So I am writing this all the way from sunny Australia! Well… I write the intro sat in a campsite next to Mission Beach whilst it pours with rain for like the 3rd day running but still… all the other days have been sunny soooo I can’t complain! I can’t actually believe it, I’m the other side of the world and seeing sights I’ve seen online but never thought I’d ever get to see!
This blog is kind of a diary of our trip. It will be pretty hefty so go and grab a cuppa and some biscuits and get comfy!
4am photos outside Heathrow!
The journey to Australia was inevitably an exhausting one. In my head I knew it would be a long journey but MY LORD it was the longest 24 hours of my life!
The first journey to Doha was pretty decent to be honest. 6hrs45min flight or so isn’t the longest flight I’ve ever been on and it went pretty quick really. Before we knew it, we were waiting to board the next flight.
For the first 3 hours it was fine but it then hit me the sheer amount of time we’d be sat in the same seat. Basically double the journey to Doha which was my idea of hell. The flight dragged on so much I was losing the will to live however eventually we did make it to Melbourne in one piece.
Jakes friend (who he met when he was last out here) along with his family kindly picked us up from the airport and dropped us to our hotel for the night – The Great Southern Hotel.
After showering and sorting out the bags, we headed into Melbourne City which is a pretty cool place. Armed with my tripod (which literally looked like a machine gun from a distance!) I was ready to photography the ‘shit’ out of Australia! We stopped at the riverside and I managed to get a pretty cool photo of the city and the reflections of the buildings in the water.
After an hour or so we ended up at a bar where they actually sold cider! I was so excited. A little bit of a home comfort. What I wasn’t excited about was the price, I paid $28!!! FOR 2 CIDERS (Rekordilig)!!!
Our first full day was spent of course exploring Melbourne. Jake had been here before and so he was keen to show me some of his favourite places, and the places that he remembered. One of the first stops was the Hosier Lane Street Art which was so so cool!
* These photos have been taken on a Nikon D810 as well as an iPhone 7, so the quality may differ between photos*
It was really nice to see a city embracing this art form that many would call ‘graffiti’ and unwanted.
After spending a while walking up and down the streets and obviously getting loads of photos, we then carried on exploring. We were in Melbourne the same time as the Tennis Open and so Melbourne was heaving and covered in tennis things. Hotels had tennis balls in their windows, massive signs adverting the tournament etc, it was hard to avoid. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to go and watch a game. We were just so busy exploring the city that the days quickly went and before we knew it, it was time to head to Sydney.
In the afternoon, of our first full day, Jakes friends picked us up and we headed to St Kilda. St Kilda isn’t too far away from the CBD and is so easy to get too via the tram. It was quite a qwerky place, lots of culture and art. The main feature was the beach of course as well as Luna Park which is one of the oldest theme parks in Australia. It opened in 1912 and is still popular today. Seeing a wooden rollercoaster going round did increase my anxiety ever so slightly, it just did not look safe however people still go on it! The outside is also pretty creepy however it grabs attention and is so recognised around the country.
St Kilda Beach
So I’ve realised I haven’t exactly made it clear why I went over to Australia. Last term I did a project on Captivity focusing on the zoos in the south west of the UK. We had the choice of developing the project in second term for our final hand in of University, or, starting a brand new project. I decided to continue my project on. I got so into my last project and was so proud of my images that I wanted to keep taking photos I think worked well.
Our first trip to a zoo was to Melbourne Zoo. We visited on our second day in Aus. I wanted to get a good start on the project. Armed with my tripod, Nikon D810, a 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens, a 14-24mm and a 24-85mm (all packed into a small rucksack!) we hopped on the tram.
Jake had told me about the Victorian Markets which sounded really cool. We were going to be passing there on our way to the zoo and so stopped off and checked it out.
It was probably one of the best markets I’ve been too. There was so much stuff to look at. They’re even better on a Wednesday night when it is the food market but i’ll talk about that a bit later!
We managed to buy some family and friends some gifts and then hopped back on the tram.
