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August 24th 2011
Published: August 24th 2011
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Well so here we are, upside down, on the other side of the world....Down Under! The flight was long and the jet lag is still kicking our butts but it has definitely been worth it. It's still technically winter time here so it feels like we've been fast-forwarded into our autumn back home. It's nice really because we know we have a second summer coming up.

We landed at around 7.30pm in darkness but still managed to catch a glimpse of Sydney Harbour all lit up as we came in to land. We didn't actually get out of the airport till about 9pm due to customs and quarantine but we got a taxi and found our hostel fine. We're staying at the West End backpackers on Pitt St. which means we're not that far from Chinatown. It's a cheap hostel which means we're living in a slightly damp windowless box (almost) but it's not all bad! After dumping our stuff we headed out for a stroll to find some food. We met the locals (gulls and possums or bandicoots?) and after walking for ages getting our bearings we eventually ended up in good old Maccy D's which, by that point, seemed like a good idea. It's enough to say that we hit the hay soon after and didn't surface until about 2.30pm the next day!

Day 1 Monday 22nd Aug

We surfaced in the afternoon after being disturbed by house keeping and tanoid announcements (quiz: win $50 worth of bar drinks!). We hit the town and took a long walk through town and down to Circular Quay and had pizzas at Rossini's, a nice little Italian bar/restaurant opposite the ferry dock. From here we had a look at the Harbour Bridge and went round to the Opera House which is actually much smaller than you expect! We did the tourist thing and took plenty of pics (which will be uploaded soon) and had a look in a souvenir shop where we found the perfect gift for Dale: kangaroo balls on a keyring :0) Unfortunately at a hefty $40 we couldn't really afford them and decided Dale would be better off without them anyway!
By this time it was getting dark (and cold) so we headed for the pub for a couple of beers. By the end we were dozing so headed home for more sleep.

Day 2 Tuesday 23rd Aug

After, lets face it, a rubbish night's sleep we forced ourselves up at 8am and headed out for a 'productive day'. We headed to Macchiato for brekkie (french toast, fruit and BLT yum yum!) and then sorted out our bank accounts and new phones. It was raining (shock horror!) but we headed on down to Darling Harbour a few miles round the corner from Circular Quay. It's a lovely quiet area with restaurants, the aquarium and Maritime museum. Our plans to visit the aquarium (and the pair of dugongs that live there) were scuppered by the hefty price so we decided to walk the 3km back round to Circular Quay so we could catch the ferry to Manly Bay. It took around 3/4 of an hour to get back but the sun was now shining and the walk took us past The Rocks which is where Sydney historically began.

The ferry left at 2pm and took half hour to get to Manly Bay. The views were stunning and Manly Bay is beautiful with aquamarine waves and white sand. It's a surfers paradise too and so means the town is full of surfing shops. We headed straight for the beach, passing through the town with it's 'colonial feel' and avenue of palm trees. All I can say is that it knocks socks off Aberystwyth (which is the closest thing I could compare the place to)! The waves were crashing in and plenty of people were strolling along the sand and surfing. A local school group were also having fun at the volleyball courts. We sat down for a while just to take in the view. Along the promenade we came across two cockatoos mooching about under the trees so took a few pictures - they were very friendly! As you can imagine this made me really happy :0)

We caught the ferry back at about 4pm and headed to Chinatown where the plan was to find some authentic noodle bars. Unfortunately the bad night's sleep and the day's epic exertion wiped us out and we ended up back at the pub for bar meals!

More to follow as we go along and pictures will be up asap.....


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