7.4.2017 Australia to New Zealand

So, second flight of the trip and we had a breakfast to line the stomachs. 

B.L.A.T. (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato) for me, and I did actually say BLAT when ordering it, in a slightly English, ‘I feel a numpty saying this’ kinda way.

Guy’s usual of eggs, toast, arvo and bacon

A film crew were also filming in the tiny cafe, we kept out of the way.

Using up the last of our Aussie dollars we showed our age by buying boiled sweets to help with the ear pressure on planes, and to put in our car when we get home and have a Sunday drive out.

On checking into the flight we were told we needed to book flights out of New Zealand otherwise we can’t go there. We attempt to book flights home using my credit card, the only one we have left, which is declined before being approved. If nothing else, we need to get home to get our driving licences and new credit cards, Guy’s card having been cloned whilst in Australia and a new one sent to my Mum who is having a ball with it. 

Our panic bought flight is booked to leave on Star Wars Day (yes, Guy did tell me that) and arrive on 5th May which involves the longest flight you can take in the world…  17 hours. See Guardian article. Bring it on! 

We hope to see all our readers welcoming us back at Heathrow on the 5th May…..ūüėā (Blog will have intermittent service after this date as our lives will be dull and boring, again).

We are now able to check in and our flight to Auckland was short and noisy with families containing small kids all vying to see who could scream the loudest.   

Touchdown in NZ felt like home with the green fields covering the landscape but the stringent quarantine laws quickly confirmed it wasn’t when they needed to check the shells we had picked up in Hawks Nest. They passed, and we were allowed in. Our last visit had involved indepth questioning from quarentine officials over a box of Bisto gravy powder and whether it had BSE in it. Like a box of Bisto had seen any cow….. let alone a mad one?

Our Air BnB place was 2 min walk from the SkyBus, and it was 17 degrees outside….. what??? It felt cold, very cold.

Anyway soon we were in the loveliest home ever, chatting with Richard, our host, and eating excellent fish n chips from the local chippy he had recommended.

Kumara chips, delicious

UPDATE: For those of you wondering what we are doing on our return to Blighty, we are planning on renting a small flat in Birmingham, getting jobs and saving for our next adventure. We will of course be in touch with friends to sort out catch ups, but flat and jobs will be our focus to get us back into society again. We are also going to try and do without a car!!! Using public transport and bikes…… we will see how that dream goes though.

6.4.2017 Camperdown

Our last day in Sydney gave us blue skies and warm sunshine to encourage us to walk around and for Guy to take a lot more photos of this beautiful city. 

Blue skies make everything gorgeous

Coffee was courtesy of Runcible Spoon cafe around the corner from our home.

Macchiato

A bus ride later we were at Central station and having another coffee. Delicious.

Coffee turned upside down by Google who think it looks better that way

Caffeined up to the hilt we marched around the waters edge,  past Macquaries point and into the other side of the botanical gardens. They are stunning. We decide to forgo the $24 each to go to the deadliest spiders exhibition, really? As if this country isn’t scary enough, they charge you to be scared even more.

A ferry ride across the harbour and many, many photos later, and we were back at the fish market. 

Us posing on the ferry

Before you could say white wine, we had Barramundi, chippies, fish cocktail and white wine laid out for us. We also liberally scattered it with the chicken salt we had purchased. Love chicken salt.

Fish n chippies Aussie style

We made our way over to Newtown, via Glebe and a couple of bars. One of the bars, Deep Groove you can choose the vinyl to play so we choose Led Zeppelin and Bowie, you can probably guess who chose which?

Deep groove record collection

It was a lovely last day, reminiscing of our stays in Sydney and how much we love the Australian outdoors lifestyle. Also how we have learnt about strip shopping and Sydney Meetup Groups engaging in naked board games on a Saturday night (and nothing more involved, honest)……..who knew???

Dinner was dumplings. They were good.

Dumplings drizzled in chilli oil

It was accompanied  by VB 

Last drink was at Wayward brewery, 5 mins from our home, for craft ale.

5.4.2017 Camperdown 

We walk into town along the canal path towards Tramlines, a swanky converted warehouse with bars and coffee places looking out onto a car park! 

Beautiful architecture, crap car park view

We stop for a caffeine‚Äč shot, Guy has a cold brew, chilled and fruity.

Cold brew coffee, not as good as a hot coffee

We carried onto the waters edge and walked around Blackwattle Water, past the cement works.

Sydney cement works, stunning view

Onto the Sydney fish market which was full of tourists enjoying fresh seafood and the odd glass of white wine.  We join in with calamari, soft shell crab, seafood kebab and chips.

One of the many fresh fish counters at the fish market

Another walk into Sydney CBD and we are going through QVB (Queen Victoria Buikding) which is photogenic and full of expensive stores.

QVB stained glass window

We carry on through Hyde Park and onto the Botanical Gardens. 

Hiya!

It was getting late and feet were aching so we went home by bus and relaxed back at our apartment. 

