I officially left New Zealand today! Nice and early—the taxi man came and got us at 4:10. Woof. It was sad saying goodbye to the Lords, but I was ready for another adventure. The flight was nice, not too long and plenty to do with our individual TVs. It was fun landing, knowing that I was in a completely different country! Five other girls stayed in a hotel in the city, but since my friend McKenna and her family lived in Sydney for three years, they set up our (Jess, Anna, Me) Sydney living arrangements with their friends, the Campbells. They so kindly opened their home to us, and our stay with them really made our Sydney trip SO much better. We really loved getting to know Neil, Cheryl, Tamara (21), Laura (18), and Lachlan (14).
The big challenge today was finding out way from the international airport to the Campbell’s house. We had it all mapped out, but it required us to take two trains and one bus…with two suitcases and two carry-ons each! What a sight we were. I truly wish we could have had someone video recording us as we tried to get on the train (the gap in between the platform and the actual train was tricky!), OR as we tried situating ourselves so that we could sit, not lose our luggage, and still have room for people to walk by, OR walking up a big hill when we accidentally got off the bus one stop too early, and so forth. Such an adventure, but surprisingly, it went much smoother than we could have ever dreamed. We were expecting Auckland public transportation, and were delighted when we soon learned that Sydney transportation is wayyy better, much more consistent and reliable. So, yes we surely looked ridiculous getting on and off the trains and bus, but we saved a ton of money that way, and we shared a whole lot more laughs.
Our Sydney adventures started off right away with Featherdale Wildlife Park. One of our goals here was to see the Australian animals, and boy did we see Australian animals!
Lots of pictures with the koalas! We really wanted to hold him, but apparently it's illegal. They were sooo cute and cuddly though!
One of my favorite parts was the kangaroos! We were just surrounded by them!
It was such a delight to be there and experience so many new and exciting Australian animalic encounters. One thing I learned: a dingo looks just like a normal dog, but the difference is that dingoes don’t’ bark like domestic dogs do. The most eye-opening thing I saw was a real life kangaroo pouch…let me just say that it is NOTHING like a cartoon kangaroo pouch that looks like a cute, little pocket. Instead of a nice little pocket, it is actually a gaping, quite disgusting hole—not at all what I was expecting and honestly a bit disturbing. Good thing I know the truth now.
We also had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Sydney temple. It was such a neat experience, and I’m so glad we were able to make it happen. (big thanks goes to Cheryl Campbell who called ahead and drove us there!!) It was a wonderful first day in Sydney and I can’t wait to see how tomorrow turns out :)
Day 2, Saturday
It was a great day. :) A long day, but a great day.
- Tamara and Luke took us to a flower market. You can buy beautiful flowers and bouquets at cheap, wholesale prices. It was beautiful, and I want to see where the nearest one in Utah is.
- We took a few busses into the city, downtown Sydney. (our MyMulti pass was the best decision!) Tamara, Luke, and Locklan showed us around China Town, Darling Harbour, and just around downtown. It was just fun to be in a new, big city and take it all in.
- We decided this was going to be our Finding Nemo trip because we are in Sydney, Australia! And there are tons of seagulls (Mine! Mine! Mine!), the opera house, and a one point in Darling Harbour, part of the water was filled with hundred of white/clear jellyfish. It was quite a sight. Our goal now is to find a clownfish in the harbour and name him Nemo.
- There was a plane in the sky “writing” messages. We have no clue what they were supposed to mean…maybe that was the point? To make everyone on the ground look up and try to figure out what the plane was writing in the sky? Well, it’s been a few hours, and I still have no idea what “LEATHERMAN LED LENSER” means haha.
- We took 2 ferrys today. Not because we needed them to actually go somewhere, but because we just wanted to ride them and see some of the sites. One ended up at Watsons Bay, and one ended up at manly Beach. I loved it!
- We walked through the botanic gardens. Funny thing is that the most memorable part of the gardens were not the flowers or plants, but the spiders! There were tons of HUGE spiderwebs everywhere with gigantic spiders. Seriously gave me the heebie jeebies!!
- We saw tons of flying foxes in the wild in the gardens today too. There were literally probably hundreds just in one tree. Oh, and they were SO loud!
- We saw a guy in the middle of all these white cockatoos, feeding and holding them. As Anna said, “He is one with them.” It was quite a sight to see. They were just perch on this hands and arms and shoulders! I wonder how often he does that.
