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G’day Sydney

Because Travis and I are traveling as a gruesome twosome, we (read: I) end up discussing a lot of hypotheticals. Like, if you could have X-ray vision, would you use your powers for good; if you could pick one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be; and my favorite, would you rather have continuous hiccups or uncontrollable blinking for the of your life. Deep stuff.

One of our recent topics has been if you couldn’t live in San Francisco, where would you live? (We’re playing global edition, here, and no, we aren’t moving).

In our short time in Sydney, we both decided that Sydney is a pretty strong contender for the game. Sydney is gorgeous, and has great weather, is close to the beach and has a great public transit system. We especially loved the ferries, which made it easy for us to see the Opera House, the bridge, the rocks, Balmoral and most importantly, the zoo!

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Harbor view from the back of the ferry

We had a rough start in Sydney. We arrived late at night and checked into a mega-hostel in the center of town, only to be greeted by a cleaning closet with bunk beds (ah yes, the twin standard room). I refused to put my bag down and we begged front desk guy to upgrade us to a slightly nicer supply closet with a double bed. We ventured out towards Chinatown and had mediocre pho, and went to bed early.

Undeterred, we woke up the next morning ready to hit the pavement by 9-ish, and headed toward the Toronga Zoo, with a short detour to the Apple store. I fished my phone out of my bag one morning and it had a huge crack. The nice guys at the Genius Bar helped me out and replaced the glass for free, in about 45 minutes. (Side note: Apple stores globally have free, fast WiFi. Good to keep in mind anywhere you travel).

Toronga Zoo was fantastic (no drop bear attacks on this girl!) and the animals were well cared for, with great enclosures (those Giraffes have the best view of Sydney, bar none).

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The vicious Drop Bear, they attack based on sonar and can distinguish American accents.

The real highlight of the zoo is the view of Sydney. You can see the opera house and the harbor bridge–it’s quite stunning. And just a 13 min ferry ride away!

Opera House

Unfortunately, it seems like we missed Will and Kate on their tour of Oz by one day. Apparently the zoo was completely full due to Royal mania but I’m pretty sure I would have been able to see them and we’d be great friends.

The next day we were lazy and tired (the zoo really took it out of us!) so bummed around for breakfast and eventually strolled through the botanical gardens, which are gorgeous, perfectly tended to and well organized. We had an unexpected run in with some of Australia’s famous huge spiders, who I’m choosing to assume were not poisonous.

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Oh hello/AHHHH!

That night, we met up with my friend and former colleague Jacqueline who recently moved to Australia with her husband and baby. We had a blast and she took us on a nice tour of the area and showed us her new beautiful apartment. And best of all, we got to meet baby Leo! We went to Bathers in Balmoral Beach, and then walked back to her husband’s family’s house for a Spanish Gin and Tonic (delicious!). We had a blast catching up with old friends and I hope to see them back in the Bay in the future!

On our last full day in Sydney, we went to Bondi beach and got some nice sun on the sand. It’s a cool beach area, not super far from the city, and because it’s Fall, it was far less crowded than in the summer months. We snacked on iced coffees (fun fact: NZ and Australia both shun true iced coffees. We’re adapting and have started ordering Iced Americano or Flat Blacks in order to avoid blended ice cream concoctions), sushi rolls and Hungry Jacks, the Aussie version of BK.

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We also went back to our trusty Chinatown and dined at Dan’s House.

Dan's house

How can you resist Dan’s House?

We’re currently back in Brisbane after a quick trip to Byron Bay (Santa Cruz in Australia!), and are making our way up to Hervey Bay to see Fraser Island on the strong suggestion of our friend Dana. More to come!

 

Kia Ora, New Zealand!

(Please prepare for dorky post titles and many appropriations of “Hello!” in local languages. I can’t help myself.)

Auckland, New Zealand was the first stop on our two month journey. With the time change. we missed a full day but landed in NZ in the wee hours of the morning, just 5 hours behind SF time. We spent the morning cruising around Auckland on foot and got to spend a good amount of time on the Waterfront, which has a plethora of public art installations and places to take in the view. Also, boats.

Travy Lounging

My two highlights in Auckland were Hobbiton and Waiheke Island.

I’m a huge LOTR fan, and Hobbiton has always been on my Bucket List, particularly after my dear friend Liz, who is currently living on the South Island of NZ, visited a few months earlier and sent an amazing teaser postcard. As Tolkien’s Black Riders stalked the Ring, Travis and I descended upon the Shire.

Hobbiton is awesome and impeccably maintained. The vegetable gardens grow real fruit and the tiny chimneys blow smoke–it’s fantastic.

Hobbiton

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Waiheke Island is roughly 45 minutes from Auckland via Ferry–think Sausalito from San Francisco. We arrived on the island and rented bikes to go wine tasting. It’s a hilly little island but the weather was good and the wineries and “town” are fairly close. We ended up only making it to two wineries (and two lunches!) because the first winery, Cable Bay, was such a knockout. My key takeaway is that more wineries need bean bag chairs (and expansive views of the ocean are helpful, too).

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Mom and Dad: FYI..

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And finally, on our last day in Auckland, Travis went bungy jumping off the Auckland bridge–video to come! Stay tuned for posts about Sydney (amazing city) and some forthcoming posts from Travis.

And we’re off!

Hello!

If you’re on this site, I’ve obviously told you to visit said site in order to follow pictures and updates during our trip. Clearly I’m behind in posting, as we’re already on our second country of the trip, but I hope to be better as internet improves.

Travis and I have been on the road for one week now and have worked our way through New Zealand and are currently in Australia. We’ll be traveling through Southeast Asia over the next two months, so stay tuned for posts!

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