In the first instalment of the Sydney blog, I updated you all regarding my first few months in Sydney up until Christmas and the start of the new year. In this half, I shall take us from the start of January to the present. Finally bringing you all up to date after slacking behind for the last 6 months or so. I’ll then probably look ahead to the future although that all seems a little futile right now with everything that’s going on…
The first notable outing of 2020 came when Fred, Ollie, Ryan and I went for a round of golf at Bondi Golf club. Unsurprisingly we had to wait bloody ages for Ollie to arrive, prompt as ever Mr Rablin. The added warm-up time however certainly didn’t offer any benefits to our game as straight off the first tee Fred nearly killed 3 lads teeing off on the second hole. Whereas my effort was equally as poor, getting more of the ground than the ball. Ryan and Ollie, on the other hand, got off to a pretty decent start. After sinking a few beers, as well as putts, come the 3rd tee everyone had got their eye in a little (apart from Fred who was awful the whole round). The course was set right on the cliff edge and offered spectacular views of Bondi beach, the open ocean and off into the city, bar far the most scenic course I’ve ever played on. Although admittedly I could probably count the number of golf courses I have played on one hand. Personal highlight for the day had to be on the 7th hole where I’ve chipped in to hole for a par 3, about 5 m off the green and a further 10 m to the hole, something I’ll probably never do again. While for Fred it must have been winning $100 off Ryan who stupidly claimed on the 9th hole – if you make this put, ill give you 50 bucks, before then upping the ante to 100 as Fred took the putt about 15m away from the hole. Low and behold having hit every shot that day anything but straight, Fred sunk the putt and left Ryan speechless and $100 bucks out of pocket. I think Fred’s still waiting on his winning to this day though. Final standings for the day’s play were Ryan taking 1st, followed by myself, Ollie and then Fred.
Sticking with the sporting theme the next adventure that was had in Sydney was a 20/20 cricket game at the SCG one evening after work. Lisa, Fred, Ollie Ryan and myself went to watch the Sydney Sixers vs. Melbourne Star which were two of the best teams in the big bash tournament (I think they even ended up playing each other in the final). Now for those of you not so familiar with cricket, the Big Bash Tournament is a 20/20 competition so a much more exciting version of cricket, not the boring test match version that lasts for days. The aim is basically to score as many runs as quickly as possible, so each team just goes out there to slog the ball making it a much more entertaining game. I mean I’m not the biggest cricket fan, but I’ll watch most sport and a game was certainly on my Australia bucket list. As we got to the ground the heavens didn’t look too great and the sky was very grey but regardless, we made it to our seats which were in prime location for balls being hit our way. The game started however after four overs had been played the heavens duly opened and absolutely lashed it down. We quickly legged it for cover inside the stand while dancing along to the 80s music blaring across the PA due to it being an 80’s theme night. This kept us occupied during the rain delay which lasted about 30 minutes. At one point it was raining so hard you couldn’t even see the city skyline in the distance. Fortunately, the clouds quickly cleared and left behind bright blue skies, the ground staff came out removed the covers and we were back underway. Unfortunately, it did mean the game was reduced to 14 overs. Sydney batted first scoring about 130 runs. The highlight of the innings was having a 6 hit directly where we were sitting. Ollie had the chance to catch the ball but made a right mess of it, then complained he had broken his hand plus got abused from everyone around him for the rest of the game that he should have caught it. Melbourne then came out to bat but didn’t really ever look like troubling Sydney who came away comfortable winners in the end. All in all, it was a decent evening out and I’m glad I got to ticket a cricket match off the Aus sport bucket list. Just need to watch some Aussie Rules football now.
