It’s been 11 years since I first came to Australia as a backpacker and six years since I randomly moved to Sydney after falling head over heals for The Aussie during a round-the-world trip in India back in 2011. But, it’s come to the point where I’ll be taking some time out to go and explore the world which was originally planned for this week. Unfortunately, I had a freak accident and can’t fly until early January once my little punctured lung has healed up. If you didn’t know about my accident, it’s on my Instagram here.
So, once I’m better, I’ll be off to travel the world for a bit. I’ll still have loads of Sydney and Australia posts to publish on Londoner In Sydney, you’ll just be seeing lots more content of holidays to have outside of Australia as well.
Over the last 4 years, I’ve left Sydney ONCE to go back to UK and Iceland for a couple of weeks. That’s once that I’ve only been out of this country in four whole years. Because it just seems so expensive to leave Australia, it’s actually not, it’s just expensive to holiday IN Australia not out of it. And that’s the trap I fell right into over these last four years. So I’ll be concentrating more time on this blog so I can show you all that you too can have some awesome holidays away from Australia for less than you would pay to holiday inside the country!
But first, as I rest my punctured lung over the next few weeks, I’ve had a think about all of the awesome things there is to do in this country. And so, here’s a bit of a cheesy but well needed post in no particular order of the 62 best things I have ever done in Australia since I first arrived in 2006.
- Seeing the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first time but getting more excited about seeing a Wagamamas restaurant was actually in Sydney! TRUE STORY (I was 23 at the time so forgive me!)
- Staying a month at Wake Up hostel when I first arrived in Sydney in 2006. This was and has always been a big highlight for me. Leaving UK on my own was indeed scary and I formed so many friendships at this hostel with people I’m still friends with today!
3. Oz Experience bus – I spent a good few weeks on this tour bus travelling up the East Coast and absolutely loved it!
4. Sailing the WhitSundays was a laugh but it rained and I’ll always remember the boat constantly rocking from side to side and everyone getting sick! I still want to go back and see this place in all its glory!
5. Darwin – oh Darwin. I moved in with three other backpacker friends and we had a ball here. I fell in love with a Dutch man, I got my tongue pierced (thankfully the piercing fell out a month later) and I even worked behind the bar in a strip club. The naivety was truely within me during this time but it will always be a big highlight of that trip!
6. Coral Bay – half way up WA lies the most gorgeous beach town called Coral Bay. We swam with manta rays, saw tiger sharks and the Ninagloo Reef is easily a thousand times better than the Great Barrier Reef. This place is a gem!
7. Fruit Picking – those painful days to get my second visa. I’ll always remember how much it taught me as a person to never give up!
8. Barrington Tops – Sitting in a hot pool looking up at the most impressive star lit sky I have ever seen in my life.
9. Hiking – Sydney teaching me about the great outdoors. How did I not know I would fall deeply in love with nature and love hiking.
10. Wild Swimming – oh wild swimming, Sydney has way more to offer than Bondi Beach, that’s for sure.
12. Kanangra Boyd National Park – hiking through this park which made me feel like I could have been in Borneo.
13. Camping – How did I suddenly love camping? An Aussie tradition all must embrace.
14. Becoming vegan – my two years of clean, healthy eating was simply magical as a vegan. Unfortunately health issues reverted me back to meat but once I get better, veganism it will be.
15. Holidaying in Port Douglas, a truely tropical wonderland.
16. Byron Bay is still my favourite place in Australia. Wategoes beach has my heart.
17. Being invited to various fashion shows and events in Sydney has been an eye opener and something I never thought would happen from starting this blog.
18. It took me three years but I finally got a dream job at Microsoft which was awesome. It equally took that long to get a decent boss. Oh how I was grateful for that opportunity.
19. Embracing the health culture in Sydney and jumping onto the F45 bandwagon. It taught me to persevere and I loved this fitness group.
20. Jumping in our crap car and driving all the way to Melbourne and Adelaide over Christmas. I have no idea how the car even made it, but it did.
21. Japanese Bath House – one of the best and cheapest gems near Sydney.
22. Breenhold Gardens – another magical gem that takes you right back to the English countryside in the Blue Mountains.
23. Scotland Island Lodge is one of my favourite getaways just 40 minutes from my house in Pittwater. You’ll be wondering how on earth this is near the city.
