Happy New Year!

What, it’s April? Whoops. Oh well, I’m getting to the photos now! For the second year in a row I spent New Year’s Eve in a major city. 2011/12 were a major bust in Wellington. How did 2012/13 fare in Sydney?

Much, much better.

Sydney of course is one of the most famous in the world for New Year’s celebrations, as it is one of the first major cities to ring in the new year (Tokyo being another). The Harbour Bridge is iconic as are shots of the harbour being lit up by fireworks. So I was excited to see it first hand. And the weather would cooperate this year.

I went with Tam to dinner with her friends. It was my first time meeting many of them and I had a great time. Lots of tasty homemade food and fun conversation. We also watched the first round of fireworks from their balcony in Pyrmont. Sydney is pretty neat in that they provide two sets of New Year’s fireworks – the first round is at 9pm for the families and youngsters. Pretty great idea!

Around 11pm we started to file out onto the roads and chaos of New Years Eve. People were everywhere, and we weren’t even close to the main celebrations in Circular Quay / Sydney CBD! We were heading to the shores of Pyrmont to stake out a spot where Tam and friends had watched the fireworks in years past.

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Missing the Little Things

Having travelled nearly non-stop for around 16 months, one can get a little travel-weary. Not to mention you start to long for a few things that are pretty standard in a ‘normal’ life – routines/patterns, an income, and a space to call your own. I would find all of these in Sydney.

For routine, being a part-time employee for Kathmandu did mean that my hours would change each week, but even then my manager Karen usually kept some structure to the schedule. Namely, I’d almost always have Monday and Saturday off, I’d always work Sunday (1.8x pay that day!), and I’d average between 20-30 hours of scheduled work. I specify scheduled work here because I’d often get a call asking if I could cover another person’s shift – assuming I wasn’t doing anything, I was happy for the extra hours and money.

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Settling Down

So I had a job…but where was I to live? This was actually more difficult than the job part as it turned out.

Hostels in Australia had definitely lost their lustre for me. Unlike their often small, clean, convivial, warm and enjoyable counterparts in New Zealand, the hostels in Australia tended to be large, dirty, bland experiences filled with drunks, miners or just obnoxious people. Not to mention expensive – room rates in Sydney were exceptionally high, usually well over $30/night for a bed in an 8 or 10 bed room. It wasn’t a great environment to spend time in anymore and one that I was keen to escape in Sydney. So once my training started, my room search began.

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Laying the Foundations for the Months to Come

I’ll be down in Tasmania for the next 3 months, so I’ve got a bit of time to *finally* get caught up with what all happened in Sydney and why I’m now down in the little island state of Tasmania.

So onwards to Sydney! I already chronicled my first week in Sydney through earlier posts here – I was playing the role of tourist at the time. But I thought the city was fantastic and was the first place I’d found in Australia that made me really want to sit down and stay a while. So I started combing through online resources for jobs. Except unlike Melbourne, here I was much more focused. Whereas before I’d apply for pretty much any job opening I thought might hire travelers such as myself – cafes, housekeeping, retail, reception, sales, etc….this time I focused more on an area I might enjoy. Travel and outdoor gear. I applied to a few travel agency positions, at backpacker focused travel shops and several outdoor clothing stores.

While I was wandering around the empty streets of Canberra I received a phonecall. An interview in Sydney with one of the largest outdoor retailers in this part of the world: Kathmandu.

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Darling Harbour Fireworks

One thing Australians seem to love are fireworks. Sydney-siders especially have a propensity to watch things explode. I’m not sure where this comes from. Their original origins as prisoners, convicts, troublemakers? Or they just like blowing stuff up. I for one, can’t blame them, they are pretty darn awesome.

While Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are some of the most well known and famous in the world, that is hardly the only occasion to see a large displace of pyrotechnics. Nearly EVERY Saturday night, a multitude of colour fills the sky above Darling Harbour, adjacent to the CBD/downtown, for 10 or so minutes. It’s quite a sight. Naturally, I wanted to go and find out what the fuss was about.

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Bondi to Coogee with Sculptures by the Sea

Finally got the backend of WordPress running again! Silly update broke something, so took a little longer than I expected…

Anyways, where was I…oh yes, I had arrived in Bondi after a pleasant walk from South Head…but wanted to continue further. I had a tasty mid-afternoon break with fish and chips before continuing south. Here I looked back at Bondi Beach stretching out.

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