Hello dear readers,
it took me some time to write it but here it is, the first report about my trip leg in Australia.
Arrived at the Sydney airport, I start with the usual administrative stuff like cash withdrawal or buy a local SIM card.
After that I struggle a bit to find my first accomodation. I sent some booking request over AirBnB before leaving New Zealand and was expecting to get a positive answer but unfortunately it didn’t happen.
Prices are very high in Sydney as well as the demand for cheap backpackers accomodation. At the end, I find a bed in a huge hostel not far from Chinatown and the central station.
This is quite a change for me as I got used to enjoying my private sphere in my camper van during the last 4 weeks.
After lunch, I take a few hours to plan a bit more precisely the coming days and then go out to explore a bit.
I first walk in the North part of Hyde Park to arrive at St Mary’s cathedral. The building is quite new compared to the cathedral we usually find in Europe and the architecture is very nice.
I couldn’t walk around much to take pictures as there was an office running at the moment of my visit. I’ll come back another day!
I head now to the next touristic spot, the Sydney tower eye.
From the top of the tower, I have a very nice view on the city and its surroundings. I’ll stay there 1,5 hours to enjoy the sunset and take some night pictures.
For diner, I come back to a block a few streets next my hostel and located in “Thai town”.
As the asian community is quite big, there are many blocks around Chinatown representing different countries like Thai town or Korea town.
There are a few lao/thai restaurants playing the same music as in Laos and even proposing Lao hot pot 🙂 This time, I’ll go for a lab mu with sticky rice.
On Day 2, I decide to go on exploring but this time West from my hostel.
First, I stop at the Queen Victoria building. It is a nice architectural building built in the 19th century, which is now used as a mall.
The second stop is the China garden of friendship. This garden was designed by the city of Guangzhou and was opened in 1988 to represent the friendship between Australia and China.
It is a very relaxing green place integrated in the surrounding urban landscape.
After that, I spend some hours in the Powerhouse museum. This is a very cool museum about technology and art, where we can find different exhibitions of artists who express their thoughts about technology and its impact on society.
I am really lucky to be there during an exhibition of Nathan Sawaya. For those who don’t know him, Nathan Sawaya became famous thanks to his Lego sculptures http://www.brickartist.com/ .
In the powerhouse museum, we can see his latest creations based on some DC comics characters, the most famous ones being Batman and Superman (just in time for the release of the movie Batman VS Superman 🙂 ).
The sculptures are very impressive, especially the human size reproduction of the latest Batmobile.
To finish the day, I spend the evening and have diner at the Darling harbour watching the luxurious yachts sailing in and out. Motivated by the exhibition at the powerhouse museum, I also try to get a ticket for the Batman VS Superman movie at the iMax movie theater, but I am told that it s sold out for the next 2 weeks since a month!
After having read the reviews, maybe it was actually not so bad.
This time, I will explore North of my hostel.
Back in the Hyde Park, I try to go to St Mary’s Cathedral to take pictures, however, I forgot that it was Easter and so the cathedral is used the whole day for celebrations.
I walk then further to the Anzac Memorial. Anzac which stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps is celebrated each year on April 25th and commemorates the australian, new zealand and other pacific islands troups that fought during the first world war against the ottoman army.
Just a few blocks further, I spend 2 hours in the Australian Museum. This museum hosts different exhibitions about Australian history and culture. My favorite part is the corner hosting the big dinosaur skeletons 🙂
After the museum visit, I walk a bit in the nice and big Botanical Garden. Some ponds are quite impressive as they host pretty big wild eels.
At the end of the afternoon, I walk to Mrs Macquarie’s chair area to enjoy sunset on the Sydney opera house. The view is stunning and I have fun observing a guy trying to make time lapse pictures pushing aside the chinese tourists taking selfies just in front of his camera.
Just after breakfast on day 4, I take the bus from the Central station to Maroubra beach to start a walk along the East coast.
