First thing to do in Sydney; pick Soph and James up! Whilst we were driving from Wagga, they were flying from Doa, we managed to make it a few hours before them, dropped off the bags and then headed to the airport via Woollies making some arrival banners on route! After not seeing anyone from home for 9 months it’s so good to have a few familiar faces from Wigan and hear that strong northern accent of Soph’s! And we’ll get to hear it for the next few months because after Sydney we’re all off road tripping up the East coast!
Even though we arrived in Sydney 5 days before Christmas I’ve never felt less Christmassy in my life. No Christmas lights filling the streets, no shops with window decorations up, not much sign of Christmas at all! Doesn’t help that it’s 30 degrees and the sun is shining down on us either. Spent the first few days in Sydney checking out the sites, that big white opera house thing and that bridge that goes over the harbour are pretty cool. Some nice run routes round the botanic gardens as well. Had to smash out some Christmas shopping as well, I was beginning to feel a bit guilty that Rod had been carrying round 2 big bags of presents ever since we left Melbourne and I was yet to get him anything.
Two days before Christmas and it was time to make ourselves feel festive, Christmas food shopping needed to be done. The girls and Mike were en route to Sydney and Rach and a Steve had got the keys to a Bondi flat! Food shopping for 12 needs a big trolley and a lot of patience. Reckon we smashed it though, me and Rach took one shopping centre whilst Rob and Steve hit up the other. Six hours later, 9 shops shopped and $600 later we’d finished. Enough food and booze for the best Christmas day you could ever dream of!
Christmas eve and we were reunited with Gi, Charlotte and Mike, felt like a long 2 weeks without them! A few drinks, some Christmas songs and it almost feels like Christmas is coming! One sleep to go!
Can’t seem to knock the habit of getting up before 7 for Christmas day so we were up early and face timing the mum and bro in our pj’s opening our presents. Merry Christmas! Did very well considering we’re on the other side of the world, Rob had been busy buying presents from him and from the rest or the family members and we both got a sky dive booked in for us up the East coast, belting! Had a glass of champagne with Soph and James and put the crimbo hats on,we’re ready to do Christmas!
Sydney couldn’t have looked more normal on the way to catch the train to Bondi, people mulling about buying coffees and only us in Christmas hats! At least we were feeling Christmassy though! Treated to a feast of bacon and salmon when we got to the flat then had a mooch down to the beach for a bevvy or two. That was were all the people were! The beach was rammed with families and backpackers, lots of BBQ’s going and lots of beers knocking about. Had a little dip in the sea then headed back to help out. We might be in Australia but doesn’t mean we can miss the traditional Christmas dinner! What a spread as well. Prawn cocktail and pate for starter and then every Christmas trimming you can imagine for main! Let the boys buy the turkey so we actually ended up with Turducken – a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, bit of lamb and beef on the side and we’ve got the meats section covered. Stuffing, carrots, parsnips, cauliflour cheese, pigs in blankets, brussels with bacon, creamy mash, roast potatoes and gravy to finish it off, nom, so good! Spent the rest of the day recovering from food comas and playing games, a different Christmas but still a cracker.
The week between Christmas and New Year flew by. We started every morning exercising at the park in rush cutters bay and spent the rest of the days either at the beach or mooching round town. Rach organised a girls v boys scavenger hunt round Sydney on one of the days. The boys managed to get most most of it completed from the inside of the pub whilst the girls ran round Sydney trying to tick off as many as possible. To be fair the boys put in an excellent effort but the girls just pipped it by making it to the casino and betting on the roulette. Cost us $30 and a big fat loss on red but it got us the victory and a free round of drinks on the boys!
Arguably one of the most boring sports in the world but an Ozzie favourite, you can’t go to Australia without watching a game of cricket. They do make it a little bit more exciting for a few weeks over Christmas by holding the ‘big bash’ a tournament of 8 teams playing T 20 cricket with a game every night. We went to watch Sydney sixers play Perth scorchers and to be fair it actually was quite exciting, quicker than a normal game and the sixers smashed it. It draws bigger crowds than some of the premiership games and it has turned Rod into an avid cricket fan, lucky me.
Forget Christmas, the big build up in Sydney is all about New Years Eve. We’d booked tickets for Hard Rock Cafe right on the waterfront of Darling Harbour but first we headed for the 9 o’clock fireworks at the harbour bridge but it was rammed! Over a million people round the harbour. Still as long as you looked up in the sky it was an impressive site. Then we hit Darling Harbour for open bar with the rest of the crew. As far as new years eve’s go this was up there with the best. What a way to spend it, welcoming in the new year whilst everyone else is still eating their lunch. The midnight fireworks were insane the whole of Sydney’s skyline was lit up and the atmosphere was amazing, what a belter.
Only had a couple of days in Sydney after that, treated ourselves to a waterfront meal with Soph and James to spend some of our Christmas money, food was on point and the view of the harbour house was pretty decent too. The rest of our time was spent chilling out and saying goodbyes. Finally time to part ways with the Melbourne family and start our road trip with Soph and James, see ya Sydney, Australia awaits.