Second Chances - Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Sometimes you get a second chance to do something that you wanted to do years ago. Last time I was in Sydney, I was intrigued with the idea of climbing the Harbour Bridge (from here on in, known as the bridge). I was close to clicking the purchase button at that time but decided against it for a couple of very common excuses - not enough time and and not enough money. Although it was not something I ever lost sleep over, I'm grateful I've had a second chance at completing this highly popular climb. Here are my reasons for coughing up the dough for this tourist attraction:

1. Incredible views. 134m above sea level overlooking Sydney Harbour.

Oh hello, Opera House!


Sydney Beyond the Harbour

It's difficult to ignore the endless amounts of "kodak (or perhaps canon) moments" while strolling around Circular Quay, the iconic part of the enormous Sydney Harbour. However, there is much to do and see in Sydney that doesn't involve "the bridge" or the famous white-ish landmark. Many neighbourhoods make up the city, including the eclectic Newtown, hipster Surry Hills and the health-conscious Bondi. Here are my captures to-date of Sydney away from its main attractions. 

The so-called hotels that are actually bars


A Preview of my First visit to Melbourne

When thinking of Melbourne, several things come to mind instantly. Cafes, laneways, restaurants, sports, shopping, weather... I had the pleasure of visiting this dynamic city earlier this year and I already can't wait to go back. There's plenty to see and do in Melbourne!

My one week visit to Melbourne in August was primarily for the AFL International Cup (IC). I was lucky enough to squeeze in some sight-seeing and food adventures in between footy games thanks to a couple special Melbournians (wink wink). I loved exploring the city and having the chance to reconnect with friends from back home who traveled to compete for Canada in the IC.


Rugging up to go to the snow this arvo, hoping not to stack it!

Even though Australia is an English-speaking country, at times it can seem like Aussies speak a completely different language. It definitely takes some time to get familiar with Aussie expressions and their use of short-forms. It has been entertaining to pick up on words and phrases that are unfamiliar and highlight them to my co-workers and friends. Of course, they return the favour but often they do not realize that a particular word or phrase isn't generally used outside of Australia. I highly doubt that I will leave Australia with an Aussie accent but I cannot guarantee that I won't take some words or phrases with me. This is a list I have compiled thus far, of words and phrases I hear often and my understanding of them.


Yoga by the Sea at Bondi Beach

Although yoga is about more than just the setting that you practice it in, it certainly makes a difference to the experience. Yoga has only sporadically been part of my exercise routine yet completing at least one session by the ocean was near the top of my list for my time in Australia. Prior to Australia, I've only experienced yoga in closed rooms and the occasional hard-to-find session in the park. I value yoga for its ability to improve flexibility and mental focus. Challenging poses can really test your physical and mental stamina, as well as improve your overall strength. I was excited to find a company that offered classes by the sea (at none other than Bondi Beach and the surrounding area) and at another unique location (not outdoors but still pretty neat).

Bondi Beach in the background


A Sea of Runners: Sydney's City to Surf Fun Run 2014

Bondi Beach, I told you I'd be back. This time, however, you were the reward after a 14 kilometre run from Sydney's Central Business District (aka the downtown of any city in Australia).

Who wouldn't want to run to this?


To the Snow: Australia's Snowy Alps

It won't compare to the snow conditions that you're used to.

It'll be nothing like snowboarding in Canada.

Well, not so fast. Don't talk yourself down just yet, Australia. Let's backtrack to life in Canada:
I don't live anywhere near the Rocky Mountains and the furthest west I've traveled in Canada is Thunder Bay, Ontario. The highest hill I've boarded down is 220m, taking a lengthy 2 to 3 minutes to reach the bottom. This history set me up for some serious leg burn when I tackled a hill with a 2000m summit.  Especially when done on consecutive days.


Spoiler Alert! Aussie Rules the World

A spur of the moment decision involving a weeknight trip to Sydney (two hours one-way) led me to my first movie premiere. It was no Hollywood red-carpet style gala but I'm also no "insert famous movie critic's name here". Having played a couple seasons of Australian Rules Football in Canada (yes we do play Aussie Rules in the Great White North!), I was intrigued to watch a film chronicling the sport around the world.


