Wow, I cannot believe I’ve been living at Eva’s Backpackers for 3 weeks! Actually, I did not expect myself to be sleeping in hostels for my entire stay in Australia. I thought it would be impossible for someone who needs so much privacy and alone time like me to end up staying in social hostel dorms for 3 months straight. Looks like I’ll also be spending my last month in hostels as well. It feels like home here! It’s so relaxed and everyone is friendly, and sometimes a bit weird… not to say that I’m not a queer myself.
I only have 3 months in Australia and it’s time to move on from Sydney. I left the central Sydney neighborhood because I got too comfortable there and now I’m familiar with most of the inner and outer city areas. I catch myself sleeping in longer and dwelling in Eva’s for more than I would like. My motivation to explore is diminishing. While sitting around, chatting with other travelers, and revisiting familiar neighborhoods are nice, but there’s so much more to experience in Oz. I’m becoming the type of backpacker I despised, the ones who sit around all day and not doing much. I’m glad I finally made up my mind and scheduled my journey up to east coast. For once in months I can actually answer the question, “What is your plan in Australia?” While the word plan is really unattractive to me, I’ve reached that point in my travels where it’s best if I have one.
It’s not to say that my week had been completely unproductive. I’ve been wandering around Sydney every day and even went to the gym again! I realized the number of new places I’m visiting are in a steep decline and the amount of hours spend in Eva’s (especially the lounge couch and kitchen) has risen exponentially.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
I’ve heard about this wildlife park in Sydney brochures and had been wanting to go since May. It’s my first time visiting a wildlife park or zoo in Australia. Although I have seen some Australian wildlife along the west coast, I didn’t really have any close up encounters since real wild animals are afraid of humans and would run away when I approach them. Like a mommy, I finally dragged my hostelmates to go to Featherdale with me. Just an hour out of Sydney by train to Blacktown, we reached the park without any trouble. The park or rather really, a zoo, is much smaller than I had expected. Animals were crammed into tight living spaces. As exciting it is to try to take selfies with koalas and kangaroos, the number of kangaroos living inn that little hut is shocking. Sneaky marketing tricked us into believing that we can cuddle koalas at Featherdale, but that’s all a lie. It’s illegal to hold onto koalas in New South Wales. By cuddling, they mean you can stand closely next to a koala on a tree and sort of put your arms around it gently. Now I feel a little bad for convincing my hostelmates to come see the wildlife park. It was good hostelmate bonding time nonetheless.
I finally got a chance to visit Watsons Bay located on the eastern tip of Sydney. The surrounding suburbs and bays leading to Watsons Bay are filled with lovely patches of green along the water. An added plus to the scenery is the Sydney’s city view in the back drop. Whether you want to go for a dip in a quiet beach, go fishing, hike, lay on grass, or enjoy a nice view of the Harbour Bridge and the skyline, Watsons Bay has it all. I tried the fish and chips at the famous chippery known as Doyles. Its lightly battered fresh fish and chips is probably one of the best I have had. Given that I haven’t had much fish and chips in my life, I think my statement is not very convincing haha. I could imagine how amazing the sunset is from Watsons Bay, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to really see it both times I visited. All the other nice scenery makes up for though it.
Paddington’s Market is one of Sydney’s most popular market that only open on Saturdays. By it’s name you probably already guessed where this market is situated. Yup, it’s located in the Paddington precinct. The vendor carts offer a variety of goods from food to clothes to little trinkets with over 200 stalls to visit. Although these outdoor markets aren’t necessarily bargain buys, but we were surprised by how pricey everything is. Then again, everything is expensive in Australia.
World Cup 2014
Other than exploring Sydney suburbs, another memorable aspect of my Sydney days are the times spent watching the World Cup. Like Americans, Australians are not very into soccer. Since I was hanging out with mainly European backpackers, the World Cup had been a big part of my time here. I’m glad to be able to watch the World Cup here since there’s really not much excitement for the games back home. Due to the time difference, the matches are held at inconvenient times here at 2AM, 4AM, and 6AM. It’s takes some commitment to stay up or wake up for the games. Living a predominantly German hostel, I rooted with them for the most part other than the Germany v. USA and Germany v. Brazil game. I thought I was still dreaming when I saw those four goals being made in six minutes for Brazil. I was trying to convince myself that it was just the TV replaying the same goal, haha. I was not devoted enough to watch the entire final World Cup match. It was my last night in Sydney (although I will be back later) so we had a bit of wine while we waited for the game to start. Since I have an afternoon flight the next day to Brisbane, I decided to sleep until the game started. By halftime, I gave up and went back to sleep since the match was so mundane. I did not need to check my mobile phone to see the results since the cheering of my German mates was a clear indicator of who won.
Well this is it.
I had already left Sydney. Even though I will be returning briefly before heading to Hong Kong, I know it would not be the same. That living like a local in Sydney experience has come to an end. Admittedly, I am sad to say goodbye and put an end to this temporary ‘new life’ I had adopted. Even after traveling so much for the past 3 years and all the goodbyes I’ve given, it never gets easier. I know I really enjoyed my time in Sydney because the farewells this time felt so much harder to let go of. Hopefully the rest of Australia is worthwhile for me to leave Sydney for!