Trip Start Mar 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2011

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Where I stayed
Chateau Jo

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Friday, May 6, 2011

Returning to Sydney, we figured we could instantly reverse the week's indulgences with a good walk, so we set off on Friday morning to stroll from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach  - the must-do of the coastal walks in Sydney.  Just like our early morning foray to Cape Byron we managed to pick the perfect day for it.  Twas a little windy but just beautiful in the sun as we traversed the cliffs and sand of the six or so beaches on the walk. 

It was pretty rough out in the ocean, and along most of the beaches the lifeguards had put up their warning signs for non-swimming day.  It did, however, provide the most amazing sights of those brave enough to combat the swell.  The area is known for its ocean swimmers who race in crazy contests between the beaches, and we spotted a few blokes doing laps in the ocean pool at Clovelly, rising and falling two metres with every stroke!  We were amazed they didn't crash into the end of the pool - the water was so strong!

Later on we saw a poor guy, who we presume was a learner surfer, being washed from one beach to the next!  We were standing on the cliffs between Bronte and Tamarama and watched as this guy kept trying to paddle out to the ocean, just to be pushed back in towards the rocks on the underside of the cliff.  We then saw two lifeguards standing on the cliff watching this guy, determining whether or not he'd need to be rescued.  Eventually the poor guy made it around the cliffs to the next beach, struggled his way to the shore and then crashed down on the sand to catch his breath.  We imagine the poor guy was faced with the prospect of having to lug his board back to where he started on foot - and over a steep cliff into the bargain!

We lunched en route and reached Bondi in the early afternoon.  The tourguide had planned to walk us all the way up to South Head, about 10km north at the entrance to the Harbour, but it was quickly evident that she didn't really know how to get there once we reached Bondi!  So we stickybeaked around the huge houses on the cliffs next to the beach and caught a bus back into town to go visit the Botannic Gardens, the site of the Great Cockatoo Attack of 2011.

As we arrived, the afternoon sun was starting to fade, so we hastened to the eastern side of the gardens to find a warm spot to have our second lunch!  While perched on our rather lovely rock, we spotted some cockatoos (huge & noisy Australian birds) helping themselves to someone else's lunch.  So we figured that Justyn could meet some locals through the dastardly means of some water crackers.   We wandered off from our lunch spot towards a tree absolutely brimming with the white critters and within about 30 seconds of Justyn holding out his offering, they started to descend.

All in all, they seemed pretty friendly!  They were jumping on his shoulder and his head, and didn't seem phased by much.  The tour-guide-slash-photographer got in close to get some good snaps.  Alas, she didn't realise that the cockatoos would try to befriend her too, and she... well... squealed and ran as soon as one of them ditched Justyn for her arm!  She even sustained a scratch in the process.  It was pretty scary stuff.

Our last mission in the gardens was to find the bats - the Botanic Gardens is home to a gigantic colony of fruit bats, and it didn't take long for us to find trees absolutely rammed with the furry critters, all in the throws of waking up for their evening feast. Some were in the throws of something else.  It was all very David Attenborough out there.

After a huge day out, we returned to Jo's house wtih the intention to scrub up and return to the city for some drinks.  Apparently the small Australian started to feel a little tired!  Then we started watching Masterchef and cracked a bottle of wine with Jo it was all over red rover!  Our laziness set in and the three of us ended up wandering up the road to have some seriously delicious Greek food!

Besides, we didn't want to peak too early on the weekend. Saturday, after all, was designated as Erin's birthday shindig.  The much celebrated event was to take place in Paddington, in Sydney's east, at the 'Bowlo' - the lawn bowls club.  It turned out a much fun afternoon as we practiced the gentle art of bowls in the sun, with a few bevvies.  We'd managed to pick up a rather garish trophy and after several hours of hot competition, Rachel was declared the day's winner with the combination of her stellar accuracy (no-one else could get close to her balls!) and of course, her talent for sledging!  We then embarked on a mini pub crawl of Paddington - much fun!

Sunday we were pretty much left to our own devices.  Being Mother's Day, most were out with their families, so we ended up creating a rather cruisy day around town.  We started off with a spot of breakfast back at our Glebe cafe, then a spot of tennis at some cute courts near Jo's house.  In the afternoon we took off for the city to do Erin's much promised Historic Walking Tour of Sydney.  The tourist was pretty excited by it all!  It really just consisted of a stroll along Macquarie Street, past the library and the parliament and what is really 'colonial' Sydney.  We wandered from there up to the eastern side of the city - the infamous Kings Cross and Potts Point - to meet up with Erin's buddies Ross and Laura for a late afternoon catch up.


We wrapped up the evening at a Sydney icon: the illustrious pie cart on the water's edge at Woolloomooloo, Harry's Cafe de Wheels. Our visit there certainly had nothing to do with the tour guide's penchant for pies - it's just impossible to go to Sydney and not visit Harry's! Honestly!  But it must be said that the chicken pie we devoured was so good... we went back for another.  About five minutes later.  Happiness!

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