Moving away from sport now and onto something a bit more creative one Friday evening in the middle of January Lisa, Fred, Zoe and I went and done some painting. The place was called Cork and Chroma and I had seen it advertised on the internet and peoples Instagram and I thought it would make a decent double date kind of thing so asked everyone if they would be up for it. The basic premise behind it was that you go along to this art studio and are then instructed/guided through how to paint a picture. The added benefit which I think was the main draw for us all was that it was bring you own booze. We therefore stocked up on about 8 bottles of wine and headed to the gallery to get our Picasso on. The masterpiece we had to recreate was Sydney Skyline at night and I think we all done a pretty decent job. A lady was leading the class giving you the basics of what to do but you were also left to get creative with it and kind of do what you wanted. There were no prizes and no judging, although apparently according to some random lady at the end, mine was the worst out of all 4 of us. If you want my opinion I think she’d probably over done it on the wine as I thought mine was great! Don’t get me wrong I’m no artist but it wasn’t that bad. Overall though it was a right laugh and a great night out, after painting we headed out for a few more drinks, not that they were needed and then called it a night.
On another sunny summer’s day in late January Lisa, Fred and I made the journey to Palm Beach, which is like as north of Sydney as you can get. It took a good two hours on public transport to get there but was certainly worth it. Palm Beach is also where they film Home & Away for anyone interest and I think you can even tour the set and stuff if interested. We also met up with Chris who lives close by and had a day exploring the area. First, we hiked up to the Lighthouse viewpoint, where everyone gets the same infamous photo looking back on beach. Although it’s not hard to see why the view is unreal. After the hike up and back down, we were all dripping with sweat what with it being one of the hottest days of the summer so had a quick dip in the sea. We then all jumped in Chris yut (I laid down in the back of it) for the short 5-minute drive back into town where we had fish and chips for lunch. Chris then suggested that we get the ferry over to one of the bays in the national park as there is a little lagoon where you can paddleboard. The ferry ride over was only about 15 minutes but on the way, we saw 100’s of jellyfish floating in the water. Thankfully the little lagoon was sealed off from the sea by a stinger net, but we still saw a few floating around which made us all a little uneasy. While at the lagoon Fred, Chris and I hired some stand-up paddleboards which we used to explore the whole lagoon. The guy we rented them off offered some sound advice to watch out for jellyfish and also said that some guy had seen a brown snake swimming in the water so be careful of that as well. Buzzing, exactly what you want to hear, not only are there jellyfish but also one of the worlds most deadly snakes might also be taking a dip with you. We were all very cautious of not falling off the paddleboard, and on numerous occasions one of us would shriek out WTF is that, before realising it was just a stick of bit of seagrass. Thankfully we all return to shore safely if not a little sunburnt.
In the middle of February, we had all planned to spend the weekend in Jervis Bay, we had hired a few cars and a big Air B&B to spend the weekend out the city and enjoy some quality beach time. There were 10 of us in total – Chris, Ollie, Fred, Ryan, Lisa, Lou, Zoe, Jade, Chelsea and me who made the journey down from the city to Jervis bay on one Friday evening. The drive down was straight forward and took around 3 hours. Chris and Ollie were the first to arrive so set up Chris’s DJ decks downstairs in the basement ready for us to arrive. The rest of us turned up around 8:30 pm had a quick dominos then got straight on the booze – we ended up partying downstairs in the basement till around 12 / 1 when we called it a night not wanting to be too worse for wear the following day. Saturday morning came around and Chris, Zoe, Jade and I were the first to wake. We decided to drive to the nearby Grenfell beach for a little morning stroll, before the rest of the house rose from their slumber. Once back at the house we cooked up some breakfast before heading out to another beach for most of the day. The weather wasn’t amazing being a bit overcast but once we arrived at the beach it had brightened up a little. The girls chilled out on the sand while the lads went out surfing. Ollie being the pro was off out of sight with the big boys while the rest of us mucked around in the mushy white-water waves. To be honest I really enjoyed surfing for a good few hours. In the past when I’ve tried it, I haven’t been too keen on it, thinking its all a lot of effort for not much reward. Having to constantly battle the waves all for 10 seconds or so of standing up on the board. But this time I found myself wanting to stay out. The waves were perfect for beginners and I manage to catch a few even on Chris’s shortboard, which is supposedly meant to be harder. Now don’t get me wrong I’m far from a pro, but as the video shows, the level 3 surf lesson we had during the road trip paid off and I did us level 3 surfers proud. Ollie may be out with the big boys but still can’t compete with Fred, Zoe and myself having earnt our level 3 qualifications.
