Ah, back in Sydney, my most favourite city in the world!  24 hours on a plane had actually gone quite quickly and wasn’t half as leg crushingly painful as I expected it to be.  BA were excellent!  A quick stop where Dan could have a fag was a welcome back straightener, but all in all I was at no point climbing the walls and screaming to get off the plane.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour

We arrived tres early, but Carl was there to meet us at the airport as he said he would be.  We hoped up on the bus to our hostel and set about catching up with Carlos.  He’d been to India, Thailand, Cambodia etc and it all sounded awesome!  He was now in Sydney to work for a bit.

We got to Wakeup hostel early doors so couldn’t check in yet, but dumped our bags and went for a wander around the city.  I felt instantly at home, like Bangkok, I’d seen a lot of it before, but it was all new to Dan.  Unlike Bangkok however, I did not mind seeing every inch of Sydney again, I’d missed it!  Certain shops and bars felt like home comforts, and one of the staff even recognised me from my first visit.

The backpackers or 2010 were still all pulling the same tricks as those in 2008.  The washer on the 2nd floor only needed 1 dollar coin in the right hand slot rather than all 4 dollars shown on the instructions.  Ear buds were used to ‘trick’ the washers and dryers into thinking that all 4 dollar coins were inserted correctly.  Please were still taking food that wasn’t there’s from the kitchen (this I hated!).  Any way money for beer could be saved had been thought of and was in use.

Sidebar antics

Sidebar antics

We proceeded to spend the next week visiting the various beaches along the coast, bondi, coogee etc.  We did a city tour with the hostel and drank in the hostel bar.  I felt like I knew the hostel inside out having stayed there for almost 2 months in 2009, but I was in no way bored with the place.  I also took the others to my favioute other haunts in Sydney.  We went to Indie night at Worldbar in Kings Cross and drank shots from tea pots.  We went to watch the Hangover at Govinda’s cinema, saw a variety of standup comedy at the Fringe Bar up near Paddington, and also went to see Sydney FC.

We met some really cool people in Sydney, namely Lisa, Emma and Craig.  We gradually got a little group together and stated visiting all these places together.  That was until they got jobs.  Rude!

After about a week when Carl had got his job working at the wakeup hostel, Dan and I decided to head for the beaches of the east coast and jumped on the overnight greyhound to Byron.

Byron

After what seemed like an eternity on the greyhound, and after one to many fast food filled stops at stupid hours in the morning, we finally arrived in Byron, my favourite little town in the world.  No high rise, no commercial fast food outlets, no stress!  Its pretty much all independent and I love it for that.

Byron Bay - Most easterly point of Oz mainland

Byron Bay - Most easterly point of Oz mainland

We stayed at the Holiday Village, and had an apartment between 8 beds, although all 8 were never full.  It was a pretty sweet set up.  Dvd player, full working kitchen, and the guys we were sharing with were all really sound.

We had a couple of nights out with the guys from our apartment. There’s always a party at Cheeky Monkeys where dancing on tables is encouraged. There are also a couple more chilled out bars near the beach front, some even with live music.

We took a day trip to nimbin which is a super chilled out hippee village about an hours drive from Byron.  For me it was a bit too quiet and I was done and bored within the hour.  The best bit of the day was jumping into a natural rock pool from about 10ft up off some random muddy bank in the middle of a forest.  I haven’t a clue where we were, but it was fun.

We spent a lot of our time in Bryon on the beach which is just amazing, and the seas is really quite warm.  One afternoon we hiked up to the light house and attempted to watch the sunset but it was a bit too cloudy.  We did get a photo at Australia’s most eastern point though.  We thought about taking a trip up to the highlight to watch the sun rise one day, but that never quite happened.

Surfers paradise

Never before have a I heard someone snore as loudly as our first room mate in Surfers.  The guy was sound, a massive maori fella who liked rugby, but not even the colossal bottle of snore ease could help the guy.  The bunk beds shuddered under the weight of his snoring, and they weren’t particularly sturdy bunk beds.  We spent our first night trying to sleep out by the kitchen whilst being slowly eaten alive … but we could still hear him.  In the end, one of the worker let us into a spare room.  In the morning we swiftly asked to be moved rooms.

Surfers was pretty cool.  The beach was nice and there were some nice places to eat.  Dan took a particular liking to the Meter Maids, who are young ladies that walk up and down in small gold bikinis asking for charitable donations.  We ended up giving quite a lot of money to charity that week.

We also made a ‘friend’ in a young lad from Bolton who came to the beach with us a couple of times.  In truth we think the only reason he came with us was so that he could steal some of Dans fags, by the end of the week we had leant that the bloke was a total scrounge and was well known for it around the hostel.

Brisbane 

No one likes a fire alarm, least of all at 3am, but that’s what we got on the first night at our hostel in Brisbane.  It was compensated a little by the cute American girls we had in our room, although they weren’t very talkative … or just didn’t want to talk to us maybe.

Brisbane - Dan and his new best mate

Brisbane - Dan and his new best mate

Our time in Brisbane was pretty chilled.  We did our usual self made walking tour, stopping at the botanical gardens and taking as many opportunities to eat ice cream as possible.  We only had a couple of days, and half of one of those was spent booking our flight back to Sydney.

Sydney

 

    Once back in Sydney, we met up with Carl and the gang from our first week again.  We did a lot of the same things i.e. hitting the beach and side bar.  We also manage to meet the worlds second loudest snorer.  A close second at that!

Sydney round 2 was pretty much the same as round 1.  We went to a lot of the same places, but they still hadn’t lost their appeal.  We did a days surf school in a small town just outside of Sydney.  I’d like to think I’m above a beginner level at surfing, so having the same intro lesson does occasionally annoy me, but after a couple hours the waves really started to pick up.  The result was probably some of the biggest waves I’ve surfed … or attempted to surf.  I did crash hard at one point, being stuck underwater when all you want to do is fill your lungs with air is a pretty scary feeling.  It could only have been 30 seconds, but when your body wants to breath, there’s almost no stopping it, it’s a reflex.  After what seemed like an age I re-surfaced and took in as much of the good stuff as I could.  Later when we went clambering out of our oh so flattering wet suits I told Dan to turn his head upside down … as planned water came gushing out of his nose.  Always a good trick.  I did the same so that we cold compare nose water quantities.

Surfing near Sydney

Surfing near Sydney

On our last day we hiked around the Blue Mountains which was pretty awesome. Having been battered by waves the previous day the hike was slightly grueling, but it was worth it for the views.

As with the start of our trip, carl got up and some ridiculous hour to see us off to the airport, and just like that 3 and a half weeks in Oz were over.  Only Hong Kong now stood between us a the damp grey blanket that is the UK.

Tips:

Govinda’s cinema in Sydney – Sydney

Coogie to Bondi beach walk – Sydney

Pie face pies – Sydney

Mojo Surf school – Sydney and east coast

Cheeky monkeys bar – Byron bay

Hiking to the lighthouse – Byron Bay