Wanderlust Diaries: Sydney (continued)

Hello hello! Here is the continuation of my December 2019 Sydney trip. Enjoy!

(5) Koala Park Sanctuary: Here’s the thing: I’m not the biggest fan of animals being held in captivity, and I normally would not support such kind of institution- however due to the fact that koalas are an endangered species (due to prolonged habitat destruction, bushfires, road accidents, etc.), I figured it was better to support a place that actually cares for and rehabilitates these cute little creatures. So, I figured why not give it a shot and pet some cute koalas. This was about a 45-minute drive from my aunt and uncle’s house and the drive included some nice scenery as well. As soon as we entered the park, we saw signs to see all kinds of animals- koalas, kangaroos, emus, llamas, and a wide variety of birds. The koalas were enclosed in a temperature-controlled environment, where they are able to eat and sleep in absolute comfort (especially since they sleep up to 20 hours a day). They had cool mist spraying all around them to protect them from the brutal Australian heat and smoke from that year’s bushfires. We also got to see a mini aviary and view exotic birds, many of which were much more temperamental than I expected :). We also got to pet-tamed kangaroos and feed them. They weren’t wild kangaroos- the ones you’ve seen on National Geographic which have six-pack abs and kick each other incessantly. These were Eastern kangaroos, and much smaller and quieter- reminding me almost of domestic dogs. Last but not least, we got to see a reptile/amphibian show where a trainer allowed us to pet Australian snakes, lizards, and other reptilian creatures much to my aversion in the very beginning. Overall, it was an amazing trip- I got to learn a lot about Australian animals and even got an unexpected hello from a llama during the reptile show.

Sleepy koala in the koala sanctuary

(6) The Grounds of Alexandria: This was probably the most unique restauarant/coffee shop/garden I’ve ever been to- especially considering that it was a combination of all three things! It has homestyle food, speciality coffee, and a completely organic garden. Every year, they change “themes”, and because it was Christmas time, they made it “Frozen” themed (the Disney movie). There were immaculate decorations, lots of greenery, and a lot of space around the place. I had the pesto mac and cheese, and it was quite delicious. I also had fresh-squeezed lemonade with a hint of rose. They host all kinds of celebrations at the venue- from weddings, to birthdays, to corporate events. They even host “high tea” events where guests can get dressed up and live their classy high tea dreams. I thoroughly enjoyed this place, and HIGHLY recommend if you visit Sydney.

The Grounds of Alexandria
Pesto Mac and Cheese from The Grounds of Alexandria
Eatery at the Grounds of Alexandria
“Frozen II” themed cafe

(7) Kiama: This was a quaint city, about one hour and forty three minutes south of Sydney. Its known for the Kiama Blowhole, which are cliffside caverns that periodically shoot water up in the air. There’s also the Kiama Coast Walk trail which has whale-watching spots along the way, as well as a series of smaller blowholes. There are many scenic spots and photo opportunities, as well as picturesque, high-rise views of the ocean down below. There are multiple stretches of coastal walks, volcanic rock formations, lighthouses, and quaint beaches as well. I will add that the beachside food spots are amazing in ambiance and taste as well. Overall, Kiama is a beautiful seaside town off the NSW (New South Wales) Coast, and I would LOVE to go back.

Ocean views from Kiama
Chicken burger from “The Hungry Monkey” seaside cafe
Kiama Blowhole

(8) Sydney Opera House/Sydney Harbor: This was probably the most “touristy” part of my trip- as the Opera House and the Harbor are pretty much what Sydney in general is known for. The Opera House was a lot bigger than I expected and was an architectural masterpiece. After all, it is one of the world’s most famous and distinctive landmarks. Although we didn’t actually go inside the Opera House, we saw the myriad of restaurants and dining areas from the outside. It’s shaped very uniquely as well. The drive to get to the location was quite fun, as we took the open-roof Jeep and blasted our favorite Telugu songs as we drove across the Sydney Harbour bridge. Highly, highly recommend.

Me overlooking the Sydney Harbour and the sailboats in the water
My cousin, Upamanyu and I in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge near the Opera House
Me in front of the Sydney Opera House

Overall, Sydney was probably the best trip I’ve made in my entire life. Not just because of my amazing family and the city itself, but the solo element to the entire adventure really boosted my confidence and made me proud in my own ability to navigate the world. Travelling internationally alone is one of the best ways to hype yourself up and it helps you realize how much potential that you truly do have. I am so excited to come back to Sydney, and this time I want to explore other Australian cities- including Melbourne, Brisbane, and the capital, Canberra. Until next time!


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