© April Meads, 2016
After just a short four weeks of classes, we had a week off for Easter. For a few months, I knew my sister, Melissa, would be coming during that week so it was just a matter of figuring out what to do. I didn’t want to stay in Melbourne for the whole week so we decided to go to Sydney for a couple days. I wanted to meet up with a friend from high school who was going to be in Sydney around Easter so I flew alone to Sydney and met Melissa and her boyfriend, Michael, there the Saturday before Easter.
I had an early flight, 8 a.m., so I was up at 4 a.m. so I could take a shower before I had to call my Uber at 5, so I could be at the airport two hours before my flight. Now, anyone I’ve ever lived with knows I’m not a morning person and I’m usually grumpy and don’t speak when I first wake up, but I was trying my best to be friendly to the driver. However, I can safely said he was NOT a morning person.
About halfway through my ride, I was very thirsty. But when I reached for my water bottle in my backpack, it was gone. I couldn’t find it anywhere. My guess was that I dropped it between my room and the car, so it was either in the hallway or in the parking lot. I had a friend search for it but she couldn’t find it. BUMMER.
The flight was only about an hour, which wasn’t too bad, however I was sick and my ears were already plugged so the flight didn’t help. They stayed plugged for two days and when they finally popped I thought everyone was yelling at me.
Anyway, I landed in Sydney and had no idea where I was supposed to go to meet Melissa and Michael. I walked to the other side of the airport before I found someone who could help me. The man told me that if I was meeting someone from an international flight then I had to go to the other airport, which was “that way” (he pointed his finger down the hallway). I started walking and he chased me down to tell me I needed to take a bus there and I needed to walk “in that direction” to catch it (again, he just pointed the way I needed to go).
I seriously had no idea where I was going, so I decided it was a good idea to give my brother, who was in the U.S., a phone call to see if he could Google something that could help me. After walking around outside with my super heavy backpack and suitcase, I finally saw but 380, the one I was looking for, and chased it down.
It was $10 for a ticket (eye roll) and there was hardly any room for me to get on. The people on the bus didn’t move at all to allow room for me to get through, nor did they move their bags that were laying in the aisle. I had to lift my 50 pound suitcase and carry it to the back of the bus. And OF COURSE the bus driver started driving before I put my suitcase down so I just about fell on my face. Thankfully, a nice couple caught me and my suitcase and made sure I didn’t fall down.
I finally got to where I needed to go and from there I had to wait roughly two hours until Melissa and Michael finally got through customs and came out. I was really excited to finally see people from back home. Also, I only see Melissa once a year at Christmas so this was really cool.
Right off the bat, we were struggling. I called an Uber for a ride to our AirBNB and the driver called and told us to wait at carpark 8. We walked all over and could only find carpark 7 and 9. Anyway, we were able to find the driver without a problem. Our ride to the AirBNB was about an hour and the driver was quite the tour guide. He gave us a lot of ideas of things to do, which was super cool.
We pulled up to the sketchiest looking, dilapidated, white building that was supposedly our place. We had only see photos of the inside so we had to trust that this Uber driver wasn’t just dropping us off at some random place. Once we got up to the room, sure enough, it was the right place. It was beautiful on the inside and had a fantastic view of Bondi Beach.
The three of us were all pretty tired from the traveling, although they had about 15 hours more of traveling than I did, but my ears hurt and I only had three hours of sleep the night before. Since we didn’t have a full day anyway, we decided to make it a beach day since we were already so close. We lathered on the sunscreen, gathered towels and began our walk down.
The beach was very crowded but that wasn’t unusual considering it’s a touristy beach. Melissa found her spot and fell asleep while Michael and I played catch with a Nerf football for a good 30 minutes. I love playing and frolicking on the beach so that was too fun!
Melissa forgot her towel so she was using mine, which meant once I wanted to use it, I had to squeeze onto the half she wasn’t using. Her and I both fell asleep and rolled around in the sand, resulting in sand everywhere and that was quite uncomfortable.
We found some dinner, relaxed for the rest of the evening and went to bed semi-early.
The next day was Easter and it was my first holiday away from home. I realized I wasn’t with my family to color Easter eggs, open Easter baskets or enjoy mom and dad’s yummy breakfast. However, I did get an Easter basket in the mail a few days before.
What better way to say “Happy Easter” than American peanut butter, Peeps and brown sugar and cinnamon pop tarts?
Anyway, I was bummed that I was away from home but I was with my sister so that made me feel better. AND I’m in Australia, so really, I can’t be complaining.
We had plans to go to the Targona Zoo but had no idea how to get there. We knew we had to get into the city, so we wondered around until we found a place to buy bus tickets. We successfully made it to the wharf where we needed to catch a ferry. I was a tad nervous because I had never been on a boat before but it was actually really awesome.
