The main reason for my visit to Australia was really to see my friends Owen and Amy whom I hadn’t seen in over 18 months owing to them settling in Manly in Sydney. It was also a perfect break in my travels to see some familiar faces, to relax and not worry too much for a few days.
Upon arriving in Sydney following the 12-hour bus journey from Melbourne, I headed to the Sydney Quays Harbour to catch a short ferry ride over to Manly. It was early morning, and the sunshine lit up the Sydney Harbour Bridge to my left, with the arches of the famous Sydney Opera House to my right. With a slightly fuzzy head having come off the overnight bus, it was all a bit surreal seeing the sites as we cruised over to Manly.
Owen and Amy were at work, so after grabbing the keys off one of their neighbours, dumping my stuff and taking a shower, I headed to the beach to chill out for the afternoon. The area Owen and Amy lived in was beautifully perched on the edge of a rocky beach, opening out to sleeping boats in the harbour. The town itself was quaint – the small streets with stunted buildings resembling a British seaside town, with shops, cafes and bars lining the main strip up to the stretch of beautiful white sandy beaches on the other side of the island. But what I was really looking forward to was seeing Owen and Amy.
One of the things I had learned so far on my trip was that no matter where you are in the world, it’s often the company that really makes the experience come alive. Jon, Hannah and Roberto made India aside from the wedding of my friend Harps. Meeting Matt off the plane in Bangkok aided my stay in Thailand. Jake and the guys in Saigon made me feel at ease there. Mui, my motorcycle tour-guide made the rest of Vietnam for me. Then I had a reality check through Malaysia and Singapore where I was alone in my thoughts – the chance to share my experiences lacking. So when I finally caught up with Owen and Amy, it had a nice to be home feeling to it. The first night we went out for dinner before sharing a few schooners (beers) together with some of Owen’s work colleagues. The following day, we headed to the local derby football match that Owen played in for Manly F.C. Although Owen played for my team in London, the facilities he was experiencing for his current team were exceptional in comparison. The investment in the club was clear to see, with a great infrastructure. The local community even came out to watch – there must have been a hundred or so watching. In the evening, we simply chilled out with some drinking back at Owen’s flat with a few of his friends.
The following day, Owen and Amy then treated me to a local Manly vs. Sharks rugby league game before we chilled out walking down the seafront in the evening.
The final day in Sydney was spent downtown whilst Owen and Amy went to work on the Monday. This was mainly spent strolling around taking in the sights of the Opera House, Pitt Street, Market Square, St James’ Park, the Town Hall and Darling Harbour. The city itself had a nice feeling to it – maybe even more relaxed than what I experienced in Melbourne, but that could be owing to how stretched out Sydney was in comparison. With the expansive harbour backing out to the main business district, it had a strange feeling of new town Barcelona, Spain, to it. But, it lacked the slightly edger historic side to its European counterpart. Again, however, like Melbourne, as nice as it was to tick off the boxes, it was far removed from the Asian experiences I’ve had so far due to its westernisation.
Later in the evening, I caught up with Rowena, an ex-work colleague of mine, for dinner down by the harbour, before departing late on back towards Manly for my final night before leaving Owen and Amy to head back to Melbourne in time to catch my flight to New Zealand.
City of Sydney Guide
Sydney Opera House
More Photography :
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters