After a very long and strange couple of years, I finally made it back to Australia to visit family and friends in September/October this year. When I was last there in Feb/March 2020, I had an amazing time but the looming threat of Covid was all around. I was on one of the last commercial flights leaving the country and was lucky to get home.
When Australia reopened its borders in Spring of this year I booked flights as quickly as I could. You lovely lot have kept me super busy with weddings (thank you!) but I noticed a small gap in September/October where I could squeeze in a two week trip. Before I knew it the holiday had come around and off we set!
We had 12 full days which we split between Sydney and Melbourne. We had some busy days but were careful to factor in some chill time too. Our first couple of days we explored the local area (Balmain) and even took part in a pub quiz (we came 2nd!), and took in the main sights of Sydney with my Aunt. Then we were back to the airport for a couple of days in Melbourne.
We stayed at the new Movenpick hotel just across the road from Southern Cross Station. I couldn’t recommend it more highly – the rooms were a good size, clean, modern and had everything you need. We got the Sky Bus from the airport which handily terminates at SC station, and on top of that there were two tram stops right outside the hotel – one way went into the city, and the other out to St Kilda and South Melbourne. All trams in the CBD are free, and you only need to pay when going a little further a field.
We went on the Starward distillery tour (as it’s a favourite whiskey of ours and is made in the centre of Melbourne!), explored South Melbourne Market, St Kilda, saw all the sights in the city, had amazing dinners and drinks on rooftop bars, and caught up with my friend Chloe over a cute brunch. It was an amazing 48 hours and I was so happy to be back in Melbourne. It certainly won’t be my last visit.
When we got back to Sydney we still had a whole week left of our holiday, so we planned in a few must-do’s. A big thing for us is that we love our walks so we planned in a fair few of those, which of course took longer because I was stopping to look at all the pretty flowers. It’s Spring in Australia in September/October so everything is just starting to come to life – it’s a lovely time to visit and I’ve not been in Spring for quite a while, so really appreciated seeing some of my favourite flowers in season.
First up was a short walk from Manly to Shelly, and around Shelly Beach area. It’s a favourite of mine because of the cute lizards that are always hanging around by the beach. It doesn’t take long – around 45 minutes to get round all of it and take in the sights – but it’s worth it. There’s some cute coffee shops down in Shelly too if you wanted to spend a bit more time down there. We ended our day back up in Manly, grabbing lunch at the lovely Ora in town. The best way to get to Manly is on the ferry from Circular Quay. It takes around half an hour and you get to see lots of Sydney bay.
The next day was Coogee to Bondi – a two hour walk along the coastal path between Coogee and Bondi, and on the way you pass through places like Clovelly, Bronte and Tamarama, all of which have their own beautiful beaches / swimming areas. It’s better known at the Bondi to Coogee walk but we did it in reverse as we were meeting a friend of mine for tea in Bondi, and we like to be different! We ended the day with a lovely dinner at Eden with my friend Katie, a fabulous vegan restaurant not far from the beach.
Up next was the Rose Bay to Watson’s Bay walk, which looked ever so slightly different to the above because we got caught in torrential rain. But that didn’t stop us and we eventually made it to Watson’s Bay, got ourselves dried off and stopped Doyle’s fish and chips in the Bay for a late lunch. This walk takes around 3.5 hours if you decide to stop off to explore each of the little beaches and gardens along the way.
The Blue Mountains was next, and although we didn’t technically see them this time (thanks, misty weather!) we laughed it off with the other tourists there and then went on to do the mountain trail from Katoomba to Leura. Leura is full of cute little shops so we hung out there before the train back to the city.
I can’t wait to get back to Australia, and next time we’re thinking a trip to Tasmania might be on the cards!