A super second stint in Sydney - sightseeing, a night at the Opera House and Mardi Gras madness!

Mar 10, 2011 | by Neil

Things have been crazy since our last update! Following our campervan adventure we had one night in Brisbane and then the next day we had a few hours to check out the city before flying back to Sydney. We met up with our Brisbaneite friends Felicity and Mayes (who we met in Laos but have now returned home) and they showed us around the city. Brisbane has loads of colonial architecture as well as modern buildings and Felicity and Mayes took us on a whistle-stop tour where we saw the CBD, South Bank and Streets Beach (although it was being repaired following the flooding), the City Botanic Gardens and China Town. It was a gorgeous day and Brisbane was a beautiful city. We would have liked a bit more time there to explore. That evening we flew back to Sydney and returned to our Sydney residence; Donna’s flat in Darlinghurst. On our first full day back in Sydney (Tuesday 1st March) we went to Taronga zoo (thanks for the tickets Donna!). We saw loads of animals but our favourites were the baby elephants, the baby gorilla and the little penguins. Whilst there we also went on the cable car safari where you could see amazing views of the city. That evening Donna & Jo took us out for dinner and drinks, we had delicious burgers at Grill’d and then we finished the evening off with frozen yogurts from Wow Cow, they were gorgeous! During the week we spent more time exploring the CBD where I bought myself a new outfit for Mardi Gras and I got my haircut. The hairdresser persuaded me to go to blonde and although I wasn’t sure at first, I really like it now. We went to Bondi Beach one day and although we’d heard that Bondi wasn’t very nice we were pleasantly surprised; the beach had gorgeous white sand, the sea was clear (but freezing!), the weather was beautiful and it was really quite picturesque with ragged rocks flanking the sand around each side of the bay. The beach was the busiest we’ve seen so far in Australia but there was still plenty of room to sunbath. We’ve been watching a TV show called ‘Bondi Rescue’ since we got here and it shows the day-to-day lives of the lifeguards on Bondi; we didn’t see anyone getting rescued but we did see cameras filming and we got to experience first hand how strong and dangerous the sea currents are. In the evening we met up with our friends Gill & Kev (who we met in Thailand and spent Christmas with in Cambodia) and their friend Liz for drinks and we finished the evening by going for a meal at a Thai restaurant to remind us of our time in Asia. The following day we met up with Gill, Kev & Liz again and we all went up the Pylon Lookout on Sydney Harbour Bridge. After climbing a lot of stairs we got to the top and it was so worth it as the views of Sydney were stunning. In the afternoon Jimmy & I walked from the Opera House to Mrs Macquarie Point (a lookout) where you could get great views of the Opera House. We then went for a walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens which were vast and beautiful and we continued our walking tour of Sydney by walking back to Donna’s in Darlinghurst via Woolloomooloo Bay (a gorgeous bay with very posh apartments and restaurants) and the suburbs of Potts Point and Kings Cross. That afternoon we met up with Jimmy’s friend James (who he used to work with in the UK but now lives in Barcelona) and his friend Gareth. We had a few drinks on Oxford Street and then Jimmy & I went in to the city to start what would be a very booze fueled weekend!

We met Donna and her friends at a bar and after a drink (or two) we moved on to Opera Bar which is next to the Opera House. The bar is huge with a massive outside area and we spent a couple of hours dancing to the live band. At 7.30pm Jimmy & I left for the Opera House as we’d bought tickets earlier in the week to see the Sydney Symphony performing ‘Mahler’s Sixth Symphony: Hammerblow of Fate’ at 8pm. It was a fantastic experience and we are SO glad we did it! The Sydney Symphony were phenomenal and the music was bewitching. After the show we continued drinking at Opera Bar although we didn’t stay out too late as we didn’t want to spoil ourselves for Mardi Gras. On Saturday Donna had a pre Mardi Gras party at hers (which was incredibly alcoholic) and after consuming every alcoholic beverage in her flat (including port!), we ventured to Oxford Street to soak up the Mardi Gras atmosphere and find a spot to watch the parade. The parade was amazing and everyone there was buzzing with excitement. We saw so many floats highlighting important equality messages and the crowd were loving it! After the parade Jimmy & I met up with our friends Charlie and Martin and the four of us went to a club called Arc where we danced and strutted our stuff in to the early hours. On Sunday we were up late (we didn’t get in until 7.30am!) and after a leisurely start we had to get ready for a BBQ at Donna’s friends George and Tusyan’s. Although we felt vile at first, after a few glasses of wine and George’s gorgeous BBQ food we were feeling back on form. Monday was our last day in Sydney and the weekend had really caught up with us now. Donna had booked the day off work so we forced ourselves to get up and ready and we caught the ferry to Manly for the day. Manly is a laid back beach suburb of the city and it’s thirty minutes away from the CBD by ferry. We got off the ferry at Manly Wharf and we walked down The Corso (a street connecting Manly’s ocean and harbour beaches) to Manly Beach. We had some chips on the beach and fed the seagulls and then we shared an ice-cream from Ben & Jerry’s before doing a bit more exploring and going for a stroll around Manly Cove. We went back to Donna’s for a little goodbye gathering with her friends that we’ve got to know (Gemma, Jo & Lisa) and then we caught a taxi to the airport for our flight back to Brisbane. We had an amazing time in Sydney and we were so sad to leave; thanks for everything Donna!!! We arrived at our hotel in Brisbane just before midnight and it was straight to bed as we were getting a bus to Rainbow Beach the following morning (Tuesday 8th March). We’ve been at Rainbow beach for a couple of days now and it’s a beautiful little town with a long beach and colourful cliffs, hence the towns name. Jimmy will tell you more about our Fraser Coast experience in his next blog update.

Hope everyone’s cool and sorry for the lack of communication. WiFi is just impossible here!

P.S - Our camera is broken again so a lot of our photos have a big smudge in the middle! Never buy a Sony camera!