Roam Flashback: Sydney, Australia

Sydney Bridge

Since Jeff and I haven’t traveled to any new places, we thought it would be fun to write about Australia. I went to Australia in February 2010, after I had known Jeff for 6 months. He went to Sydney and worked for one month, and then was going to travel for the next month. He invited me along for the travelling bit, which in order to accept I had to quit my current job. I was working for a research laboratory and was just barely paying the bills, with no money saved up. It was an act of faith to decide to quit the job, and assume I could find something better when I came back, and go on this trip with a guy who I had only known for a short while. I’m glad I made this decision, it was an amazing trip.

Before Australia, I had never flown farther than Florida, and I had never left North America. I think going to Australia was a good first long distance adventure. For one, they spoke English, which makes things much easier, and then the places and animals you see are unlike anywhere else in the world.

I arrived in the morning and was met by Jeff in the airport. After dropping off our bags, we went to Manly Beach, where we watched the waves crash against the sand while we threw the disc around. I still hadn’t really comprehended that I was in Australia, and that I traveled half of the world to be there. I spent the day in a sort of daze, maybe from the jetlag, but everything just seemed like it could be taken away at any moment. Someone would pop out and say “Ha, just kidding, your in California.”

While at the beach, Jeff and I shared a plate of kangaroo fajitas, which was the first unique meat I can remember¬†eating at the time. It is very similar to beef, but seemed to be more juicy. We stayed at the beach all day and then took a ferry back to the main part of Sydney. We passed the Sydney Opera house which was lit up in the night sky. I tried to take photos but the boat was moving too much. By then my jetlag was attacking, so I dragged my tired feet home and passed out. I woke up slowly, half-dreaming that I could hear a baby crying from far away, and all I wanted was for it to shut up. Turns out that it wasn’t the wails of a baby I was hearing, but rather the buzzing of mosquitoes. (I know that those sounds are entirely different, but I was half asleep so give me some slack). I had 32 mosquito bites from the night. Jeff on the other hand, had 2.

The next day Jeff had to work, so I explored the city on my own. I was really anxious, I had never been in a city I didn’t know on my own before. I didn’t know where I was going, and I felt like everyone knew I didn’t know what I was doing. I wandered downtown Sydney by myself, until I found the Royal Botanical Gardens, and then my anxiety turned into sheer excitement. Inside the garden are animals unlike any that we have in Seattle.

For one, there are these long-beaked birds that are all over:

White bird: Australian White Ibis, Grey Bird: Noisy Miner

Then I found a tree that was full of these things, that from afar looked like nests of a sort:

But actually they are the largest bat species in the world, Flying Foxes:

Wingspan can be 1.5 meters

Then I came across the Sydney Opera House, which I always thought would be made of canvas, but, as it turns out, it is not. After the opera house, I heard a flock of noisy and annoying birds, and once I looked around, I discovered that in Australia, cockatoos fly around like crows. I guess exotic pets are not exotic everywhere… or pets.

Those white birds are Cockatoos

And since the cockatoo’s didn’t impress me enough, there was a tree full of these little guys:

Rainbow Lorikeets

Not everything in the gardens was so friendly though. Along with the pretty birds, Australia has some of the biggest spiders I’d ever seen, these ones were considered small, but their bodies were bigger than my thumbnail.


After he finished working, Jeff and I went to visit my cousin. I had met him in Seattle when I was younger and he was traveling the world, but now he was settled in Sydney with his wife and daughter. It was another long day, and we were going to be on the move again early the next morning. We had a 7 am flight to Melbourne. We had one month to see Australia, and we were going for it.

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