We lollipops love hot dogs
Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
71Trip End Oct 01, 2015
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Of course to make it a little more fun David didnt know and with Steph's undercover skills we had arranged to meet at a restaraunt that night in Darling Harbour.
We had an early flight from Christchurch up to Auckland where we were to pick up one of our flights from our round the world ticket. Jet star was the airline we chose from christchurch to auckland, a budget airline much like easy jet which charges you for everything extra. We had woken up particulary hungry, probably to do with the fact that tai was a little hungover and i dont have an excuse. By the time we got on our flight from Auckland bound for Sydney we had devoured two meals. We were flying with Quantas to Sydney and were spoiled for the next 3 hours, we got another meal, endless films and tv shows and even an ice cream as we came into land.
As we got into the arrivals hall we were talked into buying a return shuttle to take us into the city - it was probably the best idea as i had forgotton to print off any details of our hostel and could only remember the name!
We were taken to the van by an old guy called charlie who wore a beret. Our shared shuttle turned into a private one as it seems no one else fell for the sales pitch in the arrivals hall. The journey to our hostel was therefore a short one and befre we knew it we pulled up outside this building with a load of dodgy looking characters hanging around outside. I'd heard the are where we were staying - Kings Cross - was a little rough but this looked like a crack house. Neither of us wanted to get out hoping the driver had made a mistake, thankfully after a couple of minutes he realised that he had and we carried on down the road to our actual hostel which to be honest was only marginally better. Check in was an absolute struggle, we were told the rooms we had booked were not available as the hostel was very busy, the girl was getting more and more confused and eventually we were put into an 8 bed dorm, we went in and it was like we'd stepped onto the geordie shore set! the floor was covered with stuff, music was blaring and people were walking around half naked. We decided to head straight out and explore the city, as we walked down the road towards the opera house i decided i couldnt stay in that hostel for the next 6 days and we decided to try and find somewhere else once we got back. We walked around a corner and heard lots of screeching in the trees above us, we looked up and saw about 10 white parrots with little yellow quiffs flying from tree to tree.
We carried on our walk around a little harbour, climbed some steps and found ourselves walking through Sydneys famous botanical gardens, we walked passed an array of plants and trees until we reached the waters edge and were welcomed with a wonderful view of the Sydney opera house and the harbour bridge. We carried on walking through the gardens, following the path around until we were standing at the foot of the steps of the opera house, it was quite breath taking and surreal to be stood there looking up at the iconic building. We learnt that the opera house's sails were designed in such a way that if put together they would all fit into one large ball. The sun was beginning to set and we decided to head back to our hostel and get ready for tonight. As we retraced our steps through the botanical gardens we were welcomed with a fantastic sun set as the sun disappeared behind the opera house. A lady very kindly offered to take a photo, unfortunately the photo was ruined by her missing the opera house out of it completely!
As we got back to our hostel the receptionist called us over and we were told there was another room for us that we could move into if we wanted - a 4 bed - needless to say we jumped at the chance. The room was equally as messy but still it was better than the previous one, we quickly got changed and headed out into the city and down to Darling Harbour where we bought a couple of bottles of wine from the bottle shop and waited at the restaurant for David and Steph.
In true David and Steph style they were late, but eventually they turned up and we spent the night catching up, eating good food and watching the firework display on the harbour, in the end we had to be asked to leave as the restaurant was closing. David didnt seem particularly suprised - maybe stephs undercover work wasnt as good as we thought or maybe david is just too suspicious, either way it was great to see them and we were looking forward to the next few days.
The next morning we were up early and out of the hostel at around 8am. We had decided to go to the Blue Mountains today - we were told it was possible to catch a train but to get ourselves a bit more freedom we decided to hire a car. All the car hire places in Sydney were unfortunately closed today being a Sunday (apparently people dont need to hire cars on a Sunday) except one which handily was just down the road from our hotel. We walked through Kings Cross which still had a few stragglers hanging around fromt he night before looking like theyd had a very "good"night and down to the car rental office. We were told they didnt have the smaller cars but could give us there next car up for the same price. We drove out of the garage in a lowered, bright yellow sports car. We looked awesome!
The drive to the blue mountains was about an hour or so. We stopped on route at an area called wentworth falls, parked the car and went off for a little walk. We soon had to reverse our steps however as the paths were closed due to recent floods. After a little backtracking we were off again and had our first view of the blue moutains area. The views were increidble - a huge tree filled valley stretched out before us as far as we could see and down below in the distance was wentworth falls. We decided to carry on towards the falls, eating our packed lunch on route. Around an hour later we found ourselves stood at the top of the falls, to cross them we hopped between some stepping stones until we reached the other side, we began to walk down to the bottom but decided if we were going to make it up to the main area of the blue mountains we should probably turn around which is what we did.
