I landed in Sydney mid-afternoon on Tuesday and took the train from the airport to my friends train stop. I got off and she quickly met we there; we embraced and started talking nonstop. We went back to her apartment, dropped my bag off, and wandered into the city.
We stopped at this super fancy food court and enjoyed delicious salads at a Sydney health-food chain. After dinner, we headed to the Sydney Opera House for the beautiful night views. We took plenty of photos and saw a stunning light show projected on the Opera House outside.
At the moment, I decided I had to try and see a show. It was quickly cemented in my mind and I determined our best chance would be the first-come, first-serve discount tickets available starting at 9am.
The next morning we woke up early, I saw my friend’s gorgeous university campus, and took the train to Circular Quay—the home of the Opera House. I lucked out and scored two discounted tickets to La Boheme for that night.
Thrilled by my success, I headed off to meet the walking tour group scheduled for the next event of the day. It started around 10:30 and was an entirely free three hour walking tour all over the city. I learned so much and met so many interesting people from all over the world. I highly recommend the free walking tour in Sydney.
I loved this open art exhibit; each cage represents a species of bird that has lost its habitat as Sydney grew. There were speakers around that playing each bird’s song.
After the long walk I was exhausted so I grabbed a quick lunch and headed to the cool, hipster neighborhood where I planned to meet up with my friend for dinner. I got there much earlier than expected, so I went thrifting for about an hour and a half scoring great gifts!
I met up with my friend and we went to a quick vegan Vietnamese restaurant before heading to the Sydney Harbor to the show. As we headed there, we both got a bit hungry so we stopped at Woolworth’s and picked up our favorite thing—a pint of Halotop! We walked through a beautiful park eating the ice cream straight out of the pint as we walked, laughing & talking.
We got to the show in perfect time. We people watched for a few minutes before the show began. I can’t say the Opera was my favorite, but the stage and tech was incredible! The stage was literally floating on the harbor and they had real snow falling down into the audience throughout the show.
By the end of the show, I was completely wiped out. My friend virtually dragged me home (bless her patience). Up to that point, I’d felt zero jet lag..but I’d also gone to bed no later than 8pm every other night.
I think I’m at my worst when I’m that tired, but luckily I woke up feeling ready for action! We had a day trip scheduled to the Blue Mountains. The day was a mixture of hiking & vista points, each more stunning than the last. During our big hike, my friend sprained her ankle on the steep, rocky stairs so we hung back for the last bit of the hike.
Afterwards, we ventured off to a cute town for lunch, followed by a trip to see town-funded graffiti, which is as beautiful & diverse as you can imagine.
We also saw kangaroos (of course)!
We stopped at a few other beautiful lookout points and finally headed home. It was a lovely day, but dog-tired we headed back to the apartment and threw together a quick dinner.
On Friday I rewarded myself by sleeping in a bit, and it was worth every minute. I enjoyed a cup of tea and began my journey to Coogee Beach for the insanely gorgeous Coogee to Bondi Beach Walk.
A definite tourist favorite, and I can see why. Stunning views the whole way. I took the day slow and stopped every so often to read or just stare into the aquamarine waters.
After my walk, I didn’t have time for any major activity so I met my friend at her favorite book store & cafe called Sapphos Books. It was such a quaint little shop and I found a book of feminist comics in German for my dad (he is learning German).
I had a transit disaster right after…ending up 45 minutes in the wrong direction. I decided to go without cellular data during my trip, and I didn’t have a single issue until my second to last day. As the bus went stop after stop, I got the uneasy feeling that I might be going the completely wrong direction. I asked a woman sitting next to me and she saw my dismay and helped me sort out what to do. We got to talking and she told me how much she loved Nashville (my hometown), Taylor Swift, and Graceland. We bonded quickly and she was rooting for me as I hopped off the bus at her instruction. I made it back to my friend’s apartment later that night and we had a relaxing low key evening.
The next day we took the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach. We decided to spend the morning eating brunch, exploring the street market, and wandering the beach. Brunch was to die for…I ordered a vegan breakfast bowl and it was filling, delicious, and beautiful full of roasted kale, kabocha, turmeric-spiked cauliflower, avocado, and pickled lemon peel with vegan feta & micro greens.
Of course we also tried a famous Australia classic–the acai bowl!
After brunch we wandered around the outdoor market and climbed up hills near the beach—finding some gorgeous views.
After the beach I went and packed up my stuff and we decided to have a fun night out. We had dinner at this super cool vegan restaurant called “Lentil as Anything” that has a pay-as-you-can policy. The choices were limited, but delicious. After dinner we wandered the streets until we made our way to a zombie-themed bar. After an hour or so there, we arrived at the best stop—the Cuban themed bar & club. The downstairs half of the club was a mess—bad music & drunken teens everywhere!
Luckily, the upstairs half was a game changer. Live salsa music and a few incredible dancers on the floor. After watching for a few songs, one of my roommate’s friends gave us a brief lesson, and soon my friend and I were on the dance floor. We had a blast, even if our salsa moves were lacking. Oftentimes when I go out, people tend to make a big deal of the fact that I don’t drink. Luckily this crew couldn’t care less, and we danced the night away and ended up playing in a park with the dozens of other party-goers out that night.
We got back to the apartment after catching the last train; running to make it on time! It was 2AM and I collapsed into bed, all packed for my 5am wake up call to begin the journey home to San Francisco.
I made it the airport after one insanely expensive uber ride (I regret nothing!) and I collapsed into a deep sleep on the plane, with a whole row to myself! I woke up in Hong Kong feeling nothing but gratitude & playing my Australia memories in my head over and over again.