A Travellerspoint blog

Australia - part 13

Darwin and Sydney - the end of my Aussie tour

all seasons in one day 25 °C
View Around the world in a few months! on Labgirluk's travel map.

So the organised tours were over for Australia. I had booked a couple extra days in Darwin to chill before heading to Sydney for a few days. Denisa had an extra day and Mette 3 days. This meant we all had a bit longer together before we separated and went our different ways. I had to move hostels as I’d booked a different one for the extra 2 nights (at point of booking hadn’t known where I’d be staying for the last night of the tour but wish I could have stayed in same place) so I packed up and moved across the road (quite literally) to dump my bags and then headed back to the yha to meet up with the other 2. We decided that it was a chill out day and hit the few shops Darwin had in the city centre! With the temperature and humidity it was hard work doing anything much...
Denisa found a shop she fell in love with and bought a couple of dresses, I found a souvenir shop to get a postcard (friend from previous tours wanted one of Darwin so I got one for her) and Mette found some boots she wanted (well had to order them in but she’d have them in a couple of days time – a bit quicker than we’d been led to believe how NT works (there is a saying that NT stands for ‘not today, not tomorrow, not Tuesday, not Thursday and never on time)..
From there we headed back to our respective hostels and collapsed for rest of day. The air conditioning was bliss. I headed to the pool for a bit but then retreated to the air con’d bedroom.. I’m def not cut out for hot and humid... ????
The following day, 1st May so technically the start of the dry season, started with rain! Still warm though but sent the humidity through the roof. We headed back towards the waterfront as there was beach volleyball on the beach at the lagoon. Unfortunately the rain made it non spectator friendly so they idea was abandoned. We looked at the wave lagoon but decided against that to coz of the weather... Ah well, back to the shops it was!
I found some lovely natural soap (avoiding buying some more shower gel and trying natural product instead), Denisa succumbed to a jacket she’d keen in love with the day before (same shop as dresses – cotton on. Not a bad shop) and then we had a look in the aboriginal art galleries... Uh oh! That was my downfall.. So not only am I the proud owner of 2 smaller pieces of art bought down at uluru I am now the soon to be owner of a large piece of original artwork (being shipped to my parents for ease). The TV will never go on the wall above the fireplace now... ???? I just fell in love with it and couldn’t resist.... I also had to go back to the hostel to get my outdoor credit card to pay for it too. We found a nice pub on the way that did a very reasonably priced meal plus drink to keep us going....
After that we were shopped out... We said bye to Denisa and saw her off on the airport shuttle for her next adventure - back to Bali. Just Mette and I left... We headed over to the beach to watch the sunset. We found a nice spot on the grass above the beach at Cullen Bay and saw the sun setting over the sea. Quite a few clouds but it made for an amazing light show over the water...
My last day in Darwin was a short one as my airport airport was at 12. Got up and checked out earlyish (using the lovely free luggage storage facility at the hostel) and headed across the road to crocosaurus cove. A pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Even got to hold another snake (getting a liking for this), a blue tongued lizard and stroked a baby croc (wasn’t paying to hold it and have a photo with it). Saw them feeding big crocs, barramundi, manta rays (so cute as they come right up and out to take the fish from the handler) and watched people go in the ‘cage of death’ – a glass tube that the person is inside and is dropped into one of the croc pens. They then wake the croc up and entice it closer to the tube with food. You’re safe in the tube and can go under water with goggles or face mask on to see croc swimming around you... Also Burt, the croc from croc Dundee is also a resident here (about 80 now they reckon) so another croc Dundee link during my time outback... Met Mette while there so got to say bye to her again.
The journey to the airport was fun as listening to the driver discuss the various pick ups with base and other drivers. No idea what had gone on but it was amusing listening to them trying to figure out who was picking up from where... Checking in was fine and boarding all went to plan.... Until someone noticed that a row of seats was wobbly. Maintenance came on to check it out, decided they didn’t have the parts to hand so we all disembarked while they raided the Qantas maintenance door for the required parts. Thankfully we were all back on board and ready to go an hour after we should have left!
Sydney Airport train link was easy to deal with and same goes for buying an opal card. Much cheaper than buying the journey as a single, espec as I knew I’d be using it whilst in Sydney. After a 10 min train ride to Central, it was a quick walk to the wake up hostel. Getting out of the station prob took the longest as they’re doing works on it so areas were shut off and it was fun trying to figure out the exit required, and then how to get to it! I now know how to find my way around that station! Headed to my room (7th floor 10 bed mixed sex dorm) and just pretty much crashed.
