Sydney Harbour Bridge

Australia!

It’s been a whirlwind week and a half! I left New Zealand to join Matt in Coff’s Harbour, Australia, where he had gone ahead of me to see his parents on their holiday. We had a great time with them beach walking, hiking, playing cards and hanging out.

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Everywhere we go, Matt has to figure out where to set up his workstation: some place quiet and preferably a standing desk space. In our one bedroom suite, he chose the closet.

Everywhere we go, Matt has to figure out where to set up his workstation: some place quiet and preferably a standing desk space. In our one bedroom suite, he chose the closet.

Also, some kangaroos were spotted. Turns out they’re similar to the way deer behave in North America. They are also delicious, as we found in a French inspired restaurant later in Sydney.

 
Coff’s Harbour is a lovely vacation spot on the eastern coast of Australia, halfway between Brisbane and Sydney. I get the sense that it’s more of a holiday spot for Australians rather than foreigners, and even though it was winter the weather was still beautiful. It was Matt’s parents’ first time to Australia, a place they’d always dreamed of visiting ever since they got married, and so it was fun to explore it with them and see all of the weird wildlife and plant life that it has to offer. Thankfully, we encountered no large spiders (heh). For me the highlight of the time was a two hour hike around the Dorrigo National Park, a rainforest canopy that is an hour inland and has really fascinating trees and bird species.

all of the trees in the national forest that we hiked were really gnarly

all of the trees in the national forest that we hiked were really gnarly

 

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Also the cheese class that I took together with Paula, my mother in law. We made ricotta and ricotta salata from scratch. It’s so easy!

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It’s simply whole milk cooked to a certain temperature, add white vinegar, pull the curds out and strain them. Ricotta salata has salt added to it over several days to create a feta-like cheese.

 

I hadn’t really considered Australia for this year until we started talking to them about a holiday there. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, but in light of prospective housesits I was so excited to spend as much time in New Zealand as possible that I didn’t have many goals or expectations for Aus. But I was very pleasantly surprised at how pretty the country was, how kind the people were, and how many places I saw advertised for that sounded like fun trip opportunities for the future.

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We parted ways with Matt’s parents a week ago and took a long, slow train down to Sydney. It’s only an hour flight away but we’d wanted to see the coast by train so we took the (cheaper) 9 hour train ride. Probably wouldn’t do that again but it provided pretty views.

train from Coff's Harbour to Sydney

train from Coff’s Harbour to Sydney

I was surprised to find clean and affordable budget accommodation in the heart of Sydney’s downtown that made everything from the opera house, botanic gardens and cathedral an easy walk. We were only in Sydney for 72 hours but fell in love with it immediately. We had to spend our anniversary apart this year so it was a chance to celebrate that. The weather was beautiful while we were there, and there were so many green spaces, beautiful architecture, great restaurants, nice people, and stunning┬áharbor views that reminded me of San Francisco. The vibe is a West Coast surfer community mixed with European charm. Highlights and things you should definitely hit up if you go are the Royal Botanic gardens, Queen Victoria building, Strand Arcade, Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk, the climb up and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge (Luna Park, a Coney Island-esque theme park is on the other side), and Chinatown. There is a company that provides free guided walking tours of downtown. If you’re determined, have good shoes and are staying in downtown, there is no reason you can’t walk everywhere – we did. Also, random shout out but I’m not even kidding: the spicy salmon karaage bowl at Rice Workshop in the Northfields Mall in downtown will change your life.

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The Strand Arcade, a charming covered shopping street

 

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

 

Luna Park, an old style amusement park next to the Sydney Harbour

Luna Park, an old style amusement park next to the Sydney Harbour

 

you can climb up and walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for free, which is a long way but gives you some great views

you can climb up and walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for free, which is a long way but gives you some great views

 

the Bondi to Bronte Beach coastal walk was one of my favorite things we did in Sydney (and it's free!)

the Bondi to Bronte Beach coastal walk was one of my favorite things we did in Sydney (and it’s free!). There are some great views along the way, and it’s fun to just sit and watch the surfers.

 

The Queen Victoria building. It's a shopping center and is really gorgeous inside and out

The Queen Victoria building. It’s a shopping center and is really gorgeous inside and out

Ceiling at the Queen Victoria building

Ceiling at the Queen Victoria building

 

 

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney had a large flock of cockatoos!

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney had a large flock of cockatoos! They are LOUD.

 

the Sydney Opera House's roof is actually a series of pretty geometric tiles

fun fact: the Sydney Opera House’s roof is actually a series of pretty geometric tiles

 

On Sunday night we boarded an 8 hour flight to Singapore, where we had a 9 hour overnight layover. We splurged a little to stay in the in-terminal hotel (where you don’t have to go past security or customs) and it was WORTH IT. Some larger airports have nap lounges or shower facilities, in this case they have all of that plus a transit hotel where you pay in 6 hour blocks to have a windowless, sound proof room and your own shower. I’d highly recommend this if you have a red eye flight in where the layover isn’t quite long enough to leave the airport. Book in advance if you can so you’re not disappointed. We then boarded a 13 hour flight to London on an Airbus A380, a giant behemoth of a plane that carries at least 400 people.

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It had been my personal travel goal to fly on one of these, but since no US airline has one and they’re only used on really long haul flights, I didn’t know that I’d get the chance. We had seats on the second floor (there are two floors, people!) and it was really cool. I used the staircase as often as I could because of the pure novelty of it all. The service and food and aircraft just cemented for me why Singapore Airlines is the best. If you have a chance to fly them, do it. It makes flying on Delta feel like a cattle car in comparison.

We’re doing well in London so far. We’ve finally left Asia Pacific after spending the first half of our year there, moved from winter straight into summer, and back into the hemisphere we know and love. I will post on that another time, as I will have a lot of pictures to share for the week that we are here.

Categories: Australia

4 comments

  • Barb Willard

    I love this. When I was in Sydney chaperoning a zillion middle schoolers I didn’t get to see the mall that you described. Beautiful! I’m so glad that you had a good time there. Can’t wait for London pics!

  • MaMommrilyn Morse

    O my gosh…U are really seeing the sights and I am seeing them thru your eyes and words, thanks a bunch! I think you would have missed a lot if you didn’t go to Aus. and so glad for you to see Paula and John, know they are having a good time! I thot you were going to Switzerland or is that after England? Don’t eat fish and chips in Bristol, they are not that good, ha Well I am ready for the kids to come some day in July, I have things put out on the bed for them, U know how I did for U and Lauren. Rachael will be one year old tomorrow! Happy Anniversary to you Two, will have to make it up to U when U get home. WE had 8 inches of rain over 4th of July weekend!! Art & Cheryl are really enjoying your blog, she told me you had a new one tonite so I was glad to know that, we don’t get a notice!Will be looking forward to your next adventure, U sure know what to do and how to do it!!! I was born 40 years too soon! Love to you both, Mommo, poppo and augie dog….woof woof.

  • Your brother K

    Much enjoyed the update!!! I hope you guys can bring all your pictures when ya come so we can put em on the projector… Miss you guys, have fun in England!

  • Erika Taylor

    Hey guys! We’ve been reading some of your different posts and I’m so envious!!! ( says Erika) I love that you guys are doing all this cool stuff= so lucky, planning your life right/goals before babies lol ­čÖé Love you two kids! Come back to KC eventually ..though I don’t blame you if you wouldn’t want to! But we got light rail now!

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