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Sydney – Australia

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.

Sydney-Opera-House, Australia

Sydney Opera House – Australia

Skyline, Sydney, Australia

Skyline – Sydney, Australia

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.

Manly-Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Manly Harbour – Sydney, Australia

Beach-Huts, Manly, Sydney, Australia

Beach Huts – Manly – Sydney, Australia

Manly-Diggers-Swimming-Club, Sydney, Australia

Manly Diggers Swimming Club – Sydney, Australia

Manly-Beach, Sydney, Australia

Manly Beach – Sydney, Australia

Manly, Sydney, Australia

Manly – Sydney, Australia

Beach-Dwellers, Manly, Sydney, Australia

Beach Dwellers – Manly – Sydney, Australia

Manly-Streets, Australia

Manly Streets – Australia

Local-Off-Licence, Manly, Australia

Local Off Licence – Manly, Australia

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.

Martin-Place, Sydney, Australia

Martin Place – Sydney, Australia

Pitt-Street, Sydney, Australia

Pitt Street – Sydney, Australia

Pitt-Street, Sydney, Australia

Pitt Street – Sydney, Australia

Sydney-Town-Hall, Australia

Sydney Town Hall – Australia

Town-Hall-Clock-Tower, Sydney, Australia

Town Hall Clock Tower – Sydney, Australia

Strand-Arcade, Sydney, Australia

Strand Arcade – Sydney, Australia

Shops, Strand-Arcade, Sydney, Australia

Shops of Strand Arcade – Sydney, Australia

St-Mary's-Cathedral, Sydney, Australia

St Mary’s Cathedral – Sydney, Australia

St-Mary's-Cathedral, Sydney, Australia

St Mary’s Cathedral – Sydney, Australia

St-James-Park-Fountains, Sydney, Australia

St James’ Park Fountains – Sydney, Australia

Sydney-Tower-from-St-James'-Park, Sydney, Australia

Sydney Tower from St James’ Park – Sydney, Australia

Queen-Victoria-Statue, Sydney, Australia

Queen Victoria Statue – Sydney, Australia

Queen-Victoria-Building, Sydney, Australia

Queen Victoria Building – Sydney, Australia

Sydney-Tower-Above-Monorail-Tracks, Australia

Sydney Tower Above Monorail Tracks – Australia

Sydney-Tower-Above-Monorail, Australia

Sydney Tower Above Monorail – Australia

Spiral-Fountain, Darling-Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Spiral Fountain – Darling Harbour – Sydney, Australia

Docks-of-Darling-Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Docks of Darling Harbour – Sydney, Australia

Darling-Harbour-Skyline, Sydney, Australia

Darling Harbour Skyline – Sydney, Australia

Darling-Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Darling Harbour – Sydney, Australia

Ships, Darling-Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Ships of Darling Harbour – Sydney, Australia

Cruiser, Darling-Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Cruiser in Darling Harbour – Sydney, Australia

Sydney-Monorail, Australia

Sydney Monorail – Australia

Sydney-Harbour-Bridge, The-Rocks, Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge from The Rocks – Australia

Sunset, Sydney-Harbour-Bridge, Australia

Sunset under Sydney Harbour Bridge – Australia

Late-Afternoon-Sydney-Harbour-Bridge, Australia

Late Afternoon Sydney Harbour Bridge – Australia

Boat, Sydney-Harbour-Bridge, Australia

Boat Under Sydney Harbour Bridge – Australia

Beneath, Sydney-Harbour-Bridge, Australia

Beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Australia

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.

Further Reading

City of Sydney Guide

Sydney Opera House

Visit Manly

More Photography :

“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

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Melbourne – Australia

With the flight from Singapore to Melbourne in Australia at 10pm, I hadn’t managed to grab much sleep as the journey lasted an awkward six and a half hours, so I landed in quite a nauseated state. After a surprising body search and interview with the customs guards at passport control, I was glad to hop onto the bus and check into Flinders Backpackers Hostel in downtown Melbourne.

Having come from the economical way of life in South-East Asia, I was brought crashing back down to earth after Singapore in terms of western pricing, with Australia following closely behind. Flinders Backpackers was by far the cheapest of downtown offerings in Melbourne but still cost four to five times more than South-East Asia. I had also gone from my own private room to a cramped 8 people shared hell-hole. The Hostel was in a dank, dreary and quite haunting 10-storey building right in the centre of town. The reception sat in the middle of a huge communal area which was predominantly surrounded by spotty teenagers lounging around. After socialising with a few over the next couple of days, I was bewildered at the amount of them that had simply sought escapism to Australia, but that in-turn resulted in isolation within the depths of the hostel, scrapping for survival. The room I stayed was humid and stank of sweat. The windows hardly opened to let in fresh air. The corridor between bunk beds resembled a cramped cabin on a warship. It was a depressing place. But, I hadn’t much option either unless I wanted to chuck money down the drain at another more expensive hostel for a 1-night stay.

