Cockatoo Island

Our recent Sundays have been spent making the most of Transport NSW’s generous offer of unlimited travel all day for just $2.50 (£1.60). This includes all trains, buses as well as Sydney’s extensive ferry network, making it a great, cost effective way to explore more of the State.

Cockatoo Island, the largest of the seven islands situated within Sydney Harbour, is just a short ferry journey from Circular Quay, and seemed a great place to spend a Sunday morning, ensuring we took the early ferry to avoid the crowds.

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Island has a lengthy history (for Australia anyway), and was opened to tourists only as recently as 2007. Much to Rachael’s excitement, after the colonisation of Australia, the island was originally used as a prison, housing convicts transferred from the overcrowded Norfolk Island. Continue reading

Coastal Walks in Sydney

It was recently announced that Sydney has dropped out of the Economist magazine’s global top 10 liveable cities, plummeting all the way to 11th out of the 140 cities surveyed in 2017. However, despite this terrible result (London came 53rd) we still couldn’t be happier with our choice to live here!

Our first few months in Sydney have mostly been spent exploring as much of the city as possible. It has been a very mild winter (according to the Aussie’s in my office anyway), and we have tried to make the most of winter sunshine by enjoying lots of coastal walks.

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After spending our first four weeks in Sydney living in Bondi, we were sure to revisit the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal several times. Although we had walked the route already while travelling,  it was great to do it again, especially with it being so much quieter on weekdays, and the early morning lighting made the views all the more impressive. Continue reading

Back in Sydney

So after our slight change of plan, we are now well settled into our new life in Sydney and it has begun to feel like home far quicker than expected. Unfortunately it has been a little more difficult to keep the blog up to date, as the last six weeks have consisted of us both starting new jobs and finding somewhere to live. However, hopefully I will have more time to write in the coming weeks, with lots of exploring to do in Sydney and the surrounding area.

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We spent the first three weeks in Sydney staying in our friends amazing apartment in Bondi, which was a great place to begin life in a new city. While we enjoyed living so close to the beach, we decided to look for somewhere closer to the CBD for our own flat. Continue reading

Brisbane continued…

With the campervan gone, our travelling around Brisbane was a little restricted compared to what we had become accustomed to. We found the public transport to be fairly limited compared to other cities, with the river making it even more difficult to travel around, despite the ferry network. However, we did still manage to make a few journeys out of the more central suburbs during our week in the city.

We decided not to bother with public transport at all for our trip to Teneriffe, a suburb on the east of the city. Instead we again made use of the CityCycle bike hire scheme, cycling all the way along the north bank of the river from the CBD, making use of the great cycleways. However, as you travel further away from the centre, the bike stations become more sporadic, and we very nearly went over the 30 minute limit for each individual journey on several occasions.

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The journey itself took us around the area of New Farm, including the large New Farm Park and the nearby Brisbane Powerhouse. The imposing former power station has been converted into a cultural hub, and now hosts a variety of plays, concerts, exhibitions and other events. Continue reading

Our week in Brisbane

Having very reluctantly given back the campervan with no issues, we checked into our AirBnb which was in East Brisbane. On arrival, our hosts Mike and Anna gave us a great suburb by suburb guide to the city, and lots of great ideas about where to visit during our stay.

After enjoying sleeping in an actual bed for the first time since Hong Kong, we were feeling refreshed and ready to start exploring the city. Brisbane is dominated by the huge river of the same name, which winds and bends its way through the city.  We therefore decided to start with a ride on the free CityHopper ferry service, and were soon in sight of Brisbane’s imposing skyline, as the ferry slowly chugged its way towards the CBD.

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The end of our road trip

So after 57 days we finally made it to Brisbane, the last stop on our road trip, where we begrudgingly returned our campervan. Here’s a few interesting numbers from our epic journey:

  • Total miles travelled: 7,223
  • Total miles walked (according to my sometimes dubious Fitbit): 505

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  • Total amount spent on petrol: $1,898 (£1,200)
  • Total number of campsites: 38 (21 were free)
  • Total amount spent on campsites: $787 (£498)

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Exploring the Glass House Mountains

On our last full day before handing back the campervan, we decided it was only right to finish our roadtrip with a visit to one more of Australia’s many incredible National Parks.

The Glass House Mountains are a series of 11 rocky outcrops, that were formed by volcanic activity, and rise up dramatically from the otherwise flat surroundings. They are located in the Sunshine Coast region, just 68km north of Brisbane. It is possible to climb all but one of the mountains, with the largest Mount Beerwah off limits since a large landslide in 2011. Given our limited time, we were pleased to manage to reach the summit of two of the smaller peaks.

Before making a start on the mountains, we decided to begin the the day with what we hoped would be a leisurely visit to Kondalilla Falls. The 4.7km trail started by taking us past a series of rockpools and stunning views across the valley, before a deceivingly gentle descent to the base of the huge falls.

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