Sydney Australia (Mid-Semester Break)

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April 14th 2012
Published: April 19th 2012
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For my mid-semester break I decided to spend the first week in Australia. Seeing as it's such a big country I only went to Sydney. I flew over by myself and met a friend from my AustraLearn program.

Day 1:

The flight was about three hours, but since there was a two hours time difference I gained more time. I took a shuttle to the hostel where I met my friend. Since she got there before me she actually, randomly, met two australian girls. These two were at our hostel and we all spent the night together. They took us to eat at a Thai restaurant next to our hostel. It was delicious, especially since I didn't eat anything for 10 hours before that. We then went to get transportation passes for the week. I'm glad I bought this because it was $60 for the week. It included unlimited train, bus, and ferry. We easily would have spent at least $150 on transportation if we didn't get this pass. We never would have known about this if we didn't meet the two local girls. Then we took the train to Luna Park. This reminded me of a little fair and was super cute. Here we tried Lamingtons which the girls bought us. They are little chocolate cake-like things with coconut on them. I'm not a fan of coconut, but I didn't mind these! We then caught the ferry back across the harbor. This was neat because we went under the Harbor Bridge (which is beautiful all lit up at night). Then we walked to the Opera House. We sat under one of the arches for a bit and took pictures. It was a really fun night. Even though we were doing tourist-type things, I didn't feel like a tourist because it was after midnight so not a lot of people were around. Plus, it was just an extremely fun night so it just felt like we were hanging out!

Day 2:

Talked to my hostel mates before we left for the day. There were four others not included my friend. They were all from Germany coincidently, but none of them knew each other before they got to Sydney. They all were super nice! We then went to the Queen Victoria mall. Even though there were stores, it didn't seem like a mall because it was all done up and painted cool as. For example there were two clock towers hanging from the ceiling. There were also stained glass windows and murals. We then went back by the Opera House so we could see it during the day. On the way there we saw aboriginal guys playing music. There was this long wooden horn thing that sounded amazing. We even got to sit with them and join in my clapping sticks together. Afterwards we went to the rocks, which is the oldest part of Sydney. While we were here we saw that there were little markets lining the streets. Walking through them, I was surprised how many tents there actually were. It seemed like they would never end. We then went to the Harbor Bridge. We walked on the bridge (just the sidewalk area, not the bridge climb). We did climb up one of the "towers" on the edge of it though. This gave us an amazing view of the city, the bridge, Opera house, and harbor. We then took the ferry to the Taronga Zoo. To me it just felt like a typical zoo, except for the koalas. They were super neat to actually see in person, even though most of them were sleeping while we were there. Once we got back to the harbor we walked around the Royal Botanic gardens for a bit. We saw these huge bats flying around. It was gross- I didn't know bats could be that big! We then went back to the rocks to have dinner and it started raining. We ended up getting soaked walking back to our hostel, but it was still fun.

Day 3:

We woke up super early so we could catch our train to Blue Mountains. The train was two hours long to Katamba. As soon as I got off I could tell the change in temperature since we were at a higher elevation. We bought the pass that would take us on the railway, the skyway, and the cableway. Each were very fun! We started with the skyway where we get a bird's eye view of the area including the three sisters and a waterfall. The mountains appear blue because of the haze caused by the Eucalyptus trees emitting oil vapor into the atmosphere. This scatters blue light on the objects. Personally, I didn't think the mountains looked blue, but they were still gorgeous. Next was the railway, which dropped 206 meters and went through a tunnel. I wasn't expecting it to be as steep as it was, but it was probably my favorite of the three. We then hiked on the boardwalk and got to see the forest. Additionally, we got different views of the tree sisters (essentially three rocks). After an hour on the boardwalk we got to the cable car. We basically saw the same views as we did on the skyway so I could have done without this. We hopped back on the bus at this point and got off at the stop by the three sisters. For this hike we actually went down behind the first of the three sisters. At one point we were on/in a little part of the first rock! It was a very steep narrow staircase to get down to this point and there were a lot of people which made it even harder. Once we made our way back to the top we hiked to echo point. Surprisingly, we forgot to yell here so we never heard the echo. If someone else would have yelled we would have remembered, but no one else did when we were there. The bus then took us to the Leura Cascades. This was my favorite part of the trip. The further down the mountains we went the better they got. They were cool at the top to look at, but at the bottom they were huge! After we also went to some cliffs, Gordon falls, and just tramped around. Once we returned back to Sydney we went to Chinatown! It was very lit up and looked gorgeous at night!

Day 4:

We planned this day to be our beach hopping day, but the weather didn't want to cooperate with us. We still went, however, it was just a little cold and windy so we never went into the water. The first stop was Bondi beach. It was beautiful and there weren't that many people since it was a little chilly. We walked around for a bit then went to Cooge Beach. Here I ate my first persimmon. Which is a fruit that looks like a tomato, feels like an apple, and taste like a melon. I wasn't particularly fond of this fruit but it wasn't bad. At this beach we went of the beaten trail a bit and climbed the rocks that lined the water. The color of the rocks was fascinating. After awhile we decided to go to Manly beach. This was farther away so we had to take a ferry. It was a gorgeous beach so I wish it would have been warmer out. Here we met up with our Australian friends, that we made on the first day. We then went to a hamburger place where I could try Kangaroo. It was my mission to find and try kangaroo meat while I was in Australia, so I was really excited to eat here. My kangaroo burger was really tasty! It reminded me of beef. We then stopped off at Scubar on our way back to the hostel. It was a fun night!

Day 5:

We went back to the Opera house to see if we could go inside. We got in, but didn't see much because we weren't on a tour so we could only go so far. The weather was nice so we decided to go back to Bondi beach. However, on the bus ride there it started pouring rain. Therefore, our beach experience was a fail. Instead we went to Darling Harbor and went through the Chinese Gardens. These were so pretty. We got to see performances of people dancing, singing, and storytelling. Each were in traditional chinese dress. At this point the weather was nice again so mother nature must not have wanted us to go to the beach! We met up with our Australians friends again and they took us to Jacksons on George. It was a cute little bar on the fourth floor of a building. Here we tried chicken schnitzels. They are basically a giant chicken patty. We also tried four different drinks here-each of us picking one to share with the rest! After this we went to another bar but didn't stay out late because we were all pretty tired.

Day 6:

We didn't have anything planned today so we just walked to the Observatory. It was about a 40 minute walk and it simply had a nice view. We then sat under the Harbor Bridge for awhile just enjoying the day and watching the boats pass by. When we got back by Town Hall my friend and I split up. She went to go find a Columbian restaurant and I caught a train to the airport. I got off at the stop right before the airport stop so I didn't have to pay $20 at the airport. Instead I walked. It was a beautiful walk right next to a river, but it did take me an hour. I had nothing to do though and only had a backpack for my luggage so it wasn't a big deal for me to walk. It was sad when I left Sydney because I had a blast, however, I was ready to be back home in Auckland.


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