This section of the blog will go into detail about our time in each location. It will be more of a journal than anything else and will include things we enjoyed, as well as any aspect we might do differently if we were to plan it again.
Day 141 – Monday 24th December
With an exciting afternoon planned we ate breakfast in the hostel then went out to explore Sydney and do a bit of shopping. It was strange being in such a large city after spending the last two weeks on the road and in the middle of nowhere most of the time! We took our time wandering around, gawping at the massive buildings and Christmas decorations – our brains were going mad as it was over 30 degrees and Christmas! We both needed some new shoes (something that wasn’t flip flops or trainers) so we shopped around and came away with Christmas presents from each other in the form of reasonably smart shoes.
A lot of friends who we had met on our travels in Asia were also in Sydney for the Christmas period so we got our gladrags (and new shoes) on and went to meet them at Base Hostel for a few drinks before heading to the Ivy Pool Bar for a Christmas Eve pool party; poles apart from our annual trip to the pubs of Selby wearing as many layers as we could without looking like the Michelin man.
We had met the two Sams, Leah and Lois early in our Vietnam trip and caught up with them in Cambodia and a few times on our travels so it was great to be able to spend more time with them in over Christmas.
With a bikini on (and that was just James) we partied the night away in and around the pool. Christmas away from home was always going to difficult, being away from family and friends, but meeting up with these guys (and the red hot weather) definitely made it easier!
Late evening/early the next morning (I’m not quite sure of the time) we all gathered in McDonalds (for a change) for a snack before heading back to the hostel, ready for Christmas Day in a new city.
Day 142 – Tuesday 25th December
Waking up on Christmas Day in a hostel room full of strangers was surreal, but we didn’t have much time to think about it as we had a busy day ahead.
When we left England we were given cards to open on Christmas Day and my mum and dad had brought us a few little gifts from home when they visited us in Thailand so we had some things to open. We called our parents, family and a few friends, who were all either just heading to bed on Christmas Eve or out having a few drinks – I still find the time difference so weird!
It was soon time to get ready for the day. We had originally planned to spend Christmas Day on Bondi Beach, however some friends of Leah and Lois had invited us to their place for Christmas Dinner and we couldn’t wait to get into the Christmas spirit! We caught the train to Bondi Junction where we met the girls and walked to their friend’s flat.
Ellie had gone all out; there were Christmas crackers, games, pigs in blankets and it wouldn’t be Christmas without different height chairs at the table would it?
It was a lovely afternoon with all the Christmas traditions which began with stuffing our faces and continued with a few hours playing games. Late afternoon we all hopped in taxis and headed down to Bondi Beach to join the other revellers. It was absolutely jam-packed with people!
We met Nick and Emily, another couple we had met in Thailand, on the beach and suddenly a massive group of people started some sort of mosh pit nearby. As I flicked through Instagram stories I noticed Fergus was right in the middle so we all ran to find him. To no avail! He was right in the thick of it and we couldn’t see him anywhere!
Early evening we decided to call it a day and made our way back to the hostel (not without stopping at a pie shop first!) to fulfil another Christmas traditions, watching a Christmas film: Polar Express.
Day 143 – Wednesday 26th December
Boxing Day at the races seemed to be a tradition in Aus so, after lining our stomachs with sausage sandwiches, we once again got all dressed up and headed out to meet everyone. The girls all looked gorgeous and the guys didn’t scrub up too badly either!
It was a scorcher at Randwick Racecourse and what better way to cool off than with a bottle of bubbly? (Or two…or more). We had a fantastic day sipping champagne (okay, maybe the cheaper version), catching up and pretending we weren’t all blowing our meagre week’s budget. There were a few little winners amongst the group but nothing too extravagant!
By the time the races had finished we were all looking like lobsters and ready to head back to our hostels. We’d had an awesome day at the races with everyone and it was lovely to get dressed up again!
Day 144 – Thursday 27th December
With a busy few days under our belt we had a chilled morning. Well, that was the plan. Personally I don’t find watching a scary film ‘relaxing’. Alas, in a hostel you have to compromise, or in my case just smile, nod and say “yeah, put whatever you like on”, praying they won’t choose something scary.
It failed. They chose a scary film.
Ready for some fresh air we wandered to the nearby Anytime Fitness gym to join up and have a workout. We would be moving to Kingsgrove at the beginning of January so when they told us you can only use the gym you sign up in for the first 30 days we decided against joining the one in city.
Our next job of the day was to open Australian bank accounts. After a bit of research we had decided to go with ANZ so made our way their before exploring the city and doing a bit of window shopping, along with the supermarket shop.
Day 145 – Friday 28th December
As we hadn’t been able to sign up to the gym we ventured out to Kingsgrove to sign up at what would be our new local gym and had our first proper workout since leaving the UK. Safe to say we knew about it the next day! But we were determined to get into shape again.
