I’m not sure if we’re emotionally ready to share this story yet, but here goes.
On December 23rd, the last day of work at the Grain Plant for the year, everyone keeps asking us what our plans are for the holidays.
We haven’t got any. We’ve been working so hard recently to make a good impression on the bosses in the hope that they will keep us on past the end of January. After work we tend to either go to the gym or sit and read internet articles, we hardly talk or make plans. Talking is exhausting.
For the first few days of the holidays we did nothing. Quite literally nothing. It was amazing! I managed to do a bit of painting which I’m happy about.
Both of us always tend to get a little homesick around this time of year. As much as I don’t want to admit it I’ve been homesick since this time last year! I love slow travel and would prefer it over fast travel any day but after a year of not seeing friends and family in person, it tends to lose it’s appeal.
Even with slow travel you can experience travel burn out. Especially when you’re already homesick. I never thought I would get homesick or travel burn out but travelling down the coast from Cairns it happened, which resulted in my Halloween nightmare in Brisbane. But enough of that!
After our comfy, air conditioned Christmas we decided we should probably make some decisions!
After a few hours of analysing the calendar we decided to drive down to Sydney for New Years Eve and spend 4 days around the area. The day after Boxing day (27th) we did a tiny bit of research, I skim read a couple of travel blogs to see what there was worth seeing and wrote up a rough itinerary. This seemed a little pointless because I already knew in the back of my mind as soon as I hit the high street in Sydney I’d be swallowed up by the shops and forget all the sight seeing.
Yes I’m the worst tourist ever. I was more excited by the prospect of window displays than the Opera House. I know. I’m terrible. Either way I wrote my itinerary with no intention of following it, just naïve hope.
The next day (28th) we set off later than we should have. Around 8 am …ish. This was because I stayed up late the night before watching the animated movie ‘Trolls’. I regret nothing.
We began the tedious 8 hour car journey to the Blue Mountains (with stops on the way).
I get incredibly restless in the car so by the time we got to the Blue Mountains I was already in a funky mood. The Irishman forced me to walk to the lookout point and just before I was going to take a huff and have a temper tantrum I looked over the landscape and calmed down.
“I guess this is why the call them the Blue Mountains”
“…Because they’re blue.”
Australia isn’t very creative with their naming of places. Oh look, there’s a forest on a hill let’s call it Forest Hill. Love it.
We arrived just in time for sunset. It was quite busy at the rest top, plenty of campers here. We opened the carboot and lay out the mattress in the car and watched the fireflies float past us. Yes peeps! There are fireflies!! It would have been romantic if it hadn’t have been for Sean’s terrible jokes. I’m happy to report I survived the night.
The next morning we drove to Coogee Beach as the 6km walk between Coogee and Bondi beach had been a recurring theme on the things to do in Sydney lists I’d been reading.
Parking. Hmm yes this is an interesting one. There is paid car parking but Sean decided to park in the residential area. I wasn’t too sure about this as it’s illegal in other beach areas of Australia. We checked the community forums and it seemed okay, although I felt like we were being rude. “Those awful backpackers!”
We got our coffee fix at Coogee Pavillion which I almost immediately fell in love with. I now know why it’s so popular the décor is beautiful! Unfortunately we only got coffee as there wasn’t anything on the menu we fancied.
Now there’s something they don’t tell you in the blogs. It’s really, really hot in Summer (if you didn’t already know) we’re taking up to and over 40 degrees!! Plus during the holidays it’s extra crowded. I didn’t mind the people but being incredibly self conscious and lacking any confidence what so ever I sported the colours of Christmas past. Red, through exhaustion and embarrassment at my extreme lack of fitness and sweaty hair. Green through pure envy as I watched slim sunkissed skimpy bikini wearing individuals gracefully past me without breaking a sweat or getting chub rub.
Yeah, coming to the beach after several days of laying about eating my weight in Ferro Rocher and Terry’s chocolate orange didn’t do much for my self image I can tell you that! I had decided to wear my tatty gym gear too! Fail. Not great for photos! Oh no. I guess I’ll have to come back to get nicer looking photos of us.*gasp* What a shame.