Sunrise at Bondi Beach

The world famous Bondi Beach. My last visit to Australia did not include a stop at Bondi. This time around there will be a few visits. Visit number one was centered around a course in Bondi Junction. (Wouldn't you take courses more often if they were located in such fabulous locations?)
The downside was that there wasn't much time to spend at the beach or exploring the surrounding area - only a quick couple visits at sunrise (or just shortly after the sun peaked its rays). 


Oh Canada!

Just a quick note to say Happy Canada Day to all Canadians around the world! Hope everyone back home is able to enjoy a hot (feels like thirty?) summer day filled with delicious food and drinks and great company. In the spirit of being Canadian I'm going to sit back and complain about the cold wintry weather (high of 17 today).




Women's AFL in New South Wales

The Wollongong Saints women's AFL team recently celebrated its five year anniversary. It was a beautiful winter day for a footy game and post-game celebrations. Check out the Illawara Mercury's summary of the day.

Wollongong Saints soaring after five years



Winter Road-trip: Wagga Wagga and Canberra

Being from Canada, I don't normally associate winter with road-trips. However, when you're living in a country where snow isn't a factor (unless you're going "to the snow" - more on that in a future post), road-trips can take place year-round. The first road-trip in a new country is always memorable as you adjust to different rules of the road, driving styles, spatial layouts and miscellaneous hazards (kangaroos, etc!). These days many places will have both manual and automatic transmission options allowing you to rent a vehicle that you're comfortable and giving you one less thing to worry about.


One month!

It's been one month since I arrived in Australia. A bit hard to believe. I have a few posts I'm working on at the moment and hope to update you all soon.

Happy Summer back home!

Seven miles of beach! 



Lazy Sunday...and chicken salt!

It's definitely not easy being far away from home on your own. Communicating with people from home, however, is easier than ever these days. The only difficult piece is working around timezone differences. Keeping busy and maintaining a positive attitude are keys to staying happy with your decision. This means heading out on a Sunday afternoon in on and off rain and chilly fall-like temperatures and recognizing that you're lucky to be running on one beautiful beach after another. This also means stopping to take countless photos of the coastline or watching the local surfbreak. That's still considered a run, right? Will have no problem running the 14k City to Surf run in Sydney in 8 weeks, right? Only time will tell.


Vivid Sydney, Part 2

Can you picture any other famous landmarks that would be worth illuminating in the way that the Sydney Opera House was? The light show definitely seemed to work well with the shape of the famous performing arts centre. It was not limited, however, to just the Opera House (see the lip photo below). Lights were also projected onto the Customs House and the Museum of Contemporary Art, among many others.

Here are a few more images from Vivid Sydney 2014.

Singing Lips


Vivid Sydney, Part 1

Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and ideas with the highlight being the illumination of the Opera House. The Opera House is spectacular on a regular day but all the more when it's lit up the way it is during this festival. The pattern of illumination changes every few seconds and cycles through numerous designs. It's definitely something to see in person if you're in Sydney in June. Here are a few of my favourite designs.

Outerspace style


First grocery trip

The occasional person may love weekly grocery shopping but odds are that most view it as a chore that they would prefer to hand over to someone else. When you're living in a new country, however, shopping for groceries (at least the first few times) can be quite exciting. As you make your way through all the different aisles your eyes may get overwhelmingly stimulated. So many new packages and colours! You look for those items that you read about or were told about by other travelers. You may even find yourself panicking when the intercom notifies you that the store is closing in ten minutes.


27 hours

Three flights, three countries and countless movies/shows later...I'm here! It takes extra effort to understand the Aussie accent when you're jet-lagged so it's time to rest before settling in. But not before a walk to the beach!

New South Wales



Ah, T-dot...I'm going to miss you. A big thank you to all my family and friends who have made this day possible. You know who you are and it will take me a lifetime to repay you but I will try!

Here are a few parting shots. 

Toronto and all its amazing food


Australia, Round 2

After the winter that we've experienced here in Ontario, who wouldn't want to pack up and move to a warmer country for a year, away from the frigid temperatures, slush-covered streets and paralyzing ice-storms? My decision has been made for some time now and the day of departure is closing in quickly. Australia is the winning country that gets to put up with yet another Canadian looking to escape the cold. Here's a list of what I'm looking forward to during my year in Oz.

1. Bye bye snow.


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Looking forward to sharing my adventures with you. Departure day is coming up really soon!


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Welcome to my blog where I'll be blogging about my travel adventures. First up, Australia!

On the horizon...New Zealand.