The town of Katoomba some 30 minutes on from Wentworth falls is the gatweay to the blue mountain national park. On the advice of Avis we found some free parking and walked down to the three sisters look out point. The view was incredible yet again - it kind of reminded me of the grand canyon. We took another photo - yet another one ruined by us both pulling abnormal faces and headed off on a little walking track which took us to a much quiter area where we stodd and admired the magnificent view for a while. Time was ticking on and id spotted a chocolate cafe that i want to go to before we headed back to the city. We chose a seat next to a roaring log fire and ordered some chocolate truffels, tai got a huge chocolate ice cream and i got a real hot chocolate which came in a tall glass with a tea light underneath, you then poured your milk into the glass and then added little chocolate drops. It was bliss!
I didnt think it was possible but once we left i think we had over indulged in chocolate a little too much and i had to lie down in the car on the way back to Sydney feeling thoroughly sick!
Getting back into the city proved to be a little harder than we imagined, like any city it is full of one way streets however one wrong turn a road away from our destination took us down into a tunnel and when we remerged we re on the opposite side and it took us another 45 minutes to make out way back!
We dropped of our pimped up ride and headed back to the hostel for a quick change and then headed off to meet David and Steph at circular quay, we opted to walk through the Gardens again which were just about to close and found ourselves in the pitch black jumping as other people in the same position appeared earily from the darkness infront of us. We made it through though with no problems, met them and headed off in search of a bar. David tried to get us to a secret bar somewhere in the city - either was too secret even for those that knew about it or it was closed as it was sunday but we couldnt find it and instead headed to an area called the Rocks to a rooftop bar with amazing views over the harbour.
A mix of no dinner, and too many drinks made for a fairly messy night and we both awoke the next mroning with fuzzy heads.
Not wanting to waste any time we headed straight out and decided to go to a restaurant recommended by a few people called panckaes on the rocks. Needless to say everything came with pancakes - even the pizza where a pancake instead of pizza base!
We ordered 2 pancake breakfasts, tai ate everything accept the pancakes!
Next stop was Taronga Zoo. We had to catch a ferry across from Circular Quay to the other side of the harbour. The ferry ride was impressive in itself as we passed right alongside the opera house. As we got to the zoo we jumped on a cable car which took us up over the zoo itself and we looked down on some of the animals on the way.
We were given a map and headed off straight for the native animals, we walked into an enclosure and wallabies (basically small kangaroos) were chilling out in the shade all around us, the sit really funny on their bums with their legs infront of them just like humans do. There was also a couple of emus in there which are actually really scary and after a quick photo we ran out before they started pecking at us! The zoo was huge, we saw so many animals including lots of scary poisonous snakes we found out that 11 of the 15 most poisonous snakes in the workd live in australia, giraffes, Gorillas - which were amazing - there was a huge silverback weighing around 200kg, and some nimble mountain goats! We ended up spending the majority of the day there and still didnt see everything. We got the ferry back to circulr quay and wandered around the shops on our way to darling harbour where we went for a coffee and the hard rock cafe and waited for David and Steph.
We then went off in search of our Groupon restaurant where we'd got ourselves a deal for all you can eat dumplings!
We found the restaurant and were seated, what followed was probably the weirdest dining experience ever where no-one spoke english, a faux waitress nearly stole stephs phone, tai made a mess of bones and soup on a menu which he then handed over to a waitress, a poster filled with chinese symbols and the words boring service hung on the wall beside us and we were force fed dumplings until we felt so sick we left. We walked back through the chinese gardens and played with the water feature. We then bought some gelato and sat and watched the water display on Darling Harbour which we think was broken as the only thing that was working was a fan like display (kind of like a garden sprinkler) with either citibank or a mulitcoloured striped design was projected onto it. After we'd eaten our gelato we were all freezing, David and steph decided to call it a night and we tried to go to the cinema to watch the new star trek film, we could only find it in 3d though and so decided to also head back.
The following morning we were up ealy yet again and had to get a bus out to where David and Steph were livign to start the celebrations of David's 26th birthday. We were starving and conveniently they were giving out free samples of crisps at the station -tai managed to get 3 packets and we devoured them on the train much to the annoyance of our other passengers! The trains here have moveable seats so you can choose to either sit opposite people or flip them over and have your back to them!
We met David and steph at Beecroft station and went to Stephs work at a nearby garden centre for breakfast. It was delicious and with her handy staff discount was also very cheap. With full bellies we began our journey out to the Northern Beaches, stopping on way to grab lunch - we'd decided to have a BBQ and in true aussie style stocked up on shrimp!
