Dusting Off an Old Post: First Week In Sydney (October 2010)

Maybe I should have started this ‘old post‘ series with my first actual travel experience. But hey, it’s a blog and I can do whatever I want with it, right?! So therefore, I began with one of my all time favorite road trips. 

At the moment I’m in the middle of the second week of another new and exciting journey, so I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the very first time that I spent a week all by myself. That was the last week of October 2010, when I arrived at the Sydney airport, and knew absolutely no one…

Before leaving for Australia I signed up for a membership at Travellers Contact Point. It’s a great service, helping backpackers to find their way around a new city/country and providing information about work, transportation, accommodation, mail,… They have an awesome 7-night arrival package, which includes a whole week of great activities. That’s just a fantastic way for a newbie traveler – and I most definitely was one – to get to know people.

I conveniently arrived in Sydney on a Monday. Perfect, because that’s when a week starts!

Despite having a pretty bad (and my very first) jet lag, I almost immediately went down to the TCP office to pick up my arrival pack, which included some paperwork, a lot of brochures, a list of activities and coupons.

That Monday night was ‘get-to-know-each-other’ night at Side Bar, the bar of the hostel most of us stayed in: WakeUp! First Australian beers, and free pizza! That night our group, that would end up spending a couple of weeks together, was formed. I met so many people, some of which I would run into again, in places all over Australia.

Going out in Sydney, Australia.
A night out in Sydney.

Tuesday morning we went to have our bank accounts and cards sorted out, as well as Medicare. The afternoon was way more fun; we went  for a walk around Sydney, dinner and some drinks in the World Bar.

Backpackers in Sydney, Australia.
Feeling great!
Steak dinner in Sydney.
Steak night: 10AUD for a massive steak.

Early morning on Wednesday: a harbour cruise was included in our arrival package. It was magnificent, by far my favorite day of that whole week.

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
The Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Boat cruise in Port Jackson, Sydney.
Boat cruise in Port Jackson.

We crossed the entire bay, went to Manly, the Fish Market and some secluded beach (I don’t even remember where that was). And of course there was beer involved again!

SydneyHarbour Cruise.
Good times on the boat, for sure!
Sydney Fish Market.
Sydney Fish Market.
Seafood and beer in Sydney.
A platter of seafood and some beers.
Skyling of Sydney, Australia.
Sydney skyline.

The next day we were supposed to go surfing, but that was canceled due to bad weather. (That prediction sucked by the way. It was sunny all day.) So I went to Darling Harbour instead and paid a visit to Sydney Wildlife World and Sydney Aquarium.

Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia.
Darling Harbour.
Sydney Aquarium, Sydney, Australia.
Sydney Aquarium.

Bought myself a fish and chips dinner and watched a beautiful sunset before heading back to the hostel. We went out again, Scubar was definitely the place to be that night.

An early Friday morning – 7.30 – to go surfing. That hurt, but surfing turned out to be so much fun! I loved it. It’s hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s an awesome feeling to ride a wave all the way to the beach. We finished off another great day in Side Bar and the Scary Canary.

Surfing lessons in Sydney.
Surfing lessons on a Sydney beach.
Surfing lessons in Sydney, Australia.
Surfboards are huge.

Saturday was laundry day (first time I ever did my own laundry…) and quite a lazy day altogether. Since arriving in Australia, that was the first day I spent on my own. I went for a stroll, took in the most well-known sights, and basically explored the city at my own pace.

View from Sydney Tower, Australia.
Port Jackson, seen from the Sydney Tower.

The first day without a schedule whatsoever, it actually was the first time I felt absolutely free and felt that special excitement of being in a great city all by yourself. I’ve been addicted to that feeling ever since. I met up with the group in the evening to go out once again.

On Sunday, the last day of my first week, I decided it was about time to do something useful and productive. So I bought a car!

1996 Holden Commodore, Australia.
This 1996 Holden Commodore would be my home for the next nine months.

After buying my very first car, I had to wait another week until it was good to go. I would drive that car to Melbourne, back to Sydney, back to Melbourne, around Tasmania, to Adelaide, across the Nullarbor, all the way to Perth and halfway up the west coast. Best thing I ever bought in my life! It gave me total freedom.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I just started another adventure, which will/should last a few months as well. You can follow along on my North Cape Cycling Adventure page!

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