Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Travel Guide: Sydney, Australia Part 2

Travel Guide: Sydney, Australia Part 2

Continued from: Part 1

Day 5: Friday afternoon was time to head North to the Central Coast and Laura’s family. Her parents had arrived two weeks earlier and had already made the journey. With the very kind lend of Kate’s car we drove 2 hours – stopping only for Slurpees – and arrived just in time for dinner.
We were staying in a tent set up under an awning in Laura’s Nan and Pop’s back garden as the spare room was occupied. We dumped our stuff and headed out for pizza.

Day 6: Laura’s Pop’s 90th birthday party. Although Pop didn’t turn 90 until the Tuesday the whole family attended a 3 course meal at the local bowling club. The distances traveled by some, even within Australia, were mind boggling. We forget living in the UK that a quick drive in Oz can sometimes be 6 hours. There were almost 50 attendees in total and after a good feed there were speeches, tears and a poem from us. It was a lovely celebration.

Day 7: After a day of indulgence Sunday was a day to relax, kind of. Laura’s Grandparents live on the edge of Tuggerah lakes and a short stroll across the road leads to the banks. Our Sunday was spent on a 5km stroll around one the lakes. As with all Australian activities it was a chance to meet more wildlife. From the spiders hanging in their massive webs to the cicada skins you can’t not see wildlife. The kookaburra’s and lorikeets provided the soundtrack and the pelicans and blue tongue lizards made for an entertaining sight. The rest of the day was spent catching up with family.

Day 8: After a day at home we took the opportunity on Monday to head The Australia Wildlife Park located half an hour away. It was a favourite of Laura’s growing up and for some reason we had never visited when we lived in Sydney. I loved it. It is exactly the kind of thing I think you should do when visiting Oz. While neither of us are fans of zoo’s we love a wildlife park. As it was a Monday we had the park pretty much to ourselves. We had talks by keepers, met an alligator, stroked a giant tortoise, feed kangaroos that were bounding around freely. Avoided ostriches that seemed a little too eager to peck, watched Tasmanian Devils try to eat a keepers boots and trousers, touched a snake, watched a platypus chase dinner and walked very quickly through the spider section. 

Can you spot the Tasmanian Devil, Alligator, Lorikeet, Iguana, Platypus, Echidna and Crocodile?!
Ah thanks for this thought:

The weather was not on our side for a lot of the day but even with torrential rain I loved it. Seeing the koala’s snuggling up and hearing the Dingoes howl made me feel very much like I was seeing things I wouldn’t get at home. According to the keepers it’s actually better to visit in the cooler weather as the animals are more active which makes a lot of sense. It also didn't stop our photo opps....

Day 9: With family heading back to various places we spent the rest of our time on the Central Coast catching up with people before they started their journeys. It was great meeting kids who hadn’t been born the last time we were there and we loved being able to enjoy some quality time with everyone.

Day 10: Bank to Sydney. 
Our drive back included 2 pit-stops, the first was to see the pelicans being fed at The Entrance:

The second stop was Somersby Falls - highly recommended! The website is here: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/picnic-areas/somersby-falls-picnic-area

Somersby Falls is beautiful. Three levels of amazing waterfalls with each level offering something different. The top waterfalls provide the stunning views and lots of 'holes' to wander through. The middle falls have the largest surrounding area and provide a sense of being 'lost in a jungle' and the lowest level are where the water runs strongest and the sun breaks through on to highlight the water.

Then to Sydney and straight for our second lot of Yum Cha. We couldn’t leave without having our fill and that we did. It was SO.GOOD!

From city to beach our next stop was Manly beach to wait for Kate to finish work. This time the wind was less crazy and as it was a ‘heatwave’ all the sensible Aussie’s were in the shade. We however were on a mission to get some colour before heading home.

That evening we met up with Laura’s parents at a local RSL, they were with Kate’s parents and like one big extended family we dined while taking part in pub quiz. These are the moment we miss most. The ability to gather loved ones at the drop of a hat and relax together.

Day 11: Kate had made sure that this trip was one we will always remember and our 2nd to last day was definitely a trip highlight. Our 3rd wedding day. I posted about it earlier here: Our third wedding

Still I tear up remembering this. For so many reasons the day meant so much.

Of course for me I was also exceedingly happy as it was day two of the heatwave and as the wedding was a Hawaiian themed garden party it meant we were outside all day. With the pool to cool off in and the BBQ fired up for snacks it was a day dreams are made off.

Day 12: We flew out in the evening leaving us most of the day to relax and enjoy day three of the heatwave. As Kate’s parents had the pool it made sense that we chilled out there. Plus the evening before had seen us battle cockroaches that had joined us in Kate’s flat (I tell you Australian wildlife is relentless and everywhere) so I was happy to be avoiding a final day showdown.

The day was tinged with sadness as all last days are. If only Sydney was closer. If only Kate lived next door. If only…..

The trip was wonderful, the good times plentiful and the memories made to last.

Sydney really does offer a holiday with diversity. The mix of a vibrant city with miles of golden beaches – including Bondi - and the variety of water based activities mean you can make the trip as jam packed or as relaxing as you like. However you choose to experience Sydney I can promise you one thing you won’t forget it in a hurry.

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