The northern beaches were about an hour or so's drive. it was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. We arrived a little before 11 at Palm Beach - which is where Home and Away is filmed! Hoping we would bump into Alf Steward we wandered along the beach for a while before cutting across the the other cove and climbing the cliffs up to the lighthouse which is a good spot for whale watching. We sat watching the big expanse of blue in front of us until our eyes went funny and our tummies rumbled. We then walked back down and made us of the free BBQ's they have dotted around everywhere and whacked a few shrimps on the Barbie!
It had been a great day and as we were driving away from the beach Steph spotted a spray out in the water - we stopped the car and looked out to sea, we all saw it this time - it was a pod of dolphins!
They dissapeared pretty quickly and we continued our way back along the costal road stopping at a few more beaches on route. There were a lot of people surfing and we watched in awe - now knowing how difficult it is to even make it out to the waves let alone catch them!
We got a train back into the city and on arrival saw 2 grown men in suits throwing punches at each other! City Life!
That night we went to a place called the Soda Factory, we arrived at the adress only to find a small unattended hot dog takeaway shop, we walked in, looked round and walked back out again confused as to where we could of gone wrong. Then two people emerged from a hidden door and we decided to go and check it out, as we opened another door we walked into a huge bar, packed with people, dimmed lights and a band. We queued at the bar got some drinks, walked around looking for a table - couldnt find one and stood in the spot where we had first come in. After half an hour or so a sofa became free and i made a run for it at the same time as another guy luckily i manged to get in there first and thats where we setlled in for the night. Now we had a seat we decided to make the most of the dollar hot dogs that were on offer that night - normally $10 each we decided to order 2 each. The palce was so busy, we got our 1st set and then waited for the next ones to come out. An hour later they hadnt come so we mentioned it to a waiter and they said theyd bring them as soon as possible, we werent in any rush and enjoyed a few more beers. Soon after the waitress came over with a tray of 12 and said these are for you guys arent they, David took control at this point and after a slight hesitation and upon realiding we were about to get 4 more for free he counted them and said yep thats right! We were needless to say completely stuffed after this! By this point the place was emptying and David and Steph decided to call it a night and me and tai stayed for another couple of drinks, there was a couple on what seemed to be a first date opposite us and we shamlessly judged them, unfortunately i dont think it was going too well as the guy was on his phone and kept asking the girl - who was talking non stop - to hurry up!
The following day was unfortunately our last day in Sydney, we met a very late david and steph and walked up to the opera house getting attacked for our food on route by a load of seagulls, it was a very scary incident involving a lot of screaming and ducking before having no other option other than to throw or food into the nearby bins! Panic over we wandered around the outside of the opera house, nearly getting mown down by a runaway van. We had a quick coffee and then jumped on a ferry over to Manly beach, Manly is apparently a less tacky version of Bondi Beach, we walked around some of the shops until the rain started and we were forced to find cover in a nearby bar. We sat looking out to see for a while until Steph with her supersonic eys spotted some splashes again out at sea - this time it was a whale! we watched the whale breach and splash in the sea until we could no longer see it! It was a reat way to spend a rainy day and has definately encouraged us to go whale watching when we get back to Christchurch.
We got the ferry back to the city and headed to Darling Harbour, by the time we arrived the Aquarium we were soaked through but excited to spend the next couple of hours seeking solace from the rain and seeing all the cool underwater animals that are here.
The Sydney aquarium does not mess around - they had some amazing animals there - sea lions, penguins, lots of different rays, half ray half sharks, sharks and the best of all dugongs!! They are these huge manatee looking creatures that love lettuce! We completed the quiz and got caught up in a scramble for photos in the middle of some chinese tourists. We spend about 3 hours there in the end, i was very confused having seen daylight in the shark enclosure and then stepping outside into darkness.
We decided to go to china town to seek out a cheap noodle bar for dinner where tai tried some octopus balls!
We decided to end our time in Sydney trying to find the secret bar from earlier on in our trip, this time we were in luck and as we walked round an alley way and down into what looked like a cellar we realised why this place was hard to find. We opened up a door and stepped into a bar that would of been at home in new york in the prohibition era, behind the bar was a whisky selection like nothing we'd ever seen before and all the bar staff were obviously hired for their impressive moustaches! We toasted to a fabulous week and all felt a little sad that is was over. When we left the bar and headed back to the station in the pouring rain we said goodbye again for what might be for an even longer time!
Sydney had exceeded all our expectation and we just wish wed of had longer there.