After spending the morning at the beach, we headed to Hyams beach, which is like the famous white sandy beach you see if googling Jarvis Bay. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as picture-perfect as it could be as the sky was again rather overcast and the sea very rough, dumping some absolute monster waves.
We chilled here for a few hours before heading back to the Air B&B for everyone to take a nap or chill out. Saturday evening, we cooked up a big family feast on the outside BBQ, before being eaten alive by mosquitos and heading back down into the rave cave. Tonight was a lot more subdued than the previous, but Fred and Ollie certainly provided the entertainment on the DJ decks while the rest of us sat pissing ourselves at the pair of them. Everyone woke up on Sunday feeling a lot more refreshed and after some breakfast, we all headed down to Grenfell beach some final beach time before heading home. To start the weather was perfect and the sea so refreshing but soon the clouds rolled in and eventually started to rain. Forcing us back to the Air B&B to clean up the place, shower and get ready to head home. Before doing so we stopped in one of the nearby towns for a spot of lunch. Here Ollie decided to order some oysters having never tired one. He sunk them back easily as did Lou who tired one. Same can’t be said for me, as having attempted to swallow one, gagged instantly and thought it best to spit back out, rather than be sick over the whole table. In all honesty, it wasn’t the taste that was bad and the texture wasn’t too horrendous either. I don’t know I think I was just full but knew if I swallowed it, it would be coming straight back up. Maybe another time I guess. After eating lunch, we made the journey back to Sydney stopping off just over halfway at Kiama blowhole to break up the drive which as the name suggest is just a big hole in a cliff where the sea surges through and makes a massive blowhole. Pretty cool though. Overall it was a really good weekend out of the city and made me realise I’d much prefer to live somewhere like that as opposed to in a big city. It was also nice to spend time with everyone as before long people would all be going separate ways (or so we thought at the time). The weather could have certainly been better, but it didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the weekend well spent.
The final notable adventure before the world went into lockdown was a weekend away Zoe and I had for my birthday. This time instead of heading south as we did for Jarvis Bay we drove 3 hours north to Nelsons Bay. Once again, we booked an Air B&B in Salamander bay and it was a beautiful little bungalow at the back of a lovely lady’s house. We arrived at about 6 pm having left work a little early. We quickly headed up to Gan Gan lookout to catch any kind of sunset, but the weather was pretty overcast so didn’t offer much. The view was still amazing though, offering a panoramic view of Nelson Bay. We actually returned the next day when the weather was far better and were greeted with even better scenery. That evening Zoe cooked Fajitas (needs to be in writing as its most certainly a first, Zoe cooking) which were lovely, and we had a chilled one in seeing as we would be up early the next day for quad biking. The following morning we woke up and drove to the nearby Stockton sand dunes for a quad bike tour on the dunes.
The weather was perfect with clear blue skies. The tour group was comprised of Zoe and me and another couple plus two guides. Which meant Zoe , me and one of the guides just went off by ourselves which was class. Our tour guide was a young American guy from like Texas or somewhere and was a right laugh. We had a quick safety briefing and then saddled up on our quads ready to zoom around on the dunes. We spent about 40 minutes speeding / drifting around on the dunes which was such great fun. Before stopping for a 10-minute break or so right on the beach before having a more relaxing ride back along the shore and then heading back into the dunes for some final fun. We were on the quad bikes for around an hour to an hour and a half and it was an amazing experience. We both had such a good time. Not a bad way to start a birthday weekend.
After the sand dunes, we headed back to the Air B&B for some lunch before heading to Shoal Bay to chill out for a few hours on the beach. While laid there we even spotted some dolphins just off the beach, which was a good sign seeing as we would be going on a dolphin tour later in the day. At one point I was also paddling in the shallows and saw what I thought was some crazy rock or something. I went down to pick it up but as I got closer released it was a massive crab, not going to lie gave me a heart attack, but luckily it didn’t nip me. After the beach we headed to the town of Nelsons bay where we grabbed an ice cream each which was delicious before setting off on our dolphin cruise around Nelsons Bay. The boat was massive but there weren’t that many people on it. We grabbed a few drinks and headed up to the top deck in search of dolphins. It took a little while for any dolphins to surface but in the end, we saw loads of them as well as having a scenic boat tour around the bay stopping at a few different headlands. Back on dry land we were going to head out for some dinner but decided neither of us was that hungry so instead drove back to the Air B&B and went for a stroll along Salamander beach. It was so peaceful and tranquil at sunset and barely a soul was about.
