (equivalent of Oyster card) and got the bus to Bondi Beach which was  seriously beautiful.

It reminded me of a little seaside town and felt like I was back in Cornwall which is my second home. The beach consists of a long stretch of soft white sand and bright blue sea surrounded by cliffs and surfers. Up the ramp from the beach is a grass section followed by a long road lined with cute little bars, restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops. After a pretty full on few days it was the most amazing feeling lying on the beach for six hours falling in and out of sleep with a caramel slice ice cream from Gelatissimo. The beach was huge as well as gorgeous and we had the most relaxing day soaking up the sun.  At half 5 we headed back to Nate's, showered and took advantage of the 5 dollar Domino's pizza deal with is valid before 9pm. £2.50 for an 8 slice pizza is amazing and what's more, everyone tells you Australia is expensive but so far we really haven't noticed it. Maybe it's because we've been making lunch and dinner, but everything seems to be similar to England or less, apart from makeup which seems to be more expensive. 

Having been out the two previous nights we decided to have a chilled one, enjoy our pizza and relax in the TV room which was actually really nice as it meant we had some free time to sit down plan our route up the east coast. Due to the time difference back home I set an alarm for 7am so I could speak to my boyfriend which was a nice start to a sunny Friday morning. We headed off to Bondi again for another six hours of sleeping, tanning and Ben & Jerry's. Me and Kate went in the sea to wave jump as it looked pretty cool. Everyone was surfing and body boarding but we must have looked pathetic because we couldn't even wave jump properly in it. The current was so strong and I can tell you now that the Pacific Ocean is bloody cold. I'm talking England kinda cold which we didn't expect after the gorgeous warm Indian Ocean in Thailand. That night we headed back to the hostel and casually booked a 14,000ft skydive over Airlie Beach for the 4th November. It worked out under £150 and the views looked incredible so I booked it before I actually realised what I was doing and freaked out. It's one of those things I've always wanted to do and know I'll love, but there is a strong possibility I'll poo myself waiting in that plane. 

We then went up to the rooftop where there was a free BBQ and goon before getting ready to go to The Club. Loads of people were out because it was the weekend which was nice as it was our last night in Sydney. We headed there with two guys - Anton and Olivier - who are over here working and we got free entry and free drinks through the hostel which was a bonus. Saturday morning feeling a little worse for wear, and still a bit drunk when I stood up, we went back to Bondi which was quickly becoming our favourite little spot. We spent the day napping, as usual, and got the best bruschetta for lunch at a nearby restaurant by the sea. After yet another day in the sun we went back to the hostel, showered, got some goon for Byron Bay as you can't buy it there, snacks for the journey and another Domino's for dinner before chilling until our taxi at 10pm. 

We chose Nate's Place because it was the most social hostel according to both Hostel World and recommendations but we were pretty disappointed to be honest. It seems as though a lot of people stay at the hostel long-term and work because it's cheaper than renting somewhere, so it was quite cliquey. Some people were friendly and chatty but most kept themselves to themselves and their groups. This also meant that in the week barely anyone went out because they were all working so in terms of it being a big party hostel, it lacked. The rooms however were nice and clean, the bathroom and showers on the first floor did the job, the wifi was pretty good most of the time, you got free breakfast between 8-10am, the TV room had a big flat screen TV with loads of channels and comfy seats and it was very central location. We're now heading up to Byron Bay starting with a 12 hour overnight coach. Sydney is an incredible city and Bondi is especially beautiful so I wouldn't hesitate to go back. But, let's see what Byron has to offer. 


  1. Told you to ask me which hotels to stay in and stuff! Just sayin!

    1. Haha, must be your Uni of Nottingham knowledge!