Jun 29

Our east coast journey: Sydney to Byron Bay

We arrived in Sydney at 8am, 13 hours after getting on the first train journey of our east coast trip. For some reason, I can fall asleep on a 5 minute bus ride but not on a night train. Even with no sleep, the journey went very quick and was really pretty as the sun rose. We are loving the trains. They take a while but are warm, have really friendly staff, you get booked seats, have tons of leg room and they sell really good milkshakes!

We got to Sydney central and headed out the station to go and meet Jess. Jess is one of my older sisters, Sarah’s best friends from back in the UK. Jess and her boyfriend Adam took the opportunity to move to Australia to work for a couple of years. They had kindly offered to put us up for the time we were in Sydney which was awesome! We walked back to Jess and Adam’s apartment right in the centre of the city. Carrying our bags again was something we have not been used to since Hawaii and they’re not getting any lighter! In New Zealand, the camper held all our stuff. We are definitely sending a package home before we get to Asia so we can lighten our load.

We showered up and headed out trying to avoid falling asleep in the day. Their flat is right by Hyde park which leads to the Botanical gardens. We walked through these sunny warm gardens to the water front. The weather was glorious, apparently Syndey rains as much as England, so we were very lucky.

We pretty much just spent the day taking photos of this really pretty city, its highlights and people watching – I think one of my favourites cities thus far. It’s got the big city buzz combined with tropical greenery, a beautiful harbour and surf beaches only 20 minutes away, what else would we need?

It’s just a shame it’s so far from home, although until you remember the flight times you don’t feel that far away. The Opera House was pretty surreal, I had seen so many pictures of it, but I never thought I would be under it. We saw so many prehistoric looking birds, went to the rocks area and saw Russell Crowe. A girl had asked this random scruffy man walking past to take a picture of her and her family, she had no idea it was Russell Crowe until he spoke. He then got in her picture as a thanks for her being so innocent. He then quickly walked off and once again blended in. It’s a pretty cool place to live if you are a celebrity but like to be left alone. After both succumbing to the sleep deprivation and catching a few ‘zzzz’s’ on a soft patch of grass in the Botanical gardens, we headed back to the apartment.

Unfortunately Jess had to work a night shift at the hospital where she’s a nurse, but still managed to cook us up some awesome fajitas. Tom played some FIFA with Adam and I got to have a catch up with Jess. We are extremely lucky to be able to stay with lovely people here in Aus Oz and without them, we would be in serious debt or skipping Australia all together. We are so happy we didn’t do that as we have loved everywhere so far.

For our 3 days in Sydney, the guys suggested going to Manly on day one and then to do the Coogee to Bondi beach walk on day two. Waking up after a bit of a lay in, we headed to the ferry port. Picking up the ferry was easy and at $14 for a return, it’s pretty good value – you get to see the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and all the other gems around the harbour, so it’s like a free tour too. It look about 30 mins to get to Manly, after mooching through the high street filled with surf shops for yet another beanie for Tom (seems each one he buys doesn’t have enough ‘sag’ for him!), we saw the beach in the distance.

It was beautifull – calm, a little surf and soft white sand. We just wondered around soaking up the sun, taking photos, shared some Fish ‘n Chips and then hoped back on the ferry. The ferry ride back cast the most amazing light on the Oprah house and views of the city.

Adam had cooked up his specialty of spag bol, so we had another lovely home cooked meal and said bye to Jess who was on another night shift.

The next day we headed to Coogee on the bus to do the famous Coogee to Bondi walking trail. Coogie was another lovely beach like Manly with salt water swimming baths.

It was hot whilst walking and another cloudless blue sky. Locals were surfing the little coves, paddle boarders out in the ocean and you pass more crystal clear, pretty coves and glorious beaches whilst following the route around the cliffs.

We arrived at Bondi beach and no wonder it’s so popular – it’s a big, white sand beach and the mellow surf looked awesome. They were building an ice rink for their winter festival in a few weeks but it was 19 degrees that day, so it looked pretty funny! We also found a trim trail with the worlds best view! beats Frimley Lodge Park haha

After eating our lunch of nuts and banana chips, we met Jess for a drink at the northern end of Bondi. After a chilled cider we got the bus back to the city and Tom cooked his legendary risotto! We had a quick call with Sa back home which was really nice, before heading to bed. We said our goodbyes to Jess and Adam. (Thanks again for having us!)

We are now on another 13 hour train journey to Byron Bay, a day journey this time, so hopefully we get some pretty sweet views. So this is where I stop writing and will start the next chapter in Byron. We are pretty excited as everyone who over hears us say where we are going, says lucky buggers, so we shall see what this Bryon hype is all about.

A rain induced Byron Bay

The train was a little delayed due to some kids had deliberately put objects on the track before and after a river crossing, so the train had to do an emergency stop to not hit them The driver had to get out and clear the tracks. Nice! Yobs are everywhere, not just the UK! After our train had arrived in Casino, we got on a bus to Byron Bay which took around an hour. We arrived at around 10pm to be greeted by the pouring rain! The guesthouse we had booked was a little way from town, so we had to jump in a cab.

The Byron Springs Guesthouse is one of the best places we have stayed so far on our travels. Cheaper than a hostel, free continental breakfast, free WiFi and free bike hire. As it was so late in the night, there was no one to check us in but a little note left which had our room number in. The room was so nice, white washed beachy furniture with ambient lights and the biggest shower room I have ever seen. The guesthouse has a really nice lounge, porch and kitchen that all the guests can use.

It is a good thing we liked this place as it has rained for 4 days straight, night and day, tropic thunderous rain. Everyday we have done the walk into town with our ponchos to try and spot whales, dolphins, see the surf and the cool hippy shops Byron has, but after a few hours of getting soaked and the sea’s mist meant we couldn’t see far enough, we had to come back and admit defeat. The storm has washed out the surf, which was pretty gutting as this is where we wanted to surf in Australia, but I’m sure we will get a chance somewhere, hopefully not shark or crocodile infested. We did however, find an Aldi! Yes cheap food at last so we bought some dinner to cook up and headed back to the guesthouse. Everyone that we have met who is staying here has been really nice, chatting whilst cooking dinner, at breakfast or watching MasterChef. For the next few days in between drying clothes on our little heater, popping into town and drinking tea, we decided to get pro-active and sort our CV’s out.

Even though all our time here has been a wash out, we still loved it and on its sunny days it would have been immense. Each time we move on in Australia we love it as much as the last, it’s quickly becoming one of our favourite places. Again we don’t really want to leave, but we must so it’s time to head to Fraser island! We have to get a bus this evening at 8pm to Brisbane, stay the night next to the station and hop on the morning bus to Hervey Bay – the gateway to Fraser Island. Weather reports are looking a bit better so hopefully no rain, as we are going camping in the sand dunes!

Over and out. Fi and Tom! xxx

Check out the rest of our photos from Sydney