Once we arrived at the zoo it wasn’t long before it completely went wrong. 10 minutes after walking through the entrance, I had already broken a lens. It wasn’t just any lens either, it was the 200-500mm that my father so kindly lent me for the trip. Not only that, it was the main lens I was going to be using for the trip…. I was devastated. I thought I was going to throw up in the middle of a zoo! I’m halfway around the world, out there doing my final project for university, and the main lens I was counting on broke.
By some miracle the lens still worked. Granted there was a huge crack in the glass however it was still focusing and when I took the photos, you couldn’t tell at all that it was shot through a broken lens. Someone must have been watching over me that day!
For the rest of the day I was a little stress-head just trying to make the best out of the situation. Telling myself ” it could be worse, the camera could be broken, then i’d be really f*cked!” and ” It’s insured, it’ll be fine” . It still didn’t detract from the fact that I had a whole month to go, travelling up the east coast of Australia, with a broken lens. Of course it was insured so it is currently being sorted now, however I was still devastated (and it turned out dad was actually alright when I eventually told him, 6 weeks later, about the situation).
It was challenging and extremely frustrating using a lens that was jammed. All these situations arose where I could have really done with it reaching 500mm however I was stuck with it on 300mm for the rest of the day. I was still pleased with the photos, and quite frankly relieved that the lens was even working after being dropped and smashing that I wasn’t going to get upset over the fact it couldn’t fully extend.
One thing I did notice whilst at the zoo was just how much space there was for humans. So many picnic areas and rest areas it was ridiculous and made me so angry. Wandering around a zoo that had hundreds of animals in these enclosures, whilst us humans had so much space to enjoy the day. Surely they could have used those areas to enlarge the enclosures!!! It’s not like we struggle for space!
Taken on iPhone (7)
Nikon D810 – See what I mean about all this space?
Lion relaxing in the sun – Nikon D810, 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens
Watching – Nikon D810, 14-24mm
Elephant Portrait, Nikon D810 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens (Cropped in)
Above were just a couple from the day. More can be found on the Australia pt 2 blog or on my website.
We only had a couple of days left after this one in Melbourne and so we spent the rest of our time just exploring a bit more. We went shopping, it had to be done! I struggled to get my head around the exchange rate and so for a good week or so every time I saw a label with say $60 on, I legit thought it was £60…
One of the days Jakes friend kindly picked us up again and took us to the most amazing milkshake & burger cafe called Johnny Pumps. OH.MY.WORD… (https://www.facebook.com/johnnypump87)
Some sort of brownie concoction that was absolutely delicious! (and also sickly but mainly delicious)
The same day we also met up with another one of Jakes friends and the 4 of us headed back to the Victorian Markets as it was the food market that night. Again, it was awesome! I had these chicken skewer things covered in numerous herbs and spices but they were lovely. Safe to say I’ve had healthier days.
There must have been a good 500 people there if not more. It happens weekly and is SO popular. To be honest if I lived out there i’d go each week too😂
When we were booking our flights we wanted to make the most of the time we had in Australia. Early morning flights so we would have the day to explore, and late night flights home so that we weren’t wasting any days.
4 days had flown by in Melbourne and it was now time to fly from Melbourne to Sydney. Our flight was due for departure at 12.45 and so we got the 10.30am Skybus from Melbourne station. We found out whilst waiting for the bus that our flight was delayed for an hour, absolutely fine, an hour we could deal with.
Upon arrival we checked in our baggage and went through security. About an hour later when we were due to be boarding our flight we found out that there were further delays. They kindly gave us refreshment vouchers ($8 each) which meant that Jake and I had enough to buy something big for lunch for us to share.
We were sat waiting in total for about 4 hours! It was fine, I’d rather travel on a safe plane that has the clear rather than a plane that has some sort of issue with it, which is why we had been delayed. A lot of people didn’t share that same opinion and were getting so angry about the whole thing. I completely understand it’s frustrating, I wasn’t exactly enjoying the whole thing, however some people were just being plain rude which wasn’t needed. One guy even shouted out in front of everyone on the plane “who cares” when the pilot was apologising and saying how some of the staff had been up since 4am (It was now 4-5pm). I genuinely was so close to getting sassy with the bloke and telling him to get a grip.