Ummmmm wine……. 

Wines tasted:

Hunter Valley McGuigan shiraz cellar door 

Hunter Valley Tintilla shiraz 

4.4.2017 Waverley to Camperdown

We got up early to see the family get ready for school/work at a leisurely pace.  We said thank you and goodbye to our wonderful hosts.

Again, we went to Ruby’s diner for a healthy breakfast of Bircher muesli for me and brown rice pudding for Guy. 

Off across town we were smoothly into our next Air BnB apartment in Camperdown. It was proper city living, and we eyed up the washing machine for later!!!

We caught a bus into town, to St Martin’s place and had a final check at Post Restante to confirm that our driving licences are nowhere to be seen and we try to forget all about it, like a bad dream. Maybe they will be returned to the UK? 

Lunch was in an Asian food court, heaving with office workers, mainly Asian, looking for good grub. We had a lush Malaysian curry plate, followed by samosa and onion bhaji. 

We met up with Julia and her mates, on their way to a Cyndi Lauper / Blondie gig, for her to hand back some hair products I had left at her house (the horror, 2 days with no hair products!!!!) and a catch up in Hard Rock Cafe, a first for Guy. 

Guy popping his Hard Rock cherry

Light tea as we were still full from lunch, and breakfast!!!!

Darling Harbour at night

2.4.2017 Woy Woy to Waverley

Jules celebrated her 42nd birthday by getting up and making us raisin toast and dropping us off at the station. What a fab person??? Thanks Jules ūü§£

We got the train from Woy Woy to Bondi, via Central then the bus to Waverley in about 2 hours and it cost about $3. 

We had a coffee on the way!!!

We were off to stay with my cousin (well, 2nd cousin if you are being pedantic) and his family in Waverley.  They had kindly offered us accommodation, food and a family vibe. We had a great afternoon meeting family members, being entertained by the kids, having a drink and some fantastic food cooked by Ness.  It was a fabulous evening that we really enjoyed. 

No photos taken.

29.3.2017 Sydney to Hawks Nest

We are up, packed and leaving our hostel by 9am. 

Happy to be leaving this place!!

Plenty of time to get the train to Newcastle.  We stop at a cafe next to the station which is always busy when we pass, Cuckoo Callay, it has bacon, pork and anything piggy as their specialty. They also have the usual kiddy menu and the more unusual menu for doggies, puppachino anyone?

Beautiful dog (not puppy) enjoying his puppichino

For the record, they served the best bacon and eggs Guy has ever eaten.

Bacon steak and 63 degree poached egg

Sourdough raisin toast

We then had a relaxing 3 hour journey to Newcastle for $5.85, at home an unrelaxing journey to Newcastle costs $150.

Meeting up with relatives you haven’t seen for ages always gets you a little worried just before you meet up. Questions fly through your head. What if they have changed? What if I don’t recognise them at the station? And the most worrying, what if they don’t drink wine anymore? Thankfully none of these questions were a concern, Peter was waiting for us at the end of the platform wearing his usual outfit of shirt, shorts, socks and sandels with huge sunglasses, it could only be Peter, no doubt about it. We hugged and navigated our way through Broadmeadows station renovations to the car and hugged Bette, who also had not changed a bit, isn’t it wonderful how some people are so familiar yet you don’t see them for years?

Peter, with wine, smiling!!!

With the sun blazing down, we had a tour of Newcastle and the surrounding areas from the comfort of an air conditioned car, it was stunning scenery of bays, green fields, beautiful beaches, and art deco buildings. Getting out the car we were greeted with 34 degree heat and 84% humidity, crumbs.

It was time for wine, nibbles, more wine and a lot of catching up.  After a tour of the Crossley Regis we had a lovely meal of spaghetti bolognase cooked by Peter and more wine and chit chat. It was a lovely evening.

28.3.2017 Newtown shopping

As we are now on our way home our budget is known and we decided we could afford a day shopping in Op shops in Newtown. It helped that the day was cloudy and dull, so a beach day was pointless.

Breakfast was smaller today. We are putting on too much weight with massive brunches, and sushi snacks and lovely dinners. Obviously giving up booze would help too!!! 

We had a great day wandering around the area, mooching in shops and buying stuff! Not often we do this so it was a treat.

We went back to the hostel only for there to be a fire alarm. Someone had burnt the toast. The fire brigade turned up anyway, we went out for a glass of vino at Cittavino.

It is a bottlo and wine bar in one. The menu was huge and full of grapes we had never seen before, amazingly we only had a couple.

We then went onto Bloodwood and tasted an orange wine which was delicious, made by leaving the grape skins in contact with the wine so ensuring a rich, fruity and creamy taste.

We then ate some tapas.

Had a very unsatisfactory satay pie. The lass serving us said was only $7 and turned out to filled with one piece of bland satay flavoured potato. Wow!!!

Guy, before he realised the pie was filled with nowt.

