A 2016 Sydney tourist


  • Be a tourist
  • New Years Eve
  • New Years Day
  • Be a tourist

I had successfully managed to feel pretty Christmassy despite the sky-high temperatures the previous few days, however, once Christmas was over it did just feel like I was back on holiday. Not a bad thing considering I had lots of Sydney to go and see still.

The morning of the 27th, Gina left Kitty’s to go to work whilst we put on Harry Potter and sorted out the house back to a reasonable state of order. It was in the high 20s outside but with weather predicted to reach 37 over the next few days, Kit and I decided to do the Coogee – Bondi walk that afternoon.

We walked the hilly roads down to Coogee before following the coastal path that took us past Coogee and Bronte Beach before reaching Bondi itself. It was a very sweaty walk, but a beautiful and busy one, with lots of hot bods carrying surf boards along the route for us to ogle at! Bondi was heaving, as expected, and I could spot the lifeguard hut from ‘Bondi Rescue’ but a selfie with Maxi (for Len) would have to wait.

Kit and I had brought along our swim stuff and goggles and planned to swim actual lengths in Bondi’s saltwater pool, ‘Icebergs’. The idea was lovely, the pool was spectacular, but the reality was that the saltwater was very murky making it extremely hard to see where you were swimming. I think I managed about 500m and Kit even less, before we bailed and sunbathed on the side of the pool instead!

That evening we used up all our left over Christmas food in a giant chicken and vegetable pasta bake, topped with oodles of cheese. We accompanied this with yet more Harry Potter, in both documentary, film and web form (I’m unsure as to why we felt the need to get so wrapped up in HP that day, but who cares, the hat sorted me in to Gryffindor house!), and then went to bed.

The next day was to be a tourist one, starting first with an eggs and smoked salmon brekkie. Once dressed, we hopped on the bus to Circular Quay, where the bridge and opera house are, and went for coffee whilst waiting for Em to come join us.

First up was the Sydney Opera House. It really is quite something when you see it for the first time. Although smaller than I had envisioned, the architecture is extraordinary and the setting in the harbour is stunning. We wondered around the building, peering in and getting snap-happy for about an hour before we had exhausted its perimeter completely.

Kit then suggested we use our Opal cards (Sydney’s version of the Oyster) to get a ferry across to the Northshore at Milsons Point and wonder back along the Harbour Bridge. The ferry gave incredible views back across Circular Quay and the CBD and the fact that the fare was included as public transport was novel to me in itself.

The ferry moored up at Milson’s Point, where you find Sydney’s Luna Park and the North Sydney Olympic swimming pool. Luna Park is really freaky although meant for kids of a young age! The pool however is stunning and definitely somewhere I want to go and swim whilst I’m here, given the Bondi/Icebergs failed attempt.

After a short rest on the grass at Milson’s Point we began the footpath across the bridge; another spectacular piece of iconic Sydney architecture that really lives up to its status. The well-known bridge climb costs $350 whilst you can climb one of the four pilons for a student concession of $6.50. The experience isn’t as grand I suppose, but the views are very similar and saved me a lot of money!

I can’t imagine ever getting bored of the Sydney Harbour views. But pair them with views of Sydney as a whole and I’d pay that $6.50 daily just to take it all in.

When we decided to scale the 200 steps back down the tower, we were pretty certain we’d earned our lunch and ended up in a really cute and colourful square on the south side of the harbour eating sushi. We followed this up with a wonder to Westfields and a spot of shopping (mainly to replace my sea-stolen sunglasses and earrings from Xmas day), before Kitty left us to go to work.

I got back and showered early evening as I had planned to meet Bea, a friend from Kings, down in Coogee. It was awesome to see her and she had suggested we spend the night eating and drinking in Coogee Bay Hotel – a restaurant/bar that overlooks the beach, has a great atmosphere and is always lively – as her friend worked there and could give us a discount. The food was fab, wine even better and company brilliant. We caught up on all the gossip we’d missed from the last few months, shared travelling stories and got sufficiently drunk along with some of Bea’s other friends.

Josh let me back in to the apartment that evening and a cute little drunk chat ensued before I head to bed. Kit came back shortly after and joined me for a little bedtime chat before she also went to sleep. Day well spent, I’d say.

Our next morning consisted of ‘Made in Chelsea’, sweat and a walk to the plumbing shop. It was 36 degrees at its hottest that day and inside activities were a must, or something that involved a pool. In fact, when Kit had work again, that is exactly what Em and I did.

I met her at Prince Albert Pool in Surry Hills and we paid our $6 entry then spent the afternoon in the shade, bobbing in the pool and even swimming laps (about 800m this time round before I realised how dreadfully unfit I am!). We stayed for a few hours by the pool, finishing off our day with an ice cream and then parted ways for the evening.

