Monday, 29 April 2013

Katoomba/Blue Mountains

Big Australian cat for Anna Mattes!
Kati and I met at the bus top on Sunday. Since there were train-track works we had to get a bus instead of a train, which worked out about $3 more expensive but since Sunday was our only chance to do it, we did it anyway.

The bus journey to Katoomba took about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The views this time were a bit more grassy fields, however apparently, sometimes you can see wild kangaroos. Unfortunately I didn't get that this time.

Once in Katoomba, we walked through the town, got excited that there was an Aldi (the cheapest supermarket to get food here in Australia) and then made our way to Echo Point, which has a great view over the Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters 
The Blue Mountains
Then we tried to go and find the Katoomba Falls. We thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of the instructions so that we wouldn't get lost, since the sign said it would be a 1 hour hike one way...

Then the hike began...

With multiple fantastic views along the way...

And some interesting art work too...

I saw this carved into an out-sticking rock, past the safety barriers

There were some cliff edges too...

And we continued along the path...

We even saw some burned trees from the summers bush-fire...

We got all the way to a sign that said "Katoomba Cascades - 5 mintues, Katoomba Falls - 15 minutes" ...

Katoomba Cascades
We stopped at the Katoomba Cascades for a few minutes and then headed on along the path we thought would lead us to the Falls...

But then we came across a sign that said "Katoomba Falls - 45 minutes one way plus 2 hour steep climb back or take the cable car (last one at 4.30pm)" so we gave up and ate our lunch instead.

After lunch we packed up and walked back to the town center...

Cowboy Shadow

Where we decided to go into Aldi and buy ourselves some food for the next couple of weeks...

Now I have the next months worth of food in a cool bag and I am off to Byron Bay tonight on the night bus which goes from Sydney Central to Byron Bay from 10pm till 7am, hopefully at this Hostel I'll be able to keep my blog a little more updated regularly instead of bulk-blogging like I just did today.

Till the next time,
Lucy xxo

Palm Beach

On Saturday, I met up with another Travel Buddy, Andrea, who is originally from the Philippines but grew up in the USA so also has an American Accent.

We got up early, packed a picnic and headed for a 1 hour 45 minute bus ride (Adult: $4.60 one way, Student: $4.60 return) for Palm Beach, the furthest away northern beach you can get to from Sydney via bus.

The bus ride there goes all along the coast so you have beautiful views the whole way there. So for under $5 you get a nice tour of the Sydney-area coastline as well as a few other things, like Nareen Creek!

We spent the day lazing about in the sun, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the beach and eating our picnic.

The very sticky sand
Calm waters, not like Bondi!
Andrea and I
Overall I've had a really great Travel-Buddy experience and I think I've made two more long-term friends! Palm Beach is also a really great place to check out if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle that is City Life... pack a picnic though as there really is only one cafe within walking distance from the bus stop there.

Lots of Love and Southern Sun,
Lucy xxo

Adventure Travel Bugs

Adventure Travel Bugs is an independent travel agency which helps backpackers in Australia work with their budget to get the best deals. Basically, the more you book, the bigger the discount. Everything featured on this blog from now on until the 9th of June was booked through this organisation, including all of my accommodation.

This is their website, but they have offices all over Australia, and all the offices have free internet for you to use as well as computers and spaces to plug in your laptops etc. so my recommendation would be to go into one of their little offices - That way you can actually talk to someone and work together to find the best deals for you.

Lots of love,
Lucy xxo

Sydney, NSW

After going to Bondi Beach with Hitomi, we met up with my first ever Travel Buddy ( Kati who is originally from Poland, but grew up in Germany and speaks with an American Accent because she lived in the US for a while, but now works here in Sydney. I'm glad to know that I am not the only one with a complicated "where are you from?" story!

