One year in AU – what I like about you

Today it has been exactly one year since Man Piece and I hopped on a jet plane and crossed the ditch to live in Sydney, contributing to the terrible “brain drain” of kiwis.

I honestly can’t believe it has been one year – the time has flown by so quickly. I’ve had many ups and downs emotionally in the past year. Turns out leaving your home country can be quite traumatic, even if you are still going to one which is basically the same.

A few months ago I wrote a blog about the things I hated about Australia and I have had this post sitting in my drafts for quite some time – what better time than our one year anniversary in the western island to post it.

Things I like about australia

The pay – it is true that pay in Australia is a lot better than that in NZ. For example, not only have I shopped up large in clothing this year, but I have successfully paid $5000 off my student loan as well. I definitely could not have managed that if I was still on the same salary in NZ. AND I still have some left over in my savings – possibly enough for a trip to the US? Possibly.

I was really enjoying the cooler, more comfortable weather over the “winter” months. It was comfortable, but not cold. Most days sat around 20 degrees and you could feel a bit of a chill at night, but nothing which really sent you running for your winter woolies.

Lots more general things to do. I’ve been to the Sydney Writers’ Festival, done a heap of night photography with Vivid Sydney, escaped to the Blue Mountains for a day (on public transport, no less!) and now there are art installations going up all around the city for Art and About – giant snails anyone?

IMG_20130924_201417

Lots more shops and options – I can actually go to the mall and know shops that stock size 11 shoes. Although a lot of them still stop at 10. When will stores learn woman have large feet and want cheap shoes too?

Food – there are some amazing food options over here, if you know where to go. One of our favourite places is Snag Stand. Also Ribs and Burgers. And Mad Mex (now in Wellington! Yussss). And Dulche Luna. I will seriously miss Dulche Luna when we leave, there is really nothing like it that I know of in NZ. Also The Tea Cosy down at The Rocks which does a mean devonshire tea.

More shows and gigs happen here. Fall Out Boy announced a gig here, and although I didn’t manage to get tickets, they came and went, and hopefully will be back later in the year. I’ve already been to Legally Blonde: The musical, which has not been in NZ. We went to the Alexander Exhibition, which was on loan from a Russian museum – definitely not in NZ. We had tickets to Post Secret (yes it is also going to NZ) Wicked is coming soon as well. It has already been in AU, but coming back and doing shows in NZ. War Horse was on, although I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, so didn’t end up getting to see it. The Lion King is coming! It’s quite funny actually, where Man Piece and I live, we look down on to empty buildings where posters go up constantly – seriously every morning you will see a new one, they are constantly changing – with that, every new one seems to be announcing a new concert or event or album release.

Towards The Rocks from the  Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Part of Vivid Sydney – towards The Rocks from the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Public transport. Even though the majority of Sydney-siders bag on it and say it is awful, it is so much better than NZ public transport. Seriously, peak hour and you only have to wait three minutes max for a train. People here compare it to New York and London etc, saying they are better, but we’re not in those cities. Each city was built at different times and in different ways, and cater to different levels of population. But I guess it is all comparative. Compared to New Zealand public transport, it rocks. It is even easier now thanks to the OPAL roll-out (Sydney is finally catching on to tap-on/tap-off) and although they are doing the roll-out slowly, it is coming, slowly…

The internet is so much faster and more reliable.

Things are a bit cheaper. My morning coffee costs me $3 or $3.50, depending on whether I get it first thing or wait till 10.30 for happy hour. A large in Auckland was costing me $4 or $5, which is why I didn’t get it every morning. Now I do, because I can afford it.

Anything that I could possibly want is within walking distance or it is a short walk to reliable, reasonably priced public transport to get what I want.

And that’s about it, I can’t think of anything else right now – oh! Ben and Jerry’s! It’s here, I love it, werd.

Yeah, but that’s it, aye. Happy One Year Anniversary to me (and Man Piece).

Dressember: day 5.

So I’m a bit slack and didn’t get dressed yesterday, thus no day 4 blog post. I lounged around the apartment in leggings and a singlet, which I also tend to sleep in. Thus the not getting dressed part. Why bother getting all dressed up if you’re not even going to leave the house? Lazy, but brilliant.

So anyway, I continued with dressember today with a pretty cool tunic I got from Autograph when visiting Australia. I thought it would be great, because it is sleeveless, and today was a bloody hot/humid day. Seriously, I was sweating like a pig.

Why do they call it sweating like a pig? Do pigs even sweat?

Back to the dress.

Downside is that IT DOESN’T BREATHE. So here I was, on a stifling hot day, wearing the worst dress imaginable. I think the way to best describe it was ‘melting’. Yanno, like the which in The Wizard of Oz. JUST LIKE THAT.

It has some upsides to it though, like looking pretty and having an empire line and the domes, which make it look all punk like. COME AT ME BRO.

Needless to say, I was pleased to get out of it at the end of the day.

Naturally, I paired it with leggings. THEY ARE NOT PANTS.

Australia – the country, not the movie.

A few months ago, Jethro and I decided we wanted to take a trip to Australia. Just for a few days so I could see Melbourne, as I had never been before. When Jethro was booking the tickets he found it was cheaper to fly to Brisbane and back to Wellington than out of Melbourne again. So we also squeezed in a couple days in Brisbane.

This is going to be a bit of a picture blog post – I took A LOT of pictures. A combination from my phone and on my awesome camera.

We arrived in Melbourne after very little sleep and getting up at 4am (like WTF, why do they make one of those in the morning?)

Early morning Melbourne from the airport bus along the motorway. Big city, yo.

