Man I feel so lucky sometimes. For part of May and all of June, I was able to travel with two of my favorite people in the world. Four countries in a month may have been a little much, but it was worth it every single day and we made memories that I will cherish forever - along with thousands of embarrassing photos that can definitely be used for blackmail in the future. So here we go with my travel diary. Please excuse the typos and poor photo quality at points...doing a months worth of blogging is not easy. 

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

We finally landed in Sydney, got through customs, got cash, and found a shuttle to our hostel. I already loved the look of the city just from what I saw out the car windows. There are interesting architectural and historical buildings mixed in with new modern skyscrapers and greenery, and they all go so well together. We got dropped off at our hostel and got settled in (of course the wifi doesn't work for me) before deciding to explore a bit. We arrived to Eva's Backpackers around 4 and went out exploring at about 5. The guy at the reception desk told us about a nice walk that takes you around the harbor, but we ended up getting quite lost and confused, so we just made our own path towards the Sydney Opera House. There is a festival going on while we're here called Vivid Sydney, where a bunch of the buildings are lit up with all different colors, and the Opera House is one of the buildings involved. We walked through several parks and the downtown of the city until I saw some lights and we decided to follow them down a staircase. Once we reached the bottom, we saw where pretty much everyone in town was. There are a row of shops along the water and tons of people were there getting the best view of all the lights in the city. We walked along the harbor all the way to the end where the Opera House is, and got to watch the most artistic light show projected onto the opera house with music playing to go along with it. After ogling at the show for quite some time, we popped into a little gift shop to check out all the local snacks. We grabbed ourselves some peanut butter Tim Tams and some postcards before deciding to start our decent walk back to the hostel. It's only 8pm now, but we're both exhausted and my feet are swollen to the size of watermelons, so we're going to sleep and starting fresh tomorrow.

Monday, May 25th

It's our first official full day in Sydney. The jet lag threw me off a bit and I ended up waking up at 4:30am, but was able to get back to bed until 7ish. We soaked up some wifi in the lobby before getting ready for the day. Our first stop was a little cafe just down the street from our hostel, called Room 10. It was a little hole in the wall place in the middle of an alley, and the IKEA furniture was practically miniature, which was quite entertaining to try to sit on. The table was about as tall as my knees. We ordered our breakfast, for which I had a chai latte and "brekkie rice" whatever that is. I just ordered it because of the work brekkie to be honest hehe. It turned out to be quite delicious, and our very friendly waiter gave us (but really mostly gave Lori ;) ) some great tips about things to do and see while we are in Bondi Beach. We headed back to the hostel after our yummy breakfast and spent some time in our room until my beautiful Charlotte arrived!

The mysterious Brekkie rice

We practically tackled her when she came into the room, and the three of us spent some time just catching up and laughing in our room. After some down time, we came up with a plan for the day and headed out. I had read about a place called Oxford Street in one of our million travel guides, so we started walking, passing many awesome looking eateries on the way. We went all the way down Victoria Street until we hit Oxford. It was an interesting area with a couple neat shops and a lot of rainbow flags hung all around. (We later realized that we went the wrong direction on Oxford and that we never actually went to the part we had bad.) We went on Oxford until we came upon Hyde Park, and from there we threw the directions out the window, figuratively of course. We just decided to wander towards the tall city buildings and pop into any shops that looked neat. We went into the biggest, most complicated Westfield mall I've ever seen, and ended up back out on the streets with the less high end shops. We worked our way from the hustle and bustle streets of what I assume was downtown to the lovely quiet streets of The Rocks and Quay neighborhoods. This place was much more quaint and adorable, with far fewer people. We stopped next to the visitor center for a bite to eat to regain some energy before continuing along the roads. Some lovely looking birds tried to steal our food, but we were not going to let that happen. No way Jose.

We found plenty of really cool shops and we decided we would hang out in that area until sunset over the harbor. Our feet were killing us, so we went to the harbor around 5 and sat on the ground near the water so that we could all catch up on writing some postcards. The Vivid Sydney light show started at 6, so we watched the Opera House light show for a bit before getting up to explore more of the area. All over the city, there are small or even large art installations that involve lights in some way, so we walked around quite a bit exploring those before starting our walk back in the direction of our hostel. We stopped on the way back at a pie shop on wheels called Harry's, and I had a little veggie pie while overlooking the water. We walked about 8 miles in total today, which doesn't seem like much, but wow I can sure feel it. We lasted until 11pm tonight, so I hope we can get up in the morning.

