I’ve now been in Oz for 3 weeks today and STILL slightly jetlagged; I guess my breakup letter didn’t work.
After staying at my friend Sara’s in a neighborhood north of the harbour bridge called Crow’s Nest, I moved to a hostel closer to the CBD (central business district). It was in an area called Pott’s Point, which is really central, but is also located right next to King’s Cross AKA Sydney’s red light district. This is nothing compared to Amsterdam’s red light district, but it was every bit as trashy. I’m glad I didn’t arrive in Sydney and immediately stay in this area because I think my initial opinion of the city would have been lower.
The hostel itself was great though and there were so many other people I met who are doing the same visa as I am. A fair amount of people use hostels as jumping off points, so they’ll stay there for a couple weeks while they look for jobs and apartments. It seems that a large majority of people end up staying in Sydney for their working holiday. Which obviously is fine, but I know that I won’t stay in Sydney the whole time.
Below are some highlights of the rest of my time in Sydney.
I got up early one Sunday and decided to go for a run and ended up spending about 4 hours running and (mostly) walking around Sydney. I ran across the bridge and remembered that the Sydney marathon was that day so I loosely followed part of the route up to the Opera house, through the Botanical Gardens and then walked back around through the Rocks, an area where the convicts used to live back in the day (I later did a Rocks tour in the evening- it’s really neat). That night I went to my friend Sara’s local bar – Crow Bar – by myself, seeing as she was out of town in Melbourne. We had a joke that I was her avatar since she was away, and I was doing her typical activities, ie: going to Crow Bar alone. It was fine though, because I had made friends with her friend Jamie who bartends there and he kept me company while working. And then I had a few people chat me up because I probably looked like a loser sitting alone on my computer, probably updating my blog.
Another day I went to the Taronga Zoo, which is located across the harbour. The most popular way to get there is to take the ferry, which especially on a nice day has such great views. They joke that the giraffes have the best real estate in Sydney since their enclosure looks directly out over the harbour and to the city in the background, which is true. I was able to use my student ID from uni to get a discount (thanks for not putting an expiration date, VT!) It was just your typical zoo, with lions, tigers and a heartwarming seal show. What made it worth the money though, was being able to see all the aussie wildlife upclose: koalas, kangaroos, tasmanian devil, wombats, quokkas and such. There was an enclosed section meant for kids, but I went anyways because they have kangaroos that roam around freely. Problem is, there are emus also roaming freely and one starting looking at me in a really strange manner, so I started backing away slowly and it started following me. I got scared it was going to start pecking at me so I decided to quickly exit the kids area. I’m just waiting for the headline: ‘Emu pecks out zoo-goer’s eye’. Besides that, loved it.
(whilst staying at hostel)
I returned to Camp Cove Beach, the hideaway beach that I found in Watson’s Bay. I went back during the week to “sunbake” as they call it here. I find this a much more truthful term than “to tan.”
Fish Market & Newtown – The fish market is apparently the second biggest in the world after Japan’s. I went with a friend from my hostel and we stuck mostly to the food stalls. We got such good, fresh fish n chips it was amazee. Afterwards, we wandered to Newtown, which is an extremely hipster area of Sydney. While there I had gelato from Cow and Moon, a gelato shop which just won the title of world’s best gelato.
Surry Hills Festival – a group of us from the hostel attended this neighborhood festival that boasted local live music, local food and yep, local art. Surry Hills is a chic little neighborhood that is buzzing with trendy bars, cafes and gourmet restaurants. Kind of reminds me of Chelsea in New York, with much shorter buildings.
Above is a picture of Manly beach. Over the weekend, I returned to both Bondi & Manly with friends from the hostel. More sunbaking time. We all bought 50+ sunscreen since the ozone layer is practically non-existent above Australia. I thought I was being sun smart, only later to find out that even Australians only use 15 or 30. To be fair though, Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. I think I’ll stick with my 50 SPF.
Anyhoo! I’ve since left Sydney and am currently in Lennox Head, leaving tomorrow for Brisbane for the weekend, but I’ll post more on that later. Overall, I really like Sydney. In fact, I liked it way more than I imagined I would. I was sad to leave earlier this week, since I had such a great time there and met some really cool people. But I am excited for whatever lays ahead in this awesome country.
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