Back to Byron Bay

With the Labour Day public holiday falling on the first Monday of October in New South Wales, we decided to make the most of the long weekend by doing what we do best – an incredibly long road trip!

For this trip we decided to go even further than our previous trip to Coffs Harbour, making the nine hour drive to Byron Bay, the famous coastal town that is one of New South Wales most popular attractions.

After leaving Sydney on Thursday evening, we stopped for the night in Port Macquarie, before making the second half of the journey early Friday morning.

Byron is most famous for its beautiful beaches, and laidback surfing lifestyle, and after finally arriving we made our way straight to Clarkes Beach, at the eastern end of the town.

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‘Working’ in Coffs Harbour

With Rachael required to spend a day working in Coffs Harbour on one of her many business trips, I decided to book some time off and join her to make a weekend of it.

We arrived late on Thursday night, having made the long six hour drive immediately after finishing work. This was especially challenging given my day had started at 2am watching England’s tense World Cup victory against Columbia.

Despite this we were up early the next morning, finding a great little café for breakfast before I dropped Rachael at work for the day. Feeling energetic, I walked towards the harbour, before following the esplanade around to the southern break wall. With clear blue sky, it was a perfect winter day and I was more than happy with my decision to take a day off work.

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Vivid 2018

Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of ‘light, music and ideas’, which has become one of the cities most popular events since it began in 2009.

Although the citywide festival includes a wide range of events, it is mostly known for it’s light instillations and projections that illuminate the city, and transform its landmark buildings.

Unfortunately, our only glimpse of Vivid in 2017 was from an aeroplane window, as our first night living in Sydney coincided with the festival’s closing night. We were therefore keen to get the full experience this year, and eagerly awaited its arrival.

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Not Just Another Weekend in Hunter Valley

After visiting several of Australia’s wine regions while traveling, and having not visited one for at least a month, Simon planned a weekend away to revisit Australia’s oldest wine region – Hunter Valley. Although this time, I would be coming away with something much better than wine knowledge and a sore head.

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After finishing work early on the Friday and making the short two hour drive from Sydney, we arrived at our accommodation for the weekend, the Déjà vu Estate. Although there was nothing déjà vu about it, we had definitely never stayed anywhere like this before. Continue reading

Sculpture by the Sea

Every November, Sculpture by the Sea transforms the famous coastal path between Bondi and Tamarama into a temporary sculpture park, with over 100 sculptures from both Australian and international artists suddenly appearing along the walk.

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Now in its 21st year, the programme is one of the most popular and well known art events in Sydney, with this edition attracting over 500 entries from all over the world. Sensing a great photo opportunity, we decided to finish work early one Friday and go check it out.

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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

Byron Bay

We were expecting Bryon Bay to be one of our highlights of the East coast, and it didn’t disappoint. The small coastal town has long been a popular destination for hippies and those seeking an alternative lifestyle. Famous for its beaches, surfing and laid-back culture, it is now incredibly popular with backpackers and Australian tourists alike.

Watching the sunrise from Cape Byron lighthouse is a must do when visiting Byron, and we decided to do this on our first morning there. After setting our alarm at 4am, and making the steep climb up to the lighthouse, we arrived just in time as the darkness began to lift.

However yet again we picked the wrong morning, with the sun struggling to break through the thick cloud, and the strong winds making it incredibly cold. We really should have checked the weather forecast the night before!

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More of New South Wales

There was lots more enjoyable stops as we made our way along the coast of New South Wales towards Byron Bay. As we arrived in the Great Lakes region, we took a very scenic drive to the twin towns of Forster and Tuncurry, where the vast Wallis Lake meets the ocean.

There was beautiful beaches either side of the connecting bridge, as well as several ocean pools, including the popular Tuncurry Rockpools. This perfect swimming spot was a complete contrast to the exposed Nine Mile Beach found the other side of the headland.

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After our now routine early start, the following day started with another scenic drive to Port Macquarie. We stopped on the outskirts of the town to visit the tiny Tacking Point lighthouse, which dates back to 1879.

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