Exploring Sydney, Brisbane, and Gold Coast
First off, can I just say: I’m quite jealous of the plane ticket purchase situation? Online shopping for the ticket was about the same but those prices were just magnificent compared to what we’re used to in the states. (Baggage limitations are a little different, so make sure you actually read over the disclaimers they list about it. Some plane seats came with baggage and some didn’t, so one of my trips I did end up coming out-of-pocket unexpectedly.) I myself was flying from Honolulu, Hawaii and the plane ticket was actually very reasonable. I spent around $500 to get there and back! The non-stop flight there was ten hours, so I had a slew of snacks packed up and ready to go.
THINGS TO DO
We took full advantage of the fact that we were total newbies and did everything we could think of to create our own memories. No one seemed to mind us asking our “tourist” questions at all. There were lots of walk-able things to get into around all four of the service apartments we stayed at. Shops and shows were never in short supply, and every morning we woke up with a list of cool things we wanted to do. My personal favorites:
- Sydney Opera House (obviously) / Vivid Light Show*
- Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery Museum of the Arts
- Hot Air Balloon Excursions
- Historical River Ride on the Miramar II
- The Wheel of Brisbane
- Loan Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket (also had cassowaries and kangaroos)
- Royal Botanical Garden Walk
- Art Gallery of New South Wales
- Bondi Beach Park Grafitti Wall / Bondi Skate Park
- Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
- Darling Harbour
- Marvel Museum*
- Gold Coast Boardwalk / Surfers Paradise Beach
Quite literally everything I ate in Australia I found to be delicious. We talked to lots of locals and got insights on best places to go, but they often played down the culinary scene. A couple even joked that “Australia had no culinary claim to fame” like most other countries do (like how Italians are so well known for pasta). That may or may not be true, but the food here was great. I think our favorite two places were The House of Crab in Redfern and Mejica in Sydney CBD…but Golden Century Seafood Restaurant in Haymarket was a very, very close second. There was also an adorable little cafe in Surry Hills off of Goulburn Street and Brisbane Street that made this amazing salmon eggs benedict and their hot chocolate was always perfection.
This was one of the most fun trips I’ve been on in a long time. It was nice to be able to learn about another culture and there weren’t any of those typical traveling blunders that tend to pop up. There were beautiful things to look at pretty much everywhere, and we were never at a loss for things to do the whole trip.