Josh and I had another romantic (lol) night ahead of us, starting off with me going for a run. It sounded like an excellent idea, especially given my current (lack of) exercise state, but perhaps I could have thought about the temperature of the day I chose to run more thoroughly. Regardless, I set off at 7.15pm down towards Centennial Park and ran around the lake and grounds for 4 miles before attempting the hill back up to Randwick. When I got back, Josh opened the door with a look of slight disgust at my sweatiness! Even my sweat had sweat as there was absolutely nothing cold about dusk that day. Run, check. Sweat, check.

At least I’d attempted to regain some health in my life! I followed this with a healthy dinner of avocado smash, salad and a little bit of chicken, yet more ‘Made in Chelsea’, to which Josh and I finished the series, and ‘Celebrity Juice’: Dad’s favourite. It had been an unbearably hot day, but a healthy one, and was to be an equally unbearably hot night.

The next day, the 30th, shaped up to be a really cute one. After first heading to Circular Quay to meet Em and jump on the ferry, we then had a very scenic view out of the harbour and across to Manly Wharf. Although cloudy, the view was so iconic it was hard to spoil.

Manly beach itself was very busy but the clouds would not budge. After wondering along the shoreline, we finally found some of Kitty’s uni friends who were playing American football in the sea and set up camp next to them on the beach. Em and I attempted the waves which weren’t as treacherous as Coogee but definitely colder, and we spent the afternoon cloud bathing, sleeping and other beachy things. The two girls I met in Cairns, Sophie and Fiona, also came along to join us for the latter part of the afternoon and it was lovely to have a catch up.

Gina finished work at 5pm, so about an hour later we head over to hers to shower and snack, with a vision to go back to Manly Wharf for dinner and drinks. I also FaceTimed home as it was big Len’s big 18th and I wanted to be included in present time, since I am the most important member of the family. I told her she had to do a jäger bomb to see in her legal drinking age celebrations, and was actually very impressed with the videoed attempt of this I later received!

We ended up having a few drinks at Gina’s and missing the food at the Wharf so we just continued our night out instead. We started at Manly Wharf, reuniting once again with Kitty’s uni friends and also joined by Gina’s housemate, Maki. The girls also let slip that they had purchased my ticket to a day festival, FOMO, just before I leave Sydney for my birthday which was super cute. When we felt we had fully exhausted this venue, we went in search of dancing and more alcohol, landing us in Sugar Lounge. The upstairs was very pleasant, if not full of moderately creepy males, however the downstairs dancing area was stiflingly hot, a little grimy and jam-packed with full on lurkers. Still, nothing a lot of sweaty dancing can’t fend off (that and the all circle Gina anyway, so I could just enjoy my night!).

Our night ended about 2.30pm, followed by kebabs, drunk chats with a few locals we had met in Sugar Lounge, and avoiding Em’s arrest for flipping off a policeman! The bus at 3.15am finally got us back to Gina’s where we very quickly crashed, and finallllllyyyy, I got a real life bed to sleep in for the evening. Sharing with my bestie and all.

The last day of 2016 began in a slightly tired, hungover, but very exciting way. Gina, Kit and I booked a road trip! We booked a rental car and air bnb to take us up the Central Coast to Port Macquarie for the 2nd and 3rd January; something I genuinely cannot wait for. Heading home about midday, we also had to make a strategic plan for the rest of our day so that we could get the best fireworks-watching spot to see in the new year.

When we pulled in to Randwick, Kit and I head off to Woolworths to get some supplies for our dinner picnic later that evening: salad, roast chicken, chip ‘n’ dip, olives, strawberries, bread, and various other goodies. We assembled the necessary after cold showers and an avo-smash breakfast, chucked on some more ‘Celebrity Juice’ and got ourselves mentally prepared for the wait to midnight.

Josh and Poppy came back an hour or so later and once all parties were ready, we set off for the city, Emily, and Bradfield Park across at Milsons Point, for the evening. The park had capacity for 40,000 people that night and when we arrived, this was easily at 15,000 and certainly at capacity by 10pm, if the port-a-loo queues were anything to go by! It was literally right underneath the bridge and a fantastic location to watch the fireworks from, plus an awesome view of the CBD and opera house lit up at night. We filled our hours from 6pm onwards with food, card games, goon, blog catching-up, 9pm family fireworks, music, photos and lots of laughs. And finally, the big countdown commenced!

Sydney really put on a spectacular show for new year. The fireworks lasted ten minutes and were incredible, and our location under the bridge made for even better viewing. SydNYE, really well done (even if it took us 4 hours to then get back home through the crowds)!

And so, 61 days in so ‘life from a bag’ and a whole different year to when I left the UK, and I’m really glad to see the back of what was largely a pretty terrible 2016, and what will hopefully be an incredible 2017, continuing my travels and finally entering the real life adult world!

Gabby x


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