After a couple more hours sleep, I then escaped into town to buy a return bus ticket to Sydney to visit my friends Owen and Amy in Manly. Later, I then checked out the Flinders area and visited Federation Square, snapping the impressive skyline along the riverbank.

King-Street, Melbourne, Australia

King Street – Melbourne, Australia

Swanston-Street, Melbourne, Australia

Swanston Street – Melbourne, Australia

Flinders-Street-Station, Melbourne, Australia

Flinders Street Station – Melbourne, Australia

Sugar-Station, Melbourne, Australia

Sugar Station – Melbourne, Australia

Downtown, Skyline, Melbourne, Australia

Downtown Skyline – Melbourne, Australia

Yarra-River, Melbourne, Australia

Yarra River – Melbourne, Australia

The city had a small and much more European relaxed feeling to it than I expected. It was quite leisurely, with people going about their business in a very chilled out manner. The streets were lined in blocks, with rows of shops, restaurants and fast-food chains, the roads wide with tram lines splitting through. It had an American feel to it. Heading out from Federation Square, I walked through the sprawling Victoria Park, past the Governmental Buildings and through the beautiful Botanical Gardens. As I walked on, I past the Olympic Village and Rod Laver Stadium – home to the Australian Tennis Open. Back at Federation Square, I just sat and watched the world go by. A busker kept me company outside Flinders Station making what looked like at least £50 an hour playing some out of the box Acoustic guitar.

Rod-Laver-Stadium, Melbourne, Australia

Rod Laver Stadium – Melbourne, Australia

Federation-Square, Melbourne, Australia

Federation Square – Melbourne, Australia

In the evening, I ate at an all you can eat buffet in Chinatown – probably the most reasonable value at $12. The obvious shock was how it was five times more expensive for much worse food than Asia. I then headed toward Section 9 of The Lanes area to try and mingle with some locals at a couple of the bars. This proved difficult at first, with the vibe similar to London in terms of approaching people for a chat. Eventually, I settled in a more American style bar which allowed me to start up some conversation with the bar staff and a few of the locals whilst seeing the night away watching some local comedy.

The following day, I met a couple of Israeli guys at breakfast called Ofer and Yuval who had just started their travelling following completion of their 3-year military service. Having come from a 3-week trip in New Zealand and en-route to Asia, they were clearly in admiration for their freedom, talking about how much they had embraced their adventures so far, and how much they were still looking forward to Asia. Their endeavors in the army, although valuable in terms of life skills, seemed also costly in terms of self-expression and exploration.

After breakfast, we headed to the Queen Victoria Market area in the Italian Quarter near Fitzroy Street. It had a 19th century old English feel to the area, resembling parts the Eastern Coast of the U.S. We managed to pick up a delicious pie that reminded me of home and some amazing Gelato ice cream from one of the many parlours in the area. This followed a much needed carb fix in Spaghetti Bolognese, a substantial dinner before I jumped on my bus to Sydney in a couple of hours.

Queen-Victoria-Market, Melbourne, Australia

Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne, Australia

Souvenir-Signs, Melbourne, Australia

Souvenir Signs – Melbourne, Australia

Stoneman's-Butchers, Queen-Victoria-Market, Melbourne, Australia

Stoneman’s Butchers – Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne, Australia

Inside-Queen-Victoria-Market, Melbourne, Australia

Inside Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne, Australia

Butchers, Queen-Victoria-Market, Melbourne, Australia

Butchers – Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne, Australia

Charlie's-Butcher, Queen-Victoria-Market, Melbourne, Australia

Charlie’s Butcher – Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne, Australia

Beef-Butchers, Queen-Victoria-Market, Melbourne, Australia

Beef Butchers – Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne, Australia

Italian-Quarter-Stop, Melbourne, Australia

Italian Quarter Stop – Melbourne, Australia

Corner, Italian-Quarter, Melbourne, Australia

A Corner in the Italian Quarter – Melbourne, Australia

Ofer, Yuval, Italian, Gelato-Shop, Melbourne, Australia

Ofer and Yuval – Italian Gelato Shop – Melbourne, Australia

Fitzroy-Street, Melbourne, Australia

Fitzroy Street – Melbourne, Australia

Brunswick-Street, Melbourne, Australia

Brunswick Street – Melbourne, Australia

Tram-Carriage, Melbourne, Australia

Tram Carriage – Melbourne, Australia

As pleasant as the city was, Melbourne was a town that held no real surprises for me due to its obvious Western foundations. However, the fruits of the city are probably best tasted after a much more lengthy stay.

Further Reading

City of Melbourne Guide

Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne

Visit Melbourne

More Photography :

“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

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