Last weekend we were in Australia for the first time! Our friends Sam and Kevin got married Saturday, June 3rd, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see them again in such a beautiful city.
Last Thursday we flew out from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Sydney, Australia. It was an overnight direct flight – our first! So wonderful! So fast! No stopping to wait in other foreign countries for 2+ hours to transfer! – and we arrived in Sydney Airport around 8am Friday morning. Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere, it’s autumn, nearly winter, and the cool weather (averaging around 15C, or 59F) was a wonderful break from Tatebayashi’s muggy heat.
We splurged a bit and stayed at the Swissotel in the CBD (central business district) as an early anniversary gift to ourselves. (In fact, today is our anniversary! Happy four years, Paul!)
The Swissotel is right across the street from Sydney Tower! Our view from our window:
Our checkin time was 3pm, so we dropped off our bags at around 10am at the hotel and went for a long walk. We quickly learned that we were in a fantastic location – everything was within walking distance, and since it was winter, we never got sweaty!
I love the beautiful architecture and random historical monuments we came across:
We went down to the Circular Quay to see the ferries and the lovely view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House:
It was so sunny, and the light was so beautiful the entire time we were there! Loved it. (Though I could feel that the ozone layer is thin there – even in winter, the sun was very hot!)
We went to the Rocks to check out the Friday Foodie Market, where we saw stands for things like jewellery, clothes, and toys, as well as food stands for kebabs, German sausages, Japanese fried rice, gelato, etc.
I had my first kangaroo kebab from Danieli Fine Foods! (It’s the front kebab not covered in sauce.) It was yummy! Tasted like beef. I wanted to try crocodile, too, but alas, it was $30 at the only restaurant we went to that had it.
We had lunch at a chocolate shop called Guylian. We finally had a proper sandwich!
While we were eating, two lorikeets flew over and perched on the umbrellas above us. At first we were like, “Oh man, how cute!” Then one of them swung underneath the umbrella, hanging upside down with a fierce look on its little face, and suddenly they converged on the table next to us!
They stole sugar from the table next to us and tore open the packets! We were very glad they were so small and did not eat humans.
Spooky little creatures.
After lunch, we hiked back past the Circular Quay to the Royal Botanic Garden, where we found a way down to the Sydney Opera House!
We also heard the people climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge cheering from across the water! (Paul is terrified of heights, so we didn’t do that.)
I loved seeing all the different birds in Sydney! I was expecting the seagulls…but I was not expecting the ibises! Apparently they’re called “bin chickens.”
We wandered back towards the Botanic Gardens again along a walkway beside the water. The people in Sydney are so athletic – there were so many joggers, we must have been outstripped by at least a hundred of them running past in less than an hour!
We arrived in Sydney at just the right time – Vivid Sydney runs from May 26th to June 17th, and various parts of the city are lit up at night! We came across a couple installations on our way during the day.
We went into the gardens again, which were beautiful and green despite the season:
We even saw a kookaburra!
After that jaunt, we went back to the hotel to rest up a bit before heading out again for dinner. I really wanted to see the Chinatown Night Market, which we did end up finding, though it was a bit smaller than I’d expected. Maybe it was the season?
We ended up going to a hotel called “Cheers” and got our first Australian fish and chips! (We learned that in Australia, pubs are called “hotels,” so we called them “hotel-pubs” for the rest of the trip.)
We discovered that James Squire Orchard Crush Cider is amazing!
I really loved how bustling Sydney was, and even better, I loved how safe I felt. I’ve lived in the suburbs of Kansas City my whole life, so I’m not a city girl at all, and I find big cities pretty intimidating (especially after having lived in Japan, where Tokyo, the biggest city I’ve been to here, is pretty clean and quiet). But Sydney was great! Everyone minded their own business while simultaneously being unabashedly loud and happy, and also, I wasn’t the only person trying to get out of people’s way! There are some (most) days in Japan where I feel like I’m the only person who bothers to move for other people (lest I be trampled). But not in Sydney! We moved for each other!
Afterwards, we headed back for an early night, because the next day would be Sam and Kevin’s wedding! Paul drew a lovely little card for them.
And that was day one in Sydney! Such a fantastic start to a beautiful trip.
‘Til next time! またね！