02 – 06.02.2009. So back again in Sydney for a few days before heading of into the unknown and all that South East Asia has to offer. I came down to Sydney as I wanted to go to Ayers Rock before I left. I also wanted to meet up with some travelling friends and an old friend from school. I hadn`t really enjoyed my first time in Sydney. I fell back in love with the place when I came down to meet up with the boys for a lads weekend. This time I wanted to see much more of Sydney, not just the center.
I arrived after an 3.5 hour flight from Cairns to Sydney and I headed down to Bondi beach where I would be staying for the next few days. Bondi is a great place to stay but a bit of a hassle to get to and from as it a little away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. However, it was a great place to chill and relax for a few days whilst planning the next 4 days activities.
When looking at booking for Ayers Rock the following day it was going to cost around £600 per person and therefore a little out of the budget. Ayers Rock could be visited the next time I was in Australia, it certainly isn`t going anywhere anyway! I was a little disappointed as I wanted to learn more about the aboriginal side of Australia but this would have to wait till next time.
The next 3 days then were spent exploring the city and visiting the likes of Manly Harbour a beautiful sea side town just over the harbour from Sydney. You can get to Manly by jumping on a boat from circular quay in Sydney. It takes an hour to get you away from noise and throng of the center of town. It boasts a great surfing beach and promenade where you can sit and people watch the whole day long!
Another great part of the city is the awesome sounding Woolloomooloo. Set behind the botanical Gardens and near the Opera house. A name with the most O`s in I have ever seen is a trendy hip place. It offers a multitude of waterfront al fresco dining experiences along the restored Finger Wharf. It also provides stunning views of the city skyline and harbour surrounds. Woolloomooloo was a great place to chill out and sit in bars and take the world in. It was a very trendy place and you could feel the excitement round the place. This was manly due to Mardi Gras being only a few days away now.
Taronga Zoo – Sydney`s answer to Australia zoo, set on a separate island away from Sydney. Here you can see Australia`s native animals along with a multitude of animals from around the world. Taronga zoo has commenced a vital breeding program to try to protect Tasmanian Devils. They are unfortunatley and sadly facing a population collapse in the wild. Mainly this is due to a deadly disease and also increased human population in their habitat. With breeding programmes for a number of endangered species this zoo is a good way to spend the day. The backdrop to the zoo is quite spectacular and I recommend going to the bird show for a great display.
Sydney Aquarium – set just in Darling Harbour, Sydney aquarium boasts a huge display of marine life from sharks to dugongs to seahorses to crocs. Another great day out and (close your ears here Dad) could actually be better than the Deep in Hull. One of the main attractions for me was the shark tank where you could walk through and see sharks gracefully above you so you. It was great could get a good close look at these magnificent beasts.
Amongst the packed days exploring I also managed to meet up with an old school pal, Al Mein. Al was at our school in Bruton for a year as an exchange student teacher from Sydney. I had not seen Al in 16 years! He hadn`t changed much in those years apart from slightly less hair and a little taller! It was great catching up for a few hours. Quite a few pints later Al had to be home in order to prepare for his engagement celebrations that weekend.
All too soon it was time to leave Australia and head up into Asia and off to Thailand. Australia had been a fantastic two and half months. I met so many great people during my time there. The places that I saw and things that I did with my friends on my this the first leg of my travels will stay in my memory for a long time. I hope to be back to Australia sometime in the future. As in true Aussie style.. it was a ripper mate!!