On the way back from Kingsgrove we met Leah and Lois in Surrey Hills, where they had been checking out the local pubs, and walked into the city looking for food (we went for Oporto).
I wasn’t feeling too good so we watched tv in the hostel and had an early night ready for a big day tomorrow; if only I could remember the significance of tomorrow…
Day 146 – Saturday 29th December
Ah! James’ birthday! (No, I hadn’t forgotten don’t worry).
For James’ birthday we were going on a boat party with everyone so we woke early for James to open his cards. We also had a phone interview for a job to start in January so we went across to the Woolworths cafe where the WiFi was hopefully better and it would be a lot quieter. Our potential new boss seemed to like us so it was looking good for a job start soon as well as a company car!
After getting dolled up yet again, James and I walked to Darling Harbour and had the most amazing burgers in Meat District Co. They were absolutely incredible! The view over Darling Harbour was pretty awesome too!
We joined the team at the Pontoon Bar by the Seadeck check-in area and had a few celebratory drinks before boarding the boat for the party. We managed to bag a decent spot with comfy chairs and a table, not too far from the dance floor. Sailing around the harbour we drank even more bubbly than at the races and danced into the night. It was a fantastic way to celebrate James’ birthday and we felt really lucky to be spending it with such incredible people.
There was only one way to end the night. You guessed it: McDonalds. Lois loves the 60 cent ice cream!
Day 147 – Sunday 30th December
Feeling a little worse for wear we walked into the city. I had only worn my new shoes once and they had fallen apart so we went to swap them and bought a few other bits along the way. With a long day planned for New Years Eve in the park we stocked up on plenty of food before heading to our last Nandos before we began Veganuary for a month. Yes, that means no more meat, dairy or McDonalds! (How will we ever cope?!)
Back at the hostel we packed the cooler bag ready for New Years Eve and headed to bed for an early night.
Early night’s never go to plan and, just as I was about to get in the shower, the hostel fire alarm began blaring. Quickly, everyone was evacuated and two fire engines arrived at the door. Thankfully, it was a false alarm and there was no fire but it was nearing midnight and we needed sleep, so as soon as we were given the all clear, it was back inside to settle in for the night!
Day 148 – Monday 31st December
Up at 5:30am, feeling very tired, we got ready for a day at Macquerie Park. We had been forewarned that it gets extremely busy and queues begin to form the night before so we met everyone at our hostel at 6am and walked to the park. Despite the park not opening it’s gates until 9am there were hundreds of people already queuing when we arrived at 6:30am. But, we were prepared and took ourselves off to the back of the queue where we laid our blankets down and ate breakfast. The ground was pretty wet and soon the towels began to get damp!
The gates opened at 9am and by 10:30am we were through the gates, only four hours after arriving! Somehow we managed to get an awesome spot right at the end of the park with a great view of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Fergus had somehow managed to get ahead of us in the queue, despite not arriving until almost 9am! He met us in the park along with a few other friends of friends so there was quite a large group of us!
We had a brilliant day and, for the most part, the weather was on our side. That was until 6pm. For two solid hours torrential rain soaked us to the bone! We had all been a little optimistic when dressing for the day so were totally unprepared for cold and wet weather. We weren’t going to let a little (a lot) of wet weather spoil our day so we got hold of some bin bags and made ourselves some macs!
New Year came with an abundance of fireworks lighting up the sky, illuminating the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was quite a surreal moment as it dawned on us we were in Australia doing something we had been planning for years.
In the early hours, everyine headed to McDonalds for a snack, however as it was now January, we didn’t order anything as we were now vegan for the month! So as everyone sat eating their burgers and chicken strips we looked on in hunger.
Day 149 – Tuesday 1st January
Day one of Veganuary!
With nothing in the fridge or cupboards and absolutely ravenous, we headed across the road to Woolworths for some food shopping. We bought some hummus and carrots and sat in the Woolworths cafe while we figured out what on earth we were going to buy! Eventually we got some veggies and ate lunch in the hostel.
As the two Sams and Leah were all jetting off back to the UK in the next couple of days we met them, along with Lois, in Darling Harbour for a catch up and to say our goodbyes. It was a pretty teary afternoon as the four of them had met right at the beginning of their trip and spent almost all of their time travelling together. Leah and Lois were close friends from home so it was especially hard for them to be going their separate ways! After a couple of hours we waved goodbye, promising to meet up back in the UK.
In the evening we ate dinner in the hostel, which consisted of packet risotto from Woolies. I absolutely hated it and just couldn’t bring myself to eat it, however James didn’t think it was that bad! We spent the evening packing, ready to move to Kingsgrove to crash at our friends, Joe and Beth, flat for the next month and hopefully earn some money to take on the east coast trip!