- We randomly ran into Nancy, Neeley, and Hannah at Circular Quay today. Out of the whole big city, we ran into them! It was so great though, and we made plans to eat dinner with them. So fun that we were able to meet up and spend a bit more time with them. Then after dinner we all randomly ran into Emily and Nicole. So crazy!!
- Sara Strong said we must go to the restaurant Pancake on the Rocks, so we went for dinner! Anna and I split a Mexicana crepe (we have been missing good Mexican food, and this was actually pretty good) and a banana/homemade chocolate sauce/walnut/chocolate ice cream pancake—amazing. Best pancake I have ever eaten, hands underground.
- We walked across the Harbour Bridge. It was neat to walk all the way across, and it was a great place to view the Sydney Opera House and the city.
- The Opera House is amazing. It is something that when I look at it, I have to remind myself that that’s the real thing! This is not a picture of it that I see often in textbooks, or on Finding Nemo, this is the real deal. It is magnificent.
- Laura turned 18 today, and she had a big birthday party. Tons of people came, and there were tons of amazing desserts. Fun night!
Day 3, Sunday
Sunday Sunday. Slept in a little bit, had a delicious breakfast with the Campbells (pancakes, strawberries, caramelized pears, etc.), watched some of General Conference. The Campbells are such a wonderful family. We played Uno Spin with them and just had the chance to get to know them a little more and it was so great! Cheryl, Neil, and Lachlan left for Neil’s business trip this afternoon, and then Tamara and Laura went to a baptism so we had an open afternoon to just relax. Tamara left her computer for us to use and check emails, and then we watched Cinderella Man. When Tamara and Laura got back, I had the opportunity to just sit and talk with them, and it was so great to have a big girl chat with them. It is so fun to be here getting to know McKenna’s friends! I have to remind myself often, “I’m in Sydney, Australia!” Yes, life is good :)
Day 4, Monday
Tamara and Laura woke up early with us to take us to Tamara’s favorite little café, Cafe5. It was a tiny little café right off the beach and I loved it! I had this bacon scrambled eggs on sourdough break with hollandaise sauce and it was so yum. It’s fun that we get the insider’s view of Sydney and get to try these fun little things that we would never even come across otherwise. After breakfast we walked across the street to the beach and saw our first official Australian surfers. We took some great pictures on the beach (and by great I mean ridiculous but so much fun) and then they dropped us off at Manly Beach.
Australian Animals: Laura=Cockatoo, Me=Koala (wrapped in a tree), Anna=Crocodile, Tamara=Kangaroo
Boy Band Cover!
We discovered the Manly Scenic Walkway and made our way 9km along the coast, actually starting at Spit Bridge (where we of course had to spit off the bridge) and ending up at Manly Beach. It was a beautiful hike and we loved being active. When we got back to Manly, we tried a Lemon Lime Bitters Slurpee (Tamara has been raving about them and they definitely lived up to her hype…I loved it!) and took a nap on the beach. We were hoping it would be warm enough to get some sun and enjoy the warmth, but we more shivered under our jackets Bummer it wasn’t hotter, but it was still a great day.
The hike started here at Spit Bridge. We wondered why it was called Spit Bridge, and decided it must be because you have to spit off of it as you cross...
When we got home we used Tamara and Laura’s straightener…the first time we have done anything to our hair in over three months!! It was quite a monumental moment for us—we LOVED our straight, non-frizzy hair night. :)
After a delicious dinner of pasta, we went to Max Brenner, a chocolate café. It was AMAZING. They have so many delicious chocolate-y treats, but I think my favourite was the Chocolate Lick—a small shot of pure, delicious, melted chocolate. We also got hot chocolate and an incredible chocolate soufflé. Good thing we don’t have this back in Utah because I’m pretty sure I would go there way too often!
Day 5, Tuesday
It was bittersweet day—sad that it was our last day in Sydney, but excited to see my family so soon! We wanted to have one last beach day before we made our way back to the states, so we made our way to the famous Bondi Beach. It was not as sunny as we had hoped, but we still soaked up as much sun as we could and definitely enjoyed it!
We also made our way over for Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s! We got huge scoops of free, amazing ice cream, and they gave out tie-dyed bracelets that say, “Peace, Love, & Ice Cream.” Love it!We were really just able to enjoy Sydney today. I absolutely loved New Zealand, but when looking at specific big cities, I definitely liked Sydney over Auckland...so glad I was able to experience both!