AUSTRALIAN ICONS // Sydney, Australia

I can’t remember exactly how many times I have previously been to Sydney, but such visits had typically been road-rage fueled drives on the way back from family holidays with no actual stopping to see the sites. I also stayed for two nights at the end of 2013 for a conference, but I didn’t see anything other than the King St, Parliament House and the University of Sydney where I was staying.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHence why Chris (who has also never really been) decided it was high time we check out the city. With the bridge and the opera house, it is pretty iconically Australian.

We arrived Monday afternoon, so with the remaining couple of hours of daylight we walked from our hostel in Glebe Point to the CBD for dinner. Afterwards we wandered down to the opera house, and to our surprise fireworks began as soon as it came into view!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOn Tuesday Chris went to have brunch with a friend, so I spend my morning catching up on a bit of work before walking around Glebe Point and enjoying the sunshine. Much sunscreen was applied.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI met up for lunch with Chris at the Sydney Fish Markets. We weren’t really sure what to expect, other than what I had seen online recommending it for a picnic lunch. It turned out to be the perfect place for food, if you like seafood!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYou could choose your fish fresh and take it home, or have it cooked up for you. Alternatively all the fish mongers also had a restaurant addition that sold seafood precooked, mainly deep fried, or covered in cheese. I didn’t realise how expensive some seafood could be, half a small lobster covered in melted cheese would set you back between 20 and 30 dollars. Needless to say we didn’t get that!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIn the end we purchased a ‘BBQ plate’ from one of the restaurants (‘It only serves one’ said the lady who served us. Yes, one superhuman) and some fresh seafood sushi. The tables outside seemed to have a liquor license, as the bottle shop inside sold plastic cups when you purchased a drink. It was such a perfect day to sit outside and enjoy our delicious lunch in the bustling atmosphere.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter eating our fill we headed into the CBD for a free walking tour. They are the same company as the tour Chris and I took in Melbourne a couple of months back. It is always a great way to see the city and learn about the history of a place. Plus, you get to learn about quirky little things you probably wouldn’t otherwise, such as this statue of a dog (modeled after one of the Queen’s old pets) that talks, asking you to throw money in the fountain!

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The weather was perfect again, though it began to fade later in the afternoon.

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I loved this little laneway full of bird cages. Recordings of the songs of various native birds that used to live in the area prior to the building of the city are played, changing from day to nocturnal birds in the evening. The names of all the birds were also engraved in the concrete path. It was a beautiful, but also a reminder of what we have lost through our growth as humans.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The last part of the tour ventured down the Rocks, the historic precinct of the city. It was a funky little area of old style buildings, laneways and pubs, with a great view across the bay. Quite a contrast to the convicts that used to live in the area during the days of early settlement.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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More touristy harbour shots.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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For dinner we caught the train out to King Street, which feels like Sydney’s attempted answer to Brunswick (don’t worry, Brunswick still wins in the hipster/alternative games). We had planned to check out the local Lentil as Anything, but we found a massive line waiting at the door! Our hunger was a bit stronger than our curiosity, so we settled for one of the other numerous eateries in the area.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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On our way back home we checked out an enormous second hand book shop I remember looking at when I was in town for a conference. We didn’t buy anything, but it is amazing just to look at the sheer amount of books in the building.

Today we have one more full day in town, before hitting the road again tomorrow!

– Reanna

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ROADTRIPPIN’ // Batlow, Australia

The mid-semester break couldn’t come quick enough this term, but due to the newly created ‘Grand Final Day Long Weekend’ the break didn’t come until 9 weeks into the semester. But a break is a break!

Chris and I have always intended to travel during our week off, even just locally or interstate, but it never happened. Normally we end up sitting at home studying, but this semester we decided to swing ourselves into action and plan a roadtrip. Plus, we are headed to Canberra on the end weekend of the break for a model United Nations, so we thought we may as well make a trip our of it!

