At the urging of two my buddies from Australia, I took the initiative and saved the money to make a trip down under. I had always heard about how beautiful Australia is and how vacations there are a blast, so I had to see for myself. A long flight from Los Angeles to Sydney was the long leg of our trip, and it afforded us some time to do a little bit of last minute trip planning on the way.
We arrived at the Sydney Airport after a flight that seemed like it must have lasted four days. Having been told that customs at that airport was a bit of a hassle, we expected to be bothered upon our arrival, but that wasn’t the case. We got through customs with no problem, and since it was about 10:00 PM local time, we decided to go to our hotel for a little bit of sleep in preparation for the next day.
The cab ride from the airport to our hotel wasn’t too long, probably lasting only 20 minutes. We were unfortunate to be arriving at night, as that took away the chance to do some early trip sight seeing on the way to the hotel. Still, we got there in good time and all in one piece, so we were ready to get the trip going.
Our group consisted of four people, each of us young and male, ages 22-25. One of the people in our group had been put in charge of researching the hotel choices in Sydney and he had come up with a place called the Quay West Hotel. We didn’t know much about it except that some travelers online seemed to enjoy the size of the rooms, so we went for it. Upon arriving at the hotel, it looked like we had found a pretty nice place to stay.
Our first impression of the room was a good one. It was big and impressive, providing enough room for the four of us to crash. The most impressive part of the room was, without a doubt, the view. It was a beautiful view afforded by a huge window that seemed to give us a good glimpse of everything that Sydney had to offer. We could see the Sydney Opera House, as well as all of the lights of the city. The place was lit up like a Christmas tree and we enjoyed having that as our first window out into the new world that we would be spending two weeks in.
We arrived in Sydney on January 5th, so that we could spend some time during their summer season. This was done at the urging of the two blokes I knew who insisted that Australia was much better during the summer months and was not worth visiting during the winter season. On our first day, we decided that it was time to do some major sightseeing. Our group of four has gone to many different places around the world together and never do we worry about looking like tourists. In fact, we try to dress, talk, and act as American as possible so that we can have an outrageous time. This was the case on our trip to Australia.
The first thing that we had to do on our trip was rent a car. Since we wanted to do some exploring around that area, it was essential that we had some way to get around. After picking up a rental car, we went out to start the first day of our time in Sydney. The weather was beautiful on our first day, so we decided to catch some sun. Bondi Beach has quite a reputation, so we took our act there. The beach was filled with people on this day and the sun was shining bright. We laid in the sand for a few hours, moving only to get another drink. This was our way of relaxing after a long trip over to Sydney. After spending the middle part of the day on the beach, we were ready to get back to the hotel and get ready for a nice dinner.
We wanted something that was both casual and cultural. Because we had decided that our goal was to totally go all in with the Australian culture, food was on the top of our list. On this night, we were checking out a place called the Blue Fish Restaurant. This was a good spot for us because it provided not only the type of atmosphere we wanted, but also a nice price tag. We were not on a tight budget by any means, but it is always nice to find a good value every now and then. After dinner we took our show on the road, heading down to a place that we heard was very popular among locals and tourists alike. Hugos Bar in King Cross was located in one of the coolest parts of town and it attracted some of the coolest people. We had a great time drinking the night away with the locals down in that trendy cocktail bar.
With our first day in Australia clearly in the rear view mirror, we wanted to see a little bit more of the city itself. Trendy was our goal as I indicated earlier, so we went to the Sydney Opera House to see what was going on there. They let us take a look inside and check out what was going on. Though things were kind of quiet in the middle of the day, we were amazed at just how beautiful the building was. It was a really nice place and I could see why so many people enjoyed it.
We spent the rest of the day going around to some of the other spots around town, just seeing what we could find and who we could talk to. It ended up being a really nice cultural experience, as we had a chance to have coffee with a nice couple from Sydney and they told us some stories about the city. We didn’t get nearly as crazy on our second night as we did on the first, opting instead to rest up for the next few days.
We had been told about the really nice cruises that left out of the Darling Harbor, so we decided to take one of those. We loaded up on a big, nice boat and it cruised around the surrounding waters for a few hours. I didn’t really have my bearings on where we were, but it was a really fun time and a nice way to check out the city a little bit more. This reminded me of a tour I had taken in Boston not too long before, though the surrounding area in Sydney was much different than what you would see in Bean Town.
Later on in the week, we took another cruise, which was a whole lot more fun. This one was for the purpose of whale watching and it was something that I had wanted to do on our trip no matter what. We took a cruise with a company that was renowned for putting on a great show. I have no idea how far out they took us, but it seemed like we were riding on the boat for an eternity. When we eventually got to our destination, the view was stunning. We were able to see plenty of different whales, all doing what whales do. It was an experience that I will never forget as long as I live.
On our last day of the trip, we decided to do something crazy. We knew of some friends who had done bungee jumping in Nevis, New Zealand, but that wasn’t good enough for us. We were, after all, quite adventurous. We decided that we wanted most to go skydiving while we were on this trip. Australia is a really great place to do that and there is one company on Sydney Beach that takes good care of skydivers. We signed up for this, went through the entire process of signing the waivers and we took the basic training course. The four of us went off together, in pairs. I have no idea how long the jump lasted, but it seemed to go on forever. I have never been more scared and more excited at the same time in my entire life. The view of Sydney from that vantage point is absolutely stunning. This is an experience that I would recommend for everyone because it is absolutely exhilarating and the view is beautiful.
Our trip was long and we saw pretty much all that Sydney had to offer. We did not get to go out into the Australian countryside as I had hoped. From what I hear, that is an experience worth having in its own right. Still, I felt that we went to some great restaurants, took in the nightlife at some awesome bars, and generally had a really good time. We were very sad to pack up and leave and we were even more sad about the flight back to the United States. Sydney is a place that everyone should visit at least once, though, because there is so much to do there. I can’t wait to get back to Australia to knock out some of the things that I didn’t have a chance to do on my first trip.