Saturday, 27 January 2018

Christmas in Australia

Sydney

After an 8 hour flight from Singapore, we arrived in sunny (40 degrees) Sydney. We were greeted at the arrivals gate by Laura and David (is there anything better than being greeted by people you love at the gate in an airport?!) Stepping outside to go to the car, I was shocked by the heat. Obviously, we still lay in the sun at the pool all day anyway - we're British.  That evening we caught up with the whole family (we were staying with our friends, the Johnston’s) - shout out for being amazing hosts :)

Lightning over the Harbour Bridge

The next day we headed into the city. Our first stop was the famous Darling Harbour - we even saw them open the bridge there for a crane to pass through! At this point the heat was unbearable so we sat inside to eat (a crime in my opinion). We then decided to walk from Darling Harbour to the Opera House - usually this would be a beautiful harbour walk, however the predicted storm had begun. The rain was torrential! We walked round to the front of the opera house and were greeted with a thunder and lightening storm over the harbour bridge. It was amazing. At one point the thunder cracked directly above our heads which was both amazing and terrifying... 

A sunnier day at the Harbour Bridge

Whilst in Sydney, I was lucky enough to catch up with some friends which was brilliant, having not seen them for 6 years. We also visited the Blue Mountains, which even in the mist were stunning. 

Blue Mountains + cockatoos!

Manly from a rooftop bar

Manly Beach

We spent an evening in Manly, this area was definitely our cup of tea, as it's so chilled out with great bars and a gorgeous beach. That night we stayed in Bondi, and started the day with breakfast and a swim at Bondi Beach. I couldn't believe how busy the beach was at 8.30am! We spent the day there and did the famous Bondi to Coogee walk, passing and taking a dip at multiple beaches and bays along the way - it was stunning! Our time in Sydney was over far too soon. I already want to go back! 

Bondi Beach at 8.30am


Christmas at Bondi

Bondi to Bronte walk

Lunch at Coogee

Airlie Beach / Whitsunday Islands

Arriving in Airlie Beach gave me a bit of a 'Truman Show' feeling. Driving from the airport, everything was so perfect, and it felt like one of those places that is ‘always sunny’, and the vibrant blue/green colour of the water was practically too good to be true. We headed straight to our Airbnb (up a steep hill in 35 degree heat...) It was Christmas Eve, but we didn’t feel Christmassy at all. 

The view from our Airbnb

Marina at Airlie Beach

The colour of that water...

Waking up on Christmas Day in Australia was very strange - firstly because of the time difference, and also just feeling very far from family. But we were in paradise, there was no point in being sad! We spent Christmas Day at the beach, getting a bit too sunburnt. Our Christmas Dinner was a picnic on the beach watching the sunset, and it was brilliant. 

Christmas day!

Airlie Beach

Boxing Day brought so much excitement as it was finally time for our 3 day Whitsundays sailing trip. We met our 6 boat mates - Suzanne and Zach (Chicago based) and a group of two couples Theo and Dave, Katie and Sean - all English except Canadian Theo, and 2 crew members: Chris and Janina. They were all so lovely. That first night we sailed for three hours into the sunset and moored up for dinner. Our boat was a 44 foot catamaran, and we even had our own room with en suite... it was delightful. 

Testing out my camera skills!

Our catamaran


Pit-stop


:) 

Over the three days we did endless snorkelling, paddle boarding, sunbathing, reading and eating. Coupled with the incredible views, islands and weather, we couldn't have asked for any more! Snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef was a bucket list item for me and it was amazing - I’d never snorkelled before, and the fish and coral I saw were just breathtaking. Fish every colour of the rainbow surrounded us. The coral was also incredible - pinks, purples, oranges, blues, greens etc... some were fluffy, some were bobbly, some were domed, some looked like tentacles... We also visited the infamous Whitehaven Beach, which did not disappoint - it was just picture perfect - endless blue and white swirls. The sand is like nothing else. It’s so hard to describe, but it was like walking through flour (it's 98% silica). It was so so fine and smooth. Even more amazingly, we had the place to ourselves. I’ve never seen water so blue or sand so white. The water was warm and clear, and I could have stayed there for days. 

Whitehaven Beach


Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach


Sailing!

Nara Inlet

Moored up

Throughout the whole trip, there wasn’t a single moment of anxiety, worry or stress. It was absolutely perfect, and I'd 100% recommend a sailing trip round the Whitsunday Islands!

Brisbane

After a short flight from Airlie Beach, we landed in Brisbane. We were back in the city which was exciting! Our Airbnb was right in the middle of the CBD, so super central and very close to the riverfront. We explored the city mainly by foot, and it was very chilled out. We did lots of walks, brunches and drinks. 

Kangaroo Cliffs

NYE at the riverfront

NYE fireworks

On NYE we watched the fireworks over the riverfront and it was an amazing way to end our time in Australia. 1st January meant it was time to head to New Zealand! Next post coming soon... 

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