"The most important covenant we prepare for is being sealed in the temple"

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Travel Tuesday: Australia part 1

Welcome to the new addition to my blog, Travel Tuesday! Eric and I love traveling so you can check back every tuesday for traveling adventures! I will do a walk through of our vacations of things we did and things we wish we would have done!
I know a lot of you have been waiting for this post for a really long time, but because we had so much fun and there are so many things to write about, I will have to break it into parts!

Our More recent adventure took us to The Land down Under... Where you feel the ocean breeze, the sand between your toes, you see wild kangaroos, all different walks of life, and you immediately wish you had planned to stay for a whole month!

It was really important to us that one of the first places we went to out of the country was Australia because Sydney is where Eric served his mission from 2011-2013 and we wanted to make sure that we went back in enough time that all the people he taught would still remember him, and they certainly did!

We had everything ready to go, we had places to stay, a rental car, and we had been planning this trip for a long while, so we felt confident in our preparations!

We left late in the evening on Christmas day, with a long nonstop flight of 18 hours from L.A. We finally made it! The sights coming in to the Sydney airport were amazing!

As you can see from the picture, we were able to see the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge! 

The Pilot came on once we landed and announced:
"Welcome to Sydney Australia, the date is December 27th and the time is 8:47am"
 Eric looked at me and said.. "Is it only the 27th???" 
(trying to plan a vacation with the time difference thing is so confusing!) 
I laughed and said "Whats wrong??"
He gave a look that said this is going to be funny but not funny! 
"We are here a day earlier then I thought!"
Long story short, our rental car wasn't ready to be picked up till the next day and we didn't have a place to stay so we found a cheap hotel that we could stay in for the night! 
We were already so exhausted from the long night of travel that all this wasn't very funny at the time but we made the most out of it and it is a good story to tell! 
One of the other things we did when we got to the airport was get a temporary sim card so we could call people while we were in Australia, and also so that we had Data so we could look up directions and places to go! 

TIP #1:SAVINGS- It is worth it to buy a sim card with data on it if you are renting a car or anything else like that! We paid $30ASD which ended up being about $22USD because the exchange rate 
was about $0.76 on the $1 (amazing!). If you rent a car you can get a GPS but they charge you $8 a day and we were there for about 12 days so it was significantly less expensive to get a sim card with data! Before coming to Australia you need to call your phone company to unlock your phone so that they will accept an international sim card

We got in a taxi from the airport and we got this middle eastern man. He asked us where we were going and when we told him he gruffed and puffed because he had already circled that way 3 times that morning. It was a great first experience with the people in Australia! 

Once we got ourselves situated in a hotel we called some families that Eric taught while he was there and one of them invited us to go to the beach! We were so tired from all the travel but we couldn't turn down an adventure. After All this was Austrilia, no time for sleeping! 

Remember how we didn't have a rental car though?? How were we going to get there??
No problem!!  Public Transportation! 

The public transportation system in new south wales is AMAZING! 
You could probably get away without a rental car because it is so good.

In order to use the public transportation system you have to have something called an Opal Card! You can get an Opal card at most gas stations, which they call "Petrol Stations".
To use the Opal card you have to load it with a minimum of $10 and half that price for kids! Children Under 4 ride free!
For more information regarding the Opal Card click Here

We made it all the way to the beach from where we were in about 25 min! Which was super good! 
The Beach we went to on the first day was called Bronte! It was a super gorgeous beach( lets be real! non of the beaches in Australia are ugly or bad!) It has a pool along side it which is super nice if you have kids because they can play in the water and enjoy their time without you worrying about them getting dragged off into the ocean! Here are some pictures of the beach and a picture of us with one of the families! (no I am not pregnant) and yes that is grass on the upper part of the beach! 

Here is the first Australian Drink I tried while we were at the beach! This particular flavor tastes like cotton candy which is not something I prefer to drink so it wasn't my favorite but this brand of soda has a lot of other flavors that I really enjoyed! 

One of the first places in Australia that we ate was this place called Naji's Charcoal Chicken & Kebabs. We ate there because it was in walking distance of our hotel and Eric couldn't stop talking about the chicken and gravy fry's because he ate a lot of that on his mission! 
Oh and I can't forget the chicken salt they use! Chicken Salt is actually pretty tasty! 

After the beach we looked up things that were going on in downtown Sydney and we saw that there was a circus going on so we hurried on the train to get down there. We unfortunately missed the circus by just a few minutes but we were in downtown already so we decided to just walk around. Downtown Sydney is a great place for walking around because it is so beautiful and you can pretty much see the ocean from wherever you stand! 

We also walked around the Royal Botanical Gardens and they are absolutely gorgeous! 
The Garden is about 72 acres so we weren't able to see a big portion of it, but I would recommend renting bikes for the day so you can get around quicker and see more! 
We at one point during our trip tried to rent bikes but we couldn't find a place that would do it same day so make sure you plan that out before you go! 
We didn't take any pictures of the garden but here are some I found from google!

When it was about dinner time we took the train back to Arncliff which was where our Hotel was and we got dinner at place called Thai Fire Wok  and took it back to our hotel! Their Pad Thai was delicious! We then called it a night!