Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The Travel Diaries | Sydney to Brisbane

Monday 25th January- Thursday 28th January 2016
The flight to Sydney took off from Perth at 11pm on Sunday and landed at 6.30am the following morning, however due to the 3 hour time difference it was actually 3.30am to us and we barely had any sleep on the plane so tired was an understatement. By the time we got to the hostel it was about 8am but check in wasn't until 2pm so all we could do was dump our bags and then try to kill time. Unfortunately the weather was very overcast and we were too tired to properly appreciate Sydney, so even a walk to Sydney Opera House couldn't lift ours mood- in fact we were so miserable that at the time we didn't even think it looked anything that spectacular!  Having had ten lovely days in Perth with the luxury of staying with James' family, the reality of being on our own across the other side of the world along with staying in hostels for the next three months really hit home that day and I especially, was feeling very homesick.

The following day however, we’d had a good night's sleep, the sun was shining and it was Australia Day so we were both feeling heaps better. We headed back down to the Opera House and this time we appreciated that it really is an incredible building. That iconic image of the Opera House with Sydney Harbour Bridge stood in the background is one that we've always seen in pictures or on the television so to be stood right next to it was really pretty amazing!
Of course we couldn't go to Sydney and not check out the infamous Bondi Beach or visit the ultimate Instagrammable swimming pool Bondi Icebergs,  so after spending a couple of days wandering around and exploring the city centre we decided to head down on our last day. The weather wasn't overly sunny on the bus journey there so we weren't sure what to expect but we sat and had lunch on the beach and the sun eventually came out so we ended up getting some pretty good tans. The best way to end our time in Sydney!

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Friday 29th January- Monday 1st February 2016

That evening we boarded our first of many Greyhound coach journeys. We jumped in head first and begun with a 12 hour night bus to Byron Bay, which actually turned out to be a lot better than we had expected. We started the journey at 11pm so we slept pretty much as soon as we got on and woke up for a breakfast stop at 8am with only another 3 hours to go so it went really quickly. Heading up the East Coast the temperature is only going to get hotter and when we arrived at Byron Bay it lived up to expectation. The sun was out in true form, although it was extremely humid and muggy. A far cry from the dry heat in Perth, and definitely not good for my hair!  

Our first evening was a night of (backpackers) luxury. With it being a weekend during high season and not booking early enough all the hostels were fully booked so we had nowhere else to stay other than Byron Springs Guesthouse. Not a bad thing though as this meant that we had a nice big bedroom to ourselves, a clean kitchen, WiFi and a continental breakfast the next morning. By this point we’d only done three nights in hostels but even so it felt like such a huge luxury and we both really wished that we could have stayed longer.
The next morning after breakfast we crashed back down to reality and checked into our next hostel, very aptly named The Backpackers Inn. No where near as luxurious as the previous night but it definitely had that fun travellers vibe! That afternoon we decided to take a wander up to the lighthouse that we could see in the distance. Thinking it would be a light and casual walk we just wore our flip flops however we actually ended up walking through a very steep and uneven jungle! Despite our inappropriate footwear we made it up there eventually and the views were amazing. We came across mainland Australia's most easterly point and on our way back we saw our first wild snake, which turned out to be a non-venomous Carpet Python.  Typical of Australia’s wildlife!
On our final day in Byron Bay we did something that I never thought I would ever find myself doing, and had a surfing lesson. I'm not a massive fan of swimming in the sea- especially in Australia- and surfing isn't something that has ever interested me but it was part of the Oz Experience that we'd pre-paid for so despite being massively hesitant I decided to go for it! Straight away I lost control of the board and ended up getting smacked in the face with it so I really wasn't off to the best start and by the end of the 3 hour lesson I established that I well and truly suck at surfing, however I did manage to stand up once! I'm glad I gave it a go as it turned out to be a lot of fun but I definitely won't be rushing to do it again!

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Monday 1st February- Wednesday 3rd February 2016

After our third night in Byron Bay it was time to leave the little Hippie town behind and get back on the Greyhound heading to Surfers Paradise. We originally intended on staying there for 3 nights however we soon realised that it’s a place that massively relies on sun so if it’s cloudy like it was on our second day, there's not a great deal else to do. Our accommodation was also pretty grim too- which we later found out seems to be reflective of most of the hostels in Surfers- and after our first experience in the gross showers we decided to move onto Brisbane a day earlier. 
After having a day in the rain which was pretty much spent just twiddling our thumbs, we woke up the next day to bright blue skies and sunshine! Luckily we weren't leaving for Brisbane until 4pm so we still had to majority of the day to see the place in all it's glory and in fairness the beach is lovely but I think we were definitely ready to move onto the next place. In James' words "It looks like Benidorm".
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Wednesday 3rd February- Friday 5th February 2016

On arrival in Brisbane later that evening we were greeted by the mother of all downpours. Our hostel was only 600m from the coach station but as soon as we started to walk we were hit with torrential rain. We genuinely may as well have just stood in the shower with our backpacks on and I still think we would have been drier! Luckily the hostel was the nicest one yet, and a massive upgrade from where we had been staying in Surfers so at least we could have nice  clean and warm showers once we arrived. The next day the weather hadn't really picked up however being in a city there's always things to do so we wandered around to see what Brisbane has to offer, stopping by at an art gallery and took a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane. It's probably about ten times smaller than the London Eye but it was nice to see the city from some height and we went back for a free night ride too!
After spending two nights in Brisbane we checked out early Friday morning ready to move onto Noosa, stopping off for a day trip at Australia Zoo on the way. I didn't realise quite how focused the zoo would be around Steve Irwin but it was really sweet and very poignant; a great way to remember how incredibly daring the Crocodile Hunter really was. I also loved that we were able to see so many animals that you wouldn't get in UK zoos such as crocodiles, kangaroos and koalas, making it even more interesting and a really fun day out. Later that evening we got picked up by the Greyhound bus again and made our way onto Noosa.
love Katya x
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