Mother’s Day in Australia

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Today is Mother’s Day in Australia! My friend is having a family get together at her house & we’re all making a dish for the table. I’m going to make a salad – I haven’t cooked in 4 months! That’s desperate! A salad isn’t even cooking!

We went for a wee walk in Bundereen & it was beautiful. Australia has so much to offer! I love it! I loved getting together with my friend’s family. They are all so nice & have a great sense of humour. They welcomed me straight into the family fold & I didn’t feel like an outsider for one second.

Packing was tough but I am certainly becoming more ruthless which is a tremendous achievement for me! Being a backpacker with hoarding tendencies is a burden, physically & mentally. Any minuscule step towards overcoming this is a triumph in my eyes!

Tomorrow I set off for China. I’m sad to be leaving Sydney because I had such a wonderful time.

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The perfect day in Sydney

My second day in Australia was the most perfect day of fun! In the morning my friend & I went to a really cute Saturday farmers market. It was full of fresh food stalls, baked goods, juices & street food as well as fresh flowers, homeware & skincare. I loved browsing & tasting all the different foods. I had a fresh juice for breakfast & a steak salad for lunch. I feel healthy & content. I think I’m having a reverse culture shock coming back from Asia.

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Next up we went to the shops to pick up a few bits & pieces. I ended up in Mecca – a Sephora-esque shop. I found a miniature Origins night mask that I’ve been searching for for over a year! I also finally bit the bullet & got a neck support for the remainder of my travels. I just can’t cope with dozing off inflight for 2 minutes & waking with crippling neck pain. It will be worth $20 & the hassle of carrying the bulk of it around.

After shopping we went to the cinema to see The Jungle Book in 3D. I really miss the cinema when I travel despite not going much when I stand still. The movie had amazing CGI effects. 3D has developed a lot over the past few years & it doesn’t hurt my eyes half as much! FYI The Aussie popcorn is just salted, I adore a mixture of sweet & salted….

We went back to my friends house & her boyfriend was waiting for us with a bottle of bubbles! We went for the most delicious Indian meal & finished the bubbles & a beautiful red wine. This Indian was on par or maybe better than the food I had in India. I got a bit of angst eating the Indian food in India for fear of the hygiene levels of the establishment & I am so happy to shake this worry back in Western countries!

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Totally full & exhausted after our fun filled, perfect day, we got home & quickly dispersed to bed. What a lovely day. I knew I was right to look forward to Sydney again.

Back to Sydney!

With a sad farewell to Thailand, a brief stop in Kuala Lumpur & a mandatory McFlurry, I jet back to Sydney. I’m so lucky to be able to see my friends again! I’m so excited about going back to Australia! I had such a nice time last time I was in Sydney catching up with my friends & I can’t wait to see them again! I’ve really missed the western culture as well – which is not something I’ve ever missed before whilst backpacking.

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After doing zero shopping for the past few months & with my limited clothes selection either falling apart or driving me crazy I am super excited to pick up a few things! My flip flops are deteriorating off my feet & I’ve been wishing for them to last until Australia so I hope they endure the final steps until I find a new pair. I also need non backpacker clothes such as jeans & new tops as my others have holes or I’m sick of wearing them. I’m terrible at not being able to throw anything out so it will be interesting to see how proactive I am when it comes to the crunch! I’ll be back in Europe in a month & unwilling to buy clothes at Swiss prices, therefore shopping is high on my list.

I look & feel especially atrocious & haggard after my day of travel although my mood immensely improves when I meet a dear friend for lunch. We went to Bar Luca & got burgers. Not any old burgers – I assure you. This was the best damn burger of my little life! We got the ‘Blame Canada’ which contains all sorts of culinary delights as bacon, cheese, maple syrup & poutine. I sincerely URGE you get one if you ever drop by Sydney. It was simply incredible! We ate these in an orgasmic state on a grassy patch overlooking the sea. We took it in turns to cry out with pleasure & admiration. Paired with the joy of seeing my friend again, you could say I was in a somewhat euphoric state! My lord it was AMAZING!!! I was craving a burger since March & this one has to be one of, if not the best burger I’ve had in my life. It was so reassuring to eat without the fear of getting sick.

