Two weeks ago two friends and I spent 8 days in Sydney, Australia and it was a life-changing experience. This was my first international trip and I can proudly say I’ve been bitten by the travel bug!
For the first time in my life I didn't travel with a hard-core itinerary (this was not my choice but it definitely helped me worked through my type A control issues). We knew which major sights we wanted to see but somewhat winged-it. Fellow planners and list makers - it was not the end of the world! I actually had a lot of fun.
We stayed in Bondi Beach, a suburb of Sydney. Our flight landed at 6am, and since our hostess had to work most of the day we opted to walk around Bondi and explore. We started at the mall, Westfield Bondi Junction, which has 6 levels.
We explored a grocery store, went into a handful of clothing stores (including Target which has the same logo as American target but is completely un-affiliated), talked to locals, and repeatedly attempted to go up on the wrong escalator (driving isn’t the only thing they do on the left). I was surprised at how fresh the food was. Even at the mall you could buy fresh seafood on ice and meat from the butcher.
Next we embarked on a 30 minute walk to the beach (Keep in mind that it’s winter in Australia because they are in the southern hemisphere). When we arrived we explored the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, which is a guiding path among the rocks, caves, and cliffs that goes from beach to beach. This is a must do if you’re ever in Bondi.
Even though it was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit my friends bought swim trunks and with body surfing in the Ocean. I watched from shore because I thought they were a little crazy :)
Tuesday - Friday was spent at Hillsong Conference. Conference was incredible and if I were to write about the highlights here, this post would seemingly never end. So I’ll save those for part 2.
Saturday we went to Watson's Bay, had lunch at Dunbar House (best meal of the trip), and toured Sydney Harbour National Park. From the cliffs at the park you can see the ocean in front of you, and the bay and city skyline behind you. I could've stayed there forever.
Saturday night we commuted into the city for dinner, drinks, and exploring. Sydney is a beautiful city and I found the people to be very friendly and down to earth. The architecture of city is stunning. There's a mix of modern and victorian style buildings.
The food is delicious. I seriously cannot think of any meal we had that was not good (Including fast food from Hungry Jacks and McDonald's - which tastes nothing like their processed American counterparts).
Sunday morning we attended church service at the Hillsong City Campus (Waterloo). That afternoon we caught the bus down to Circular Quay and explored the shopping district as well as the harbour. Like good tourists we took many many selfies in front of the Opera House and Bridge.
The highlight of our last day in Sydney was the Taronga Zoo. We rode the bus back Circular Quay so we could take a ferry across the harbor. I must say that the Zoo was fun. Of course we saw kangaroos, koalas, and emus, as well as other species of wild and marine life (native and foreign to the continent). One of my favorite things was how close you are in the kangaroo walk-through. There is no fence separating you from the animals, just signs recommending you stay on the four foot wide concrete path.
If you ever have the chance to visit I recommend going for at least 2 weeks as travel time from California is 12-14 hours. Contrary to popular belief, Australia is a huge continent and with varying climates so be sure to check the weather before you pack. We went in the beginning of July which is the middle of winter season there.
Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2!