The East Coast: Stop 1, Sydney

It’s no secret that leaving Melbourne was hard: not only was I saying goodbye to a city I fell head over heels in love with, but also to an assortment of brilliant people who helped make me feel at home instantly. As tempting as it was to spend the remainder of my time in Melbourne, I was beginning to feel like I’d never leave if I stayed much longer, so it was time to get back on a night-bus and get to Sydney.

Even though flying is quicker and easier, prices started at well over $100, without checking baggage, so I opted for the Firefly bus – a steal at $60. The 12 hours to Sydney passed quickly: the seats reclined to almost horizontal, a film was played to while away the hours until 11pm, and the air conditioning was cool, but not Arctic. Soon enough, we arrived in Sydney, and I ventured out to find my hostel.

Before I arrived, I’d decided that I’d rough it in the cheapest hostel I could find, then splash out for a night at the YHA on the Rocks. I’d emailed my hostel a week before I turned up, asking if it was possible to check in – after 12 hours on a bus, all you want is a shower and a cup of tea, without having to wait until the standard check in time of 2pm. However, when I turned up, the door was locked, with a note saying call reception. My two dead phones now seemed like much more of an inconvenience than they did on the bus when I wanted to listen to music. Being over tired and unhappy about leaving Melbourne, I sat down outside one of Darlinghurst Road’s many, many strip clubs, and waited for someone for leave the hostel.

Sadly, at 7.30 in the morning, not many travellers venture outside, and I was beginning to resign myself to the fact I’d be sat outside for half the day, when two girls left the building. The hostel owner rocked up just after 9am, told me I couldn’t check in until 2pm, but obviously I looked sad, tired and pathetic enough to be pointed in the direction of the showers. When I came back to ask about luggage storage, I must have looked even sadder, tireder and more pathetic than before, and he gave me a free upgrade to a 4-bed dorm, and let me check in early.

Being over tired and therefore slightly emotional, I did what I always do when I’m down, and went to find a museum. Luckily for me, Sydney is home to the Australian Museum, and for $15, entry was reasonable. I spent the afternoon wandering around the various exhibitions, including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which was incredible.

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The rain had cleared up slightly by the time I left the museum, so I spent the afternoon exploring some of the city, and attempting to get my bearings. The transport system in Melbourne (minus the trams) was easy, but arrival in Sydney meant getting to know a whole new train service. Out of the amazing things I’ve seen while travelling, Sydney’s double-decker trains probably are topping my list. My hostel is opposite Kings Cross station, so getting around is easy enough: one way into the city centre, and the other to Bondi.

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On returning to the hostel and attempting to keep myself awake until at least 9pm (the night bus may have been better than the Canadian ones, but I still barely got 2 hours of sleep), I met my roommates: one Korean guy (who was the only one to notice I was having a sneaky cry and offered me beer), one guy from the north of England (surprise surprise… though is there any people left up there? They all seem to be here), and a girl from LA who has an aversion to wearing clothes (I’ve seen her naked four times now and still don’t know her name. Was later filled in that she’s a stripper from next door, and I’m 100% in awe of how she manages to wear the collection of shoes she has piled up in our room).

After a much needed phone call from home (yes, an actual phone call – thank you Telstra for giving me $200 of credit), and a bed with a decent pillow, I felt slightly less sorry for myself, and ready to crack on with Sydney. We may not have gotten off on the best foot, but with trips to the Blue Mountains, Manly, Taronga Zoo and Bondi coming up, who can mope for long?


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