Tag Archives: sydney

SYD–>HNL–>OGG

The past three days have been torture, haven’t they? You could barely drag yourself out of bed because you knew you wouldn’t have a new blog post to read, right? Curtail your sadness: we are back to tell you about our week in Maui.

Where we left off: as we were going through Customs in the Sydney airport, the following exchange actually occurred. An Aussie couple in their fifties was at the customs booth next to us, and the agent asked them where they were going. The extremely bright woman said, “Hawaii—is that the country?” The agent was absolutely gobsmacked and said, “No, ma’am. Hawaii is not a country. It is part of the United States.” This clueless woman went about her merry way. We did not necessarily expect this lady to know that the Hawaiian islands comprise a state (can you name all the Aussie states?), but how does one not know what COUNTRY they are visiting?

The nine-and-a-half hour flight from Sydney to Honolulu surprisingly flew by, and we shockingly slept for a good period of time. The early morning layover in Honolulu wasn’t as bad as expected, and soon we had landed in beautiful Maui.

Why Maui on the way home, you ask? Well, it was actually cheaper to fly through Hawaii on the way home from Australia, and we are quite lucky that Hanna’s grandparents have a condo in Maui. Grandpa Joe, Grandma Joann, and Aunt Sherry spend the winters there, so we were happy to pop over for a week’s visit before real life starts again.

We leave you with a few pictures:

We Had Brunch at a Beautiful Restaurant with This Absolutely Horrible View.

We Had Brunch at a Beautiful Restaurant with This Absolutely Horrible View.

Yacht Owned by One of Britain's Richest Women. (No, Not J.K. Rowling.) Yes, That is a Helicopter on Top.

Yacht Owned by One of Britain’s Richest Women. (No, Not J.K. Rowling.) Yes, That is a Helicopter on Top.

We Popped by This Point to Do Some Whale-Watchin'. Didn't Really See Any.

We Popped by This Point to Do Some Whale-Watchin’. Didn’t Really See Any.

Advertisements

Final Thoughts: Australia

When Mike asked Hanna for assistance in writing this post, she said, “Australia. We like it. We’ll go back.” Her succinct words are quite true.

We are constantly asked (like, every single day) if we like Australia or New Zealand better. It’s an unfair question. We have seen more of New Zealand, but we have spent more time in Australia. On this trip we spent about a month in two places (Sydney and the Sunshine Coast), and we loved both as much as we did last time.

There’s just something about Sydney. It’s beautiful during the day or at night, and this is a city we could see ourselves living in…if it wasn’t so expensive. Our favorite part of Sydney this time around was taking the ferries wherever we wanted. We had no real game plan for the day, but we knew that a ferry would play a major part in the day. If you have never made it to Sydney, we strongly suggest you go. We know that we will be back someday…sooner rather than later.

No, That Isn’t Mike. We Just Like This Picture Because It Looks Photoshopped. We Swear It’s Not.

No, That Isn’t Mike. We Just Like This Picture Because It Looks Photoshopped. We Swear It’s Not.

Police Boat on a Mission.

Police Boat on a Mission.

Chinese New Year Celebration Outside the Maritime Museum.

Chinese New Year Celebration Outside the Maritime Museum.

See You Soon, Sydney.

See You Soon, Sydney.

The second leg of our Australian sojourn involved seeing people we really like to see. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would find such good friends three and a half years ago. We are proud to say that Kiwi Mike and Kylie (and now little man Henry) are our mates. Tons of fun was had by all, and we couldn’t get enough of Henry. You probably couldn’t tell, right? We hope to see this lovely family real soon, and we thank them again for their hospitality, television, and WiFi. Since we hardly posted any pictures of Henry, we figured we should introduce the world to his cuteness:

Little Man Hank.

Little Man Hank.

No, We Weren’t There for Christmas. This Picture Was Hanging on Kiwi Mike and Kylie’s Fridge, And We Love It.

No, We Weren’t There for Christmas. This Picture Was Hanging on Kiwi Mike and Kylie’s Fridge, And We Love It.

In a Trance with Sophie.

In a Trance with Sophie.

We Stole This Child. Don’t Tell.

We Stole This Child. Don’t Tell.

Official Self-Portrait.

Official Portrait.

One reminder: vote vote vote for Henry. Click here to learn about his studly glamour shot, or click here to be taken directly to the voting page. Share the link. Tell your friends. The contest ends in a few days, so vote now…or we won’t be friends with you anymore.

