With three nights and two full days in Sydney, I didn’t feel too guilty sleeping in a bit and taking some time to relax. I had pretty much been nonstop go-go-go since leaving home, and despite wanting to get out and enjoy Sydney I also wanted to do some relaxing this trip.
Finally up and going, a look out the window; it’s pretty miserable when you have views like this from your hotel room. Almost makes you not want to leave…
Finally though, seeing the ferries coming and going, I decided that I wanted to get out and enjoy the time I had. One of my favourite things to do is a relatively short hike from Coogee to Bondi Beach, and it takes 2-4 hours depending on your pace, so off I went. I’ll tell the story in pictures, since I’ve posted about it before.
At the end of the hike, I rewarded myself with a late lunch at Bondi Trattoria. Barely seared tuna pasta with chili oil was out of this world, and I absolutely devoured it.
Back in Sydney later in the day, I ran into one of the more terrifyingly-named businesses I’ve come across in a long time. One is bad enough, we don’t need an “alto ego!”
The next day was also gorgeous, so decided on another hike, but this one a bit longer, the Spit Bridge to Manly Beach hike. Again, I’ll tell the story in pictures.
I was pretty inspired on this one, and focused on trying to see what my (relatively) new iPhone XS was capable of. I admit I know pretty much nothing about photography, so if you want to comment with tips I’m happy to hear them!
Bit chilly after the hike due to a stiff breeze, so of course, had to have a flat white to warm up. I love how commonplace good coffee is in Australia!
As the sun set on the ferry back from Manly Beach, the wind whipped up and it was a freezing ferry ride back to Circular Quay. Lots of great shots tonight!
As much as I liked those pics. we did even better!
So, that’s about it. I spent two days pretty much just relaxing and walking around enjoying the gorgeous weather and seeing the sights. I realize that I actually enjoy travel most when temps are 60-75F or about 15-20C, and I’ve been planning my trips more around the weather so I can enjoy hiking.
A great time in Sydney down, it was time to enjoy a little AvGeeking next…with Thai Airways First Class!
After getting to my hotel it was still relatively early, so I figured I had a bit of time to head out and get some drinks with friends. Couple of pints and a relatively early night, and I was hoping that I would finally be more or less adjusted to the time zone. Tried to make sense of cricket at the pub, but it still completely mystifies me.
Woke up, found a decent-looking place I forgot the name of that made a pretty respectable french-press coffee, and I was caffeinated and ready to make the most of my full day in Melbourne!
Friend picked me up in the (wrong side of the) car, and off we went to the Yarra Valley for a day of exploring outside Melbourne. One thing I think I never make enough time for is getting out of large cities when I travel, and it seems to be where I always have the best time so I was looking forward to this mini adventure!
First stop was the Yarra Valley Dairy which served up an amazing and huge platter of fresh farmhouse cheeses. I can’t believe I neglected to take a picture of all the cheese, but possibly that’s because we were so busy devouring it.
I did, however, remember to take a picture of the amazing cow at the entrance to the tasting room:
After stuffing ourselves with cheese (and of course a couple more delicious flat whites) it was down the road a bit to go to the Chandon Winery. For those of you who don’t know (like me) Chandon is indeed related to Moët and Chandon, and was born when they decided to try and produce some sparkling wines outside of France. The Chandon Winery is the result.
It was truly a gorgeous day to be out in the vineyard (although a bit chilly and windy) but was nice to walk near the vines before headed to the main event…the wines!
Decided the most proper way to explore all they had to offer was the tasting tray…and I swear I didn’t do this just because it made an amazing picture!
Super tasty wines, and even better company. It’s always great when travel allows the opportunity to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a very long time, and honestly that was much more fun than any sparkling wine or cheese…and if you know how much I love sparkling wine and cheese that’s like the biggest compliment possible!
Back to Melbourne, walked around a bit, and I was starting to get a bit sleepy, so what better than another flat white…and a delicious mango and lemon tart. A bit more on the posh side than it needed to be, but absolutely delicious nonetheless!
Fuelled by caffeine and sugar, it was off to stroll randomly around Melbourne a bit more, and ended up outside a theater where some Harry Potter nonsense or another was just ending and it seemed half the city was outside taking pictures of some things I had no idea why I should be interested. So, I just took a picture of all them taking pictures instead.
More walking, random palm trees, seemed very out of place on this evening that was becoming rather cool and windy.
