Going to Australia: Sydney Chapter (part I)

Me at University of New South Wales.

I had never been to Australia before so it was my first time visiting the country. It’s the 22nd country I visited (including my own country, just to make it look many. LoL) and it made it the 4th continent I went to. I had never thought I wanted to go to Australia before, but I love going to new and different places. I have some friends studying/staying in Australia, too. And this summer, I planned to go back home, so I thought why not jumping to Australia for a bit during the summer break. I also contacted my friends asking if I could stay at their place to make it cheaper, and they said okay, so I prepared for everything: ticket, visa, and all.

Painting my nails on board just because… 😀

Planning. This is probably the most ridiculously-planned holiday I’ve ever had. I was planning for this trip with “summer break” in mind, only to later realize that “while it’s summer in the US, it’s winter in Aussie.” LoL, me. So stupid of me 😂🙈😅 I mean, I’ve decided that winter is the least favorite season for me. It’s cold and the days are short. It gives me fewer options. It’s so inconvenient 😴 But, hey, I wanted to “have fun” (before going back to the routines 🙈) so I decided to enjoy whatever came my way. Thankfully it’s not so bad when I was in Aussie. I’ve got kind n nice friends too 😉. It’s not snowing either. It’s pretty sunny (though, yeah, still a bit cold), but I guess I’m quite lucky 🙂

Me relaxing at Changi Airport during transit.
The Dorayaki I bought in Indonesia 😀

Transit. I bought a cheap ticket with Scoot from Surabaya to Sydney, with quite a long transit in Changi, Singapore. I left Indonesia on June 30, 2019 around 9.45 pm (a bit delayed, though). The line for checking-in was so long and I couldn’t do self-check in either. Fortunately, they didn’t check my bags. Not that I brought excessive baggage with me since I bought the cheapest ticket with no baggage allowance, so I just took a backpack and a handbag/sling bag like how I usually travel. (But I don’t really check how much they weigh in total so sometimes I am worried that they’re gonna check my bags and find that it exceeds the weight allowance for personal item/carry-on). So I was just happy when they only asked if I had a checked baggage or not, and let me go when I said I only took a backpack and a sling bag (it can be called a purse, too) with me. I arrived in Singapore around 1am. I had had a long transit in Singapore before and took tons of pic so this time I just wanted to rest and enjoy myself while waiting for my next flight, because, well, they gave all of my boarding passes when I checked in Juanda, so I didn’t need to check in again to get another boarding pass.

Nasi Lemak that I pre-ordered when booking the flight! It was delicious, except that I wish it was of a bigger portion and had more veggies…
I love window seat, but this time didn’t get it. Couldn’t complain, it’s a cheap one after all.

Flight: I left Singapore at 10ish a.m. The flight was okay, except that I didn’t know how to recline my seat 😐 It’s not really a problem since I have a small body but it made me real stupid. I mean, I tried every button I could find, and it just didn’t work. I could’ve asked the flight attendant for some help, but I was just too scared and embarrassed that they’d think I was stupid. So I finally chose to endure it. Sigh. But, ugh, I pre-ordered some nasi lemak for this flight so I wasn’t really hungry on board. Besides, I brought some bread and dorayaki that I bought at home. Yeah, I was that prepared – and cheap. But, hey, at least I didn’t have to starve or unnecessarily spend too much money on food for my transit and flight… Then, well, I found out that my period came. Thankfully, I was always prepared for such things, so it’s not a really big deal for me. And, oh, I even painted my nails during the flight! I love painting my nails before going on a trip, and at that time I was busy I couldn’t find time beforehand.

The Opal Card…

Arrival: I arrived in Sydney, Australia on July 1, 2019 at 7.45pm. I actually hoped that my passport would be stamped, but it wasn’t. It’s relatively smooth and easy. I stood in line, and the immigration officer just saw my passport and scanned it. I even gave him my printed visa and return ticket, but I don’t think he even bothered to look at it. What a bummer. But I guess it’s better to be all prepared just in case than risk things and have all my plans ruined. Then I tried to connect to the wifi but it wouldn’t connect immediately. It wanted me to provide some details. I was in a hurry so I just dismissed it and used my roaming service instead. I was hoping to get a “welcome to Australia” message from T-mobile but, bummer, I didn’t get one. I could still connect to the network, though, so it wasn’t really a problem, except that I loved getting such a message to mark that I do come to the country so, yeah, I was a bit sad and disappointed :’(

