Round The World Trip – Part 2

Sri Lanka ticked off the list, we started on our Australian leg of the trip.

Landing in Melbourne we immediately knew we had landed back in the modern world. It felt very like America with its multi-lane highways. We stayed in an apartment right in the centre near the aquarium. As soon as we arrived we jumped on the nearest traditional wooden tram which took us on a 45-minute loop around the city. This helped us to get our bearings, check out landmarks and plan the next things to do.

The next day we decided to go up the Eureka Sky tower to get a different view of the city….. and to scare ourselves witless at “the Edge”. Here there are glass walls, ceiling and floor all 300m above the city. Trying to convince your brain to ignore your eyes was a major challenge for me …. while my three-year-old daughter merrily jumped up and down on the glass!

With only a couple of days in Melbourne, we didn’t get a chance to see the other fantastic sights such as the Yarra Valley, the botanic gardens, the aquarium or the Melbourne cricket ground. Mind you as an English cricket fan I was pretty relieved not to have to visit the ground which has been the scene of some of our most catastrophic defeats. It’s more like a graveyard than a cricket ground for us.

Melbourne was more of a stop off on the way to Sydney and instead of flying to Sydney we took the train. The journey takes around 12 hours which would be a nightmare in the UK. However when you are travelling through the Australian bush playing “spot the kangaroo” then the time flies by.

We arrived in Sydney and set up based at a hotel in the central business district. This gave us access to all parts of the city and its major attractions. On the first day, we did the usual touristy thing and hopped on one of their big red tourist buses. We managed to see all the attractions you would expect such as the opera house, Sydney harbour bridge together with the aquarium, wildlife park and harbour area.

  

  

The next day we travelled by train up to the Blue Mountains. This is a mountain range north of Sydney that has a blue tinge to it because of the amount of Eucalyptus vapour that is released into the atmosphere.

But please don’t do what we did. We arrived around lunchtime which doesn’t give you anywhere near enough time to see everything. The tour leader virtually ran his bus off the road trying to get us to see as many sights as we could. I would recommend 1-2 days there at least.

Despite the short amount of time we had in the Blue Mountains, we managed to see some dramatic views of the mountains and valleys and we also went on a walk through the forest to the famous Katoomba Falls. Here the river tumbles down in stages of rock pools before plummeting off the edge of the mountain to the valley below.

After Sydney, we flew up to Brisbane and then picked up our car to drive to Byron Bay. Having visited Melbourne and Sydney, Brisbane was fairly similar, but with nicer weather and a warmer sea. Driving along the coast to Bryon Bay was fantastic and when we arrived we instantly felt at home. With so many surfer types the place is so laid back and chilled it’s unreal. Amazing sandy beaches stretch as far as you can see with a pristine white lighthouse guarding the southern end of the bay.

Going for a run on the beach with the sun beating down and the wind flying through your hair was an incredible experience.

We relaxed for a couple of days, trying (and failing) to surf and then it was back down to Brisbane and then on to the next leg, South Island New Zealand

 

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