24. Bongon Beach and Maitland Bay – two of my favourite beaches near Sydney.
25. Realising Jervis Bay is actually like Byron Bay, just closer to Sydney. The beaches are out of this world there.
26. Climbing up to Seacliff Bridge to get ‘that instagram picture’.
27. Finally finding a proper British style afternoon tearooms in Sydney at The Tea Cosy.
28. Secret Gardens in Sydney are secret and awesome!
29. Hiking to Hanging Rock and not having the balls to jump the gap to get ‘that instagram picture’!
30. Living my dream of actually living on Sydney Harbour. Much noisier than one would think.
31. Hiking with the masses to Wentworth Falls but having the bottom of the falls to ourseleves.
32. Randomly stumbling across the incredible Diamond Bay.
33. Learning to stop wasting money on buying clothes and selling my old stuff at Kirribilli Markets.
34. Finally getting my permanent residency. It’s been a hard slog but I got it!
35. Moving house and getting someone else to do it. The best thing I could have ever done.
36. Another Byron Bay town less than two hours away from Sydney at Avoca Beach.
37. Giving up alcohol because the pubs were so bad – it was a blessing in disguise!
38. Indoor skydiving – couldn’t have had more fun with a bunch of 12 year olds if I tried!
39. Swimming in Bondi Icebergs but hating it and getting out after 2 minutes as it terrified me swimming in the strong currents.
40. Dragging myself out of bed twice to see the sunrise in Bondi was one of the best things I’ve done to date. It sort of feels like the middle of the day as it’s so busy there with everyone working out, doing yoga, meditation, walking the dog, but it’s like 6am. There’s something just magical about it.
Sunrise at Bondi really is a sight to be seen, taken in 2017
41. Buying a bike and cycling to work – after commuting on the tube in London, I couldn’t have done a more of a 180 on my commute to work. Being able to cycle across the Harbour Bridge or catch the ferry over the harbour was something I never, ever took for granted.
42. Sunset cruise on the harbour for The Aussie’s birthday back in 2012 was one of the best things I’ve done. It was a two hour free bar and one of those, I’m actually living in Sydney moments.
43. Having the Blue Mountains as my winter retreat at weekends. This part of NSW is incredible and there’s so many hikes and places to be explored.
44. Having Topshop, H&M and Zara in Sydney. This truely saved my fashion fix.
45. How on earth I got approached to be on a TV show on House Hunters International was a bit insane, then getting ‘recognised’ from the episode was just bizarre. I’ll never look at reality TV the same again.
46. Going to see the cult classic, The Room and finally knowing what immersive cinema is all about.
47. Finding the gem of Gerringong Falls before the masses arrived.
48. Finding a new favourite weekend retreat in Kangaroo Valley. Bowral was my favourite.
49. Being able to watch a movie at what must be the most beautiful outdoor cinema in the world at St George Open Air Cinema
50. Going on a Seaplane to Cottage Point Inn and circuling the harbour was incredible.
51. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef twice was insane.
52. Flying over the Great Barrier Reef was even better.
53. Finding the most beneficial 3 day meditiation retreat near Sydney at Sunnataram Forest Monestary.
54. Ivor Rowe Rockpool – my favourite beach spot in the Eastern Suburbs. My little gem.
55. Driving from Darwin to Ayers Rock in a camper van was a proper backpacker experience.
56. Going to the UFO centre of Australia was plain spooky and weird!
57. Spending my 30th birthday doing lawn bowls like a proper Aussie would.
58. Finally going to Figure 8 Pools and absolutely loving the hike there. How beautiful!
59. Realising how amazing Melbourne is and wishing I spent more time there.
60. Climbing Ayers Rock to the top was amazing but I sort of regret it now and wish I was a more respectful person back then.
61. Becoming a blogger – if I hadn’t come back to Sydney again in 2014, I wouldn’t have built Londoner In Sydney. One of the biggest achievements I have made.
62. And finally moving to Sydney obviously. I wouldn’t have changed as a person and become a better version of myself otherwise.
What are your tops things you’ve done since you’ve moved to Australia? Hopefully some of these things I’ve done might inspire you to do them too! I’ll be writing my bucket list of things I still need to do when I come back yet!
Thanks for reading