07.01.2009 – 10.01.2009
I flew into Sydney on Jet star (akin to the likes of RyanAir and Easy Jet) and was supposed to be landing around 9pm but I eventually got in around 10.30pm. Not too much grumbling though as I only paid around $60 for the flight but unlike the European Airline companies they actually went to Sydney airport and not another airport 100km out of town. My first mission upon landing was to get to my accommodation which I had booked for the next 4 days. As any traveler knows the most nervous time is when you are on your way to the new abode – how am I going to get there, will it be as good as it sounds, is it in a nice part of town etc. I was also only 2 stops on the tube from the centre of town, 15 mins walk from Bondi Beach, 15 min bus ride from Coogee so getting around would be very easy.
The next day I met up with Matt (an old colleague from Hilton, my last employer in the UK) who had handed in his no
tice to work in Australia around the same time as me. We decided to head down to Coogee Beach to catch up our new and old adventures. Bondi is probably the best known beach in Sydney due to various TV programs, however Sydney has other great beaches too – Coogee and Manlyto name a few. Matt and I caught up whilst roasting on the beach in the mid afternoon sun. Googee is a very hip beach so we decided that we needed the shade before we ended up looking like beetroots (even 15 mins in the sun in Oz can burn you), so the obvious place to head to was of course the beer garden! After a few ales we then headed on towards Kings Cross in the centre of Sydney to a great little bar called The Bourbon to sample happy hour and also to eat Sydneys’ famous $10 steaks that are served in many drinking establishments. The beer was good however the steaks were even better. A 12oz / 300g Angus Rump steak with salad and fries that set you back only £5 was incredible not just for the price tag. The steak was excellent cooked to perfection and on par with many fine steaks I had sampled in good restaurants in the UK in fact the Bourbon was to prove a very popular dinner for us for the next 5 days!! After a few more drinks and meeting up with a couple of Matt`s newly acquainted friends I headed on home as the next day was a real tourist day and the sights of Sydney awaited me!!
The next day I made like a Japanese Tourist (albeit on my own and not a a massive group) donned the SLR camera and headed toward the centre. The weather was dull and cool, which was light relief as I had caught a little bit too much sun the previous day! As you can imagine Sydney is a huge place, but as I found out quickly it was an easy place to get around. Most of the North of the harbour can be ignored (bar Manly beach) as it is mostly residential which leaves you able to access most of the city by foot, tube or bus. Sydney has a very grown up vibe about it, and like Melbourne with Asian influences but less this time with less European influences and also touched with the trashy (Kings Cross, akin to our own in the UK) but also with a touch of cool (Surrey Hills) along with the laid back surfer vibe of Bondi and Coogee. Little did Captain Arthur realize when he touched down in 1788 that Sydney would be such a sprawling , buzzing 24 hr city that holds 4 million. In fact Sydney only really started growing after the 1850`s when there was a gold rush before then it was a rum fuelled disease ridden shanty town. I started off my mini tour (approx 4 mile walk) of the main attractions in Sydney in Hyde Park (yes there are many more familiar GB names to come) up to Mary’s cathedral up past the Rum Hospital (built in 1816 by merchants for a monopoly for the rum trade) to the Botanical Gardens. In the Botanical Gardens lies Government house (1845) which then leads you to the iconic Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
After a few snaps of some of Sydney`s most famous land marks, I had a walk around the circular key to watch a few street artists, had a coffee and decided to start thinking about planning some excursions around Sydney and also how I was going to start making my way up the coast toward Brisbane. Soon before I knew it, it was 5pm and we had a big night out planned with some fellow travellers, but first stop The Bourbon, Happy Hour (via a short walk down Oxford Road and Liverpool Street) and more importantly $10 steak!! 9hrs later I was making my way home felling more than watered and tired!! Maybe hangovers don`t exist in Oz as the next day I should have felt much much worse than I did!! It was time to detox so I grabbed a big bottle of water and Matt and I headed down towards Bondi Beach. We amused ourselves over the previous nights antics and took in the sights of the famous Bondi Beach. Being in Bondi certainly doesn’t feel like being in Sydney at all. It is very chilled with a hippyish attitude mixed in with a surfers vibe, with lots of bars and coffee shops and cool restaurants. After a walk around Bondi and some more of Sydney we headed on back to book some activities. On Sunday and Monday Matt and I would take in The Blue Mountains and then on Tuesday I was heading out of Sydney on Surf School so I could head up the coast.