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Sunday, 6 March 2016

Frolicious Mama Down Under; The Australia Diaries

Intro


On the 17th of January, I checked in Heathrow airport, got on a flight to Beijing, and proceeded on a fantastical adventure, alone, child and husband free, to Sydney Australia.

Fresh off of the plane, with my bestie Vee xxx






My 'best friend' a term that always makes me cringe, lives there, and after 11 years of promising to visit, I sucked in my stomach, bit the bullet, worked my behind off for the money and took the step.  I am so glad she 'made' me do it and love her even more now, for how she looked after me and shared this beautiful part of her life.  Her home.  This and much more is why I will push through cringe and admit to having a best friend.










First off.  To all my Aussie friends living here in the UK 'Why?'  
I was only there for 3 weeks, but what a beautiful, beautiful place.  I was blown away by the architecture both old and new.  How well the old had been maintained, and how simply amazing the landscaping is.  It had seemed as though, the planners of old had planned out the future of this magnificent city of Sydney centuries ahead.  How forward thinking or what tremendous luck.  Well done Sydney.

For me, a true sun worshipper, the juxtaposition of city and beach in such a pleasing climate was my absolute dream.  Should I ever decide to ditch my extended family, parents etc... I will be pitching up, 4 boys, husband and cat.  Until then, you remain on my places to be, live and explore list.  

It is hard to summarise my trip in just one post, and as we all know, I am a ramble writer.  However I will try to focus and be to the point.  It will be written in three posts.  So keep checking back for more

On my visit I stayed in 4 places.  In the suburbs outside of the city, a place in a place called Campbelltown, The Hilton in central Sydney, A beautiful apartment near Newtown and Newcastle, a small city 2 hours out from Sydney.  

3 weeks is not enough...

There is just so much to do, and Australia is so far away from the UK that I now understand why people go for a year or two.  If I could have...


Towns & cities that caught my eye...


I am definitely not a suburban kind of girl, and, although the houses were much better proportioned than here in my little town, I wasn't a fan.  It felt... just too quiet and plain.  But a short distance from where I was staying is the city of Woollongong.  I can't even begin to tell you how long it took me to learn how to pronounce that correctly.  Once I did though, I gained an instant Oz accent, you just can't help it!!


Wollongong 

a costal city south of Sydney is the 3rd largest city in New South Wales, it has a deep and quiet beach, the first I visited on my arrival.  The shopping area reminded me of the typical seaside town that you get here in the UK, say in Hastings.





I was fortunate enough to happen upon a beautiful little store which caught my eye as it is in an old building that wouldn't at all look out of place in New Orleans.  A balcony, intricate ironwork and a vibrant and fashionable frontage... Tick.


Lee and Me 

is a wonderful and clever eatery downstairs with a store upstairs specialising in handcrafted and original works, made in Australia.  I am not a 'souvenirs' person but believe in collecting beautiful handcrafted things that cannot be purchased just anywhere.  I recommend popping into 'The Store' upstairs in Lee & Me should you decide to embark on an Aussie adventure, and whilst you're there I can highly recommend their muffins... Drool worthy.

@lee&me
   




   

         Wollongong Gallery

Eye candy!
Street Art
If only I had space in my luggage... @lee&me

I found the Traffic lights a little scary!


These beautiful trees were everywhere



Newtown


Anyone who can make me laugh so broadly is a friend for life.  I have a dream burial by Andrew Aiken & Juilee Pryor atop a large painted Aboriginal flag

Now, everyone that I knew in Oz that had been to London described Newtown as a 'Camden' like place.  But for me, it wasn't.  Yes the visitors were eclectic in their style, but, living only a few miles from Camden myself.  I see Camden to be less eclectic and a little contrived.  Newtown however, was not.  The centre of town surrounded by beautiful Victorian terraces, which, reminded me of home, but better.  The ironwork is a design I will be adding to my own humble abode.




The town centre is thriving with life, great eateries and art.  Art EVERYWHERE. Walls, floor, shop windows.  Just stunning and extremely clever I must say.  If Sydney was to be my home and I was to continue city life...  Newtown is for me!


Newtown Gallery
























Newcastle




Newcastle was a great visit for me as it was a reunion.  Former neighbours of mine had returned home to Newcastle and I was staying with them for a few days.

 It was a 3 hour trip on the fast train from Campbelltown and I was shocked to learn that my ticket was $8!  A mere £4.  I could just about get across London for that!  I had missed my neighbours/friends terribly since they'd left so it was wonderful to see them again and could see why they had left.  Newcastle is breathtaking.  The boutique shopping area, expanse of beaches, tons of green space and a winery, Hunter Valley, just a stones throw away.  Idyllic.


Surfhouse Mereweather


I had, possibly the best burger of my whole visit here...  I am a real burger fan, with a good tasty bun, flavoured meaty burger and all of the trimmings;  The Surfhouse cafe fed me one of my top 10 best burgers of all time.  With a generous portion of chips I was full throughout the day and only had fruit in the evening!  Result.  With the most captivating views, serene beach chic dear and great staff, it was an absolute pleasure to eat here.

Surfhouse burger & chips $16.50 = £8.25

One of my most favourite places in the UK is Bournemouth and for me, Newcastle is akin to the feel of there.  I loved it so much that it reminded me to seriously look at moving to Bournemouth when I got home.  As I was there more on a 'family' visit, I didn't hang out in town much, but was given a most spectacular city night tour.  On my next visit to Oz I will start at Newcastle and work my way around from there.


Newcastle Gallery






Bike Polo

Well that's all for this post...  The next Aussie Diaries Posts will cover, beaches, bars and restaurants.  And of course the city of Sydney!

 Swing by and check it out next week.

-Tomboy x -

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