A Month Down Under

Wow, I can’t believe that 1 month in Australia has already come and gone! What an incredible country. We barely scratched the surface – the land is so massive! There were so many things thay I loved about it. For starters, the people are so friendly, we met so many lovely people that we can now call friends. They have some of the best beaches we have ever seen, the wildlife is amazing, their health wellness culture is inspiring, there is a laid back vibe, the majority of all products /meats/produce are local and so on. It is truly a natural beauty!

Australia was a country I have dreamt about visiting since I was a teenager! It definitely lived up to my expectations and so much more. For those of you who don’t know, after graduating University I was planning to move to Australia for a year to work and travel the country. In fact, my parents were generous enough to gift me a one way ticket to Australia as my graduation gift (well it was a promissory note until I planned the logistics). I never took them up on the gift as things changed. I met Mario that same year. Even though we just started dating, I knew there was something special developing. Knowing that if I left for a year, we may not have kept in touch and I felt would be a mistake. So…I stayed. And happy I’m happy I did! He did promise me that we would visit Australia together in the future, which we did! Although I didn’t live here (which was VERY tempting to move here), a month was a good picture of the country. I am very thankful for that. (Ps. Dad if you are reading this, can I still take you up on the one way ticket for the future?? *jokes*)

Anyway, back to Australia and the country. If you are planning to visit here is a recap of where we went:

  1. Sydney: total time we spent here was 8 days – 4 days in Bondi Beach and 4 days in Surry Hills closer to downtown.
  2. Melbourne: we took a flight over from Sydney and stayed in the CBD (Downtown) for 5 days, enjoying the Australian Open and the Twelve Apostles
  3. Port Douglas: we took a flight from Melbourne to Cairns where we ‘hired’ a car (by the way this means ‘rented’ in Australian) We stayed for 4 nights exploring the Great Barrier Reef and a wildlife reserve (to see kangaroos and koalas)
  4. Hop on Hop off Bus – this was definitely a highlight of the trip! We explored the east coast by bus and it was so much fun! We were able to cover the following places:
    1. Cairns
    2. Airlie Beach
    3. Hervey Bay
    4. Fraser Island
    5. Sunshine Coast
    6. Surfers Paradise/Gold Coast
    7. Byron Bay
    8. Brisbane

In the four weeks we were in Australia, there were so many trip highlights, way too many to tell you! We liked all places we visited there but one of our top choices was Sydney.

Highlight: Sydney

We started our journey around the world with a two day commute from Las Vegas to Sydney, stopping in Xiamen, China for a day. Since we had time to kill we hopped on the city tour bus for a few hours which turned out to be a very interesting and beautiful island!

When we finally arrived in Bondi Beach, Syndey, we were so jet lagged and disoriented. We were falling asleep at 2 pm and waking up at 10 pm and very wired overnight. It took some time to adapt to the 17 hour time difference but we survived by forcing ourselves to not fall asleep when we were tired unless it was bed time. So once we got over the jet lag we immediately made our way to the famous Bondi Iceburgs . Basically this is a 50 meter saltwater pool that looks like it is part of the ocean with the ocean waves splashing into it . We didn’t go into the pool as it was quite cool and windy that day, but got some cool pics (see below)

Bondi Iceburgs

After that we walked the Cooggee Path along the water, where is was extremely WINDY. Did some fun photos on the cliffs edge while trying to not be blown over the edge!

The best brunch we had in Sydney was along the strip in Bondi Beach, the place was called Porch & Parlour and you MUST go there if you ever visit. I had a delicious green pea pancake. Yes I said GREEN PEA PANCAKE – you are probably wondering what the heck is that? Well it’s a veggie pancake that was super fluffy and green topped with goat cheese, avocado and microgreens. It also came with a side of homemade seed and nut bread. It was absolutely incredible! Just writing this out is making my mouth salivate. Mario had poached eggs on fresh vegetables with loads on bacon. What made it even more perfect was that the coffee was on point! Side Fun fact: Will Smith ate here the very next day and ordered the exact same meal as I did, and loved it!

Green Pea Pancake

What blew me away was how health conscience Sydney was (especially in Bondi Beach). The town lived and breathed health and wellness. There were loads of people working out outdoors in the parks, on the beach, and really any open space they can find! There is an endless variety of locally grown healthy eats and diets (including gluten free, vegan, organic, dairy free) within restaurants, cafes, bars and grocery stores. Kombucha could be found on TAP for crying out loud. I was pretty much a kid in a candy store. I tried a variety of different products, meals and snacks. (Click here to see what my top 5 were!)

Almost every day we had amazing coffees and a treat since I had so many to choose from -I just HAD to, they were so good! It became a daily habit which we quickly ended when we realized how expensive that was getting…lol. (travel newbies) One of the best ones we had was in Bronte Beach . See below :

coffeeandtreats1

While we were in Bondi Beach we stayed at an Air BnB where we had a lovely host-Italian Sam. One of the nights he brought us out in Newtown (just outside of Bondi) for dinner at Vegan Italian Restaurant called Gigi ,where we were joining a family for dinner that he knew. Yes, I did say Vegan Italian – sounds rare, but it was actually incredible that everything on their menu was dairy free and no meat or seafood was available on the menu. The only down side for me was no gluten free pizza, but I had plenty of other options. When we arrived with Sam, there was a lineup around the block! Thankfully he knew the owner (Italians always know each other) and we walked right in, where he introduced us to the lovely Australian family. We all enjoyed a family style dinner with lots of incredible red wine and good laughs. After that we walked over to Enmore Comedy Club for some more laughs. Followed by a stumble over a cool bar down the street for more drinks. What a great night!

Encore Comdey

What we also noticed about Australians is that they rise with the sun and go to sleep after sunset which I think it doesn’t get any healthier than that! This was not easy to get used to as I am not a morning person… but one of my goals while travelling was to try to wake up earlier! It was quite surprising how little night life there was. For example, if you like to eat out late or go for late night dancing or drinks (like I do) then that may be a down side. There are places to go to but they close earlier than usual, like 11 pm or midnight. However, we spent most of our time in beachy areas which could explain this.

One thing to also keep in mind is that Australia is darn expensive, so make sure to save up enough to visit here. One way to save money is to stay in Air BnBs and cook as much as you can!

Leaving Australia was definitely tough for me. I think I may have even gotten emotional saying bye to it. could definitely see myself living here temporarily -like I had wanted to once upon a time. But I am so grateful to have been able to stay here a month with my hubby, it made the experience even more incredible that we experienced it together. Plus I know that one day we will be back!

If you plan on visiting Australia please reply to this as I have so many more suggestions on what to do, (this was a very teeny tiny picture of what we did there)

Until next time,

Melly

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