Mike: Katie A in Australia

I go from not writing one of these posts in a month to writing two in a couple days. I’m honored. Flying pigs have already visited Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand. When we went to Sydney back in January, we made a stop at the Olympic Park. Across from the cauldron and playground was a skate park. While a Winter Olympics site would have been perfect for a flying pig, I figured that a Summer Olympics park would work too. When I saw the skate park, I knew that this had to be where the pig would make its home. Warning: the following pictures are crappy. The sun was in a horrible place, and it was hard to get the pig and the skaters in a decent shot:

Spectating Pig.

Spectating Pig.

Closer. This Guy Got Slightly Creased. Sorry.

Closer. This Guy Got Slightly Creased. Sorry.

We have a feeling that this pig will stay here for a while. The main entrance to the skate park was on the opposite side, and there wasn’t a ton of foot traffic on the day we went. Those skater hooligans wouldn’t dare to rip off a sticker, would they?

One Night in Sydney

After a fantastic two weeks navigating windy roads and waving to sheep, it was time to leave the beauty of New Zealand behind. Our super-cheap flight back to the States left from Sydney, so we planned one last night there. The only downside: our flight from Christchurch to Sydney left at 7:45am…which meant we had to wake up at 5:15am to make sure we had enough time to drive to the airport, drop the car off, and check in for an international flight. All went smoothly, but we were super tired when we landed after a three-hour flight.

So where did we lay our heads, you ask? Nowhere big…just the Four Seasons overlooking Circular Quay in Sydney. We kept debating where to stay in Sydney for just one night, and Mike realized he had enough credit card points to book a fancy hotel:

We Make Ourselves at Home Quite Quickly.

We Make Ourselves at Home Quite Quickly. Classy.

View from the Room. Kinda Cool Watching Traffic on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

View from the Room. Kinda Cool Watching Traffic on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Slightly different than trying to drown out the sounds of a snorer in a hostel dorm room, yeah? Truth be told, however, we expected fancy extravagance from the hotel, and it was…just okay. The lobby and room were both fine but nothing special.

Our plan for that day was to sit by the pool and then nap. (We woke up super early. Don’t judge.) The sky was quite overcast, so we only sat by the pool for a bit. The nap came earlier (and lasted longer) than expected. We wandered around for a bit, grabbed burgers and fried pickles, and wandered around some more:

Bridge. Cruise Ship. Both Massive.

Bridge. Cruise Ship. Both Massive.

Amazing Sky.

Amazing Sky.

Because of the late lunch, we split chicken schnitzel parmigiana for dinner from the same pub where we watched some of the Super Bowl. Dessert was a huge lemon meringue pie slice. Long story short: food was the priority that day in Sydney.

After a great night’s sleep in an overly big king-size bed, the next day’s plan was to sit by the pool before leaving for the airport that afternoon. The weather, however, did not cooperate. Not much sun was spotted, and it drizzled for a bit. Not exactly the last day in Sydney we expected… We wandered, shopped for groceries, and grabbed some Japanese noodles for lunch. We also worked in some time for a photo shoot by the Opera House:

Mike Contemplating Life at the Opera House.

Mike Contemplating Life at the Opera House.

Textured.

Textured.

Hanna Lovin' Life.

Hanna Lovin’ Life.

Before we knew it, our time in Australia had to come to a close. We left for the airport around 3pm and tried to mentally prepare for our nine-and-a-half hour flight to Honolulu.

Sydney from the Airport. Last Photo Taken in Oz.

Sydney from the Airport. Last Photo Taken in Oz.

So Random

We chuckle at anything Chris Lilley does. If you haven’t seen the TV show Summer Heights High, check it out. He perfectly captures Aussie teen girls. Though we have been in Oz for almost three weeks, we still laugh every time when we hear a gaggle of teen girls chattering away.

In the spirit of Ja’mie, enjoy this collection of Sydney photos and stories that are so random:

-On one semi-rainy day, we decided to check out The Star Casino. We were carded at the door by a jolly Aussie bouncer, and he asked whether it would be a compliment if he asked our ages. We both smiled, laughed, and pulled out our passports. This guy was shocked (shocked!) that Mike was American. Mike gave the guy a quizzical look, and the guy explained that he thought Mike was an Aussie. Clearly.

Opera House Up Close.

Opera House Up Close.

-We had heard about how good the Glebe Markets were. Since we were staying right by them, we wandered over there on a Saturday. For some inexplicable reason, we thought it was a food market. Nope. Instead it was a massive garage sale. Some of the stuff was new and not that expensive, but a lot of stuff was just junk. Hanna was pissed at the prices of the food that was on offer: $5 lemonade!

Git Yer Crap Here!

Git Yer Crap Here!

-On a Saturday night, we got off a ferry in Darling Harbour. Obviously this is where young people come for a big night out. We saw no less than ten bachelor and bachelorette parties. Aussie women take their hen nights very seriously: we watched one raucous group of fifteen women for about twenty minutes before they boarded their booze cruise. They all wore hot pink and black, and they had a special friend along with them. This special friend had a tendency to attack random passersby and provided a good chuckle to all.

