Last month I travelled outside of QLD for the first time! I don't know how I made it to 32 having never been outside the confines of my home state, but finally I branched out of my comfort zone and arranged a trip to Sydney for Hubby, myself and the 2 boys. We decided on a driving holiday, so we could see the sights on the way and for the better part of the trip, I'm glad we decided to do that.. It was fantastic checking out places like Byron, Coffs Harbour (for an overnight stay) and Port Macquarie on the way. We left home on Tuesday morning at about 10am and travelled to Coffs Harbour by 4pm, we obviously had lots of stops on the way and I made Hubby take the tourist route much to his disgust ~ but I was in no hurry, I was there to do the tourist thing and the tourist thing we did!
We left Coffs on Wednesday morning at about 9am and arrived in Sydney at 5pm that afternoon after a couple more stops on the way. We stayed in the Sydney Boulevard Hotel very close to the Sydney CBD in a room on the 16th floor, we had great views of the City and our room was a comfortable size with 2 double beds. That first night we walked down to Darling Harbour and did a 5km hike around the city sights, admiring all of the old buildings and the beautiful lighting. The next morning we awoke early and walked down to Martin Place to check out the Sunrise broadcast at the Channel 7 building (Mr 8 loves watching Sunrise, so he got a kick out of it) it was the same day that Mel Doyle announced her departure so that was pretty good timing. We wandered down to Circular Quay and indulged at the Lindt Café, walked through the park lands, visited the Chinese Peace Gardens and scoped out the crazy market scene.. After a night and a morning of walking, we were quite exhausted or at least my feet were (bad idea wearing new shoes..) so we headed back to the hotel for a respite.
That afternoon we drove to Bondi Beach, checked out the homes around the areas, some of which were unbelievably beautiful and stooped in so much character! We went to the Westfield Shopping Centre at Bondi Junction and I was gobsmacked by the size of the shopping centres in Sydney, the local QLD centres have now lost their shine to me.. I wandered across to Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn kids and ogled their range, I was a little disappointed at the size of their store in comparison to what I have seen online for many years, but at the end of the day, size doesn't matter does it.. they still have gorgeous things and I still felt right at home in their beautiful store.
Friday was our last full day in Sydney as we had planned to leave on Saturday morning to drive back home so on Friday we were a little disappointed when we awoke feeling a little under the weather.. instead of catching the ferry to Taronga Zoo as we'd planned we decided to drive as it was a little cold and draughty outside. Once at Taronga the animals soon perked Mr 1 up and Mr 8 was excited to see animals we don't usually see in the Zoo's closer to home such as Elephants, Lions and my favourite the Giraffes. We spent a full 6 hours at the Zoo before taking a slow drive back to the hotel admiring more gorgeous homes, parks and showing Mr 8 the Prime Ministers Home (which was then Julia Gillard, but now Kevin Rudd.. but that's a whole different kettle of fish!) We stopped back at the Harbour and took more photographs of the beautiful bridge, quite vast in size, not at all what I'd envisioned from pictures in magazines and television.
On the way home on Saturday we stopped by the Packed to the Rafter's home they used to shoot the series, that was pretty cool and Mr 8 was chuffed when I pointed it out to him in the show the other day.. we saw that! he exclaimed proudly. And then we made our long drive back home.. On the way there we stopped midway at Coffs Harbour, we decided to do the trip home in one go, but we made plenty of small stops along the way to stretch our legs so we left Sydney at lunchtime and got home by 1am.
Happy to fall into our own bed and thankful that the kids stayed asleep when we transferred them from the car to bed! They were so well behaved on both of the long drives, they did really well. We had the dual screen DVD player for them to watch movies and they both had an Ipod to play from time to time, but most of the time we encouraged them to enjoy their surroundings and take a good look as it was a sight we wouldn't see often.
All in all I'm so glad I planned a trip to Sydney and next year we're planning a trip with all 5 kids to Melbourne, that wont be as peaceful in the car I'd imagine (or I know for a fact.. lol) but after all it will be a great family adventure, just like this one the 4 of us had.