Walked past a lampost near our hostel that we had never noticed was covered in shoes. 

Love Newtown.

27.3.2017 Sydney

Waking up early on a sunny Monday morning and being able to go back to sleep is a wonderful luxury when you are travelling, which we are enjoying more and more the closer we are to coming home.

We finally got out of bed and had a coffee and brekkie in our favourite coffee place in Newtown. It had WiFi so we spent a bit of time planning and booking accommodation, looking at flights, blogging and other administrative‚Äč chores. 

Mushrooms on sourdough, with heritage tomatoes and ancient grains. You can’t make this shit up!!!!
Fresh figs, spinach, seeds and labneh…….seriously, how good is this for you?

Eventually we shifted ourselves and got into town and a ferry over to Manly beach where we wandered up and down the beach front in blazing sunshine, admiring the kite surfers, surfers doing their thing, and seeing lots of mums walking buggies up and down the front.

Manly beach on an Aussie autumn day

Guy took lots of photos on the ferry.

He took more of a massive cruise liner doing a 3 point turn in Sydney harbour.

And even more of the bloody Opera House.

More internet litter.

As it was clear blue sky and a Monday our plans to have a day off drinking were looking shaky, but we managed to get home without being distracted by a bar. 

People walking to the top of the Sydney harbour bridge, brave souls.

Having decided to come straight home after visiting New Zealand for about 3 weeks (maybe with a short Bangkok stopover on the flight home if we can arrange that) we decided to celebrate with a Chinese at Mulan Temple and a bottle of BYO Reisling, it was as closest to not drinking we have come for days!!! The food was absolutely lush, the Chongqing noodles were spicy, meaty and sprinkled with pickled greens, just how we remember them. The aubergine was sweet, umami heaven.

The fried and steamed dumplings were a wonderful taste that brought back great memories. 

To end the meal, Guy dropped a dumpling into the black vinegar from a height of 1ft and managed not to splash himself (or me!). Yep, it is a slow news day, folks.

Wine (NOTE; that is the singular used) tasted:

Jim Barry Reisling 2016 – tasting notes – blooming lush with asian food, tropical fruits and citrus flavours, an absolute stunner as you can tell from the gold stickers!

26.3.2017 Waverley with relatives

We had a typical Sunday ahead of us, visiting relatives!!! We were off to see my second cousin, Matt and his family, along with his parents who were on holiday here from Croydon (or Surrey, depending how posh you are).

First we needed breakfast though. We shared merguez sausages at another colourful, hip Newtown cafe.

From where we live it is a 50 min bus ride away, we managed to just miss a bus each way, they are remarkably punctual! The wait wasn’t too long, 30 mins, and we had a good tour through the University area on our way over to Waverley, nr Bronte. 

The day was lovely, with entertaining company and the food was great. It was so nice to have tasty, home cooked food around a big table of family with wine and laughter. We loved the whole day, it was great to have someone other than Guy to converse with!!!!!

Margo, Alison and Ness

Wines tasted:

White and Red!!

Lord Nelson beer too.

25.3.2017 Sydney, The Rocks

In Newtown, we strolled about and found a great coffee place near us. It was packed, so we had coffee only and moved onto Three Queens cafe for brunch, consisting of massive feta and sweet corn croquettes with shagged arvo. Yep, that is what a shagged arvo looks like, folks.

Very, very good Newtown Coffee
Shagged Arvo

Salmon with courgette muffins and orange hollandaise for me. 

We had a walk into town through Surrey Hills, full of more roasterys, eaterys and cafes (I have no idea what the difference is between a cafe and eatery), enjoying the old houses and art deco buildings and observing the pubs filled with blokes on the first day of the ARL season.

Seriously, do you need this much sport in  a bar?

We carried on to Circular Quay, past the Opera House to The Rocks.

On this Saturday afternoon the area was filled with uber cool people, dressed up to the nines. We sipped craft ale in the Tap house whilst watching a wedding reception venue, situated half way down a very steep street, get filled up with women tottering in, wearing vertigo inspiring heels and teeny skirts. I noticed 2 very different ladies wearing the same outift, oooohhhh, that will be fun later, I mused.

There were musicians performing and selling CDs all around the area, we listened to a great version of Radiohead’s High and Dry, before he launched into the Black Key’s Thick Freakiness. Fab!

Many artisan shops and markets are situated throughout The Rocks selling unique, beautiful clothes, homeware and gifts at a price. There was massive cruise ship in the harbour, and the whole area was filled with tourists, many of them Chinese, which when you look at the markets you can start to understand why their reported average daily spend as tourists is $2200.

We got back to Newtown via Erskineville, via another bar, admiring more architecture. 

Finally we had a mixed grill at a Greek restaurant, with a bottle of BYO (Bring Your Own) Aussie Pinot Noir. I had forgotten what a good idea BYO was!!!! The meal was also delicious..

Wine tasted:

Yarra Valley Pinot Noir Sticks 2015