The highlights of my day were getting to use a selfie stick for the first time, which I had WAY too much fun with, and Lori learning why a tea spoon is called a teaspoon. 

Tuesday, May 26th

We got a semi late start to our day after working out some logistics of our trip. We headed out to the post office to mail all our postcards before having brunch at a little place called Marcelle's. They had the most amazing banana bread, and my French toast and chai tea were really delicious. It's hard not to go back to the same restaurants everyday, but I just don't want to miss out on any of the places. After our late breakfast, we used the wifi in the hostel lobby a bit before heading out on our adventure for the day. We decided to go to Bondi Beach for the day, so we took a bus out to that part of town and walked along Bondi Road all the way to the water. All three of us were ready for some down time after all the walking we've done lately, so we sat at a bench overlooking the ocean for quite some time before getting a little carried away with the selfie stick Charlotte brought. After some pretty ridiculous photos, we walked back into town and grabbed some amazing Thai food. The green curry was delicious. We killed a little more time in Bondi before heading back into the city. We decided to spend our night sitting on the roof of our hostel with some chocolate and a bottle of wine, overlooking the beautiful city skyline. Don't think there's anything wrong with a slower paced day once in a while. We ended up staying up quite late in the lobby of the hostel sharing stories and being silly.

Wednesday, May 27th

For our Wendesday, we decided to head to the neighborhood of Surry Hills, which is just outside of the city center. It's a really cute shopping neighborhood with trendy little shops. We walked past a place called Kurtosh which i have been really wanting to try, which ended up being a cake store where you can choose how much cake you want, so we all got a couple slices and carried them with us on our walk. We saw a little cafe called Kawa along the street and decided to eat there. After a yummy fruit plate, we kept walking and shopping. We stopped in a park to have our tasty little cakes before heading to the central train station and out to Bronte beach. We took a walking trail along the coast from Bronte to Bondi and stopped to admire the ocean for a while before heading into the town of Bondi. We ate at Laurie's Vegetarian, which was really tasty. I had Indian korma and roasted veg. On our way back from hanging out in Bondi, we stopped at Mad Pizza to have a drink before coming back to our hostel. There were lots of people up when we got back, so we socialized a bit before calling it a night.

Thursday, May 28th

Today was sadly our last day in Sydney. I'm very sad to leave, and have seriously been considering moving here in the near future. We headed to the Darling Harbor area in the morning after packing all our stuff up and grabbing some free pancakes in the hostel lobby. We walked past the Chinese Garden of Friendship on our way to Paddy's Market. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the market was like a huge indoor swap meet and the upper floors of the building were a mall. We browsed the stalls downstairs for a bit before heading up to the mall area for some chai and fruit salad at Doolies. We went back down to the market so that I could buy a ring before heading back out into town. Since we were near Chinatown, we decided to get dumplings at Din Tai Fung. We had some really tasty taro and sesame dessert dumplings that I could have eaten all day. Once again I spend the majority of my travels eating, which I am perfectly okay with. We walked back across the city to get to the library, popping into some shops along the way. The library was having some photography exhibitions that we were interested in, so we spent some time wandering through them on our own. The photographs were pretty heavy, describing and showing things like wars and plane crashes and bloody protests, so I left to get some air and clear my head. Once the girls were finished with the exhibits, we walked back to our hostel to meet my friend Averi from my hometown. We all headed back up Victoria Street for one last time to look for a place to eat. We ate at a burger place called Grill'd and then popped next door at Kurtosh to get some more cakes for our train journey. After spending some lovely time with Averi, we all walked to the central train station to catch our train to Melbourne. The train left Sydney at 8:30pm and we won't get to Melbourne until 7:30 in the morning. It's going to be a long, rough night and I hope Charlotte enjoys snoring in her ear all night.

