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Brenda and Sarah take on Oz!

Seeing Sydney like a Local

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 21 June 2014 | Views [377]

Lunch at the Harbor!

Lunch at the Harbor!


Once again we are sitting in an airport, getting ready for the next leg of our adventure. This time we’re at Sydney airport after spending 5 lovely days in this city of neighborhoods. Our time in Sydney ended up being more relaxed than Melbourne & Tasmania, a nice respite from the go-go-go of the last few weeks. 

We had the pleasure of staying with my friend Stef in the beachfront neighborhood of Coogee. Stef and I met a few months ago while travelling through Ecuador and it was a joy to meet her friends, check out her favorite neighborhoods and spend time with her amazing family. With 4 generations of family within a few blocks of each other, we were honored to be so warmly welcomed by her grandparents, parents, sister and new niece.  

 Our first full day in Sydney was spent at Sydney Harbor and walking around downtown Sydney. It was surreal to be eating lunch looking out at the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge, seen so often in photographs and on TV. The definite highlight of the day was the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. Brenda and I geared up, got hooked in and spent 2 hours climbing 1,332 steps to the top of the bridge.  We did the night climb allowing us to watch the sunset over the city and then see the city light up in front of our eyes.

We woke up at 5am the next morning to do the beautiful coastal walk around Coogee Beach, watching the sun come up over the water and reveling at the large number of surfers already catching waves.

The rest of our days in Sydney were spent in a more low-key fashion, getting work done during the day either from Stef’s porch, overlooking beautiful trees and listening to the bizarre sounds of Australian birds (one of which sounds like a strangled cat), or setting up at a café nearby looking out towards the beach.

One evening was spent with members of Amazon Watch Allies of Australia, a new volunteer chapter of Amazon Watch that inspired me with their passion and dedication. It was wonderful to be able to connect in person after communicating solely by email and to get a real sense of their ideas and plans to help Amazon Watch grow in Australia.

My favorite night in Sydney was a secret acoustic music night called High Tea, which takes place in a shared artist workspace. Guests sit on pillows and blankets on the floor, warming up with hot tea and listening to excellent acoustic music, with the sounds of the city echoing below.

Before arriving at the airport today we explored the neighborhood of Gleebe, including its eclectic Saturday market and beautiful old bookstores. Thanks to the hospitality of Stef, we were able to see beyond Sydney for tourists and really get a feel for the city and it’s people – the real joy of travelling.

My foodie inclinations continued, as I thoroughly enjoyed the likes of Lindt chocolate croissants (made by a lovely Canadian now living in Sydney), some of the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot!) and a delightfully strange breakfast that included black sausage, currant jam and cucumber salad. 

We will soon be boarding the short flight to Byron Bay, a beach town and a hippie haven. We’ve been told the water is pretty warm and I, for one, am very much looking forward to getting in the water and basking in the Northern Australian sun while connecting with more like-minded new friends.

Ps - Check out pictures from Sydney, Tasmania and Melbourne in the photo gallery to the right! 

Tags: byron bay, family, harbor bridge, ocean, opera house, sydney

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