One other thing. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen. Especially if you’re sweating! You don’t want ridiculous tan lines/burns because you forgot a bit of cream.
After seeing Bondi we foolishly started to walk back. In hindsight we should have gotten the bus so we actually had time to chill on one of the beaches. Bondi was packed but we could have chilled elsewhere. Our 6k walk turned into a 12k walk complete with sun burn, a sore from my stupid bra rubbing due to the sweat and a lack of water towards the end. Again? Why do I keep making this mistake???!! If you’re planning a trip here there are free water taps, just make sure you drink enough and keep topping up. We are fools.
The walk one way took us about 2 hours because of all the photos we took.
We had planned to go to Darling Harbour that evening but we were shattered from the walk so we skipped it and went up the road for sushi. This place was amazing! I had the bento box and there was way too much food! I almost went into a food coma and fell asleep in my miso soup!!
New Years Eve Eve we spent in the city or CBD. As I suspected we spent the majority of our time shopping. Living in Moree is very limiting. It’s a very small town with a few locals shops and odd opening hours. We walked across the Harbour Bridge, spied on Sydney Opera House, I had another famous tantrum for some reason, we hit the shops then went for Spanish tapas and a Thai massage, we also picked up Japanese candy (gummi).
We recommend getting an Opal card to get around on the public which is the same as an Oyster card in London.
NYE was just madness. We arrived into the city around 10am. I wish I had taken a photo of the queue for the first vantage point we chose; Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Luckily there is an app for that! Well, just a website but it’s good enough. It helps you pick out where you want to be for the fireworks tells you what time it’s open and handy tips.
After deciding we wouldn’t last more than 15 minutes queueing in the sun we made our way to our second choice by 11am; Observatory Hill Park. We wouldn’t get the view of the Opera House. Apparently you have to start queuing around 6am or earlier for that!! And it’s only getting earlier as it grows in popularity. We got a great view of the harbour bridge though and as the people kept pouring in I’m grateful we got there early. The gates opened at 12 and we quickly made it up the hill. Then began our long 12 hour wait for a 12 minute firework show. Pack a picnic. Or bring cash.
I tried to get a little sleep but it was so crowded with people tiptoeing around the sea of bodies I was lucky not to get trodden on. Two people almost fell on me and the girl in front of me got her hand squished!
Totally worth it.
Bonus Instagram video!
After the show it took us two hours to get back to the car. Walking and getting on an overcrowded bus.
So, driving out of Sydney on NYE is something that should be avoided. Traffic, road blocks, people, drunk people, police, satnavs can all play a huge part on the level of difficulty. I, Sean had decided that I was going to take the long scenic route home through the blue mountains as I figured there would be less traffic getting out of the city with the majority of people hitting the coastal roads. I second guessed myself.
I was planning a 650km minimum drive back to Moree straight after the fireworks, so the hours driving would be from 2am onwards. Driving through the countryside means Roo’s and Wallabies, which means 80km max per hour and constantly on the lookout. We decided to take the motorway and got lucky as soon as we got onto the Harbour tunnel. It was practically deserted. Everyone must have been using public transport or staying the night which was great news for us as we pretty much had clear roads the full way home, 110km, cruise control, easy. I must admit, I probably wouldn’t risk the drive again.
A couple of times I thought I would have to pull in and sleep for a couple of hours. Driving an automatic, on straight roads, on cruise control means as a driver I just have to keep between the lines. That means it’s a pretty boring drive; more likely to drift off to sleep and into a ditch. Stopping every hour or two and just getting out of the car or jumping around for a while kept me going, as did singing loudly. By the time we got about 2 hours from Moree, I was done. Exhausted. Still, I found the energy and alertness to make it back in one piece. I couldn’t have done it without her shortness singing with me and asking me If I was OK every 5 minutes. The extra hours in bed on NYD have made our last day of our Christmas Holidays even more relaxing. In total the drive to 8 hours. Never again.
P.s Please don’t ever attempt to do something like this drive. It’s dangerous and like I said earlier, we are fools.
P.p.s I’m so glad my mother doesn’t read my blog.