I honestly thought going to Australia was wayyy out of my reach, after all it is half-way around the world. For my 25th birthday my mom gifted me with a trip to Australia, so we went for her birthday instead, but still her treat lol. I cannot believe I made it to the “Land Down Under” but I made it, much sooner than I expected. That just goes to show that I need to stop doubting and just have faith it will all work out-no matter what it is. Now I just know that where ever I want to go, I will.
Visiting Australia was nothing short of amazing. We came from all different places-NY, Florida and Arizona to converge on LAX airport to get there. We all traveled first class style for almost 24hrs ! An entire day. We left on Sunday (Due to time zone changes) and arrived in Australia on Tuesday. So we lost a day, but it was well worth it when you’re traveling 1st Class.
Australia’s landscape reminds me a lot of L.A actually. The beach, the sun, the gorgeous people.
We stayed in the Coogee Beach neighborhood, at the top of the hill, where we could see the beach, there were bars, outdoor cafes, restaurants and gift shops to buy souvenirs. It was a very laid back, beachy, family oriented neighborhood with lots a baby carriages. When we arrived, we quickly dropped off our bags, showered and went on our adventures.
Day 1 in Sydney
First we were looking for a specific landmark (I forgot which one), but ended up bumping into the Sydney Botanical Garden, which was extremely gorgeous and free of charge. Walking though the gardens, we actually ended up at the steps of the famous Sydney Opera House. There we saw many other tourist who were fascinated by the architecture. We had a simple fun filled first day.
After walking every where that our feet could’ve possibly taken us, we stopped and ate at a Churrascaria. A Churrascaria is a Portugal style of meat eating, I thought of it as an all you can eat buffet. This wasn’t like the typical buffet style all you can eat, waitresses would go around to every table with a variety of different types of meats. They give you a small card to flip, one side being green, which indicated that you wanted more food, and the other side was red which meant that you wanted a break. When I tell you you couldn’t even put your fork down before they came with something new to put on your plate, they were coming and going like a New York City minute. That was my first time dining at a place like that, they had chicken heart, lamb chops, pork, beef, any meat you can possibly think of. They also had fried banana, French fries, and salad. It was 35(AUD) per person which is equivalent to 43USD. Yes Australia was a little pricey, but I must say everyone seemed well off out there.
Every morning my grandpa made us all breakfast. We sat at the dinner table ate and talked for a bit before it was time to go. We decided to go to the Taronga Zoo where we saw Kangaroos and Koala bears. The tour guide warned us not to get to close and touch them while they were resting because their reaction wouldn’t be pleasant. Only if the Kangaroos stepped off where they were resting, then it was safe to touch them. Especially if you had food to feed them. We also seen gorillas, elephants, giraffes, all types of exotic animals.
After seeing all the exotic animals at the zoo , we went to walk to the Sydney Harbor. During the night the Harbor was absolutely stunning. All the lights, and the sound of the water, and the diversity of the city made my heart smile. The people of Sydney were so peaceful and welcoming. We walked to Sydney’s Chinatown in search of this famous noodle spot that my mom heard so much about. The food was amazing, and they filled the plate to capacity. The restaurant was pretty interesting, it was like a library and a restaurant all in one. SB: Does every country have a Chinatown?
On the 3rd day we decided to part ways from Coogee which was more of the suburban area and get a little more down with the nitty gritty. We heard Redfern was the place to go to learn more about the native people. Now coming from Brooklyn, when you hear nitty gritty you already know what to expect, but Redfern wasn’t exactly what I expected.
Before going to Australia I did some research on the aboriginal culture. I never heard about them until my mom told me. They were the first people to migrate out of Africa and go to Europe and Asia and was there 24,000 years before the Europeans. Once she told me about them, I was extremely interested to know more.
