Seven years after my little brother set off to the other side of the world, we finally made it to Australia to visit Tom in his new ‘home’. After months of excitement and the very long flight from the UK, we arrived in Sydney a little on the tired (and probably drunk) side. Tom & Deanne picked us up from airport at 8am. After a quick shower we head out for breakfast in his home town of Marrikville. It was only 10am but the sun was shining brightly. It felt like it should have been tea time. We had already been fed twice by BA on our leg from Singapore to Sydney. And after making friends with the people sat next to us (both on different sides of the plane) neither of us had really slept for a couple of days!
Bondi Beach, Sydney
Tom and Deanne had planned for us to walk from Bronte to Bondi before going for lunch. Bondi Beach was one of the places we had briefly visited during our short trip to Sydney in 2006, but we certainly hadn’t appreciated it back then. Back with a fresh perspective and the benefit of local knowledge we had a fabulous time. (We probably would have had a better time back then if we hadn’t been slapped with two motoring offences during our brief 2 hours visit to Sydney). It’s easy to see why the Bronte to Bondi beach walk is one of the top (free) things to do in Sydney. The views are incredible and we were lucky that the weather was so pleasant.
After walking along the coastal path, we stopped in one of the busy beach side bars for a drink whilst. We were waiting for our table at North Bondi Fish to be ready. This, my friends, was absolutely worth the wait!
North Bondi Fish
North Bondi Fish is a wonderful restaurant owned by renowned chef Matt Moran who also owns the Chiswick restaurant that my brother is Head Chef at. This little connection helped to secure the best table in the house, overlooking the beautiful Bondi Beach. It also gave us an experience of being ‘cooked for’. I’ll write a more thorough review of our meal at NBF in the coming weeks. It’s too fab to make do with just a couple of pictures. But for now, here are some pictures from one of, if not the best meal I have ever had!
Sadly, Deanne had to head back to the Hunter Valley for work in the morning, so by mid afternoon it was time to set off back along the coastal path to Bronte to pick the car up. My head was dropping in the car despite all efforts to keep it up and awake. When we got home, Tom and Darren popped out for another drink whilst I tucked myself up in front of the TV. I desperately tried to stay awake to no avail. Choosing to watch a documentary on Donald Trump probably didn’t help with the cause. It was an early night and an even earlier morning…..
20th November 2016
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Tom had the day off work, so at 11am, 8 hours after first waking we set off for the city. We were treated to a Toms commentary as we drove through the trendy Newtown area, and past the Broadway shopping centre, before parking in the city. As we walked past the (very ugly) Opera House a few days of sleep deprivation and the midday heat came across me and I passed out. It did at least give me a good excuse for a whole bag of overpriced sweets from one of the tourist shops.
Energy restored, we visited the first of many botanical gardens we have visited this trip, The Royal Botanical Gardens of Sydney. I’m a big fan of pretty gardens so we spent a good hour wandering round before finding a shaded spot under a big tree to rest.
Hunger calling, we stopped in a pub on the way home from the Botanical Gardens, before helping Tom with his weekly shopping chores.
Ever the chef, that evening Tom cooked us up a feast on the BBQ which we washed down with a couple of glasses of wine. We managed to stay awake a little later this evening, but the dreaded 3am wake up call still came!
Date of visit: 21st November 2016
The Blue Mountains
Tom had a long and busy day at work, so we were on our own by day 3. We borrowed his car for the day and set off to explore the Blue Mountains National Park.
We last visited the Blue Mountains National Park in 2006 during our RTW trip and I have fond memories of our time spent camping there in the cold. I was really looking forward to heading back – more so because it would be a different season and would be nice and warm.
The night before Tom made sure we had a nice picnic ready to take with us, so after dropping him off to work we set of to explore. The Blue Mountain National Park is just over an hour from Toms home in Marrikville. With no real plan we set the sat nav to the centre and of the park and followed our nose.
The first point of interest we came across was Wentworth Falls. Parking up, we took a stroll around the mountains. We never went as far as the falls as we had already visited them and were tight on time. We did however manage to get some pretty shots from the distance. After stopping for our picnic, we got back on our way, and arrived at the super touristy Three Sisters.
The Three Sisters, Katoomba
A visit to the Blue Mountains cannot be complete without visiting the Three Sisters rock formations. Yes, its super touristy but the views are incredible. We stopped for an obligatory photo but didn’t stay very much longer.
When we visited the Three Sisters, we parked at the Silver Mist Reserve. Its just a 10 minute walk to the three sisters and has free parking. There was a distinct lack of tourists and we really enjoyed walking the Prince Henry Cliff Walk on our own. It was lovely to breath in the mountain air and listen to the birds without the hordes of tourists. Much of the rest of our visit to the Blue Mountains was this quiet. We took the long route back to Sydney and stopped all along the way at random view points. There were few, if any, other people at each of the other site we went to. As we waited to pick Tom up we both drifted off to sleep. Luckily though I did have an alarm set. It was nearly midnight before we got home and tucked up. It at least meant that we slept until 5am….
Date of visit: 22nd November 2016
The Return to New Zealand
The following day we would finally be heading back to New Zealand, 10 years after abandoning our RTW trip. We had an idea of a road trip planned in our heads, although with the recent Kaikoura earthquake we needed to re-route slightly. Even still, it was perhaps the best road trip we have done so far!
**If you haven’t realised already, our meal at North Bondi Fish was complementary. We paid for the wine consumed**
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