Attack.

Attack.

-When we came to Australia on our last trip, we thoroughly enjoyed cheap ice cream cones at McDonald’s. We seem to remember that each cone was fifty cents, so imagine our shock when we discovered that the current price is thirty cents! THIRTY CENTS.  Needless to say, many a cone was consumed.

If Cones Are So Cheap, Why Are McFlurries Much Pricier?

If Cones Are So Cheap, Why Are McFlurries Much Pricier?

Now for your viewing pleasure, more random pictures:

Sailboat.

Sailboat.

Our View During a Reading Session in the Botanic Gardens.

Our View During a Reading Session in the Botanic Gardens.

Cruisin'.

Cruisin’.

We Rented a Studio Apartment in Sydney. Some of the Walls Were Chalkboards And Had Inspirational Quotes. We'd Bust Out a Random Quote From Time to Time.

We Rented a Studio Apartment in Sydney. Some of the Walls Were Covered in Chalkboards And Had Inspirational Quotes. We’d Bust Out a Random Quote From Time to Time. Hey Guys? “Dare to Live the Poetry.”

Bridge.

Bridge.

Koala.

Koala.

Bondi

Our last couple days in Sydney were overcast and rainy, but that didn’t stop us from heading to Bondi Beach. It was probably better that Mr. Sun wasn’t rearing his ugly mug too much as we were both slightly sunburned from a day spent reading in the park. After a bus-train-bus combo, we arrived at Bondi:

Empty Beach.

Pretty Empty Beach.

The amount of people in the water and on the sand is a bit different than when we visited three years ago, yeah? As it was kinda chilly and the current looked strong, Hanna stayed at this vantage point. She just didn’t feel like getting covered in windblown sand.

Mike went down to investigate. There were maybe fifteen people in the water (including four or five surfers). The water was chilly but definitely not freezing. He remembers it being colder last time.

Clearly the Only Reason People Weren't Swimming.

Clearly the Only Reason People Weren’t Swimming.

Brave Souls.

Brave Souls.

Bonus Points if You Can Spot Hanna.

Bonus Points if You Can Spot Hanna.

Volley.

Volley.

We were very intrigued by a pool (which we remember from last time) on one end of the beach. Ocean waves came crashing over the rocks onto the swimmers, and the waves seemed particularly strong that day:

Calm.

Calm.

Not Calm. Note the Top Edge.

Not Calm. Note the Top Edge.

We aren’t too sure how swimmers don’t get battered around. There were signs advertising kids’ swimming lessons. Uh, we’ll pass.

After enjoying the chilly beach for a bit, we ambled down a coastal walkway that leads to more beaches. Million dollar views:

Moving Here.

Moving Here.

The Icy Blue Water in the Middle Was Beautiful.

The Icy Blue Water in the Middle Was Beautiful.

We had planned to spend the whole day on the beach, but the weather just didn’t cooperate. We know, we know: we have it warmer than cold winter now, but it truly was chilly. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering through shops in Bondi Junction, and we plopped our asses on the curb in front of the Apple Store to score some free WiFi. Pure class.

Look, We Are Semi-Tan!

Look, We Are Semi-Tan!

The Bridge

We already had a grand adventure by exploring the bowels of Sydney Harbour Bridge on our last trip, so we decided to be even braver and…simply walk straight across the bridge this time around. Crazy, huh?

Without consulting a map, we wandered over to where we thought the stairs to the bridge’s pedestrian lane were. We walked…and walked….and walked until we got to the water without finding the entrance.

It Doesn't Help When You Are Directly Under the Bridge.

It Doesn’t Help When You Are Directly Under the Bridge. Note Luna Park on the Left.

We thought we were going crazy because we were sure we knew where the entrance was. Admitting defeat, we hauled out the map and located the beginning to our journey. No gray unitards or harnesses were worn this time around, but Mike definitely held on to his hat.

Looks Like Prison, No?

Looks Like Prison, No?

Different View Than Last Time.

Different View Than Last Time.

View from the Bridge.

View from the Bridge.

The bridge is about three-fourths of a mile long and does not slope up that much. (The Brooklyn Bridge is about a half mile longer and steeper, and it’s definitely a lot more crowded.) The sun was beating down, so we were happy that our journey came to an end.

You’ve waited for it…more bridge pictures!

Finally Across to the Other Side.

Finally Across to the Other Side.

Opera House Peekin' Out.

Opera House Peekin’ Out to Say Hello.

BridgeClimbers.

BridgeClimbers.

Luna Park and the Bridge.

Luna Park and the Bridge.