Regardless of the issues, we landed safely in Sydney. It was a pretty sketchy flight I’m not going to lie so I was glad when we landed.
We made our way from the airport on their version of the underground and arrived at Central Station, our hostel was a 5 minute walk from there. This hostel was pretty shit to put it bluntly! It made our first hostel look like a 5* hotel! 😂😂
I’m glad I experienced the first hostel we stayed in to begin with so that I wasn’t completely put off. I know they can be pretty grim and this Sydney one wasn’t horrible it just wasn’t nice and didn’t feel clean to me. But, it was cheap and we are backpacking and so thats what we had to deal with! It was only for 2 nights anyway.
Once we had checked in, found our room and made our bed, we took a wander into Sydney and found the Opera House and Harbour bridge. All I can say is: SO MANY TOURISTS!!!
We couldn’t really talk to be honest, we were tourists too but crikey, there were thousands and thousands of us.
It was really strange seeing such an iconic landmark in real life. For years and years I’ve see it on TV for occasions like New Years etc but to be stood looking at it was really weird!
On TV it looks like one big building however it is actually made up of 3 buildings. The architecture is so so cool.
I didn’t have the right equipment with me to get photos that night of the bridge and opera house and so we went back the next day.
The day after arriving we decided to go to Bondi Beach and do the Bondi to Coogee Walk which Jake has done before and is also quite famous. It was a glorious hot and sunny day.
Icebergs Pool, Bondi. Nikon D810, 14-24mm
This has to be one of the most photographed spots in Australia! It’s iconic!
It was such a lovely walk, taking about 2.5 hours. It was boiling hot too but I dealt with the heat a lot better than I thought I would. Jake doesn’t mind the heat so he was loving it!
Gordon’s Bay – My favourite part of the walk!
Looking back, this day was one of my highlights from the trip, it was just such a nice day and getting to see these views was just brilliant. I definitely think Bondi beach is overrated, obviously made famous from the Baywatch days however to me it just looked like any other overcrowded beach! The Iceberg Pools pictured, however, were really beautiful.
That evening, the day continued to be lovely. We went back to the hostel to freshen up and then made our way back to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, this time with my camera and tripod in tow.
As it was quite early in the evening we took a ferry over to Darling Harbour which I loved. It was more of a pricier area with private yachts etc docked up but it was nice to see another area of Sydney.
The View from under the bridge – Nikon D810, 14-24mm
Sydney Harbour Bridge – Nikon D810. 14-24mm
Jake (I seemed to be his personal photographer for the trip!😂)
We had a drink along Darling Harbour docks and then took a walk around the area. We came across an outside cinema that was showing a children’s film (I can’t remember what it was but it actually looked really good!). It was so nice to see all these people sat there enjoying the film under the setting sun surrounded by greenery as well as high rises!
We found somewhere to eat and then headed back to Sydney harbour where I began trying to capture the Opera House at night.
Darling Harbour at sunset – Taken on iPhone
Trying to get a decent photo of the Opera House was actually so hard. They have these big kind of concrete barriers up the whole way along, I assume to stop people from jumping in, and so it was really hard to get my tripod into the right place.
Sydney Harbour Bridge. Nikon D810 – 14-24mm
The 2 Iconic Structures
This, unfortunately, was the best I could do considering I was having to contend with the concrete walls (you can see in the image what i’m talking about). Trying to stick a tripod on that and get both in was hard. You can also see what i’m talking about with regards to all the tourists! I am pleased with the image of the bridge on its own though, I know it’s not incredible but I do still like it. Theres something about skylines that I love, especially at night.
If you’ve managed to make it this far i’m impressed! I felt like it was best to split the trip up into 2 blogs as otherwise you’d be sat here for hours reading this!
Writing this has made me miss Australia even more and I already can’t wait for the next time we go out there whenever that may be!
The next ‘instalment’ will be out next Wednesday – the beginning of the road trip! Can’t wait to share even more of what we got up too whilst ‘down under’.
Thanks for reading!
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