This several kms walk pass through different beaches to end at the famous Bondi Beach.
The weather is really nice and there are several lookouts with a nice view on the rocks along the coast or on the beaches with their surfers.
What I find interesting are those pools built directly on the shore and protected by a wall of big rocks. The waves coming from the sea and breaking on the rocks are generating a lot of bubbles in those pools.
At the end of the afternoon I take the bus back to the hostel to have diner and prepare to go out. I have a ticket to see the famous EDM german DJ Robin Schulz.
The show takes place in club of the “Pacha” franchise.
I am very curious to see if they’ll let me in as I don’t have the usual correct outfit for this kind of club (at least shirt and nice shoes). The queue to enter the club is very long, too long for a girl a few meters behind me who started drinking too early and got kicked out by the security after she puked on herself :).
Finally, at the main security point, I am just asked for my ID to be sure that I’m over 18 and I may get in with my Tshirt and my sport shoes. At this moment, I havd a special thought for my friend Pierre E. who tried to enter Pacha in Munich a few years ago completely drunk and in hiking outfit 😉
Day 5 is a light day, as I stay quite long in bed to recover from the night in the club 🙂
After a short breakfast at 1pm, I stop by at the Greyhound/Wicked travel agency to buy a hop on/hop off bus pass From Sydney to Cairns.
This is my first contact to what is in my eyes a big organised backpackers scam along the coast. To keep the story short, the sales guy tried to “forget” to apply a 10% eastern discount advertised in every corner of his shop, and after that he was very pushy to sell me a stupid day trip to the blue mountains where people spend only 1 or 2 hours on the main touristic points and the rest of the time in partner shops or restaurants of the travel agency.
After this unpleasant episode, I walk to the North to spend first a few hours in the museum of contemporary art. The temporary exhibition running there is very interesting. The focus is on young artists from the asia pacific region, most of them with an immigration background, who use arts to express their view or feelings on their arrival or integration in Australia.
After the museum closed its doors, I take some time to walk around the Sydney opera house and the Harbour bridge.
I wake up very early to take a train to Katoomba in the Blue mountains a few kilometers West of Sydney. I will stay there 1 night to have 2 half days to go hiking.
The owner of the small hostel where I’m staying is very friendly and gives me a map with alternative (and more demanding) treks to avoid being at the touristic points at the same time as the whole bus tours from Sydney.
Unfortunately for me the weather is very bad and the path the hostel owner recommended me to take, which is already very steep is now even more difficult because of the rain that makes the steps very slippy.
At the echo point lookout, I get a 5 min window without rain to see and take a picture of the so called “three sisters” rocks.
As the rains becomes heavier and heavier, I decide to interrupt my walk and to go home to have a nice hot shower and a cup of tea. I’ll finish the walk tomorrow.
Day 7 and 8
In the morning of day 7, I wake up quite early to have enough time for a nice breakfast and to finish the walk to the Gordon falls.
However the weather didn’t get better and after 2 hours walking to finish the circuit I come back home completely wet.
Around lunch, I take the train back to Sydney to catch the Northbound bus to Newcastle. I spend the night there at the youth hostel and early in the morning, I take a bus to Cessnock in the Hunter valley to take part in a wine tasting tour 🙂
The tour is a half a day mini bus tour (from 09:00am to 01:00pm). We visited 3 vineyards. For the white wines, most of them are chardonnay and sauvignon blanc but there are also a few Alsace style wines (Riesling, Pinot gris and Gewuerztraminer). Concerning the red wines, most of them are Shiraz but there were also a few semillon and merlot.
The group was very funny and the tour went very fast. One of the highlight of the day has actually nothing to do with wine. On the road between the first and the 2nd vineyard, the mini bus had to stop because the road was blocked by… kangourous 🙂 A small group was crossing the road and 2 of them just stopped in the middle of the road and started staring at us. After 5 minutes, they lost interest in us and just disappeared in the vineyards.