Once in the city we found our hotel and then decided to wander around a bit to start exploring the city.

Apparently getting hit by a tram is like getting hit by a rhino. But how do you know what getting hit by a rhino is like, if you've never been hit by one?

A great little place to find heaps of places to eat. It reminds me of Rotorua, where you can go get food from any place and sit in the street to eat. Only downfall was sitting right next to strangers - as in, you could elbow them.

After wandering around the city centre and having lunch, we began wandering out a bit. We ended up at the aquarium to see the pengys!

Pengys love the fountain! Look at 'em play!

I became quite obsessed with the penguins and didn’t want to stop watching them or look at anything else. Pengys are awesome! However, we did end up looking at other stuff.

Jellyfish, they kind of creep me out and I don't find them that interesting, but this is a rather cool photo.

We then got on the City Circle tram to get a good look around the city. A tram, and it’s free! I like trams.

From the tram, we got to see a lot of old buildings. This one is state parliament.

After the tram ride we had cocktails with @MissNickiBee at a bar called 1806. They had some pretty tasty cocktails and chips too. We then went to a Maylasian restaurant for dinner, which was pretty good – all within walking distance.

It was back to the hotel for some rest after walking around all day and getting up ridiculously early. Our hotel was pretty good – Citidines. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and will likely stay there again. We got a free upgrade, but it was clean and comfortable. The bed also happened to be a foam bed, which is my kind of bed! SO COMFORTABLE – it molds to your body.

Day two saw us start the day with meeting up with @MissNickiBee again and heading to breakfast at The Pancake Parlour.

This is called the 'it' pancakes. Caramalised banana and walnuts on pancakes with cream.

After breakfast we jumped on the City Circle tram again to head down to dockside for some shopping. I got my first look at Autograph and ended up buying a lot of clothes. We were introduced to a store called Typo, in which I could quite happily spend every and all my pay cheques in for ever and ever.

We headed back into town to find some lunch – Lord of the Fries! – which is an all vegetarian restaurant so Jethro was happy. It was quite tasty and barely noticeable it was all vegetarian.

We sat in this atrium to eat, it was pretty cool.

Melbourne currently has these weird demon baby statues. I just don't even know how or why.

We continued walking around the city for the afternoon, where I discovered amazing macaroons, was introduced to David Jones, Myer and Target. I went quite girly at David Jones – ALL THE SHOES.

Macaroons!

*swoon* Louboutin.

And then there was the Occupy Melbourne protests, which we ran into.

Horseys!

After this we were pretty exhausted so had a drink and headed back to the hotel. Jethro went and got us Pie Face for dinner. We should totally have one of those here. Awesome.

Thus ends Melbourne shenanigans. The next morning, it was off to Brisbane.

Brisbane river from South Bank.

Once we got to Brisbane, we checked into the hotel – Rydges – which wasn’t actually that flash. It’s like they had tried to upgrade it, but kind of failed. The shower was pretty bad. My measure of a hotel is now based on the shower and the bed. The bed was fine, the shower dubious. Thus average.

We walked around South Bank for a bit and then found a bar to have a few drinks. Jethro ended up inviting some of his Linux conference friends along to catch up with and we all had dinner at Grill’d, which was pretty amazing. Definitely a place to go, whether in Brisbane or Melbourne.

This is the mustard and pickled. It was delicious.

Jethro even bought be a rose. Nawwwwww.

We then went for coffee at this amazing  place called Denim Espresso Fashion. The hot chocolate was amazing and so was the pistachio and cranberry nougat.

The hot chocolate: you poor hot milk over chocolate bits. It is divine.

Best nougat ever.

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel, as we were both pretty exhausted.

The next day we met up with @Ilaeria, walked around South Bank, saw the markets and headed over the Goodwill bridge and into Brisbane CBD for some more shopping. Not that we really did any, we just wanted to see the city, which is pretty awesome with some of its old buildings, just like Melbourne.

We came back over to South Bank, said goodbye to @Illaria and wandered around a bit more. We ended up going on the Wheel of Brisbane to see the city at twilight, which was pretty awesome.

Not the best picture, but you can see the pretty, pretty sky.

Wheel of Brisbane.

For dinner we went to this great little Italian place and had gourmet pizza. Mine was pear and prosciutto. So delicious, I may even have to try and replicate it.

The next morning we had to check out of the hotel and as just so happened, the Queen was in town. The actual one. We headed down to South Bank to try and spot her, but in the end waiting was so painful. I did snap a shot of her on the boat arriving at South Bank. That was enough for me.

Oh hai.

Afterwards we wandered back over the Goodwill bridge, after getting an ice cream, cause damn, Brisbane is hot. We wandered around the Botanical Gardens and saw some cool old buildings. After that jaunt, we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags, encountered the Queen again and got on the train back out to the airport.

At the airport I had some good old Eagle Boys – how I have missed thee! And we boarded the plane back to Wellington. After a spot of duty free shopping, where I picked up four OPI nail polishes for $50. Bargain. Considering here they are $25 each.

Getting back into Wellington was a bit of a relief and I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep. However the taxis had another plan – we ended up waiting about half an hour for one after our flight got in. This resulted in not getting to sleep until around 2am. Then there was the early morning flight back to Auckland, oh joy.

Overall, I had a really good time. Did some pretty awesome shopping and got to spend a nice wee break with Jethro in another country. It was fun and exhausting and I can’t wait to travel again. Hopefully next time we will have a little bit longer so we don’t feel so rushed to try and fit everything in and can just take our time enjoying things.

For more photos of the trip, I will be putting them up on Flikr when I get a chance.