Ended up at some place that a colleague wanted to go where we literally ate squid, drank beer, and were entertained by aged hipsters. It was a rather strange environment, but also one of those cool and unique experiences you would only have when traveling!
Off to bed, more catching up on sleep….and after a good long rest it was time to get up and randomly stroll around trying to find somewhere intriguing to find a good coffee.
This random sculpture on the street was far too terrifying before I’d had a proper caffeine fix:
Caught the tram to the train station (cool fact about Melbourne: trams in the City Centre are completely free!) and then the bus to the airport which was rather convenient. In no time at all I was at the terminal and through security, and ready to enjoy one final Qantas lounge.
It was just about lunch time, and I was rather hungry, and the Qantas buffet definitely didn’t disappoint. Can you imagine a selection like this in the US, on a domestic flight, solely by virtue of purchasing a business class ticket? Oh, that’s right, in the US you’d get no lounge at all!
Qantas, however, had a make your own toastie machine, proper sparkling wine, and delicious pickled veggies and lemon bars. Grilled cheese? Beetroot? Sparkling wine? AND lemon bars? I was honestly in heaven…
Off to the gate, where we were a little behind schedule in boarding. Our incoming aircraft was late from Tasmania due to some weather nonsense or another, but soon enough we were aboard our 737 for the rather short hop up to Sydney.
Qantas flight 440 Melbourne, Australia (MEL) to Sydney, Australia (SYD) Depart 14:30, Arrive: 15:55, flight time: 1:25 Boeing 737-800, Registration VH-VYH, Manufactured 2005, Seat 02D Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 63,187 Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,755,775
Super impressive three choices of meal on a flight that was barely an hour long, however, despite being in the second row there was only one choice when they got to me which was a “vegetable lasagna.” It wasn’t all that impressive, except it was a hot meal with great bread on a one hour flight! That alone was impressive!
Despite the late start we got to Sydney right on time, and it was time to catch the train back to the Marriott again and enjoy the first of several nights in Sydney.
In total, I had arranged for five nights in Sydney, and was really looking forward to this being the relaxing “vacation” part of the trip. Something I promised myself after finishing all the countries is that at least to a degree I’d slow down and explore places a little more in depth. Yeah, so I had to cross the southern hemisphere on this trip “because it was there,” but now that I was in Sydney, it was time to relax.
My first day, honestly, I didn’t do too much that was blog-worthy. Wandered around, saw some of the same sites I’ve posted on here before, and just basically killed jetlag. Lots of great coffee shops, tons of walking, and just overall relaxing…and being on vacation!
Second day, I was ready to do some serious urban walking, so after breakfast caught the bus for a rather long ride up north to the Spit Bridge to begin the Spit to Manly walk. Apparently, there’s a funeral shop just for white ladies…
The Spit Bridge, where the hike starts:
Fishing near the bridge. He was rather bundled up, and it was a bit chilly near the water, maybe 15C, but walking at a brisk pace I was nice and warm.
Lots of boats out today near the bridge:
Next to Vancouver, I can’t think of any city that has as many amazing ocean views as Sydney does.
In several parts, the walk was rather high up on the cliffs, but there were options to descend down to sandy coves for some amazing views:
At once point, there was a site where several aboriginal rock carvings had been found. This fish seemed almost too real to have survived years of weather:
How can you not love a view like this? The waves were really crashing today.
As you got closer to Manly, the trail was actually walking in the sand on the beach at several places. However, during high tide apparently, some parts of the trail aren’t passable and you have to go a few blocks inland and use city streets.
…and in other parts, it was just a nice trail through the woods.
Part of the walk that went along the water (Forty Baskets Beach) that may not be passable at high tide. I can see why based on how high the water already was:
Lots more boats. It seriously seemed like half the city must own a boat there were so many out.
Nearly Manly. Are there seriously Penguins this far north in Australia?!
After finishing the nice long few hour walk, decided to reward myself with a couple of beers and a sausage roll at 4 Pines Brewing Company. It was a weekend, and the place was absolutely packed with locals having lunch and pints.
Some other highlights from the first couple of days include one of many perfect flat whites…
…a pizza with crocodile, kangaroo, and emu at the Australian Heritage Hotel: (which, btw, has an amazing list of beers on draught, and dozens more in bottles.)
…and who needs Starbucks when you have perfect flatwhites at local independent coffee shops everywhere you look, and grumpy donuts to eat!
With that, the first two days in Sydney were done, one fantastic walk down and at least one more to go…along with a lot more relaxing, seeing friends, and just generally having a real vacation!