I knew we were in the city, obviously, but I didn’t know where we were exactly. Once the boat started moving, I saw that we were right by the Sydney Opera House! I had seen it from the plane when I flew over it upon my arrival, but I was finally seeing it up close! Man, it was so beautiful.
The ferry ride was only about 20 minutes and from there it was a short walk up to the entrance of the zoo. We grabbed a map and noticed that this zoo was HUGE. We walked around for 10 minutes before we actually found where the zoo began. The weather was hot, as expected, but it was sprinkling for most of the morning. We were still able to enjoy the cute little animals and take photos. We went into the “Australian Walkabout,” where we were able to get up close with kangaroos, wallabies, quokkas and emus. However, we were only allowed to pet the wallaby, but it was the cutest wallaby I’ve ever seen!
We also saw little Tasmanian devils!
About halfway through the zoo, we sat down for lunch right as the rain started coming down hard. Once we were done eating it had stopped, so clearly we had perfect timing with the weather.
Day three was dedicated to the city and we were so excited! We stopped at a small restaurant on our way to the city and found a mall where Melissa and Michael could get a SIM card for their phones.
Our first stop in the city was the Sydney Opera House; once again, so beautiful! It was way bigger than I was expecting and it wasn’t just one large building, but instead a few smaller (but still very large) ones. We weren’t able to go inside (I think people can only go inside if they book a tour or have tickets to an opera) but the view from the outside was enough!
We made the wrap around the entire Opera House and eventually ran into the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I had seen it in photos from all the Australia Instagram and Twitter accounts I followed, but, just like the Opera House, it was way more beautiful in person! With the water below and the sun shining just right on it… GORGEOUS.
By the time we were done here, we were starving! Unfortunately, all the restaurants in this part of Sydney were ridiculously expensive so we ended up going back toward our AirBNB to the restaurant we stopped at earlier that day for some tasty burgers.
That evening, we wanted to take it easy but Melissa and Michael wanted to grab drinks somewhere so we headed back to the city. We spent some time by the Opera House once again but at night it was a different type of beautiful. AND to make things cooler, there was lightening that was striking behind the Opera House. I got a few videos of it but I just wasn’t fast enough to capture a photo. But after about 300 photos, I FINALLY got one! Of course, the quality of an iPhone 6 isn’t the best compared to a professional camera but I’m still happy with it.
We also got to walk across the Harbour Bridge and got a really beautiful view of the city all lit up. It was a little scary at first, considering I’m afraid of heights, but once I got walking I was fine.
Our fourth and final full day in Sydney was jam packed! We started the day at the Australia Museum of Contemporary Art. I’m usually not into art that much but some of the pieces here were really cool! Here is my favorite.
After that, we went to the Sea Life aquarium. Once again, we were starving so we found a relatively cheap place where I ate the most amazing chicken wrap I’ve ever had. The aquarium was awesome and kind of creepy. Sea animals always creep me out for some reason, but for the most part I enjoyed it. My favorite part was at the beginning: jellyfish!
And I got to see Nemo…
There were a lot of tunnels where we walked through the fish tank but I don’t like those very much. The first two were fine but the last one, with the sharks, was my least favorite. I basically ran through it and waited at the other side for Melissa and Michael. I did manage to snap some photos on the way through though.
And lastly, we saw an imitation of the Great Barrier Reef!
On Wednesday, we hopped on a plane and went to Melbourne for the last part of the holiday. Once we got settled into our AirBNB (that was much better than the first one, by the way), we wondered the city and went to the Queen Victoria Market in the evening. I had been there before so I don’t have any photos from this night. But the next day we went to the Andy Warhol and Ai Wai Wai art exhibit, which was super cool! Here are a few of my favorite pieces.
That brings us to Friday, our last full day together. Since the weather was nice, I brought them to my favorite beach in Melbourne: Brighton Beach. It was a very relaxing way to end a busy week. Saturday morning, we all got up early to pack up our stuff, call our Ubers and go our separate ways. They headed for the airport and I headed back to Deakin. After saying goodbye, I will admit that I shed a tear; having family here was really nice.
Once I arrived back at Deakin and I was completely drained. I was quite surprised when I was walking up the stairs and saw my water bottle sitting on the hand railing in the stairwell! Woo!
It had been a very busy and tiring week so I was looking forward to taking a nap. I unpacked and fell asleep the second my head hit my pillow. Despite my tiredness from being so busy, I can say I had an amazing week in Sydney and back in Melbourne. And I’m glad I had Melissa and Michael to adventure with and show them around!