I’m writing to you on a plane from Sydney to Coffs Harbour. Free extra leg room, a view overlooking the sea and cotton like clouds with biscuits in hand – this backpacking malarkey ain’t half bad!
Since my last post Ryan and I have waved goodbye to Steve and Kathy who had kindly let us stay with them in Dee-Why and grabbed the ferry from Manly back to Darling Harbour ready for us to stay in the centre and wait on the arrival of our Australian bank cards.
Our new home for a couple of nights was a small hostel above a pub. We really liked this hostel, it was small so reasonably quiet and super easy to get to know other travellers staying, the staff were extremely friendly and believe it or not the pub wasn’t loud at all!
(Down side was that there was no cooker, only a microwave – so we lived off tried and tested backpacker favourite – packet noodles!)
As we had to stay in Sydney for our bank cards Ryan and I spent the week wandering the city and visiting different attractions.
Ryan found a discount online for a visit to two of Sydney’s main attractions; we opted to go to the Sydney Eye Tower and the Sea-life Aquarium.
The tower is 309 Meters high and gives a 360 degree view of Sydney.
From the tower we could see landmarks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour, the Allianz football stadium and so on. The view meant we could also spot street art and rooftop pools in amongst the buildings.
The aquarium was great! There were penguins, an octopus, loads of vibrant fish, turtles, jellyfish and sharks! We were lucky and were able to see the penguins being fed – the zookeeper dropped a piece of food on the floor accidentally and then went on to tell us that the penguins are extremely fussy and will not eat any of the food if it has been on the floor – how strange!
Another day was spent taking a walk over Sydney Harbour bridge. We had looked into maybe doing the bridge climb however it was very expensive and when we got to the bridge we were glad we hadn’t booked it..
Walking over the bridge itself was quite scary for height-hating me; Ryan and I were taking pictures along the bridge of the view (which was beaut) and made the mistake of looking down a few to many times! You could also feel the bridge as the cars zoomed across which just added to my fear – so we definitely ARE NOT going to do the bridge climb!
After our stroll across the bridge we then made a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art and popped in the rooftop cafe for a cold drink after!
Another day was spent wandering the botanical gardens.
It’s always nice when the sun is shining to spend it strolling the gardens – no cars, no one in a rush, no noise apart from the birds chirping, just a leisurely stroll taking in the scenery.
On our way to the gardens we walked through Hyde Park which was set up like a festival – loads of food vans, drink pop up shops, chairs and tables but everything was closed. I did a little search online and found out that it was set up for the ‘Night Noodle Market’ and was only going to be there for a limited time and was open in the evenings.
Naturally Ryan and I took the fact that it was limited as a sign that we had to go and visit while we were in Sydney! We sat on swings draped in flowers, ate yummy food and took a visit to the Pimm’s Garden!
When we stayed with Steve and Kathy they suggested we look into doing a whale watching tour. I already wanted to go on one but they said this is the best time of year to go as there’s lots of whales in the area.
We did a quick search online and found a cheap deal for a whale watching cruise with lunch included.
It was a 4 hour cruise and as we were going out to sea thought it would be best to grab some sea sickness tablets just in case.
BEST IDEA EVER!
Almost all of the people onboard the boat were sea sick and even with the tablets Ryan and I felt a teeny bit queazy!
The cruise itself was amazing – we saw 5 whales and multiple breaching throughout the 4 hours which was what we really wanted to see! We also saw a mum and her calf who kept copying when the mother would jump out of the water or flick her tail.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get any pictures of the whales..
1. They were too quick and
2. The boat was far to rocky to possibly get a picture that wasn’t blurred (trust me, I tried)
The next day was probably one of our favourite days in Sydney because we experienced things we had never seen before.
The first was a march in Sydney for marriage equality.
We had seen quite a lot of police cars and vans throughout the day and then we heard what sounded like a riot; lots of shouting and cars beeping.
We took a walk down the street and there it was; a rainbow of people marching and chanting for a ‘yes’ vote on marriage equality.
It was beautiful to see so many people marching for something back home which is just so normal now.
I couldn’t quite believe that a vote was even an option; surely marriage equality should just be the norm everywhere?
We saw many couples marching together and multiple signs that made my heart ache a little with their words. One being a sign from an older lady stating ‘only I get to tell my son who he can marry’ and another ‘vote yes: so I can finally be my best friends bridesmaid.’
Ryan had mentioned that whilst we’re in Australia he would like to watch a match; as you can imagine my enthusiasm for this activity on a scale of 1-10 was probably a minus 5.
As with most things I’m negative about I usually eat my words and have a great time – and this was one of those times.
The football match was so much fun. It was a derby between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wonderers so the crowd was buzzing.
When I’m at home I sometimes watch my younger brother play football – I get so stressed watching! He plays in goal so whenever the ball is near his goal I get heart palpitations that are through the roof and wonder why on earth I put myself through this ordeal (sisterly love and support and all that).
Luckily this match wasn’t like that – I had no idea who was playing or who I wanted to win so I just enjoyed the game and the atmosphere of the crowd.
Ryan got into the spirit and purchased a Sydney FC top. They were behind in the first half with Western Sydney Wonderers scoring less than 5 minutes in but when the final whistle blew it was a draw at 2 all.
As I mentioned earlier we were on the plane to Coffs Harbour from Sydney. Our bank cards arrived and we were ready to start looking for farm work. I called a working hostel in Coffs Harbour that have connections with local farmers and can help you start your regional work – they had availability for us at the hostel and on the farm so we booked a flight and off we went.
We came to Coffs in the hopes of starting our 88 days farm work and save money ready to travel at the end of the 88 days.
It seems thinking we’d be able to save money was naive.
We started blueberry picking and after 2 days decided it wasn’t ideal for us at this current time. The people and the hostel was great; super friendly and such a laugh! But the pay for the farm work was too low.
They pay per bucket picked and unless you’re a rapid picker you’ll be lucky to make minimum wage – so no saving on the cards!
The place was great if you just needed to get your 88 days of regional work done to apply for your second year visa but not if you actually needed to save some pennies too.
Edit: Completely forgot to mention that I also slipped over carrying two buckets of blueberries! Blueberries went flying – all my hard work all over the floor.. it was a real life Bridget Jones moment!
We decided we would go back to Sydney and try and find a ‘proper’ job with better pay.
As we had paid for a weeks accommodation we spent the next few days wandering Coffs and doing all the things we wanted to do as we were here.
We spent some time at the beach and walked along the jetty. Ryan went body boarding and we saw some turtles swimming in the sea! So cool!
We also visited The Big Banana and played mini golf in the sunshine. Believe it or not I was winning mini golf then lost after Ryan cheated his way to victory.
He says skill. I say cheat.
I started writing this post on a plane from Sydney to Coffs Harbour and I’m finishing it on a train back to Sydney after our farm work not working out for us. How quickly things change when you’re travelling on a road to nowhere.
It’s all experience I guess; plus we met some pretty cool people. We had a nice BBQ one night to celebrate another traveller reaching half way through his 88 days and a bonfire and drinks at the beach another night which was worth the sore head in the morning!
Now it’s back to unemployment life in Sydney – let’s hope it’s short lived!
‘Til next time!
Love Bumble x