So we walked the streets of Redfern for a bit, went by a place formerly know as “The Block”, visited some shops and I so happened to stumble upon this beautiful mural that read “Aboriginal”. We spotted a place called NCIE that had “Employment opportunities jobs for aboriginals” so my mom and I was going back and forth to see which one of us would go ask them questions. Of course I was forced to do so. I didn’t want to offend anyone or make anyone seem like we looked down on them because of what society perceived them to be, so I was very careful of what I said and asked. Surprisingly they didn’t take offense for us wanting to know more about their culture. They were actually very excited to share information with us. We asked questions like…What is the appropriate word to call native people? they said Blackfella-even though they didn’t all look black. They said that Aboriginals is not judged by skin color but by your ancestry. Funny thing, just like certain words in America, they won’t take offense to it if you are of the same ethnicity. We were invited to the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence to learn more about the culture and get up close and personal with more people.
Day 4 was very fun filled. We woke up at 5am to meet at the Indigenous Center. What is on the internet and how the Aboriginals are depicted was nothing like what I saw in person. They were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And as it was pointed out to us the native people are just like everyone, they have families, they go to University, they have jobs. “We are not what you see on TV, those are pure-bred mountain people who live deep in to the inlands”, I was kinda embarrassed that I thought that they were different. At the center, kids and people of all races and backgrounds come in to kick start their day. They were so welcoming to my family and I, we did some exercise routines, we did a little boxing, we watch some of the younger generations embrace where their parents came from, we learned how to say “welcome” in the Yora language and we also had breakfast. For breakfast we had toast with Vegemite and bananas. Now as far as the vegemite … lets just say that is an acquired taste and was a once in a life time tasting for me lol. I will always be opened to taste and try new things at least once.
After pump starting our day we went to have brunch and coffee. I am not a fan coffee, but my mom says that Australia is known for their great tasting coffee. And like I mention earlier, I am opened to always try. I had a French vanilla latte with a scoop of ice cream inside. It pretty much tasted like any other coffee I’ve tried before, but the ice cream inside was different.
From brunch we went to Darling Harbor, which reminded me a lot of Manhattan. There were murals advocating diversity of all cultures, and a life size chess board game in the middle of the area. From Darling we walked about 20 minutes to Sydney’s Fish Market, and when I tell you there were aaallll types of variety of fish and different styles of how they made them. I was in seafood heaven. The place was jammed pack. There were so many different places to eat it was so hard for us to choose. It literally took us over a half a hour to figure it out, but when we did we were all satisfied and full.
Finally ! from the seafood market, Uncle Shane, as he is known, was kind enough to set us up with his buddy so that we could cruise through the Sydney Harbor. The same Harbor Nemo was lost in ! How cool was that !
We boarded the Tribal Warrior and the Captain allowed my brother and I to sail the boat for over an hour!! We cruised around Sydney Harbor on his boat. Then I let my brother and grandfather took over the sail. Day 4 was definitely the highlight of my time in Australia. We did so much and for the very first time. I would’ve never imagined, ME, steering a boat through the Harbor. The view was to die for. I also noticed that everything was pretty close by, so we were able to see the Harbor bridge, the Opera house and the Botanical garden. BEST TRIP EVER!!!
Day 5 was our last official day. We went to Luna Park, which was identical to Coney Island. The rides, the food they sold, the birds ! and it was right next to the water as well. Even though Coogee beach was literally a sight see away from where we stayed, we finally went there on the last day. It was so much to do that we just didn’t have time, but of course we had to make it there before we left. We also went to Bondi beach. Bondi beach was way more crowded, definitely reminded me of a Venice beach In California. There was a skate board park, artist painting, tons of shops, and beautiful murals along the wall of the entire beach front.
Coogee BeachThe murals On Bondi Beach
Night Life in Sydney
Unfortunately my brother and I were unable to really enjoy the nightlife in Sydney. After 12am they stop letting people in majority of their clubs. Luckily we bumped into 2 people and they were looking for something to do as well. They told us about a bar called Strawberry Hill that was still letting people in so we split a cab there. It was pretty cool but nothing like what the other club seemed like. Strawberry Hill was like a calm lounge and the music wasn’t all that great either. we found out that one of them were moving to California to work in the corporate field with United airline.
“This is the place of the Wagyu people, they say you are strangers today, but not tomorrow” – Kyeema