I’m so excited to share pictures with you from my “holiday” in Australia! I love traveling, and Australia has long been at the top of my list. I didn’t make it to the Great Barrier Reef on this particular occasion, but I will definitely be going back. The people alone made it an experience I’ll never forget. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a more welcoming culture!
As you know from the “G’day Mate” post, we started off our Australian adventure with a few days at MacMaster’s Beach. It’s tucked away from all of the hustle and bustle of Sydney, and it was a nice way to start the vacation. The beach house was set in a jungle-like area (with all of the accompaniments, like spiders!), and the beach was just outside the window.
In the morning, colorful King Parrots would visit on the balcony. They weren’t scared of us at all and would let us get pretty close to take pictures!
The beach was gorgeous with cliffs jutting into the sky in the distance. The views were pretty spectacular as well, and I spent the afternoons lazing around on the beach reading my book and enjoying the scenery. The water was a bit too cold for my taste, so I only stuck my feet in. Plus, the waves would get pretty crazy, so I left those to the experienced surfers!
When we arrived in Sydney, we were told the best gelato was located in the shops at The Star Casino, which also happened to be our hotel! Rather than grab lunch, we decided to try the highly recommended Messina Gelato! It was so good, and we made sure to pick up a scoop (or two) every night before bed.
After our gelato fix, we were itching to jump into Sydney’s bustling city life and experience the hip restaurant scene. That night, we ate dinner at Spice Temple, which was so amazing we contemplated coming back the next day. The servings were tapas style, so we were able to try so many dishes. If we had favorites, we just ordered more! I loved the handmade yellow noodles with Wagyu braised brisket, chilli and Sichuan pepper and the house fried rice! They also had a drink named after the 12 Animals represented by the Chinese Zodiac. The group admitted the drinks were some of the best cocktails ever tasted, and I highly recommend the “Horse”.
After dinner, our friends living in Sydney recommended we grab drinks at Palmer & Co., which is a speakeasy where all of the waiters are dressed like it’s the Roaring 20s. (Watch HBO’s Boardwalk Empire for a crash course on speakeasies and the Roaring 20s!). The bar was underground, and the wall décor included mug shots of infamous criminals (Al Capone) and world leaders (Martin Luther King, Jr). I really enjoy seeing fashion from different periods come to life in modern society, so it was quite a treat watching the waitresses dance around the bar dressed like “Flappers” from the 20s.
I decided not to try any of the cocktails because I was so full and had enjoyed plenty from Spice Temple. However, Will is really into whiskey, and he didn’t leave disappointed by the selection or quality of the cocktails. Most importantly, the cocktails were authentic to that era!
On our second day in Sydney, we scheduled a tour of the famous Blue Mountains. The tour started off at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Of course, we couldn’t leave Australia without seeing the Koalas and Kangaroos; and aside from getting the rare opportunity to see them in their natural habitats, Featherdale was the best way to see them up close and personal. The Koalas were so cute, and I instantly wanted to take one home with me (minus the claws). However, the cuddly appearance is quite deceiving, and he wasn’t quite as soft as I thought he would be, so I decided not to smuggle him home!
While touring Featherdale and seeing all of the wildlife, from birds to crocodiles, some kind of nature kick must have taken hold of me because I decided to hold a snake (I normally hate snakes)! But hey, when in Australia…
I hope these photos of the Blue Mountains do them some justice because they were absolutely beautiful! It was a foggy day; but in the moments of relatively clear skies, the view was impressive!
For the first stop, in order to gain a better vantage point, our tour guide took us to one viewpoint with no guardrails! Now, I’m deathly afraid of heights, but I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity. I slowly and carefully crept to the edge of the cliff and looked over, all the while trying not to really think about what I was doing. I’m so glad I didn’t let fear hold me back because that moment was definitely one of the highlights of the trip! Viewing that place where the sky meets the earth was absolutely incredible, and one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced.
The other viewpoints paled in comparison to the first one, but all of them were pretty amazing. We saw the Three Sisters, and our guide told us the Aborigine folk tales but admitted that only the Aborigine women know the true story. One of the stories, based purely on conjecture, says that a father turned his daughters into stone to protect them, which sounds…interesting.
We were exhausted after our tour of the Blue Mountains, so we actually ordered take-out pizza from Criniti’s on the way back to The Star. I never pass up an opportunity to eat pizza (I’m kind of addicted), and all of our picks were tasty and wood fired! Criniti’s wasn’t your typical pizza joint. It had an awesome atmosphere with a Ducati parked on top of the full bar! The scene was filled with well-dressed locals enjoying freshly made pizza and cocktails before a night on the town.
On our last night in Sydney, we just had to take in a show at the famous Sydney Opera House. I also knew this would be a perfect opportunity to plan for a future blog post around a formal dress! Be on the lookout for an upcoming post on #whatiwore to the Opera!
We took a water taxi to the Sydney Opera House. If ever in Sydney, I highly recommend taking a water taxi at least once, as opposed to a ferry. It was so much fun to speed across the Harbour and view the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House from the Water.
Before attending the symphony performance at the Opera House, we ate at an outdoor restaurant, the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, which overlooked Sydney Harbour. The weather was great, and we had a perfect view of the water, the opera house, and all of the activity occurring on the pier. The food was incredible as well! I had a prawn pasta that I obviously ate too fast to even get a picture of! I’ll do better next time and restrain myself.
I loved every minute of my time in Sydney. The food was delicious; the people were fantastic; and the scenery was gorgeous! I loved it so much that I decided to explore the city one last time the morning before our flight to Melbourne just to soak it all in. I thought that I wouldn’t have the same experience in Melbourne, but I was wrong! I’ll be posting about my stay in Melbourne in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
Tell me about some of your favorite travel destinations!