She was house sitting for a family who had gone on holiday, so we cooked dinner in the super snazzy kitchen and wondered what it would be like to live in such a beautiful place. After dinner, Hitomi went back to the hostel and Kati and I "went out on the town." After walking around aimlessly for a while, we settled for a bar called "?" and I had the wonderful realisation that Australia also does Cider (something I have missed a lot on my European travels).

After a couple of drinks, getting to know each other better and some strange-dance-moves with some guys from Manchester, we headed back home.

The next day, since we got on so well, Kati decided she'd show me the touristic areas of Sydney... so the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. We both realised at this point that we didn't know what else was famous here...

The Sydney Opera House

The Harbour View

The Harbour Bridge

We took some photos, marvelled at the architecture and ate our lunch in front of the great view. Then we decided tourist photos were boring and so we combined the two activities and came up with this:

Kati and her German sandwich

Hmm what's in this?

Let's open it up...

Oh no another map!

Waheyyyyy! A sandwich!

Mmmm sandwich!

Home-made vs shop-bought...
English style vs German style...
To end the day, we walked back through the Botanic Gardens to my hostel and made plans to go to the Blue Mountains together at the weekend.

These birds may look like ones we have back in England but they sure do sound different!

Hobbit Tree


Since it's Autumn here, these were some of the only flowers in the park

The biggest Cactus that I've ever seen!

For the best view of Sydney, go to the top of this.
Just make sure you're rich first!
That night I also went to Sydney Hospital, since a guy at the Hostel said that if you make it sound like an emergency, they see you for free no matter your nationality or insurance policy. So off I went, but as I was walking there, my ears were getting worse and worse so by the time I was there, it actually felt like an emergency.

A nice lady (not sure from where but not Australian) told me I had an ear infection and prescribed me 5 days of Antibiotics. I left feeling like I was about to be chased down the street because I didn't pay anything... Luckily I got all the way back to the Hostel without such an incident.

The next day, I walked to the nearest Pharmacist where I paid $14.30 for 6 days worth of Antibiotics, and the Pharmacist told me to take them all even though I was only prescribed 5 days. Now let's hope Australia can do what Italy, Germany and the Netherlands couldn't do and make me finally 100% healthy again!

A great sign I came across, Wooloomooloo is the area of Sydney that my Hostel is in.

Another bird that I saw
So far, I really like Australia,
Lucy xxo

Bondi Beach

Hitomi and I decided to go to Bondi Beach on my first day in Sydney, but first we went to the Greyhound bus ticket office so that I could get my official ticket, which turned out to be unnecessary since you only need your booking number and code anyway! Oh well, good to know, got to see a bit of Sydney center!

We then got the bus from the corner of Hyde Park directly to Bondi Beach (which is pronounced Bond-I and not Bondy by the way). The beach was beautiful and straight away I saw some extremely physically fit and extremely tanned people.

Look at that water!

Hitomi (who is a 28 year old Japanese primary school teacher) and I decided to go swimming. The water was cool but once you got used to it, pretty nice. We were having a great time until suddenly the currents got a lot stronger, and since Hitomi is a lot lighter than me, I had to keep a hold of her so that she wouldn't be swept away. This made it very difficult for me to swim as well, which meant two surfers had to help us get out before things got really dangerous... I think we were very lucky that the two surfers saw us and decided to help. I will definitively be more careful next time I am at the beach and only go in where there are lots of other people in the water too. Thank "The Thing That Knows Everything" (some people call him God but that would be biased and religious of me, which I am not) for those two name-less heroes! (Didn't catch their names as they went straight back to surfing once we were safe).

Hitomi didn't seem that fazed by the whole thing, so we soon got back to enjoying ourselves and we got some really awesome photos (I guess I am still too young to let a near-by-death-experience effect my day):

After Bondi Beach we went to the supermarket and got lunch ($1 bread and ham) dinner ($3 mince meat, pasta and tomato sauce) which also happened to provide lunch for the next day as well. So for three meals, I paid $5 all because I shared my shop with another person, I will keep that trick in mind for the future!

Lucy xxo