Day 2 ~ Downtown Sydney
Staying with family just outside of Sydney with all the comforts of home, including hot water, fluffy pillows, crisp sheets, wireless internet, and enough voltage to blow up my cell phone while charging! No, that didn’t happen but it could have without the care of Sarah and John whom after only being in Australia 7 months have it all down pat, from driving on the opposite side of the road to knowing where to connect for public transit. If you need a tour guide Sare will get you around. Sydney is also home to the funnel spider and fortunately I have not come even close to one yet as I have not ventured off the beaten path.
Downtown Sydney is full of life, even in the winter time. I would compare it to Vancouver harbour as far as an overall feel to it with towering office and condo buildings along the waters edge, and ferries going out to various local beaches. The restaurant scene is said to be the best in the Southern Hemisphere.
While walking around we had to take advantage of every photo op there was. Photos were snapped of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge which was an inspiration of Hell Gate Bridge in New York…just a little bigger. Upon arriving in Sydney it was still morning and I needed my second cup of java so we headed off to the Rocks Market and went to The Rocks Cafe to take a sip of my first Flat White, basically a double espresso with steamed milk slightly frothed. The Rocks Market is a phenomenal place at lunch hour on a Friday with local restaurants showing off their cuisines under a tent mixed in with local farmers expressing their fields fresh produce. It was a foodies delight. We had steak sandwiches and Tasmanian fresh wild salmon accompanied with fresh bakery bread and cous cous that the Paleo Solution diet wouldn’t approve of.
The weather hit records with a high of 26 degrees celsius. Fortunately we were dressed for the weather however the Aussies thinking it was winter were not, wearing long pants and in some cases jackets. It’s crazy what is thought to be cold when you come from such an extreme climate in Ottawa.
While waiting for my salmon I noticed a wine shop/bistro called the Odyssey loaded with enomatics and a plethora of great Aussie wine. I could hardly hold myself back and then my salmon was ready.
The day was cut short since we were due to fly out of Sydney into the Gold Coast and shuttle to the hippie, surfer town of Byron Bay. Here we would join the Argue family. We departed from Sarah and John’s with pizza in hand and headed up the hill to the bus stop. The hill is quite tiring when your carrying 45 lbs of clothes and camera equipment. Once we got to the stop there was discussion about which would be the best route to the airport. We hit rush hour and construction and we still made our connecting train. Once at the airport we got into line to check our bags. Flying Jetstar has one benefit….cheap domestic flights! Two staff checking you in had most of us in line a little stressed about actually making the flight. There was not a good vibe as the staff was losing confidence. We got through security and bolted through the airport as we heard the last call for boarding our flight. The take off and landing was probably the scariest I have encountered to date…I thought the wings were going to come off!
Landing in Gold Coast, which is actually the name of the town, we would be shuttled to a holistic, special gathering place called The Bamboo Cottage in Byron Bay. Arriving late the four of us were greeted by a happy mom and pop Argue as well as Marty the host of Bamboo. A couple of quick beers and we past out from a long day.