I only recently came back from my Australia trip and it was amazing. I went for 8 nights in total with my good friend Rinku who I’ve known from High School. We originally wanted to go to New Zealand but we decided to hop to Sydney and Melbourne and save New Zealand for a later date. I’ve been to both Sydney and Melbourne before and in fact, I studied in Melbourne for three years for college but I’ve been wanting to go back for so very long. Can you believe it – it’s already been 2 and a half years since I was back there and I have so many memories and friends who I wanted to see. So here’s 10 amazing things I did in Sydney & Melbourne!
1. Sydney Opera House & Sydney Harbour Bridge
When we landed in Sydney, we checked into our hotel – the Novotel Darling Harbour – and the weather was sunny, blue and gorgeous. Prior to the trip we did a lot of planning and bought a few day tours. One of them was a Sydney Hop on Hop off tour. It wasn’t really a tour – more like a city bus with commentary that you can hop on and hop off at various stops. In the evening, we got on this bus and it took us to Circular Quay. It’s possibly been 3 years (2.5 years since Melbourne) since I came back to Sydney actually and no words can describe how beautiful this country is. The weather, the people, the produce, the sights and sounds. You can actually do a bridge climb on the Sydney Harbour Bridge but I chose not to – I’m actually scared of heights!
2. Sandboarding at the Sand Dunes
The next day we went on a Grayline tour to Port Stephens to go dolphin watching! We made a pit stop at the sand dunes so that we could sand board. I’ve never been or even knew that Sydney had sand dunes – they reminded me of the ones that I visited in Dubai but you could see the mountains in the distance and the beach on the other side. It looked like a giant valley with a plot of sand in it that God decided to plop right in the middle.
Sand boarding was fun but I was more enthralled with the scenery just mounds and mountains of sand. It’s so beautiful and something I for sure never thought I would see in Sydney.
3. Seeing Wild Dolphins @ Port Stephens!
After the sand dunes, we got back on the bus to Port Stephens where the dolphins are! I have never ever seen real dolphins in real life. I know in Singapore we have that dolphin lagoon at Sentosa but these are not dolphins in captivity, they are wild! We were so blessed to be able to see so many pods that day, the boat warned us that sometimes there are no dolphin pods at all. I was suprised that the dolphins really liked us humans. They swam to us instead of swam away and they would weave in and out and to the side and even underneath the boat! They are so friendly. I’ve heard about them being friendly before but it’s a different thing when you see them in real life!
This is for sure something I’ll keep close to my heart. It was so cool to watch them!
4. Hiked at the Blue Mountains!
The next day we made a trip up to the Blue Mountains. The Blue mountains is a must-see in Sydney apparently but again I’ve never done it before. What we saw was amazing – kind of like a painting. Gorgeous valleys and mountains.
The Blue Mountains is most famous for these three structures called the Three Sisters! They actually each have names but I don’t really remember what they are. To get here, we hiked for a good 20 minutes. Rinku is very much available to adventure but I am a different story. We had to look over some steep ledges and that freaked me out but we kept going and I have to say we were rewarded with a spectacular view.
The last stop at the Blue Mountains was this place called Lincoln’s Rock. Oh my gosh, I would never do what they guy was doing. It’s a ledge with no barriers and you can just sit on the edge just like that. Seriously one fart and you’re gone. My entire tour bus thought it was cool though. BTW I camera zoomed to take this picture. I was very much as close to the mainland as possible!
5. St. Paul’s Cathedral & Flinder’s St. Station, Melbourne
Now onto Melbourne! Melbourne will always hold a very special place in my heart. It’s where I spent three years studying for my bachelor’s degree in Commerce and where I learnt how to grow up, make friends, fall in love, and live on my own. It has been an adventure adapting back to life in Singapore last year but it’s all good now. I’ve been wanting to go back for the longest time. I’ve even had dreams about going back and it was surreal to finally be back! A lot of things stayed the same though. I felt like I was going back to class the next day! This is Flinder’s St. Station – probably very much a landmark in Melbourne. I would take the train to Jacob’s house in Caulfied from here! And yes I did meet my boyfriend Jacob in Melbourne too!
One very special memory and time was when I found Christ. Prior to that season, I would find myself visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral whenever I felt stressed, tired or felt like the world was too much. I would sit in those very pews and look at God and tell Him everything. I wasn’t even a Christian then but slowly the Lord led me to Him and I’ll always hold this place so dear to my heart because it reminded me of where I was and where I am today. But more on that later :)
Of course what’s going to Melbourne without taking a graffiti shot in an alley! There are designated alleys for graffiti in Melbourne I think. Or maybe it’s just everywhere. Melbourne unlike Sydney is very much hipster central – think european cafes, brunch, art, music, theatre. That kind of thing. Sydney is more like city, australian, beach, surfer. That’s how I see it. They are both really different cities.
7. Sit on a Puffing Billy Steam Train
Can you believe it – I’ve lived in Melbourne for 3 years and I’ve never rode on the Puffing Billy? It’s a heritage steam train and it’s so fun to ride on it. You can stick your legs out like this and we made a new friend as well. She’s a flight stewardess for Emirates and she is travelling alone! I always think that people travelling alone are so brave!
Here we go! We rode through the forrest. I felt like I was in a story book! I like how clean the steam smells as well – kind of like clean charcoal steam. It smells nice.
8. Drink wine at a Yarra Valley Winery & Great Ocean Road
One of the highlights of my Melbourne trip was going to the Yarra Valley. I haven’t been here either prior! This is a place I am for sure coming back to. The scenery is out of this world – I feel like I’m in the English countryside but I’m still in Australia. Wine tasting was fun and something I’ve never done before either! I’m not much of a drinker at all and found myself getting dirty looks from the wine owner when I dumped most of it out! It’s only because I have a very low tolerance and I reckon just a sip is enough for me.
I loved this place more so because we were really taking in and tasting the produce of the land. That’s really an amazing experience. I hope to come back and do the gourmet tour instead in the Yarra Valley. I’d very much like to sub in my wine for cheese! Or do both. That works for me too!
Last of all, we visited the Great Ocean Road. I didn’t really like it that much. We were literally on the road in total for a good 8 hours. That’s a very long time on a bus and the sight was nice but I guess it really wasn’t for me!
9. Drink a lot of coffee and have Brunch
When you’re in Melbourne, you need to drink as much coffee as you can. It’s coffee central – and cafe central too. I feel a lot of the cafes try to emulate Melbourne cafes but they might have got ambience down, but for sure not the food yet. Some places are of course an exception. On our last day, we went to a couple of cafes. The Kettle Black is a recent one with amazing reviews so we went. It’s nice but I found the food to lack. In fact a lot of the places we went to were kind of average but maybe at 20 – 21 years old, I was a lot more easily impressed. Haha.
The brunch at the Auction Rooms. Ok that caramalized bacon steak was really actually very good.
10. Visit my Uni, the University of Melbourne!
Last but not least, I visited my university! I studied at the Univeristy of Melbourne and pursued a bachelor’s degree in Commerce majoring in marketing and management. I showed my friend where I used to study, where my classes were, the apartment I used to live in! This brings back SO MANY MEMORIES. It was good meeting up with friends as well like every night when we were there. GOOD TIMES. Like no joke.
Overall, I had an amazing trip. I think most of all, it was really just revisiting the past that made the trip most memorable :) Even though I’ve been here and even lived here, it felt different and it was for sure an #SSBD experience to me.
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