Sydney, Canberra and The Blue Mountains
Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
118Trip End Feb 18, 2007
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That's one thing that Sydney definitely has gong for it. It's really well set up for backpackers, with special deals all over the place.
This time we stay in a gorgeous Victorian mansion, in the not so gorgeous area of Kings Cross. In London, the Red Light district makes up part of Soho, the drugs are in Brixton, all the weirdos hangout in Candem, and Croydon seems to be ground-zero for alcohol-fueled violence. Well, here in Sydney's Kings Cross, you get a bonus and have it all in one!
Still, the hostel is set back from the dodgy main street, and just oozes character
We later learn that the hostel was the one used in the Ozzi backpacker TV soap "Crash Palace", which we used to watch back in London years ago. We thought the place looked familiar...
Backpacker deals are everywhere in Sydney, but this place seems to have gone the extra mile. They take us out to a local pub and buy us a beer, followed by another one, then a jug of beer and before we know it, there are tea pots full of cocktails on the table.
We didn't spend a cent all night. Just awesome!
After our lapse time in Sydney at Xmas, we start to pencil out the tourist agenda. First on the list is a walk around the historical Rocks area, which has Sydney's oldest buildings and not uncoincidentally, some of Sydney's best pubs. Next is a mandatory walk over The Harbour Bridge, a visit to Glebe, a day out in Manly and a walk around Paddington, which with its old Victorian villas, has to be the most attractive residential area in Sydney. In Paddington we stumble across what has to be the most authentic English pub that we have seen outside of England, The Lord Dudley
The weekend approaches, and we take a trip over to the Ozzi capital Canberra.
We don't think you can come to a country and not visit it's capital, and we have an even greater reason to go there. To visit Ron and Jann, 2 friends who we know from a trip we did in Central America 2 years ago. They pick us up and show us around the sights of this well planned city, including the attractive Parlament building and various view points over the capital.
Later in the day, they drive us over to their house which is out in the country. A house would be an understatement, as if this was in the UK we would call it a mansion. Their nearest neighbour is 1km away, their living room is the size of our London flat, outside is a great swimming pool and we are taken for a "drive" around their garden, which even has kangaroos hoping around in it!
After enjoying a weekend of home comforts, some great home cooked food and our own huge room with ensuite, we feel so rejuvenated
We leave Canberra behind and head back to Sydney. It's interesting, but even though Canberra is just 3 hours by road from Sydney, the climate is so different. In Canberra it's a dry heat, where as Sydney is hot and humid. It's all to do with the mountain range which divides the two places.
Back in Sydney, and we stay with a kiwi friend, Stacey, who we know from our trip to India a year ago. Again, we are treated to home comforts and a great trip out to The Blue Mountains. So called because of the blue glaze that all the Eucalyptus Trees which cover the area give off.
Just to continue our "meet up with friends week", we also get invited for a yummy dinner at a friends house who we also know from our trip to India, Sarah and Rafieh.
It's been so great to catch up with everybody.
Before we depart Australia's largest metropolis, we get to see the gay side of Sydney at the annual Mardi Gras. Sydney is Australia's gay capital and you'd be forgiven for thinking the whole city population was gay, if you were to see it on Mardi Gras day. An amazing array of parades, floats, music systems, political statements, loads of drink and no trouble at all. If only all parties could be this friendly.
Finally, we get a quick glimpse of the Queen on her quick stop in Sydney, before she goes to Melbourne to open the Commonwealth Games. We've both lived in London for years and never seen her before, so it seemed quite strange to see her for the first time, whilst on holiday over the other side of the world!
That's it for Sydney, next we try and re-live our Trans-Siberian adventure, by heading across Australia to Perth , on the famous Indian-Pacific train.