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A Week In Sydney, Australia!

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

On my way back to Indonesia from the Cook Islands, I decided to stop over in Sydney to break up the flight and see the sights. I LOVE Australia! I wish I could turn back time and applied for the working holiday visa when I finished high school and had the chance to live and work there before heading off to College. The working holiday visa is only good if you’re under 30, which I don’t qualify for anymore, but glad I was still able to visit and experience all Australia has to offer. I was able to get a little taste of both ends of the east coast. I Dove the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns and now a full week in Sydney. Here are six fun things to do in Sydney. A week was not nearly enough time, but my pocketbook would not let me stay longer!


SHOW AT THE OPERA HOUSE


The opera house is really impressive, and they even do tours of it, which I skipped, but I did get tickets to see Blanc De Blanc, which was playing in their studio for $60, substantially cheaper than seeing a show on the main stage. The show was more of a cabaret for adults. The venue small but intimate and I had a great time! I went early to get a drink and appetizer at the opera café which was jam packed full of people pre-funking before their show. The whole area comes alive at night even if you’re not here to see a show, you can grab drinks and snacks and watch the live band play music right on the water with the opera house as your backdrop.

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World


HUNTER VALLEY WINES TOUR


Being a wino and having taken two years of enology courses behind me when I thought about being a wine maker. I’ve been craving good wine. There is none to be found in SEA and the Monte Carlo from South Africa that you can get is not really drinkable, but will do in a desperate pinch. I was reminded by a couple of friends that I was in the wine region and that I should take a tour. I wasn’t even thinking about wine at that point, being so far removed from a good wine region, forgot I was in a great wine country. I looked for a tour to Hunter Valley and went the next day. Hunter Valley is 2 hours outside of Sydney. We visited four wineries and did a stop to do cheese and chocolate tasting along the way. I winded up buying two bottles from the wineries to bring back with me.

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

HunterValley-Sydney-RobynHartzell-3

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World


FEATHERDALE WILDLIFE PARK


Coming to Sydney, I was hoping to see two animals, kangaroos, and koalas. One of my friends had recently been to Featherdale and gave me directions on how to get there by bus. So awesome! The kangaroos were roaming free, and I took a few selfies with them, and there was an area where you could be up close to a Koala and get a picture, so, of course, did that too. I spent probably 2 hours here between walking around and watching the kangaroos and wallaby’s play.

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World


BONDI BEACH


Ah, the famous Bondi Beach. Known for surfers, skateboarders and home of the salt water pool. I went early morning to catch sunrise and breakfast. The pool is pretty impressive, and although I didn’t swim in it, you can go for just a $6.50 entry. I stopped and watched the skateboarders for a while and found out I missed Tony Hawk by ONE DAY! He was there the day after I came. So bummed!

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World


FERRY TO MANLY BEACH


Another early morning, I wanted to grab the early ferry to Manly Beach so that I could get pictures of the Opera House at sunrise. The ride to Manly is about 30 minutes, and if you catch the early morning, you’ll get a great view of the sunrise climbing behind the Opera House, which makes excellent pictures. Manly is a cute little area filled with shops, cafes and of course the beach. Since taking the ferry so early, nothing was open except a few cafes on the water, so I hung out and had some breakfast and tea until the shops opened. Definitely worth spending half a day there.

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World


LIGHT RAIL TO SYDNEY FISH MARKET


Being a sucker for fish markets, when I found out Sydney had one, I had to check it out! I took the light rail over from my hostel near Central station and got over there mid-morning, where all the stalls were filled with the day’s catch. You can get everything from sushi to a king size mixed seafood BBQ served to you soon as the doors open at 10 am. From live seafood to take home to having the restaurants cook it up for your, this is a place to check out when you’re in Sydney. Also on the same light rail line is paddy’s market selling everything from clothes to vegetables. It’s a big warehouse style market that’s cool to check out on your way back to central station.

