25/11/12 - Sydney
On arriving in Sydney, with serious jet lag after a delayed 9 hour flight, I was not in the best of moods. In addition, it was grey, cloudy and absolutely freezing compared to the sunny, humid weather I was dressed for, which we'd left behind in Thailand. I hadn't really packed for cold weather as we were arriving in time for Australia's Summer, so I was not expecting this cold blast! The weather here is all over the place...they still have the air con on full blast though! It's unbelievable, I've spent the last 3 weeks running into the nearest 7/11, as it's the only place in a 10 mile radius with aircon in 35 degrees+ heat - and now I'm cold there's aircon everywhere I go.
So, back to the point, I was even more disappointed by the realisation that Sydney looked just like the UK. Did I really travel all this way for cold, cloudy weather and sky scrapers that look like a carbon copy of London?! The city's comparison to our capital is uncanny - they have a Hyde Park, King's Cross, Paddington, Oxford Street...
I'd spent almsot a month in the East, just started to adapt to the culture and enjoy it, and then at the click of a finger ( or a 10 hour night flight) I was back in the West. I didn't like it!! I guess Australia has been so hyped up recently, and the fact all we could see was the inner city buildings, that it was purely under-whelming.
That night, after a power-nap, we took a walk to the harbour to see the iconic sights of Sydney. The Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge was only a 20 minute walk from our hostel, so we were in a great location. Lit up at night, it was a spectacular view and I soon decided Sydney was way better than London!
The following day, we did the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, which was expensive but worth it. [I take this back, we could really do with that $300 now.] The whole experience made me giggle - they take longer dressing you up and giving you all the prep than they take walking you up and down the bridge. You need a jumpsuit, fleece, belt and attachment, hat, gloves, handkerchief...you have to walk through a metal detector, do a breathaliser test...it makes you believe the climb is going to be hardcore and dangerous. But in essence, it was literally a few stairs, about 6 ladders, and there you were on the top arch. The views from the top were incredible, and we got to see the sunset on the harbour. What struck me is how huge Sydney Harbour acually is; the bridge is more or less central, and each side the water looks like it goes on for miles. Before the bridge was built, if you did not want to get across the water via boat it would take 5 hours to reach the other side!
We also managed to cram in Bondi Beach, which was lovely but looked a lot smaller than it does on the TV show 'Bondi Rescue!' The sea was, as predicted, laced with surfers. While the weather was a lot warmer and sunnier today, I still thought it was too cold to strip down to my bikini! It looked like what I imagine America's beach cities to look like, such as Miami or L.A. I've never been, but it looks similar to TV programmes and films from the USA. There's a bunch of seafood cafes and restaurants along the beachfront, just like the one Ryan from The O.C. worked in.
We also found 5 hours of our time to spend at Taronga Zoo. Which was amazing, as I got to get up close to a koala!! They were soooooo cute, very sleepy though, it's hard to get a photo of one with their eyes open. But they do sleep 20 hours a day, and I wouldn't want to disturb them, they are the cutest things EVER.
I feel like our time here has been a complete whirlwind, and there's so many things left to see - plenty more beaches, parts of the harbour and obviously the Blue Mountains. So hopefully we will find time in our year ahead to come back at some point.