Friday, May 29th

Today was somewhat of a blur since I am still exhausted from the night train. Crying babies, loud old men, and a woman chatting about all the times she has given birth made it very hard to sleep even when I could get comfortable in my little chair. After 11 long hours, we arrived in Melbourne at the central station. It was a quick walk to our hostel, the United Backpackers, where we dropped off our bags before we started our day in the city. We walked quite a ways to Queen Victoria's market on the opposite side of town and checked out all the goodies that were for sale. Charlotte bought some little goodies and I managed to get out of there without getting anything. We managed to figure out the free tram for inside the city, and were back near our hostel rather quickly. We checked into our room and then decided to walk along Flinders Lane, where there are supposed to be good shops. They all looked quite expensive, which isn't really what we're looking for. While we were standing on the street reading a map, a guy from Peter Pan travels came over to chat with us and gave us some amazing tips on things to do in the thanks Sam from Kent! In my hunt for rings, I brought us to a jewelry place up the road, and we ended up getting the coolest demonstration and explanation about how opal is found and mined and polished and valued, along with a mini exotic animal show as well. It was so interesting to learn about opal since it is one of my favorite stones, and I had never known that 96% of it comes from Australia. After our jewelry shop adventure, we went back down the street in the opposite direction and grabbed some Italian food for lunch. By that point, we were all very low on energy and were pretty much zombies wandering through cute, expensive shops. We decided to crash at the hostel for a nap for a bit. When we finally managed to get up and about, we popped into the kitchen for some pretty poor wifi. We headed back out into town at about 8 to try to get some food, and I ended up getting a juice from Tropicana. I love the atmosphere of this city at night. There is a real quirkiness to it and the street performers made it extra special to be out and about. We came back to the hostel and sat downstairs in the bar for a bit before calling it a night. I'm hoping a good nights sleep will help me recover from the train ride by tomorrow, because we don't get much time in Melbourne and there is so much to see and do.

Saturday, May 30th

We got a pretty late start to the day today. When we finally managed to get out of the hostel, we went for breakfast at The Journal Cafe on Flinders Lane. I had some avo and toast with a poached egg, and a fancy little do it yourself chai latte. After our yummy brekkie in the cute little cafe, we headed out to the South Bank area across the river. Along the way, we passed a huge mural at the train station that I quite enjoyed. We started at the Eureka Skydeck, which is the 88th floor of a building overlooking the city. We spent some time admiring the views, and i wrote a few postcards and mailed them from the highest mailbox in Australia. Afterwords, we walked back towards St. Kilda Rd to find the National Gallery of Victoria, which is probably the thing I have most been looking forward to in Australia. It is a pretty large museum, but the reason I was so excited to go is because they have one of the worlds largest stained glass ceilings there. I went straight for it and laid down looking at it for a bit before exploring some other exhibits. I saw some ancient Japanese kimonos and beautifully detailed English embroidery before deciding I just wanted to spend all my time looking at the stained glass ceiling. We went for lunch along the river after the gallery, where I had a feta and spinach Spanakopita and a strange cookie.

Afterwards, we hopped on a tram out to St. Kilda Beach where we watched an amazing sunset. There was a pier out to some rocks which we walked out to because we heard that penguins come out of these rocks at night, and it was so cool! Just after sunset, the penguins started cooing and making all sorts of funny noises, and every so often you would see a penguin or two pop out of a little hole and waddle (or stumble) down under the boardwalk to the sand. It got cold out there very quickly, so we scurried back into the town area and walked along the shops and bars until we caught a tram back to our station. We spent a little time at the hostel where we met one of Charlottes friends and then headed out to dinner. We went to a place called Cookie that had been highly recommended to us by several people, and had some very tasty yet very spicy curry. It was a very trendy place and everyone there was dressed quite nice, but seeing as how were living out of backpacks, we definitely weren't looking our best. We walked down a few streets to a place that Sam had recommended to us. The place is called State of Grace, which was a fairly swanky bar and restaurant, but the draw of the place is that there is a secret basement bar hidden behind a bookcase. We managed to find our way downstairs to a very upscale crowd in a really cool bar area. We didn't stay long because drinks were pricy and we were getting tired, so we came back to the hostel and sat in the bar here chatting and having drinks. It ended up being a really nice, low key night.

Sunday, May 31st

Since it was Charlotte's 21st birthday, we went to a fancy brunch place this morning to celebrate. We walked over to Hardware St to have brunch at the Hardware Societie. We had to wait in line quite a bit before getting in, and it started raining on us, but it was definitely worth the wait. We spent the majority of time standing outside trying to choose between all the things on the menu. We finally got seated inside at a large wooden table with some strangers, and ordered pretty quickly. The food came out impressively fast once we had ordered. Lori and I shared some amazing fried brioche and a baked egg dish, and I got my usual chai latte. After brunch, we headed out to the Fitzroy area in search of the Rose Artisan market, which turned out to be incredible. There were the cutest artisan knick knacks at really affordable prices, and I managed to snag myself a new ring from a lovely couple. After the market, we went on a hunt for cake to officially celebrate the birthday girl, and we found a vegan restaurant that had vegan cakes as well. We each got our own and sat inside for a bit while the rain poured outside. We meandered through all the quirky shops on Bruinswick St before hopping on the tram and coming back to the city center.