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World

A Week In Sydney - Robyn Around The World


3 Days On A Liveaboard Diving The Great Barrier Reef

3 Days on a Liveaboard Diving the Great Barrier Reef: Exploring Flynn Reef and Milln Reef

I have dreamed of going to the Great Barrier Reef for years. It’s one of those places that goes on your bucket list or vision board. I created a vision board while I was planning my trip and I put Australia and the Great Barrier Reef on there. I didn’t realize that I’d get there so soon! The flight from Chiang Mai to the Cook Islands was going to be around 20 hours, so to break up the flight I decided to stop in Cairns and book a 3-day trip to the Great Barrier Reef.

3 Days on a Liveaboard Diving the Great Barrier Reef: Exploring Flynn Reef and Milln Reef

It was the best three days I’ve had diving since I started! Doing a liveaboard is something every scuba diver should experience. I went with Pro Dive Cairns and did 11 dives in 3 days including 2 night dives. Once aboard, literally all you do is dive, eat, sleep. This is truly the best way to dive as you wake up, and you’re already at your dive site you just put on your gear that’s already set-up and waiting for you and jump out for your dive. What was even better is these were all unguided dives, so you pick your buddy and off you go to explore the reef on your own (with direction on where to go during the dive briefs). This was my first time going without guides, and it was pretty awesome. I was able to practice navigation skills, and we could look around the dive site at our own leisure and move away from areas if they got too crowded.

3 Days on a Liveaboard Diving the Great Barrier Reef: Exploring Flynn Reef and Milln Reef

The Great Barrier Reef: Flynn & Milln Reefs

We spent our three days exploring two reefs: Flynn Reef and Milln Reef. Both these reefs are huge with a lot of dive sites on each. There’s plenty to see at these reefs including sharks, groupers, schools of bumphead parrotfish, cuttlefish, nemo and tons of colorful coral everywhere. We got lucky and the second day there we saw coral spawning that only happens a couple of times a year. We also met Brian the resident turtle during our night dive at Mickey Mouse reef.  He’s a bit of a celebrity in Cairns and is even printed on t-shirts!

3 Days on a Liveaboard Diving the Great Barrier Reef: Exploring Flynn Reef and Milln Reef

Both reefs were clear with no current, just fish and critters to see every which way. The coral is definitely the main attraction! They were so colorful and huge! They call them “Baummies“ which is like big boulders of corals that you can swim around. There’re baummie clusters everywhere. I was surprised that we only averaged 14-18 meter dives. With the reef being so shallow, it was perfect for snorkeling too. My dive buddy’s wife snorkeled while he dove and she saw just as much as we did just from looking down. She saw turtles and all the fish and coral. What I loved about doing a liveaboard (my first!) was we were the only boat out on our dive sites all three days. The reef is huge! It covers 132,974 square miles and to reach part of it from Cairns is a 3.5-hour boat ride. Most same day dive boats won’t go out there, so it’s limited to the liveaboards which with the reef being so huge and plenty of sites to choose from, you might not see another boat for the three days while you’re out there. It was true bliss!

3 Days on a Liveaboard Diving the Great Barrier Reef: Exploring Flynn Reef and Milln Reef

Spending 3-Days At Sea

There are many companies that go out to the reef. I found Pro Dive Cairns through TripAdvisor (I was not sponsored), and booked them off their great reviews.

3 Days on a Liveaboard Diving the Great Barrier Reef: Exploring Flynn Reef and Milln Reef

I found staying on the liveaboard really enjoyable and would absolutely do it again. I was in the sleeping quarters for singles which included 2 bunks in the room; I was paired with a girl from Holland. The rooms are small, but you literally just sleep there, so it’s all you need. There’re plenty of shared showers on board too so if you have to wait for a shower, you’re not waiting long. I loved falling asleep to the rocking of the ocean. After being spoiled with Cairns, I will be looking for more liveaboards to go on in the future.

3 Days on a Liveaboard Diving the Great Barrier Reef: Exploring Flynn Reef and Milln Reef

I can’t wait to get back to Cairns and explore more of the reef.

3 Days on a Liveaboard Diving the Great Barrier Reef: Exploring Flynn Reef and Milln Reef


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