MELBOURNE & SYDNEY
17.11.2014 - 25.11.2014 27 °C
We kick started the final month of our trip landing in Melbourne, Australia. Staying in an area called St Kilda, right next to the botanical gardens, a stones throw from the beach and we found ourselves dropping another gear in pace. Throughout the trip there have been locations where we have naturally decided to not do too much other than take in the local area - sometimes for Ollie's sake, sometimes to recharge after transit days and sometimes just because!
We were lucky to be staying close to Acland Street, which runs parallel to the esplanade. A vibrant spot with a plethora of cake shops, coffee shops, ice cream parlours and the best Vegetarian cafe! Happy days.
We spent some time in Central Melbourne which is very beautiful for a busy, bustling city centre. We took time out for packed lunch and some people watching in the lovely Federation Square before heading north to explore Gertrude Street in Fitzroy. Fitzroy is a gentrified suburb full or cafés, boutique clothing shops and very nice record and book shops. In one of the a record shops I spent maybe 15 minutes chatting to the owner who was sitting behind his counter (a very cool, knowledgable man with extremely big hair) he was telling me about local events, which bands were coming through town, where the 'heat' is kept (the expensive hard to find records - which were locked away safely behind the desk) when with excitement he leapt up said 'Oh! and we have a funk roller-disco on tonight if you fancy coming?' whilst rolling out backwards from behind the counter on what can only be described as some skates from the 60's. With a big smile I politely declined and said that 'I had left my Bauers in the UK, but maybe next time'. Classic stuff.
After a brief but fun time in Melbourne we packed up and headed due east to Sydney. The 2 hour flight was the worst of the trip so far. Extremely turbulent mixed with a real sense that the pilot was NOT in control. A terrible landing ....various gasps and white knuckles all round and not a peep from the pilot or crew!! ....not the greatest of starts....anyway...we roll on.
We spent the first night in Potts Point, an area east of Central Sydney with an abundance of classy architecture, tree lined roads and well turned out locals....it felt slightly french in it's make up. Unfortunately our apartment was cockroach ridden! (Apparently quite common at this time of year in Sydney) but we were not prepared to settle for this so the next morning (Scott and Anna style) we packed up, found new digs and headed to CBD (Central Sydney) to be closer to the sights and make the most of our time here.
A highlight of our stay was a cruise around Sydney harbour (very touristy, we know) but we had perfect weather, Ollie fell asleep and that left Anna and myself (beer in hand) to enjoy it. We had the coolest patriotic old-school Ozzie gent narrating the trip with nonstop facts ranging from World War II stories of Japanese submarines invading the harbour to where Hugh Jackman lives....something for everyone, a fascinating history lesson!
We spent the next few days exploring the rest of Central Sydney and it's more common attractions The Rocks, The Opera House, immaculate Botanical Gardens and fantastic shopping streets. By this time we were really getting a feel for the pace of day to day life in Sydney and we liked it a lot. A clean, stylish and friendly city.
For our penultimate day in Sydney we headed out east to visit a few beaches. Starting off at Coogee beach we kicked back for a while, watching the numerous 20-something travellers come and go before taking our 30 something asses on the 6 km Coogee to Bondi coastal walk. Slightly ambitious with a 3 year old in tow due to the various bays and steps that you encounter, but being the no1. Trip Advisor activity in Sydney we had to experience this. A beautiful way to really see this coast line and have a real decent workout! From Bondi we boarded the bus towards Watsons Bay, for the most incredible sunset views looking back at the city...a fitting end to a long and adventurous day.
That night, by sheer coincidence a friend of ours was playing at a Redbull Music Academy event nearby, so leaving Anna and Ollie snoozing I popped out for a 'schooner' and some music before hitting the hay.
The first two legs of our adventure in Australia had treated us so well, two extremely attractive and cosmopolitan cities with what a feels like a great lifestyle mix for the inhabitants. Now we are preparing for our flight to Cairns to pick up our campervan which will be home for the next 21 days.