This holiday season, I lucked up bigtime and won a door prize at a holiday party – one free ticket anywhere Qatar Airways flies. Qatar airways flies to over 150 places as of the time of this post (with more being added almost monthly). I could have chosen pretty much anywhere, but settled on checking out the home of a bunch of my new friends – Sydney, Australia.

Things didn’t mesh up with DH’s schedule (or desire for a 14-hour flight), and I found myself on one hell of a visa bounce – an 11-day Grand Adventure to a hemisphere and country I’d never been to.

This trip was fantastic. I absolutely loved Sydney, and had a splendid time getting in 20 – 30,000 steps a day, eating as little or as much as I wanted, sleeping in a schedule that made little sense, and speaking to no humans unless I really wanted to.

Sydney itself feels like a cross between New York City, Seattle and the California beaches – lots of big buildings, lots of beautiful coastline, a bustling maritime life – and of course, beaches (and that laid back beach life) aplenty.

Since I saw a bunch and took a ton of shots, I’ll be splitting the pictorial into 3 parts. This is the last installment – part 3.

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, February 1

Today was my big beach walk. I hopped a bus to Bondi Beach, then set out for Coogee Beach via the Coastal Walk.

Famous surfer paradise Bondi Beach

The Instagram famous Iceberg Club pool 

Love me a rocky beach

I had almost forgotten that this particular shade of sea blue used to be one of my very favorite colors as a kid. It’s a weird shade, so not one I’d generally say when people asked, but it was. That and the Crayola crayon color Cadet Blue 

How pale girls do the beach

Another ocean pool 

I could watch this all day

Salt air and booming waves does my heart good 

Watching the waves crash never gets old 

What a seaside eternal resting place! 

I much prefer rocky beaches to sandy beaches 

This looks so cool 

The underwater trail is down there 

I think this was my favorite part of the trip – I may hate going to the beach and may refuse to swim in the ocean, but I loooooove the coast. The salt, the noise, the immensity of the ocean – love it all.

On my way to Target and I was so HYYYYYYYYYYYPE

I almost cried. Legit brought tears to my eyes. All my dreams of leggings, Uggs (which were for sale on every freaking corner and even in some pharmacies) & PSLs (pumpkin spice latte) were dashed. DASHED, I tell you. 

After my beach walk, I was super stoked to check out Target – Target is on the short list of things I really and truly miss from the US – and I almost cried when I discovered that Australia Target is not the magical basic bitch playground as the ones at home. This one felt more like (old school) Big Lots than Target – the lighting was sad like at some Burlington Coat Factories, the shelves were too short for the space, the goods looked kinda off, and the whole place looked kinda dingy. I was so sad.

Friday, February 2

Escape the city! I took the 2-hour train ride to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, and did a super light amount of “hiking” – electing to only see Echo Point and the Three Sisters and head home.

Echo Point – Heeeey … looks kinda like NC’s Blue Ridge Mountains

1 of 3 Sisters

2 of the Three Sisters

The Katoomba rail station

Walked to Finger Wharf and stumbled on some more Navy

Finger Wharf 

Surprise Navy

Wandering back because apparently I was allergic to the Metro on this trip – that, and everything was a 20 – 40 minute walk away and I had all the time in the world. 

And had dinner next to the Opera House – right in time to catch the sunset light show.

Sunset light show telling some sort of Aboriginal history of Australia story 

Saturday, February 3

My last full day in Sydney.

I wanted to make the most of it and hit as many neighborhoods and markets as possible.

I did the Farmers Market in Carriageworks

Yep, this was every bit as hipster and as cool as a friend of mine had said. She was right: looooved it! 

Hit Oxford Street for the Paddington Market, and unfortunately completely forgot to document it.

#photographyfail

Wandered Newton

Another hipster area of town – loved this one too 

This railing style was absolutely everywhere

Sometimes I feel like … I don’t have a partner … Sometimes I feel like … My only friend. …It’s the city I live in …. The city of Angels … 

Hit the Fish Market for lunch

Not pictured: Octopus on a stick and a huge scallop mornay 

Finally got to take the Light Rail somewhere! It’s the replacement for an old trolley car system. 

Did the craziness that is Paddy’s Markets in Haymarket

After first wandering through Chinatown 

Paddy’s Market is like a flea market met random shipping containers from China. Lots of jumbled stuff – everything from elephant trunk looking banana sling style wang holders to Australia paraphernalia, to leather goods, to Thai pants and other summery wear, to heaps and heaps of bags  

And took a looooooong walk through Darling Harbour, Barrangaroo, and up to Circular Quay in the evening.

Walked from my hotel in Haymarket to Darling Harbour – 19 minutes, then around the edge of the Harbour 

To Barrangaroo (a new yuppie shopping, luxury apartment and business district that reminded me of lower Downtown Manhattan)

Stumbled upon a free concert in the park 

Set my sights on Circular Quay and the ferry – another 20 minutes or so away 

Another cool wharf with theater and dining options aplenty 

A convict that came through Hyde Park Barracks made this – this arrow is the symbol they stamped in everything 

Back to the Quay and to the lie of a metro ride home. This station was closed for maintenance, so it was up the hill (grumble) for a free connector bus back “home”. 

Sunday, February 4

Only half a day! I hit The Rocks to catch that craft market one last time

❤ this part of town

Under the Bridge and Up. Another. Hill. 

Ok, fine, the climb was worth it. 

The Observatory

Go, Science! 

The telescope

Back down to a less touristy part of The Rocks

Finally made it to the Observatory and learned more about *why* and how Australia was discovered

And took a little time to wander as much as I could on the way back to Central train station to grab the bag I’d stashed that morning.

Last lunch in Sydney – grabbed a porchetta/kale salad/extra fatty garlic dressing salad from a fast-casual make your own bowl joint and headed to the Botanic Garden for a nice view of the water (with shade!). Didn’t even mind the couple tiny ant bites I earned. 

Government House – I strolled the grounds, but the only way to see the building was by tour and I couldn’t be bothered 

Walked past the Custom House and was curious – turns out, it’s a super cool library/coworking space/public hangout spot 

With an awesome scale model replica of the city in the floor 

Walked by General Assembly’s Sydney branch in hope of fast Wifi and to check out the digs — it was closed. Whomp, whomp

One last trip over the Darling Harbour bridge

The last legit street art I’ll see in awhile 

So cool! 

THen it was off to the airport and on a 14-hour flight home.

Kinda sad I missed Chinese New Year in Sydney 

I got to sit on the upper level. Recommend highly – felt like I was in a much smaller plane.

Home again.