I was standing in line to board my flight from San Fran to Sydney, full of emotion and eagerly anticipating what was ahead. I had already had two previous connecting flights and I was ready to sleep on this fifteen hour leg. My dad flew to San Fran with me before taking off on a business trip so he stood beside me until it was time to board. That was one of the hardest goodbyes ever, let me tell you! I said goodbye to my brother a few days prior because he had to head back to college. I said goodbye to my mom and sister before the first leg. So the goodbyes were slowly eating at me leading up to this last leg. I tried really hard to hold back the tears but I was crying as soon as we hugged for the last time. All alone in a line of people who were staring at me, probably wondering what on earth an 18 year old girl was doing flying to Sydney all by herself. I can handle it. I promise.
Thankfully, after about 11 hours of sleep on a 15 hour flight (I didn’t watch a single movie haha), I was warmly embraced by the family I’m blessed with the opportunity of living with. YAY hugs.
We took a ride through the Northern Beaches and stopped for a bit at Palm Beach, which is where this is. Now, you have to remember that I had just come from Colorado in December. That means snow, not sand. The sand was literally burning my feet and I had to sprint from where I took this photo into the sand. You know when you use a pan on the stove and then immediately run water through it and it sizzles and screams? That is exactly what happened to my feet…..tsss. PS I’m pretty sure that’s really bad for your pans.
Then we headed on over to my favorite beach evvvaaa, Whale Beach. It’s so quiet and peaceful and it sits right below this little cafe and segment of shops. It’s your typical beach town vibe and I was so vibin’ with it. I took a picture of this car (honestly don’t even know what it is) because it totally fit in with all of those beachy 1950’s vibes.
So here I am, vibin’ with the beach town and trying to soak up all the sunshine I can. This beach is also super flat which would be great for some ultimate frisbee, tossing the football around, or whatever else tickles your fancy. In this moment I felt so blessed by God’s hand in my life that led me to where I was. Praise Jesus, y’all.
This is my beloved, very rainy, Avalon Beach. I live closest to this beach and it’s without a doubt my most frequented beach, although nothing will replace Whale Beach. Everything is in close vicinity to the town’s center here. I live a two minute walk away. You have their main street (even though no town in Australia has a “Main Street”, apparently) about 37 seconds away from the beach. My church is about 45 seconds away from the beach, depending on traffic of course. You’re walking distance from the grocery store, my favorite sushi shop, Anytime Fitness, the only cafe with wifi, and the flower shop. It’s a lovely little strip actually. It’s pretty short and there’s not a ton of shops to look through, but there are quite a few great restaurants to try out and the minimal shops you do have are nice shops. Also, back to that sushi shop, the rolls are $3.50 y’all. It’s my favorite snack because it’s so cheap and so healthy and soo good. Most of the sushi places in Australia are like that.
Here’s my Avalon Beach on a few of the sunnier days. I absolutely love the rain, so the pictures above were actually on some of my favorite weather days, but the sun is good too! I’ve been here to experience what everyone says has been the hottest February and rainiest March in Northern Beaches history. That’s alright. The beach makes February’s 35ºC to 4oºC (95ºF to 104ºF) days a little bit more bearable. Not much, but a little.
For those of you who want to go to Australia but have a pretty tight budget, you will be happy to know that there are hostels pretty much everywhere. There’s a youth hostel right behind my church and I know several people from work who stay there and have no complaints. There is also a guy at work who said he found a hostel in Manly that has apartment rooms, granting him a bit more privacy. I’ve also found quite a few hostels closer to Sydney! You’ve got plenty of options.
And to the city we goooo! I’ve been into the city a few times, but the first time I caught a ride with my friend from Avalon to Manly, then caught the ferry from Manly to Sydney. So easy easy and you can even take the bus to Manly. I highly suggest that route because it allows you to see the city from a different perspective and it’s absolutely beautiful! The other route I took was just hopping on the bus. It stops all the time but it’s about the same time to and from as the ferry option.
If you plan on staying in New South Wales for at least a week, I suggest getting an Opal card. That’s your pass for the bus, ferry, train, light rail…..all of it. Just head over to a convenience store to buy one and top it up (or you can top it up online via card or pay pal) and you’re good to go! Literally so simple and convenient. It also will save you money and dirty looks from the locals trying to get somewhere on time but can’t because you’re paying cash. Avoid the dirty looks and get an Opal card. Trust me, I know.
The first real “meal” I had upon arrival in Australia was a meat pie. They’re kind of like pot pies, except better. I can’t even explain why they’re better to be honest. They’re just that good. Try one. Oliver’s Pies is in Avalon right next to my favorite and frequented pizza joint, Cranzgots. My favorite pizza there is their Mexican pizza which has a big ‘ol pile of guac right in the middle. You will not regret eating that, I promise. So good. I highly suggest that you make the time to try both Oliver’s and Cranzgots if you make your way to the Northern Beaches.
And last but certainly not least, my coffees. I’m planning on doing a whole post about coffee in Australia sometime in the near future, but until then this little preview will have to suffice. Australians take their coffee very seriously and I’m so happy that they do because drinking the coffee here is an experience in itself. The picture above is a cappuccino, which always has cocoa powder dusted on top. The chocolate and coffee combination quickly won my heart over so that’s what I usually get when I grab a coffee. However, if you’re in Australia you absolutely have to get a flat white. I’m not going to try to explain to you why you have to get one because I know that I won’t do it justice. I guess you’ll just have to make a trip to Australia and find out why yourself! As you begin booking flights, I’ll give you a bit more pictures to inspire you.
If you have any questions about where these last eight were taken or anything else, just ask in the comments and I’ll let you know. Australian Adventure Part 3 & 4 to come soon! Until then, start packing your bags.