Decided to go to taronga zoo on the Friday. A quick 3 stop train ride (double decker trains and so smooth) and I was at circular quay. I’d bought my ticket online the night before so I headed straight for the zoo ferry and crossed the harbour to the zoo. As I’d already got my ticket I could take the sky safari (cable car) to the top and the zoo entrance. The zoo is on a hill so you start at the top and work your way back down to the ferry. Clever! What I hadn’t factored in was the amount it was going to rain! No umbrella, no rain coat, no plastic bag in the bag to keep everything dry. Only bonus was that I’d thought I might head to Manly so had packed my swim stuff and, more importantly, a towel! Managed to watch the bird show from under a tree but then resorted to buying a poncho from the shop. Unintended souvenir but nevertheless another souvenir and a useful one too... Due to the weather and it being a Friday it was quite quiet too. The animals were cute and it was weird seeing so many that I’d so recently seen in the wild.. From there I headed back to the city on the ferry and caught a train back to the hostel so I could dry out...
Saturday was a lovely dry sunny day. Decided to walk down to the quay and get the ferry over to Manly before heading back for my ultimate experience – twilight harbour bridge climb! The beach was lovely and the water fairly warm (well it was when I paddled in it!) and plenty were surfing. I just had a nice chilled walk and sit down before heading back to the city on the ferry. Needing to be well fed and watered before climbing I resorted to a quick fix – MacDonald’s! Not proud but a necessity for being quick and easy... Then it was time to go get ready for my climb.
The group all get togged up in a jumpsuit, I got a glasses lanyard, clipped on to jumpsuit, baseball cap (also clipped on to jumpsuit) before putting a harness on. After that we had a fleece and raincoat clipped on to the harness and finally a radio with head set. We then had to have a practise going up and down the near vertical steps, making sure person in front is off before you start. Then it was the off. Up some steps to get to the walkway to take us to the start of the climb – this takes us under the roadway from the Bridgeclimb centre to the start of the steel work part of the bridge, on the east side of the bridge. We had the extra of entertainment below of a taco and tequila festival with some very dodgy wrestling going on! At the end of this we crossed over stepping over bits and making sure to duck our heads too. Then we got to the section with the near vertical steps that took us outside and the main bridge arch.
The arch itself was an easy walk up, with regular stops for photos and information about what we could see. Think we had one of the best guides (Mitch) as he was highly amusing and extremely un-pc! We laughed most of the time we were up there.. ???? At the top we crossed over to the other side, had a bit more of a chat, and then headed back down, with another photo stop on the way. Back down the near vertical steps and along the walkway on the west side, back past the dodgy wrestlers (hadn’t got any better in that time) and then crossed over back to the east side and back into the climb centre. In all we were there for 3 hours. Once I get to a computer I’ll download the photos I bought and upload them. Some of them are classics...!
As Sydney decided this weekend was the weekend to do track works the closest station was shut so a little evening walk to the next one was in order. A quick train back to the hostel, packing and crashing was the order of the evening...
My last day in Australia... Checked out and put luggage in storage at the hostel and headed on foot down to the harbour. This time all stations were shut and also out to the airport. Had to factor in the replacement bus service to my timings – so glad I checked it the night before so was forewarned. Walked through some of The Rocks Market, spending some money on the way(!), before heading to the pylon lookout at the harbour end east side pylon. We’d been given a complimentary ticket at the bridge climb so wasn’t wasting that! 200 steps later and I was at the top and had a fab view of Sydney and the harbour as well as the bridge. Could even see some people climbing it... Was nice to see what I’d done the night before.
Once back down headed back towards the rocks and the rest of the market. And, as per usual when I forget my raincoat, it chucked it down! I found a nice restaurant doing a special offer on waygu beef cheese burgers – aussie style. Fitting for my last meal out in Australia I thought.
Thankfully I opted to head back to the hostel early as the bus replacement service was heaving – both the one back to Central and then the one out to the airport... Eventually made it, checked in (remembering the whole small liquid thing – not having had to do that for 2 months while travel around Australia) and headed for the airport lounge, as I’d booked myself into the Sydney one since I enjoyed the Heathrow one so much. Thanks go to moneysavingexpert for the discount code... ☺️
Think my run of good luck with the flights must have ended just before the Darwin to Sydney flight. This one was late in, so we were late out and then sat for ages waiting for a take off slot... Cue one late take off, and one late arrival..
But bye bye Australia and hello New Zealand....

Posted by Labgirluk 23:33 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney darwin crocosaurus_cove the_rocks_market harbour_bridgeclimb

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