My first week in Sydney, Australia…

I can’t quite believe it, but somehow I’ve been in Sydney, Australia, for a week! Over a week in fact! And it’s been such a whirlwind I haven’t had the chance to update you all with what’s been happening here so far, so let me take the time to enlighten you… 🙂

I arrived on Monday 27th October, at about 9am local time. By this point I had no idea what time it was in my head as Hong Kong was 7 hours ahead of the UK, however this was the weekend the clocks went back in the UK. So really all I knew when we landed was that I was now 11 hours ahead of my parents and tired! But technically I was in the future, and the novelty of that alone kept me going if I’m honest!

BUNAC’s sister company, Work N Holiday, were meant to send us someone to meet us at the airport, however they were under the impression we were arriving on a later flight so sadly that didn’t happen. However, being the intuitive bunch we are we managed to find the bus shuttle ourselves and get to YHA Sydney Central – our home for the next seven nights. After quite a lot of faff some of us were able to check in (myself included) and immediately get to our rooms to crash out and nap.

After we’d all showered and freshened up it was almost compulsory to go out that evening, especially as the bar next door was hosting Crab Racing! The most stereotypical backpacker event going…well it would’ve been rude not to go quite frankly!

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The rest of the night was a bit of a blur as you can probably imagine – jet lag and alcohol are a funny combination, and really all it resulted in was the loss of my sunglasses and a hangover!

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Tuesday consisted of a full day of orientation with Work N Holiday. As much as this was a bit of a ball ache at the time, it was all very helpful and interesting – and if anything it made the whole thing feel a lot more real! We were actually here!!! In Sydney! After months of planning and saving our pennies and wishing our lives away it had FINALLY happened, and we had so many amazing opportunities right on our doorsteps!

But before all of that we had to receive our bank account details, Australian SIM cards, tax file numbers and CV advice, in addition to sitting through presentations about travel opportunities, renting cars/camper vans and most importantly of all – we had to book Surf Camp! Though there is more to come in a later post regarding Surf Camp…you have been warned! 😉

All that sort of stuff is stuff I know deep down I would have eventually been able to get my head around and sort out myself after having conducted a bit/lot of research. However, given that this is the first time I’ve stayed in a country on my own for a considerable length of time it was nice to have someone do all that for me – a bit of a safety blanket if you will. Should I choose to undertake another working holiday in another country I think I’d choose to do it all independently, just to prove it to myself, you know?

So! After a bit of a life admin day a few of us decided dinner at Sydney Harbour was not only needed, but more of a necessity! And I think you’ll agree we were right…

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The next day myself and one of the other girls in my hostel room, Lorna, decided to take the road less travelled and did the coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee.

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I’m totally kidding about it being a bit off the beaten track, it’s a massively touristy thing to do, but the views were stunning…

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Once we got to our final destination we had SUCH FUN (sorry, Miranda reference…) in the waves at Coogee beach. You know when you picture yourself being that really girly girl who dips their toes into the sea and squeals at how cold it is, and everyone finds it adorable and you look totally cute in your bikini that everyone’s super jealous of? Well, that didn’t happen! The waves were so strong that you couldn’t help but get knocked over by them, even if you were in shallow water. And then just as you’d get back up they’d knock you for six again as the water was sucked back in by the tide. I’m absolutely certain the majority of the beach got to see a butt cheek at one point or another, but when am I ever going to see any of them again, really?! I also drank far too much seawater that afternoon!

Thursday involved a bit more life admin in the form of retrieving our bank cards, which was a good half hour walk (if not then more) from our hostel. It brought us in line with the walk to the Botanical Gardens a few blocks across, so after having queued in the bank for too long Lorna, myself and another girl from our room – Melanie – decided to go for a stroll.

The gardens were beautiful, though it was so hot by this point I think we ended up appreciating the trees more for the shade they provided than their beauty or size! There is, however, a very pretty tree I keep seeing all around Sydney which is coated in purple flowers and is a particular favourite of mine!

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If you walk to the very end of the gardens you’re rewarded with a view of both the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge…though I do appreciate the lighting in this next picture is a bit dodge! The Opera House is there I promise!

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As Friday was Halloween it seemed logical to go out and see the day in properly…dressed up in the correct attire obviously! And I mean that in the loosest of senses…tacky headbands and a bit of face paint were our limits I think!

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Friday and Saturday were my least favourite days last week. They were when Australia got less fun. All you really need to know about Friday is that I spent 10 hours in a classroom, hungover and tired, and left with a food hygiene certificate and the ability to serve alcohol responsibly in New South Wales. I paid good money for the privilege too! Saturday was a bit the same, except more practical, and in theory I could now work as a barista in a coffee shop. In reality though it’s probably best I don’t… 😛

So to round off the week I spent my Sunday at Manly beach, and learnt the hard way that sometimes no matter how hard you try you will always seem to miss a vital part of your body with the factor 30. I’ll spare you the photo of my burnt boobs, but sleeping on my front is still a problem! Manly was a really cool place though, you have to get a ferry from Sydney Harbour to Manly, which takes about 25 minutes and gives you some great views along the way, and although the sand has a few more stones and shells in it than Bondi or Coogee the area seemed a lot more ‘me’. 🙂 Very relaxed, really cool shops and some amazing views.

And then suddenly it was time to head back to the hostel, pack up my troubles in my old kit bag and get ready to leave the next morning for Surf Camp! Over the week I didn’t think I’d acquired anything other than what I can with, but I forgot about he beach towel I’d invested in, so to round off this post I shall leave you with a very fetching picture of me rocking the ‘backpack / frontpack’ look!

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