In the evening I met my friends for food & drinks. It was so lovely to catch up but I’m sure I wasn’t much craic because I was wrecked from all the travelling. I had alcohol for the first time in 2 months & I didn’t really enjoy it. I don’t even know why I bothered drinking at all. It just felt like I just did it out of habit. A part of me regrets it because I didn’t need it or want it. By the time I got to bed I had been on the go since the night before. I have to be kinder to myself before I make myself too haggard!

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Lying in bed I contemplate how it’s so strange to be doing ‘normal’ things like shopping again. It’s dawning on me that this adventure has an expiry date & I don’t feel ready to give up this lifestyle just yet.

Goodbye Australia *sad face*

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It is time to bid farewell to Australia. I truly had the most amazing time in Sydney & I know I would be really happy living here. I’m ready to get on the road again & be captivated by Bali.
I’ve had a busy day of last minute booking, shopping, organising & farewelling. True to form I arranged a consultation regarding my travel vaccinations the day before leaving Sydney. I went to the International Travel Vaccine Centre hoping I already had most of the required vaccinations. Four injections, boxes of Malaria tablets, a cholera cocktail & $500 later I am feeling pretty sorry for myself. (I think $75 of this was the consultation fee which I wasn’t initially aware of *grumpy face*). I thanked the nurse & she said it was ‘her pleasure’…. Charming!
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My friend has kindly agreed to stowe a bag of my belongings for the foreseeable future for me. I am so relieved, my back rejoices! This is obviously an unwritten contract that I shall have to return to collect them. ‘Present me’ is so laid back about the future & ‘future me’ will be so mad I’ve made a snap decision & will need to make an extra journey to Sydney for a bag of shite (it’s not really shite) (it’s kind of shite) (some of it)….  My manipulative unconscious, however, has just formed a ‘compulsory’ return to Sydney which is a pretty awesome plan. Right?!
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In true me style I booked my accommodation & arranged my airport transfer less than 12 hours before my arrival. I am always too absorbed in my current activity & surroundings to organise my next step. I always live on the cusp of disarray & unpredictability. Sometimes fun, sometimes a logistical nightmare! I have also booked a flight to India for two weeks later! I’m so excited to have the plans in motion for a country that has featured on my list for so long!
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With a sad heart & a heavy regret that I never applied for a working holiday visa, I bid Australia farewell.

Koala loving in Symbio Wildlife Park

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I have a big love for koalas. They are my spirit animal. My friends carefully selected this as my spirit animal as nothing else remotely rhymes with my name & this was the best they could come up with. In hindsight this has been an excellent & apt selection on their part. I feel like anatomically I have similar characteristics to koalas & even our behaviour can be likened. I even save pictures of koalas that I feel embody me. Is that a step too far into my tangled mind??
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Upon booking my flight to Australia I was overcome with a second wave of excitement at having the opportunity to finally meet a koala (under respectful cruelty free conditions of course). My pal already knew of my resolute dedication to koalas so she arranged a trip for us to go to Symbio Wildlife Park to see the koala bears.
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Even the chocolate bars are koalas!

I was so excited when we arrived. I couldn’t stop smiling & was breaking my neck to try & spy the koalas up ahead. Yes, I was embarrassing. When we got to the koala area I was fascinated to see them & I won’t hesitate to tell you it felt like a reunion with a long lost family member. I can’t confirm whether the feeling was mutual, but I certainly had a deep unwavering love for the koalas. My good friend & her boyfriend politely put up with my childlike enthusiasm & again I felt so lucky to have friends who put up with me!
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We stayed for the koala talk which was, of course, extremely fascinating & bonded me more to my spirit animal. Afterwards they were doing photo’s with the koala’s for $20 so I literally jumped at the chance to meet them & gently stroke their soft inviting fur. I wanted to nuzzle my face into their fur & ever so slowly motorboat action them – in the most sweetest animal loving way. Unfortunately it would just be a picture next to them as cuddling koalas is banned in New South Wales & I support anything that protects animals (although I am in a zoo…..).

