Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Opera House Tour

I will be the first to say it, I am not a huge tour girl when it comes to things that I know I can explore myself. I thought after six weeks of living in Sydney I did not need to take an hour tour of the Opera House, but boy was I wrong! First, I learned that you can do yoga in the mornings on Wednesdays and Fridays in this space pictured above. I went during sunrise and it was beautiful!
It was really interesting to hear about the history of the Opera House, which they mostly talk about who and how it was built, but it is also notable to see different parts of the Opera House that I would not see without the tour.
 It was really cool because I could see the tiles up close and personal and even touch the Opera House roof, itself. One of my favorite experiences though was something that I got to witness by complete chance. In the Concert Room, there was a private elementary school practicing for a concert they had that night for their parents. So, while I was on the tour they practiced and it sounded like the most angelic sound I have ever heard! The room that is strategically built to project voices and satisfy the ear and so it was honeslty so enchanting.
Pictured above is the Opera Room (where we were allowed to take photos) and while I wanted to attend an opera I chose not to. Instead, I saw a play in one of the theatre rooms. I think the tour was for sure worth it to see different parts of the Opera House that are hidden from the outside. 

Bondi Beach

I held very low expectations for Bondi Beach coming into my Australian adventure. I knew it had the really cool pools and was iconic, but did not expect to fall in love with this beach city. I roamed the streets finding coffee shops (some California themed) and little boutiques. Everyone was so welcoming and after multiple visits, I felt like I was such a local.
I believe what made me blind to my potential love of Bondi was the fact that the only thing shown on Instagram is the pools. Living in Sydney allowed me to continue discovering new things and coming back. This included just sitting on this hill in front of the beach, which is a place most people probably have never seen and finding the famous Bondi Ink Tattoo Parlor that had its own TV show back in the day. 
Among my favorite trips to Bondi was the Sunday markets where there were a lot of local artists and flowers! Here, I met a photographer that personally went up in helicopters and took aerial photos of Sydney's most beautiful beaches. He made his photographs into all sorts of merchandise and showed us videos of him shooting from above. Meeting people like him made me fall in love with Australia even more.

Watson Bay

Watson Bay was on my must-go places, but I went out of the blue on my last weekend in Sydney. On the uber ride there we drove through some of the more affluent suburbs with prestigious, private schools and coastal mansions. Not going to lie, it reminded me a lot of Laguna Beach/Orange County and oddly enough, it transported me home for a little. 
One of the main reasons why I wanted to stop by Watson Bay while in Sydney was because of this adorable and iconic beach club. It is a hotel right along a mini boardwalk with breath-taking views of the city and the local boats. To complement its charm, it also offers such a fun and laid back vibe.
I also went to Watson Bay to see the Hornby Lighthouse! Along the walk, I saw a very "locals-only" beach and more amazing views that I could not get enough on. I am so lucky I came on such a clear day to take in more of Sydney's beauty.
On the walk, we not only ran into some beautiful views but also some shocking and unexpected ones! Specifically, this NUDE beach was along the walk and the people were not shy down there. While I was taking in the view I noticed the people yelling up at us for their attention and then read the sign. For sure an unexpected adventure I will not forget.
Despite the distractions along the way ;) I made it to the lighthouse! It was gorgeous to see and it was surrounded by abandoned, concrete building-like structures. It was such an amazing view, yet again and I could not get enough of it. An ocean breeze is one of my favorite feelings and I would be lying if I said this cliff was not one of my favorite places in the whole world. 
One of the best parts of Sydney is that the ferry can take you literally anywhere, so even though we ubered there, we took the ferry back! The view of the city from the ferry is such a blessing in disguise. I purposely took the ferry back into the heart of Sydney during the sunset intentionally multiple times just to take in this view! So basically to sum Watson Bay up into one word: VIEWS.

Gold Coast

They say the Gold Coast is the Miami of Australia and while I have never been to Miami I can see a lot of correlation. Despite how tired I was my friends and I still attempted to go out on a street full of clubs. And yes, I say attempt because we went at 11 p.m. and the action was just getting started, so we gave up, got ice cream and falafels and went back to our hotel.
The highlight of this trip was that I treated it like a vacation. Keep in mind I did have a 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. internship, so I had never appreciated going to a resort and sitting by the pool with a mojito in hand more in my life. We stayed at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, which was a little off the beaten path, but 100% worth it for the royal treatment I felt I was receiving. Tip: when abroad splurge on at least one trip because you deserve it. 
There was a beautiful beach along the edge of the resort and we went on one short beach walk to see what it was about. I have probably said it a million times now, but Australia is beautiful and this was just yet another beach to prove it!
I also walked along the main part of town in the day-light and it was quite charming. It had trendy restaurants and the weather was so warm compared to Sydney, so it was nice to stroll through the shops for a while. At the end of the street is what I would consider the main beach! From there I walked to their main mall, which felt very American and not as exciting as anticipated.
One night we adventured to the first Mexican meal I had in a while at a restaurant called Bonita Bonita and WOW, it was delicious! We were there for happy hour and so we got a great deal, but also enjoyed every bite. Then, we went to the Australian version of Pink Taco (A restaurant in LA) where we got these giant drinks in a pineapple. 
Lastly, we went to the fish & chips place across the street from the Sheraton. It was really unique because it was like a fish market for locals, but also a highly known lunch spot! We took it to go and ate it poolside. Yum, I'm craving it now!
I ended my Gold Coast vacation by stopping at The Island Rooftop to order a PiƱa Colada! It ended up being one of the cutest and aesthetically pleasing places I saw there.  

Byron Bay

While spending the weekend in the Gold Coast, I took a bus to the world-renown Byron Bay, a town known for its beaches, surfing, and hippie vibe! As proven in the photos, it is absolutely gorgeous as well. 
Since we were only in Byron for the day, I made sure to pack as much adventure into the few hours I had! One of our stops included the Cape Byron Lighthouse. It was huge and it stood crisply white on a bright green cliff! These were some of the best views I saw in all of my time down under!
I also went to the Crystal Castle and boy, was this an adventure. I took an uber from the main beach part of town up in the hills for about thirty minutes to take in some of the most spiritual parts of Byron. This was a retreat from the busy city internship life and had different spiritual activities that made me feel like a local. 
There were many activities like walking on those small stones to help with circulation.  Amongst the activities was the gratitude tree! I find myself always wishing a reflected more on everything I have as opposed to being disappointed in those I lack. This made me take time to think about what I am truly grateful for and  hang it on the lemon tree with the rest!
I ended my time in Byron Bay at the main beach and walking around the charming town. It gave Hamptons vibes, however with a major hippie/spiritual person twist. I took home a few crystals for family, friends, and myself to remind all of us to slow down and try to emulate the Byron Bay locals every once in a while!

Currently Coveting

Blogger Template Created by pipdig