G'day Australia...it's good to be back

Sydney Travel Blog

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Sydney Opera House

My return to Oz started off in Sydney back at old faithful Base Hostel where I would be spending my week, Sydney was much better than I remember it and I definitely think the fact I was really ill the last time I was there tainted my view. The public transport system seemed much more improved than I remember and getting around was a breeze. I didn't do too much touristy stuff as I done much of it before and also I was trying to make my cash go further as the exchange rate against the pound is criminal. It was a bit strange though staying in a hostel but not really doing backpacker-type stuff and instead focusing on seeing friends and starting the job search, everyone in my room though was nice enough and were either older tourists or doing work placements so it meant I wasn't plagued by a constant stream of party mad backpackers.

Harbour Bridge and Opera House

So besides getting back into exercise (I loved running around the Botanical Gardens and my friend Claire got me a few free gym passes) and restocking my weary wardrobe I spent the rest of my time visiting the free (it's all about the free stuff!) sights of Sydney's 17th Biennale, and being somewhat of an art buff it certainly kept me entertained and engaged. The biennale was set up across seven sites and included a massive 440 works by 166 artists, I managed to see some those at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cockatoo Island, Art Gallery of NSW and in the Royal Botanical Gardens but even then I felt as though I barely scratched the surface. Cockatoo Island was perhaps my favourite as not only was it somewhere I'd not visited before in Sydney but also proved to be an interesting site in itself; a former prison and shipyard, the convict-built prison buildings are hoping to soon achieve World Heritage Listing status.

Bats in the Botanical Gardens
The island was reached by a free ferry and by the time I waited in the line I'd missed the original ferry I'd intended to catch as the queue was just so long. No matter though as the weather was glorious and I spent the rest of the day there until the last ferry departed, though I wished I'd have allowed a full day there and not just half a day. It was great just getting lost around the place and exploring the island itself, sometimes I even forgot I was there to see the art. One of my favourite British artists, a graphic designer called Jonathan Barnbrook who I'd seen at the Design Museum in London a few years ago, was exhibiting and his witty work is always a pleasure to see. Other favourites included the huge video installation by AES+F, Australian artist Rodney Glick, who's 'Everyone' series on display draws on popular Hindu paintings from the 18th & 19th Centuries, Hiroshi Sugimoto's occupation of the Powerhouse on the island for his 'Lighting Fields' series, Guatemalan Regina Jose Galindo's disturbing video on the subject of waterboarding and Shen Shaomin's 'Summit' series depicting a hypothetical meeting of the most significant communist leaders.
Floating flower by Choi Jeong Hwa in the Botanical Gardens

I also managed a night out "in the Cross" (that's Kings Cross for all those without knowledge of Aussie slang) with my friend Claire from my MLS days and it was good to get dressed up and not feel like a scummy backpacker for a change. I really had forgotten how friendly Aussie's can be, I was in the toilets later on that same evening and someone was going around knocking on all of the doors, now usually at home I'd have expected some arsey response off some girl with attitude asking me what my problem was when I left the cubicle but here instead I got an apology of the girl doing said knocking who was simply trying to find her friend - how refreshing!

After a late one in The Cross I decided to have a quiet night and venture to the cinema just around the corner from the hostel, sadly the choice wasn't that great and I ended up watching Knight & Day with Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz - what a shocker! Not quite so bad to make my all time list of worst movies ever but still bad enough to want to ask for a refund.

Roxy Paine's 'Neuron' outside the Museum for Contemporary Art

It was nice to do some of the more normal activities you'd associate with regular life, going to art exhbits, the movies, the gym and going out with friends, and all of this made my week in Sydney fly by; now it was time to enter the main phase of my trip, next stop Melbourne! I planned to spend the rest of my time there and use it as my base for the remainder of the trip, I have to say I was pretty excited to be heading back there as it would mean getting to see old friends and get reaquanited with my favourite city in Australia.

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Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House
Harbour Bridge and Opera House
Harbour Bridge and Opera House
Bats in the Botanical Gardens
Bats in the Botanical Gardens
Floating flower by Choi Jeong Hwa …
Floating flower by Choi Jeong Hwa…
Roxy Paines Neuron outside the …
Roxy Paine's 'Neuron' outside the…
Sydney Biennale on Cockatoo Island
Sydney Biennale on Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island
Exhibit by Jemima Wyman
Exhibit by Jemima Wyman
Hiroshi Sugimtotos exhibit at the…
Hiroshi Sugimtoto's exhibit at th…
An interesting take on Hinduism by…
An interesting take on Hinduism b…
Yes, that is indeed a lifesize mod…
Yes, that is indeed a lifesize mo…
Sydney Hostels review
Top notch hostel in great location
I never get bored of staying at this amazing chain of hostels, true they're not the cheapest hostels to stay in but then you get what you pay for. Bas… read entire review
Sydney
photo by: Sunflower300