I was blessed to be taken on a three week tour of Australia by my friend Crystal after the Bali retreat. It was her 30th birthday present to herself to take a year off and travel the world. She started that trip at my retreat and asked if I would keep traveling with her. We continued on our journey refreshed and ready for anything.
Our first stop after leaving beautiful Bali was Sydney, Australia. We took the red-eye so I could arrive in time on Sunday to speak at the Cruelty-Free Festival (the retreat had ended Saturday!). We arrive at 6:30am and go straight to our hostel (Bounce Sydney) to sleep for two hours on their couches before heading to the festival. So I had about 4 hours of sleep if you count the restless sleep I had on the plane. Thankfully, the festival had amazing coffee, treats, and food to sustain me until after my talk.
Everyone was super nice and we had a great time for having no sleep. We went back to the hostel to check in and sleep a few more hours. You might ask why we stayed in hostels. First, Australia is EXPENSIVE. Second, we wanted to have a kitchen so I could make most our meals. Not only is this healthier it saved us a ton of money.
We had 3 full days in Sydney after the festival. My friend Brighde told me of two different activities that we must do, one being the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach. This walk was probably my favorite thing on the entire trip. We first started in Coogee at an adorable cafe to get coffee. This cafe was seriously the coolest place I have ever been to…so much that I felt like I could just live there. Large glass panel windows all open catching the ocean breeze. Really good looking people working there (Sidenote: the people in Sydney were all gorgeous! It’s like you had to be a 10 in order to work at a cafe). Amazing coffee (Sidenote: I had no idea the coffee culture in Australia. Like seriously good coffee everywhere you turned!). I didn’t want to leave!
We drank our coffee, slathered on sunscreen, and prepared ourselves for the walk. We had no idea what was in store! The walk itself was a workout; lots of steep hills and stairs. Being fit ladies we really enjoyed that! About every 20 minutes we came to a picturesque beach along the coastline. The water is far too cold for my blood but people were swimming and surfing. Then about halfway through we came upon a cemetery. Clouds loomed over us and the wind blew loudly. It was pretty ominous but beautiful at the same time. I thought to myself – what an amazing place to be buried.
Just a few more kilometers and we made it to Bondi Beach! How lucky for us that a sculpture exhibit was in town all along the beach. We spent another hour looking at all the art and then headed further into the streets of Bondi to find some grub. My basic plan for when I haven’t looked on HappyCow to find a place to eat is to find a healthy looking local and ask them where I could find natural or vegetarian food. It worked like a charm and we were led to a small natural food store that had a deli case with various salads, brown rice sushi rolls, and treats. This coastal walk is still clear in my mind and beckons me to return!
The next day we took the ferry to Manly and walked around the national park. Again I asked where we could find some healthy food and was led to the aptly named Pure Wholefoods Cafe. We enjoyed our lunch and chatted with the owner about his favorite things to do in Sydney. We had three different cold salads (roasted vegetables that were the best I’ve ever had, a chickpea salad with mustard dressing, and rocket and avocado salad) and two patties, one that had red lentils and the other aduki beans and rice.
We attempted to do the 9km walk to Manly Spit Bridge, but only made it about halfway through. My ankle was really bothering me and I was basically limping at that point. Before I left to go to Indonesia my ankle was doing fine. I mean it was 6 months since I sprained it! The fact that I never had it examined was finally catching up to me. It continued to hurt and be swollen during the remainder of my trip. But I didn’t let it slow me down too much!
Our last day in Sydney we did a free walking tour to learn all about the city. It was so much fun and I highly recommend it! Walking tours are one of my favorite things to do when visiting a new place. They show you around so you can get your bearings but also teach you fun and interesting facts, including history and the stories behind certain monuments. Our guide was very funny and had us laughing along the streets.
We also visited Chinatown, popped into a museum by the wharf, and had dinner at Nourishing Quarter (pictured above), a tiny hole-in-the-wall vegan restaurant serving a 5 course Vietnamese-infused “banquet”. It was divine! We finished off our last evening meeting up for drinks (and more dessert) with Julie of Laika Magazine (run over and subscribe right now!) at Yulli’s Bar. Talking shop about magazines with Julie was a highlight of my time in Sydney. It was the first time we had met and hit it off instantly! I was thrilled to meet up with her again two weeks later at Melbourne’s World Vegan Day!
Sydney is now on the list of my favorite cities in the world. I loved everything about it from the architecture, the people, the coffee, transportation, food, and beaches. It was a shame we didn’t have more time there.