Friday, March 13, 2009


Feb 23
I arrived in Darwin, Australia at about 3 am, with a terrible layover in the airport until my 8:30am flight to Sydney. The good news - I don't have to pay for a hotel tonight (unemployed people live for some free lodging). The bad news - there is no where comfortable and quite in the entire terminal so I barely got any sleep! ugh. Finally get on the plane to Sydney, and it is a 4 hour flight. I jump on a bus to Bondi Beach and get a room at Noah's Hostel. So, in a span of 1 hour in Australia (the 2 bus rides and paying for a night of lodging), I have already spent more than I would in several days in SE Asia - this is not good. In addition, I have gone from a private basic room with bath to a 4 bed dorm. Fortunately, the place is pretty nice, and actually has views of Bondi Beach. I enjoy the beach for the rest of the afternoon, take it easy and watch a movie at the hostel and call it a night.

Feb 24
I grab breakfast...for US$9 - ridiculous! I need to find a good bakery and fruit stand, no longer do I get to enjoy all the good meals in I have. I rent a surfboard and go surfing for the day. Well, I guess you could call it surfing. Sometimes it is more like trying to drown, or running spin cycle in the washer machine under water - for some reason I am just not that good, oh well. After lunch in the afternoon, I take a spectacular run from Bondi Beach to Coggee Beach and back, 12k along the beautiful coast with exercise areas (e.g. pull up and dip bars) along the way. Pretty amazing run, so nice for a big city to have access to a great beach area like this, only 15 min from city centre. I go out to dinner with a German friend I met the night before, then we hang out at the hostel.

Feb 25
I catch the train to central Sydney and get a dorm room in the Kings Cross area. I didn't think they could fit 4 bunk beds in such a small was a sight to see! I then tour the city from 10am-6:30pm, and am totally wiped out but have great pics of the Opera House, bridge and botanical gardens. I enjoy a cold beer at the Opera Bar as the sun is setting and then head back to the hostel. Along the way I grab a tasty tiger meat pie. At night, I head out with a group from the hostel and we bounce around a few bars with free drinks and no cover charges - pretty good deal the hostel sets up. The people in Sydney are very trendy and upscale, and we have a good time.

Feb 26
So, I had booked a trip out to the Blue Mountains to go hiking today, but I oversleep my alarm. Now, I am totally irritated about this. I can handle oversleeping on my own account (it has been known to happen), but the fact that the dorm room was so loud all night and getting no sleep drives me nuts. During breakfast at the dorm, a few of us our planning our days. We decide we want to pet a koala, and I head to Featherdale with 2 Swedish girls I met the night before. We get there, and it is amazing. We are able to hug a koala, feed a kangaroo - so cool! We have a great day. I get back and grab some take-out Indian food, only to realize that the chicken is raw in the middle...but I realized this a little too late as half my food was already in my stomach! I can't believe it, all through SE Asia I was so cautious about food, and I thought I was safe when I arrived in Australia. So, all night long I am so worried about my stomach, and whether it will be ok. Some of my friends at the hostel tell me alcohol will kill any bad bacteria - sounds good to me so we go grab a few drinks at the local bars.

Feb 27
The owner of the Blue Mountain tour company said I could try to catch the trip again today, as a walk-on. So, I actually wake up, waiting for the bus and jump on. But, the bus fills up and we have no more space, they call me up and I assume I am getting kicked off and bummed about it, but they bounce me over to another bus. I get out to the bush, we see some wild kangaroos, and then go on a nice 3 hour "bush whacking" hike. It is funny how all countries have a different name for a hike! I see the 3 sisters rock formation at the end of the trip, a full, tiring day. I get back at night, grab my pack and head to Circular Quay to catch the ferry over to Manly Beach. The ferry ride at night is absolutely spectacular! The Sydney Harbor is probably the most pretty in the world, and at night the Opera House and bridge are all lit up - breathtaking. I get to a hostel in Manly and call it a night.

Feb 28
I meet up with a friend of friend, Jay, who is going to take me sailing. We hang out at Manly Beach and the surrounding areas for a while, then head up north to where his boat is docked. He has a great 38' catamaran with 3 staterooms. We head out for a little sail, dock in a cove, and cook some dinner and enjoy the night.

March 1
Jay and I fire up the sails and sail a few hours to a bay, where we enjoy a beach and a waterfall, then head back to his dock. Jay is 3 years into a trip sailing around the world, and we enjoy some more great conversations about travel and life.

March 2
Up early, jump on a train and off to the airport for my flight to New Zealand!! Stoked!

thoughts on Sydney:
- expensive
- really expensive
- beautiful harbor
- nice city
- great beaches so close to the city
- not sure I will visit again, value is not very good


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