Finally, the day has come. I’ve packed up my life, and headed over to Australia on a working holiday. When the time came to actually step through the security gates at Vancouver Airport and leave the people I loved behind, it really hit me hard. I know I’ve already been on my own whilst I was in Europe last year, but this trip will undoubtedly be a different experience. Working, commuting and living in general will be very new to me.
The two flights to get to Sydney were absolutely dreadful to say the least. The first flight was from Vancouver airport to Shanghai, which took about twelve hours. At least I had a window seat and a place to rest my head for the most part. It was an extremely long flight and it was followed by a four or five hour layover once I arrived. After that, another ten hour flight and I finally made it. I was greeted by a family friend at the airport whom I’ve never met before. My mom worked with her back at the hospital before she moved out to Sydney. Her family was nice enough to take me in to their amazing home south of Sydney alongside the Georges river, a beautifully stunning beach house that looks out to the water.
On the first day, I was extremely jet lagged but managed to get myself hooked up with an Australian bank account (commonwealth bank). I then applied for my tax file number – much like a social insurance number in Canada – as soon as I could online, which was actually really simple. That night at the house, I enjoyed an exceptional Australian BBQ with the family and I felt right at home.
The next day, I went downtown to see the harbor bridge and the Opera House. What I didn’t realize though was that on this day, the Australian navy was celebrating its 100th anniversary. There were millions of people lined up everywhere to catch a glimpse of the jets and other planes making huge displays in the sky. The roar of the jets flying over the bridge and maneuvering effortlessly through the sky was amazing; I really picked a great time to go downtown. That night was absolutely packed with people. There was lights and massive displays of fireworks over the harbor, it was a site to see and a great way to start off my time in this great city.
A few days after, I paid a visit to Taronga Zoo across the harbor off of Athol Bay. To be honest, it was pretty satisfactory, I wouldn’t recommend it as a must see thing to do in Sydney. I got the chance to see kangaroos and some koalas but in general, it wasn’t really the most exciting experience, and it was a little overpriced, even with a coupon that I managed to snag on my way out of the airport.
During another day, I took a trip out to Manly Beach which was great. It had a more quiet feel to it, as it felt a bit far from the city. Many surf shops and cafes were lined up across the beach and everyone seemed to be on either skateboards or bikes. A great place to visit for sure.
The world famous Bondi Beach of course is the place I’ve been visiting most often since I’ve landed here. This beach is huge and has tons of people from all the over the world visiting it all the time. This is where the perfect water seems to be, and there really is nothing like jumping into the water on a hot day and letting the waves just take you.
I’ve noticed that Australia in general is extremely expensive. It’s really important to watch your money here and instead of going out to eat, staying in when you can. The people here seem to be very friendly and welcoming to travelers. It’s been about a week and half and I think I’ve made some pretty good progress here. At some points I feel a bit discouraged but at the same time that was how I felt during the early stages of my Europe trip; and after awhile, it definitely got better.