After experiencing Brisbane and Gold Coast, it was time to move southwards to Sydney. I’d say that this was probably my favourite part of Australia, there’s plenty to do as a tourist, although I’d hate to live in Sydney due to how much of a nightmare the commute would be. The hostel I was staying at was also good craic, with plenty of fun and interesting people, so it was never a quiet time.
Of course there was the obligatory photo with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, but there’s so much more to do, among them was Hunter Valley for a wine tour and Blue Mountains for amazing scenery. I also went to Jenolan Caves but honestly it wasn’t that great in comparison to the other stuff. Awkward to get to and limestone caves are plenty back home in Ireland.
With about a week done in Sydney city, I arranged a help exchange down in Wollongong (or The Gong as it’s affectionally called), a city 1.5 hours south of Sydney. There I was mainly doing gardening and upkeep work on a permaculture farm. The hosts were absolutely lovely and so welcoming, and it was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had in Australia. For anyone interested, I used HelpX to find them. The Gong itself is an alright city, but the beaches and surrounding nature are quite breathtaking with good surfs and hikes.
After a week and a half of doing manual labour, it was back up to Sydney to finish the remaining touristy items, like going to Home and Away land (aka Palm Beach) and Bondi Beach. I also included a quick 2 day trip to Canberra, which was more than enough to see most of the capital’s landmarks. Parliament House was quite stunning with the marble foyer and the huge flagstaff on the roof. Along with that, I managed to fit in two good hikes up Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie, which offered amazing views over the very ordered city.
Next up: Melbourne and Tasmania.