We also wished we could buy any number of the houses that looked out onto the bay and had the beach literally on their back doorstep. Once again, we saw some dolphins out in the bay and a few pelicans came along too. After the evening stroll, we went to get fish and chips from the nearby chip shop before watching a film back at the bungalow. Sunday morning and my birthday, I unwrapped some presents from Zo, (thank you, you shouldn’t have) and had breakfast. We cleaned up a little and packed our stuff into the car as we wouldn’t be coming back. We then headed for Tomaree Headland where there was a 30-minute hike up to a viewpoint at the very head of Nelsons Bay. Again, the weather was perfect, and the morning exercise did us both some good. The views on the way up provided a sneak glimpses of what was in store at the top and it most certainly didn’t disappoint.
The panoramic views from the headland were stunning. We both could have sat up there all day, however we had a few other places we wanted to explore. First, we headed down to the beach below to have a little paddle in the sea. Before moving onto the next bay over and to Fingal beach which was almost deserted. We chilled here by some smaller sand dunes this time, before heading back into town to grab a sandwich and another ice cream from the same shop as the previous day. They were that good we had to go back twice. Finally, we made one last stop at One Mile beach, no prizes for guessing the length of it. Here we soaked up some final rays and I had a birthday dip in the sea before we made the journey back to Sydney. It was a fantastic weekend and an amazing way to celebrate my 24th Birthday! Thanks Zoe for coming along, being great company and ensuring I had the best time. I also realised I have now spent my last 4 birthdays in 4 different countries which isn’t a bad statistic. Who knows where I shall spend my 25th birthday but if its as good as my last few birthdays in Germany, the UK, the Philippines and Australia I’m in for another cracker.
And with that we are finally up to date. I should now have left my job here in Sydney on the 3rd of April and touched down in Melbourne for two weeks to explore. I was then due to fly to Queenstown, New Zealand on the 23rd of April in preparation to complete a ski season out there. However, with everything going on in the world with travel bans, borders closing, flights being cancelled that is no longer happening. My flight to NZ was cancelled a few weeks ago along with them shutting their borders so right now I have no plans. I can’t complain though, quite frankly I’m one of the lucky ones. My job in Sydney is secure and we are working from home. I’m still earning money and saving more than ever seeing as I can’t spend it on anything. I have a roof over my head and I’m safe. I don’t have to risk my life every day going to work like our hero health care professionals and front line staff. I simply must stay at my house. Don’t get me wrong I was very much ready to leave Sydney and so looking forward to my next adventures in New Zealand. But everyone has had things cancelled and are no longer able to do what they planned, its not just me. For the time being it seems then that I shall be applying for my second-year visa to stay in Aus a little longer and will continue to wait out the storm here in Sydney. I don’t think too far into the future now, which is probably a good thing. I think I’ve always needed to tell myself to live in the moment more and be a bit more present instead of thinking about the next thing. This whole situation has provided a reset button for all of us and a time to reflect on things that maybe we haven’t been able to do until now. I still have plans to travel and many places I’ve yet to tick off my list. But for now, I’m content living day by day and waiting for this storm to pass, which it will. I wish all my family and friends all the very best in these difficult times and once again want to offer my greatest appreciation to all those essential workers out there doing their bit for us all! Thank you all so much for everything you are doing all around the world!
For the time being it seems Everitts Adventures is on pause for a little while (although life is one big adventure a day at a time) but I’ve no doubt when they kick off again, they shall be better than ever. I’ll be sure to document them as best I can. Thank you as well to everyone who keeps up with blog, read it, post comments and feedback I read it all. It means the world to me knowing people actually read them and enjoy it. So thank you all so much for the continued support!
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars”