Dates: 3-7 January 2014
DAYS 61-65: “Sydney Shenanigans” (3-7 Jan)
We arrived in Sydney at around 7am and once again had to endure a torturously slow immigration and customs process. We did manage to get through customs without being searched though, which was grand as we’re sure we had some possibly controversial items in our bags, namely wooden cooking chopsticks from Vietnam and a tray made of shells from Bali…sjoe – we didn’t fancy making it onto an episode of Border Control!! We were lucky enough to be able to stay with Sa’s friend, Jade, and her husband Mike, in Neutral Bay. Home beats hostel any day! Jade fetched us from the airport and took us to her pad where we quickly dumped our bags and showered so that she could show us all Sydney had to offer (or what she could show us in a day).
Our first stop was Bondi where we had a walk along the beach soaking up the sun and atmosphere of this famous stretch of sand. We had lunch at Aqua Bar which funnily enough was owned and run by South Africans, haha! As the waves at Bondi were pumping, Jade suggested we head to Red Leaf (a calm harbour beach which even has a shark fence…) as we were fearful of drowning and again, didn’t fancy making it onto another of Australia’s TV exports, Bondi Rescue! We then headed back home to chill and get ready for a night on the town. Our first stop was Opera Bar, a bar right alongside the Opera House, offering stunning views of this and Harbour Bridge. Jade’s husband Mike joined us after our first bottle of wine and treated us to a second. We then sensibly decided to have some food and went to The Rocks at Cammaletto’s for a delicious Italian dinner. We had a final drink at the Argyle located in The Rocks which is Sydney’s oldest area.
On Saturday we split up…this was not as traumatic as you may think! Sa headed out with Jade and Mike to Watson’s Bay and Tam went to Cockatoo Island to meet Bianca, Oli, Charlene and Mo. We had made a plan to meet up in Surrey Hills later that evening for dinner and drinks. We don’t know if you remember Joel from our Thailand post (we’ll forgive you if you don’t…it was a while ago!) but he’s an English guy we met in Chiang Mai who now lives in Sydney. So Sa and Joel met up for drinks at Forresters and were met later on (when they got the right bus) by Tam and her 2 friends (Richie who she went to uni in PMB with and Claire, a friend who she met in the UK a few years back). After downing a quick drink the hunger got too much and so we hit, at Richie’s suggestion, El Loco, a fabulous Mexican place which has cheap Mexican food, great cocktails and banging tunes (Bryan Adams “Summer of 69”, Journey “Don’t Stop Believing”…you get where we’re going with this). After a few margarita’s Richie decided we needed to go to one of Sydney’s social institutions, The Sheaf, in Double Bay (aka Double Pay). We were quite happy with this suggestion as we’d found the men in Sydney to be extremely easy on the eye, so this coupled with a healthy bank balance could do no harm. Unfortunately we did not meet our future husbands there…but never mind, we’ll just have to go back :)
We went to Manly the next day with Joel in tow to meet up with Claire who lives there. After a walk/climb to the top of the cliff to take in the sensational views and a near death experience with a water dragon we hit Shelly Beach to soak up some rays. We were even treated to a dolphin swimming in the bay amongst the bathers. Quite a magical experience…this little guy just spent the day swimming amongst us! When the sun got too much (they really do have an issue with the ozone down there!) and our thirst too intense we headed to the Manly Wharf Hotel for a Sunday afternoon drink before saying farewell to Claire and heading back on the ferry.
Our last day in Sydney was dedicated to admin. After Tam met Bianca for a farewell coffee in the morning, Jade took us to Westfields in Bondi Junction for some shopping (we had to replenish our toiletries and replace a broken kindle…sob) and lunch. We then treated ourselves to Messina for the BEST ice-cream in the world (no frigging lie!). After all that hard work we deserved a glass of wine and headed to The Oak in Neutral Bay for a quick glass of Sauvignon Blanc before dinner. Jade and Mike treated us to a home cooked meal of braai-ed/BBQed hamburgers…delicious! We were utterly spoilt by Jade and Mike and were grateful for a home to stay in for a few days rather than a hostel. It’s amazing how something as mundane as making a cup of tea and watching nonsense on TV can be missed so much.
We left Sydney early the following morning (thanks again Jade and Mike for putting us up and for all the lifts) for our 16 hour flight to Santiago, via Auckland. Although our time in Sydney was fleeting, we had a fabulous time and look forward to returning one day to see what else Australia has to offer.