New Zealand and Australia: visiting down under

3 Dec 2023 | New Zealand and Australia: visiting down under |

From Windy Wellington to Sun-Kissed Sydney

My recent trip was a whirlwind of antipodean (Of, or pertaining to, Australia or New Zealand ) delights, hopping between Wellington’s cool charm and Sydney’s sun-drenched shores. Let me take you on a whistle-stop tour of our adventures.

Sydney Harbour Cruise

A trip to the land down under begins with a few quite long plane rides from the east coast of the US , between 2,3 flights and about 19hours of flying… While it would be nice to fly first class on such a long flight, its painfully expensive to justify the cost, so one has to soak up the experience in coach, it’s a bit tedious but certainly doable.

Wellington: Where Nature Meets Metropolis

My journey began in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. We were there mostly visiting friends about an hour outside of the city. they became our unofficial tour guides during our stay..

Wellington Tram

Next, we hopped on the iconic Wellington Tram, a funicular railway that conquers the city’s steep hills. It’s a quintessential Wellington experience, offering panoramic views and charming neighborhoods.

Wellington Botanic Garden

A stroll through the Wellington Botanic Gardens was pure bliss. Lush greenery, vibrant blooms, and exotic birds filled my senses. I wandered through themed gardens, from the Japanese Zen Garden to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, each a photographer’s paradise.

On our second full day we kayaked the glassy waters of Oriental Bay, watching the city skyline dance in the reflections. The harbor was alive with bobbing ferries and darting sailboats, the weather was perfect and not too windy.

Kapiti Coast in New Zealand

Escaping the city buzz, I ventured to the Kapiti Coast, where my friends welcomed us and took us around the breathtaking coastal views. We feasted on fresh seafood, indulged in local wines, and shared stories under star-studded skies. Every moment felt magical, a testament to the kiwi spirit of warmth and hospitality.

Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve

After 3 short but fun-filled days in Wellington, we boarded yet another plane ride to fly over to Sydney Australia.

Sydney: Harbour City Magic

Sydney Haymarket

Sydney embraced me with sunshine and a cosmopolitan vibe. Haymarket, our bustling home base, was a melting pot of cultures, with delicious aromas wafting from its many restaurants. We devoured tender pho in Vietnamese eateries and slurped up spicy bowls of laksa in Malaysian joints.

Blue Mountains in Australia

Our first full day exploring Australia began with a 7am tour pf the Blue Mountains, which are about an hour west of Sydney. We hiked amidst eucalyptus-cloaked cliffs, marveled at cascading waterfalls, and inhaled crisp mountain air. The Three Sisters rock formation, somewhat obscured by a the cloudy mist were an interesting sight to behold.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Back in Sydney, we soaked up the harbor’s beauty from multiple angles. We walked past the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, the city is both iconic, modern and clean, truly a cosmopolitan oasis.

Bondi Beach

No Sydney visit is complete without hitting the iconic Bondi Beach. I braved the waves at the beach and went for a swim at Icebergs, Sydney’s oldest ocean pool, feeling invigorated by the chilly dip. Bondi’s golden sands and laid-back surfer vibe were pure magic.

Coogee Beach Coastal walk

We then did the Coogee to Bondi coastal walk (in reverse ) was a highlight. Rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and turquoise waters unfolded before me. Each beach, from Coogee’s family-friendly shores to Bronte’s secluded beauty, offered a unique charm.

Next day we followed up with another habour cruise and one more beach excursion to Manly Beach, with its relaxed beachside atmosphere, was our final stop. We indulged in fish and chips on the wharf, watching pelicans dive for scraps. Strolling trhough the coastal walk alongside Manly beach was the perfect way to end a perfect Sydney day.

Bondi Beach and Icebergs Pool
Walk along Manly Beach

Farewell, Antipodean Delights

As I bid farewell to these captivating cities, my heart brimmed with gratitude. Wellington’s wild beauty and Sydney’s harborside charm had woven themselves into my soul. The warmth of the people, the delicious food, and the stunning landscapes – it was a travel tapestry I’d cherish forever.

So, whether you’re drawn to Wellington’s rugged charm or Sydney’s sun-kissed shores, these two Antipodean gems promise an unforgettable adventure.

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