I’m sitting on a plane in Guangzhou when my neighbour asks me if I’ve been to Australia before. “No, I haven’t” I say. So she tells me her story – she moved to Sydney 30 years ago and she wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. She tells me about how nice everyone is, about the weather and the food. I can’t wait to get there, except that I still have 9 hours and 45 minutes to go. You see, I was on my second flight already, because you basically go around the world to get down under.
I land in Sydney, get on the train, and finally meet my friend who asks if I want to sleep first. But who needs sleep when you’ve been awake for two days and are in a completely different time zone from what you’re used to? Not me, nuh, uh. So she has just the right experience lined up to compliment my jet lag: an exhibition that is called “Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday”, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and that uses a quote by The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran, as a slogan – “Yesterday is but to-day’s memory, and to-morrow is but to-day’s dream”. I wonder if he’d been on the same journey as mine when he came up with this.
One of the first things I notice while walking through The Rocks – the historic area of the city – is the architecture of the houses. The city is covered in filigree balconies and once you spot it, you start seeing them everywhere!
And of course, since we’re in the area, I get a good look at the famous Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. They’re pretty (the Opera House especially!), but I’m yet to see the best part of Sydney.
You can see the city is so new (compared to European cities) that there’s barely anything that looks old and there is so much land that all avenues and streets are super wide. You could walk with your arms open and still wouldn’t invade anyone’s personal space. And for such a big city, the places where you can go and still feel like you’re in a small town are plenty – even at the Observatory, where you’d imagine heaps of tourists taking photos, the atmosphere was so peaceful.
Now, the wildlife is not running amongst you in the city, as one might imagine. Sure, there are some animals roaming free, but I had to go to the outskirts of Sydney to actually see a kangaroo – and be attacked by one. Let it be known that they’re not as friendly as what you see in cartoons (thanks a lot Nickelodeon) and that being pushed by a roo can result in being bruised for a week.
But the highlights of this urban area are its natural wonders.
Beaches, beaches, beaches. Sydney’s so rich in what comes to natural beauty. We went to different sandy beaches where the water was almost body temperature and where you could still have an amazing view of the Sydney’s skyline, while being able actually see the stars – in London I can count the stars I see.
Taking the ferry to Watsons Bay was definitely one of the highlights of my week in New South Wales. You get to see the popular skyline and the Opera House from multiple angles.
I’m slowly recovering from the lack of sleep and we go for a walk up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse, where the views to South Pacific Ocean are just so lovely. It is a peaceful walk, and you get to look at the Pacific on one side and Palm Beach on the other. If you’re looking for a double beach, look no further.
New Town seemed like a really cool area. There was more of a raw feel to it, which I quite liked, combined with various indie bookshops and thrift stores.
But I didn’t leave without experiencing a teeny fraction of the party scene. I went just in time for Laneway Festival, where I got to see Tame Impala playing in their country.
And did I mention the sky already? Sunsets are actually insane. On my last day in Sydney, while at the airport, the sky warmly invited me to return one day.
I guess the only thing I was surprised about was the fact that it didn’t feel as multicultural as they say… I barely heard any languages around me, apart from English, whereas in Melbourne I at least could hear foreign accents and such. Maybe I just needed more time there.
Till next time Straya, it was sweet as!