The girls ABANDONED ME when I got off the tram and all of a sudden I see the doors close behind me and all three of them still standing inside looking very shocked haha. After we found each other a few blocks down the road, we walked through Hosier Street, which is covered in graffiti, and then hopped onto the city circle bus and took a mini tour of the city for a bit before heading back out to the Fitzroy area for dinner. On the way to the tram, Lori stopped and got a poem written for her on the street. We had a really great dinner at Vegie Bar and even better dessert there. Charlotte chose the best dessert, which was berry cheesecake. I'm sure the waiters there thought we were crazy, because I haven't laughed that hard for that long in I don't know how long. Whenever I'm with these girls, I get a serious case of the giggles, and tonight was just extra funny. One for the books for sure. Afterwards, we went in search of a cool bar. After sitting in one that felt like a creepy swingers bar, we managed to find a nicer one called Naked for Satan. We went inside and I felt like getting in the 'lift', so we took it to the top floor where there just happened to be an amazing rooftop bar. We sat for a drink and some good conversations and reminiscing before coming back in the freezing cold and hanging out in the lounge. All in all, it was a very successful day.

Monday, June 1st

Today was our last full day in Melbourne and I can't believe we're already leaving. This has been the shortest and longest 9 days of my life if that makes any sense at all. We started the day by having brunch (as alwaysss) at a place called The Kettle Black just South of town. It was he cutest little place tucked in amongst some much larger buildings. I had the best hot cake inter entire world and I have photos as proof. There were micro greens and seeds and blueberries and ricotta on it, and it was amazing. After brunch, we said goodbye to our new friend Claire who was off to see other things. Charlotte, Lori and I are once again a trio. We headed to the Ian Potter Art Gallery thingy, but it turned out to be closed and we were really bummed. Luckily, there was one exhibit open today that turned out to be really cool. It was an exhibit of works of art from students and young people, and there were some really inspiring pieces. 

After browsing the art, Charlotte and I split off from Lori. We headed to Cooks Cottage, the oldest building in Australia and the former home of Captain James Cook I believe. I sat there for a bit to write the last of my postcards home before we went back into town. We stopped by La Belle Miette for some beautiful macarons, because I like all fancy sweets that come in pretty colors. Afterwards, we took a walk through Chinatown (and got some super cheap dumplings) and the Greek District, then back down Swanston St. towards our hostel. We popped into the shops in the subway station outside our hostel and found some very cute jewelry and not much else to be honest. Then we went into Daiso, a Japanese supermarket, to try unsuccessfully to find matcha Kit Kat bars. Then, Charlotte and I split up and I went off to a jewelry store called the French Jewelry Box in the Block Arcade to drool over some beautiful jewelry that I could never afford. 

We all met back up at the hostel and had a few laughs before going back out into the real world. We decided to take some photo booth pictures since neither Charlotte nor Lori had ever been into the Asian style photo booth that prints shiny little stickers of your photos. We grabbed some dinner next at Pie Face, which we saw everywhere in Sydney and have wanted to try ever since. Of course, we can't have dinner without dessert, so we stopped at Waffee for some chocolate covered waffles before coming back to the hostel again. We sat in the bar having a nice chat and the girls had a few beers before we headed out for the last time tonight to a Ben Howard concert at the Margaret Court Arena. The concert was pretty awesome, although all of us almost dozed off at one point. There was quite a long pause between the opening act and Ben Howard, but it was worth the wait. It would have been even better if the awkward couple behind us wasn't spilling beer on us and clapping whenever the urge struck them, but overall I can't complain. After freezing our little buns off on the way home from the concert, we are now safe and sound snuggled into bed at the hostel.

Tuesday, June 2nd

Today was mostly a travel day for us. We said goodbye to Australia and hello to New Zealand. We left Melbourne bright and early for the airport. We had a fairly bumpy 3 hour flight through a lightning storm to get to Auckland, but we finally arrived and grabbed a shuttle to our adorable hostel called the Ponsonby Backpackers. 


Popular Posts