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The main part of our roadtrip is Sydney. While it is possible to drive there in a day from Melbourne (about nine hours I think?) we decided to break it up over two days and take our time. Our first stop was for lunch at quaint old Beechworth. I had stayed here a number of times when I was younger and had fond memories of the little town, namely the bakery and the sweet shop. While we didn’t indulge in such foods this time, we enjoyed walking around to stretch our legs and have lunch at a little cafe.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIf you have never heard of Beechworth, you have probably had their famous honey! Chris and I made ourselves feel a bit ill by partaking in the free samples of all the honey flavours. Chocolate honey, anyone?

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter Beechworth it was back on the road for a few hours. I quite enjoyed the drive, as the scenery was beautiful and constantly changing. One moment we were in lush green field, then arid hills, and then in eucalyptus forests.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOur destination for the night was a sleepy little town off the highway called Batlow. Dad recommended it to us based on their delicious local cider. After a bit more research we decided it sounded pretty good, with just enough in the are to keep us occupied for a night. We didn’t book accomodation in advance, but ended up staying in this little motel owned by a lovely couple.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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After a quick walk to see the sights of the town (admittedly not a lot) we put up our feet to enjoy the sunshine and a local brew. The area is renowned for apples, and apparently we were about two weeks early for the annual apple blossom festival!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The next morning we went for another walk to stretch out legs before another day on the road. It was so wonderfully peaceful walking among the trees. You never truly realise how noisy the city is until you get away from it.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Much to my delight we encountered a group of BABY GOATS on our way back to the motel. I had commented on the adorableness from a distance, but when we got closer the started bleating and ran up us. For a while we thought they were actually going to follow us back, but they eventually turned around. Far too cute.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Before hitting the highway we made a slight backtrack to check out the famed Sugar Pine Walk. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but it was definitely worth a look. The walk is more of a central path running up the middle of a sugar pine plantation planted in 1928. It was an oddly eerie area, yet apparently a lot of people get married here!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter that it was back on the road to Sydney! It wasn’t overly exciting (lots of long, straight highways!), with the highlight being our lunch at a town called Yass. A cheese plate and grilled veggie platter for lunch? Yass please.

We made it to our hostel in Sydney with relative ease, which we were surprised about considering the horror stories of navigating the city we had been told. We checked into our hostel last night, and are off for more exploring today!

– Reanna

MORE ADVENTURES TO AVOID STUDY // Melbourne, Australia

While out for a jog this morning Chris and I once again found ourselves having what seems to be a monthly discussion – ‘holy crap another month is nearly over where the hell has 2015 gone oh my god’. With the added bonus of only having four weeks left of our undergraduate courses, this months freakout was even more scary.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSpeaking of time flying by, Chris and I finally made it to the South Melbourne Market yesterday, after saying that we should go check it out basically since we moved to Melbourne (almost three years ago). We needed to get out of the house and have a break from study, and with the weather looking good again it seemed like the perfect day for it.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe market was bustling, and had a perfect Sunday morning atmosphere. It was bit smaller than I imagined, but I suppose I am used to the sprawl of the Vic Market! It was definitely nicer than the old Vic Market as well, but not as upmarket as the Prahan Market. Basically every second shop was also selling donuts, cruffins, or other ridiculously sugar-laden baked goods!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter an extremely over-priced coffee and a South Melbourne Market dim sim, we caught the tram down to St Kilda. We conveniently stumbled across the Esplanade Market, so we wandered through browsing.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe also took a quick walk around Luna Park, as it is free to explore. No rides for us though – the line for tickets was incredibly long, plus all the rides look about 100 years old!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOur lunch destination was the original Lentil as Anything in St Kilda. We have been long time fans of the Abbotsford Lentils, and have checked out the Preston and Footscray locations as well. As usual, the food was delicious.

Unfortunately study was calling, so it was back home for the remainder of the afternoon. But it is one week until the mid-semester break, which means one week until a road trip to Sydney and Canberra! I cannot express my excitement and relief at the thought of a holiday – this semester has been pretty hectic and I am in desperate need of a break. You can expect some happy holiday snaps to appear around here!

– Reanna.