After work on Tuesday instead of the normal trip home I headed off to the domestic airport and bound a plane for Sydney.
I arrived in Sydney after the 1.5hr flight excited to see what the capital of NSW was like...the trip from the aiport to Central station was very simple but a little expensive ($15 for a 9min train journey!) and once I got there, found the correct exit and headed off to my accommodation. From landing at Sydney to getting to the hostel took me just over 30mins - pretty impressed with that!
I have not stayed in a hostel before but thought I would give it a go as it was cheaper than a hotel and would have people in similar situations to me - travelling about! I got up to my room which I was sharing with 7 other girls and tried to make my bed in the dark (it was about 11pm and I didn't want to wake anyone up!), this was aided with a brilliant tip from my sSister Ellie to take a sleeping bag liner - such a good idea! The next discovery was that the communal bathroom on my floor was being refurbished so we had to use the ones on different floors - boo!
Anyway I headed to bed as the next day I had an early start as was meeting at 8am for a wine tour of the Hunter Valley. We (me and two others) were picked up from outside the hostel and after another collection stop we headed off to the Australia Wildlife Park for morning tea and a visit with some local inhabitants! Some cute and one that I was feeling very brave with!
So after having fun with the animals it was back on the bus and over to a chocolate and fudge factory - delicious fudge (bought some but don't have any left!) - before heading onto the first Winery at Warraroong Estate for a tasting of wines under the label of Swish Wines and Tin Soldier. The last time I went to a wine tasting (well properly!) was when I was about 12 in New York - this one was lots more fun and we tried about 13 wines...most delightful, I even tried red wines. I ended up buying a case of wine - just hope it tastes nice when it gets here as I can't remember it clearly any more!
So after this winery we headed onto to two more, Tempus Two and Tamberlaine. Tempus Two is a larger brand and Tamberlaine is an organic winery - both were nice but not as good as the first - no more cases bought and no more photos as it was raining! After we had finished at the wineries we headed off for our last stop at a brewery - no idea what it was called as had drunk enough by this point and I am not a big beer/lager drinker! We then headed back into Sydney for about 7pm where I had dinner and an early night as was shattered!
The next day I woke up and the sun was shining so off exploring I went - Darling harbour for breakfast, Sydney Aquarium and Centrepoint Tower for 360 views of Sydney.
The aquarium had quite a lot of animals although I felt a bit bad as the tanks were a bit small for the large mammals - they had dugongs which are wicked but they didn't have much swimming room :o(
The Centrepont tower was awesome and had some great views:
So after the tower I headed up to the botanic gardens to get my first official view of a bridge and a house that I was told were a must see ;o)
I walked round Farm Cove to get a better view and decided to stop and have a glass of wine at the Opera bar which turned into lunch and most of the bottle - it was a little mesmorising and quite difficult to walk away from....well until a crazy decided that trying to proposition me was a good idea - only problem with travelling on your own - you can attract the crazies - anyway the bridge was stunning and the Pinot Grigio went down well too!
A quick dinner in Chinatown and then back to the hostel where I had a chilled evening chatting with one of the girls from the room - don't know her name but she was from somewhere near Memphis!
The next morning I woke up to hear the sound of rain on the window :o( not good - decided to go and get breakfast in circular quay and see if the weather improved at all! It started to perk up a bit so bought my ticket for the Taronga Zoo and off I went...the weather turned on the journey and it got colder, wetter and just to top it off the wind picked up. I battled on in my jacket to see the lovely animals - so many photos but here are a few:
So having said goodbye to Sam I headed back to the YHA to get my luggage before heading to the airport for my nice and simple flight - it didn't quite work out that way so with a delayed flight, no airtrain because it was too late to a bus, train, bus combo to get home I finally made it home at just past 11 last night about 2.5hrs late!
I had a great time and really liked Sydney and am looking forward to going back and enjoying it with other people when Mr & Mrs M are in Australia and also when Inge and Lucy arrive later in the year!