Then, I proceeded to find the bus stop in the airport vicinity. My friend, whose house I’d stay at, had already told me that I could take bus XXX to get to her place. Later I found that I could pay in cash when boarding the bus; I needed an Opal card to take the bus/train/etc. but unfortunately I couldn’t get it from the bus drivers. I should buy it from the official retails/counters, which I couldn’t find in the airport – at first. Luckily, someone said hi and asked if I was from Indonesia and told me to be careful because sometimes people just took random pictures. I didn’t really get what he meant but he seemed to be Indonesian and a good person so I just braved him if I could an Opal card nearby, by which he told me that I could get it from the counter near the train station in the airport. I was so thankful. I spent AUD $35 for starters, but by the time I got the card, my friend’s husband was already on his way to pick me up. Haha

Somehow I could muster some courage to ask someone to take my pics. Bless her, please know I thank you 🙂

Day 1 (and 2): I spent the night resting at my friend’s place, then the next day I just did a coastal walk from Bondi beach to Coogee beach and enjoyed the sunset at Maroubra. I went to her campus first before getting on the bus to Bondi beach. And to be honest, I didn’t have a particular place I wanted to visit aside from the iconic and famous landmarks such as Sydney Opera House. I didn’t know much about Australia, so I just followed my friends’ suggestion, and I was fine with it since I just wanted to relax before grappling with my study – again. I just wanted to escape “life” 🙁 Usually I would browse about the places I was going to visit but this time I was kinda going with the flow. I wanted to take it “easy.” I did make some plans on my travel map, but I was more flexible with it. Not sure if this is my strength or my weakness, but if I have a reliable friend, I tend to be dependent and not wanting to think too hard for myself. However, when my friend is not as reliable, I know they can rely on me. But anyway, as I was walking along the coast, I kept thinking, “The beaches here are so beautiful and clean, so why Australians bother going far away to Bali to enjoy beaches?” But I stopped myself. I mean, I, too, have beautiful beaches in Indonesia, yet there I was going to Aussie. Well, because when we travel, what matters more is not only the beach or the photos, it’s the “experience.” Nevertheless, when I asked my friend the same question, I was quite surprised to hear the answer. She said, “Of course, Australians love going to Bali. Everything is cheap and “easy” there. Here everything is expensive and there are many rules. No littering. No alcoholic drink. No smoking. Etc. In Bali? How much do you think Bir Bintang is?” I was appalled. I mean, it might be true. I’ve read some news that say how rude Australian tourists in Bali are. It’s also said that the ones going to Kuta are actually the poor ones 🙈😅✌ But the coastal walk that I did was really great. The paths that connect one beach to another are well built. There are some benches if we want to rest and enjoy the view too. In some spots are also free public toilet. We can even refill our bottle with potable water. It’s really great 😊

Finally a photo here! People say u don’t really go to Aussie unless u also go to this place!

Day 3: My friend and her husband (it feels weird to tell it this way because her husband is actually my friend too. Haha but eniwei, they) took me to Sydney Opera House. Then I spent the rest of the day exploring the place on foot. I went to The Rocks, climbed the Bridge Stairs, took the path to Sydney Botanical Garden, and continued walking to Sydney Darling Harbour. Finally, I went back home to rest. I took tons of pics. But that’s to be expected 😀

Day 4: I didn’t know where to go. I planned to go to Blue Mountains but the day was too short so I reserved it for when I went back to Sydney later to catch my flight back to Indonesia. I just went to the campus and met some friends who happened to receive the same scholarship as I do. Then, as my friend suggested, I just went to Hyde Park and explored the nearby places. I went to Hyde Park in London before, so I kinda wanted to compare. Hyde Park in Sydney was really great, not sure if it’s because of the winter, but when I went to Hyde Park in London, it’s really hot and not as green. But when I went to Sydney’s Hyde Park, the weather wasn’t nice either, it was a lil bit rainy – or drizzling if you mind, so I didn’t spend too much time outside. I went to Anzac Memorial. The place wasn’t as big, but they have these many different kinds of soils from each district, so it’s kinda unique.

The notice I should’ve read before taking the pics 🙁

I also went to the church, St. Mary’s Cross. It’s really beautiful. I took a lot of pictures, some of my fav I couldn’t post because after taking the pics I found the sign that says that I am not allowed to take photos in that area, which is so sad because it’s so beautiful I wish I could share it. But I was wrong; I should’ve read that notice first. Sigh. Then I went to Australian Museum. I browsed and thought it’s free but it turned out that I had to pay $12 admission fee. The place was quite big. I wish I could spend more time (since it’s not free) but I had to go back so I left and then just walked a bit on Oxford St before catching my bus home because I had to catch another bus to Melbourne, but that’s another chapter 😊

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