What did we do on Christmas day I hear you ask? Well we went over to an area of Sydney called Manly and went for a swim in the sea of course! And naturally we had a BBQ back at our hostel with Lobster, prawns, various meats and champagne! Well it was christmas day! No BBQ on the beach unfortunately as there was a total fire ban and being in a new country and not knowing the laws we didn't want to get arrested on christmas day! To get to Manly we had to take a ferry across the beautiful sydney harbour and on Christmas day we had our first sighting of Sydney's most famous landmarks - The Harbour bridge and the opera house! Another reason Sydney is famous is that it has the largest natural harbour in the world and it is quite beautiful.
On boxing day headed down to the harbour to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart race - went to mrs macquires chair (a small peninsula of parkland which sticks out in to the harbour) and found myself a nice spot to watch the boats go by. Imagine my suprise when I looked
in front of me and discovered I was sitting a metre behind british actor and comedian Stephen Tomkinson who you might remember from Drop the Dead Donkey and Ballykissangel! Halfway round the world (admittedly surrounded by british voices) and a face from my childhood is sitting in front of me! he was there with his family and no i didn't speak to him, however I did take a couple of sneaky pictures whilst pretending to photograph the harbour! Both boxing day and christmas day were gloriously sunny which admittedly didn't feel like christmas but we had a few cards and pressies to open as well as santa hats so don't feel too sorry for us!
The hostel we've been staying in has been quite rowdy over the festive season however its been so hot we haven't spent much time indoors as the room is even hotter than outside - a fair amount of time has been spent in nice air conditioned shopping centre's window shopping.
We have of course visited the famous bondi beach and it was good fun but very strong waves so a bit scary at times! Ele and I took a trip to
visit the blue mountains near sydney with some people from our hostel which was beautiful and also included a visit to scenic world. The blue mountains are a 2 hour train journey from Sydney and when you get there you buy a ticket for a hop on, hop off bus to visit the various attractions in the area. They are called the blue mountains because the oil from eucalyptus tree's in the area is suspended in the air and this cause's the mountain's to appear blue. Scenic world basically consists of two cable cars and a very steep funicular railway with some views of the mountains, waterfalls and various walkways set up so you can wander through the forest. The funicular railway was quite fun - as you set off, the Indiana Jones theme music starts and you head very fast into an old coal mine and travel steeply down the cliffside, at times wondering quite how the train is staying attached and then - its all over. It takes about a minute but its good fun. We also visited the Levua cascades which is where one of the photo's is taken at the top of the waterfall.
For new years eve we headed over to milsons point to meet a friend of Tom's and had a lovely time -we had great views of the harbour bridge and fireworks and also went to a local bar which had the promotion of champagne cocktails for $5 which is about 2 pounds 40pence ish- Perfect! There was a great atmosphere and amazingly we managed to take public transport all the way home including a trip over the harbour bridge (very exciting)! Definately a memorable new years eve. By the way on new years day it was 44 degrees C!
So far we have loved Australia (except for the cockroaches and occasional mosquito's) and am looking forward to living here and exploring the amazing things this country has to offer. Ele and I are off travelling for a few weeks now, leaving Tom to start work and his rugby playing. We are off to Melbourne now and willl hopefully catch up with my friend Jayne from Enfield who's home for Christmas!
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