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When I got into the koala enclosure I felt so excited to meet them! My friend said I immediately told the park keeper that koalas were my favourite animal, like a 3 year old might. Sometimes I wonder how I can be this person one moment & a fully functioning adult with adult responsibilities the next. There were two koalas in the enclosure but I had my eyes on Imogen – the one the park keeper had during her talk. She seemed to be curious with a bit of attitude & really fluffy! As I approached her she fled to the highest branch of the tallest tree. Was it my manic smile?? I swear I was coming with only love for her!
The park keeper & assistant lured her down with food & took her to another tree where she again tried to flee from my loving energy. Maybe this is what I do to men (that I’m interested in). The staff considered getting the other koala then the photographer started snapping us & assured me that he got the picture. I was disappointed not to get a cuddle – or keep her forever.
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So this is the tale of the day I met & was publicly SHUNNED by my spirit animal. The awkward thing is that I respect her attitude & still love her & will continue to be spiritually linked to koalas.
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Eating in Manly

My eating tour continues… Today we went for a drive to Manly & went to Four Pines for lunch. Dear God it was incredible!!!! I seem to be really splashing out when it comes to food & drink in Australia – not something I would allow myself to do so much in New Zealand. The food is amazing here & there is so much choice! In Four Pines I shared a salad & the vegetarian platter washed down with alcoholic ginger beer. Easily the best meal I’ve had this year!!!
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I did my signature classic eat-so-slow-to-bask-in-every-bite move. We were there for a few hours eating, chatting & putting the world to rights. Life is so good! Even the 3 hour journey home via Sydney traffic couldn’t dampen my spirits. My friend (who has joined uber as a driver) even managed to pull in behind a line of parked cars presuming it was traffic (They were clearly parked cars) – this is the second funniest thing that I have witnessed this year! The first of course was dearest Julia & her failed bungy jump in Queenstown. I am still showing people that video, I will never tire of it.

Another Incredible day in Oz

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Today I met up with another good friend. It is so surreal seeing someone again after so long!
We went for a lovely wander around Botanic gardens catching up then walked to the Sydney Opera House & had a couple of glasses of wine & a cheeseboard while taking in the view of the Harbour Bridge. It was so perfect! I really feel blessed at times.
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Coogee Baths

Today I went to the female baths, McIvers Baths in Coogee. They are run by volunteers & only 20 cents to get in! 20 cents!!! Crazy good!!!! The pool is a natural pool that is segregated from the sea by rocks. The waves are free to crash in, which they did that day. The sea was very rough, we were warned several times about going in. There were other ladies who I presumed to be regulars swimming so I joined in, staying to the side furthest from the sea. The water was so cool & refreshing in the sunshine. The waves were getting stronger so I chilled & read my book on the grass in the shade, continuously reapplying factor 50 baby sunscreen – My dear, high maintenance, pale Irish skin *sigh*
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The volunteers heroically open the baths at 6am so ladies can take advantage of a pre work morning swim. My mind was instantly saturated with ideas of me living in Coogee, getting up for a swim before work & enjoying the good life. Really Australia, can I stay??

I’ve fallen for Coogee

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Who knew I would fall head over heels for Australia!?? Australia has always been somewhere I didn’t give much consideration. I presumed it would be unbearably hot for me with too many spiders for me to cope with. With everyone going there I always knew it would be incredible, but maybe not for me….
I have since fallen in love with Australia – based purely on my love for Coogee. It is incredibly beautiful, my friends here are so happy & have a wonderful lifestyle. The pace of life is perfect. The area is absolutely stunning & it seems very sociable. What’s not to love!!??
Along with the better wage in comparison to New Zealand I feel Australia may be a more financially viable choice for a working holiday (with intentions to save).
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I did the walk from Coogee to Bondi which took over an hour with all my stops to bask at view points & take photographs. I went to world famous Icebergs for a glass of delicious Pinot Grigio & enjoyed the laid back fun atmosphere. Bondi beach was not as bogan as I expected! Everyone along the coastline seemed super chilled really appreciating their surroundings & making the most of it. I have a strong desire to be one of those people!
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I took the bus into town & enjoyed the familiar shops & busy, self important pace of life. I went back to my friends, got a bottle of wine to have with dinner & ate tacos, drank, gossiped & laughed. What a perfect day. Australia, can I stay???

Sydney

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Flying into Sydney on the cusp of sunrise & the skyline looks incredible. I have a feeling I would have a good time in this city. It’s a shame I’m just here for a connecting flight.
I’m exhausted from the traveling. I hate how my face feels so congested & puffy & my feet feel heavy with fluid. I hate how my skin is as dry as the Sahara & my eyes are crinkled with lack of sleep.
Despite all these things I still do it & will continue to for the feeling of a new country, for the air of somewhere new & the atmosphere of the unknown.
You will not break me jet lag. You won’t even deter me slightly. I will endure you. Wanderlust has me now.