Bethan Rowsby, University of Sydney
I knew I wasn’t going to be going back home to the UK for Christmas, which was sad but it meant I got to experience Christmas in Australia! Since I wasn’t able to spend they day with my family, I was kindly adopted into the home of one of my housemates, Rachel, who lives in Kyneton which is near Melbourne but very much not urban at all. I had a great time out in the country for a week!
I flew down to Melbourne on the 22nd and after being picked up by Rach at Avalon airport and then driving to Tullamarine to pick up our friend Sara (advice to anyone travelling to Melbourne based on my mistake – Tullamarine airport is way closer than Avalon and you should always double check where you are going!) we went to explore the city. Rach had always told me how much more culture there was in Melbourne and raved about how much better the coffee was there, and to be honest she wasn’t wrong! I love Sydney but experiencing Melbourne was really cool, and the city had a general chill vibe to it. Sydney definitely wins on the beaches though!
On Christmas day we went to one of the beaches on the Great Ocean Road, Ocean Grove. Our Christmas dinner consisted of ginger beer, a cheesymite scroll and bagels from a Jewish bakery as it was the only bakery open on Christmas day! Real chill. As the day went on it hit 37 degrees and so a swim in the sea was necessary and was definitely my highlight of the day. We attempted body surfing, which was a lot of fun and reminded me that I still need to try surfing whilst I’m over here! Whilst we were on the beach we could see smoke from the bushfires in Lorne in the distance, which was heartbreaking to see and to hear that peoples homes were destroyed over Christmas just a few miles away.
I was keen to spend new years eve in Sydney and experience its world renowned firework display as it is probably something I’ll never get the opportunity to do again. It was amazing. We waited from 11am in the botanic gardens along with 16,000 other people and it was definitely worth it. Our picnic kept us going and we made friends around us (all tourists) so the wait wasn’t so bad!
Happy New Year!