Christmas in Sydney

It seems a bit late, but here goes.

So for Christmas and New Year we went to Sydney, Australia. Two years ago my best friend moved out there, so we decided to visit, spend some time with him and some time touring Sydney. We didn’t really have time to venture any further than Sydney as we only had two weeks. Turns out two weeks in Sydney is pretty much perfect.

We spent the first few days in Long Jetty, about an hour out of Sydney, and where my friend and his family live. Long Jetty is an awesome place, its a small village, at one side is a Lake with two, wait for it, ‘Long Jetty’s’. And the other side is the beach and surf!

The BBQ is where we cooked Christmas Dinner ๐Ÿ˜‰

From Long Jetty we ventured into Hunters Valley to try some wine! This is about 1 hour 30mins from Long Jetty and is defiantly worth the drive. We stopped in an awesome place that is a golf/spa resort. We then did a day of touring some of the vineyards or cellar doors as they kept saying! This was an organised tour, we weren’t drink driving in Oz!!

We then went into Sydney itself. We had 5 days in an Air B&B in the centre. We all had New Years Eve together, with my friend and his wife driving into Sydney and staying in our AirB&B. We also met up with another friend, she’s lived in Oz for about 10 years. So it was nice to catch up and spend New Years Eve with them. We managed to find an empty pub with views of the bridge and fireworks! always a bonus knowing folk who live close.

From there we moved onto Manly for 3 days, we also visited Bondi Beach, but in my opinion Manly is soooo much better. The last time i went to Bondi was quite a few years ago and i kinda remembered that there wasn’t much there, which was part of the decision to stay at Manly. Manly has good shopping, pubs and restaurants. The beach is really good, and a little walk away is Shelly Beach. Plus they have a Patagonia shop, that sells Patagonia Manly t-shirts!! of course i bought one.

From Manly we went back into Sydney and had the last few days in the Four Seasons hotel, which over looks the harbour. Although our room overlooked the city, which was a cool view at night, looked like i was living in Blade Runner in 2019!!! Plus its amazing how much hotels drop their prices after New Year in Sydney. The Four Seasons went from around $500 a night before New Year and $150 after!

So we got to explore Sydney quite a bit, The Rocks area behind the Harbour Bridge is amazing, especially the pubs, a lot of them also have roof terraces that have amazing views. We went to Darling Harbour a couple of times, walked across the bridge to the North side. Had a little walk around Luna Park. the ferries they use to get the Manly, Bondi etc are awesome for the views when leaving Sydney too.

Also……….

As a bonus, our flight was delayed for 4 hours in Sydney, which meant we missed our connecting flight back to the UK! Which meant Emirates gave us a free hotel and 24 hours in Dubai, which also turns out to be pretty much all the time you need in Dubai, if you’re like me, that is. managed to do the Dubai Mall, indoor aquarium and underwater zoo! Who knew you could have an aquarium and zoo in a Mall!! Saw the big buildings, fountains, had food etc.

Helsinki trip…..

Went to Helsinki with my mate Bo, same guy i went to Norway with last year. The trip started for me in London, where Bo lives. He lives in the Queens Head, a pub in Piccadilly. He owns the pub, just to clarify that. Spent the day/night in London then headed to Heathrow to catch the plane.

Leaving London, and arriving Helsinki!

We had a day/night in Helsinki to start, we had an Air BnB in the city, which was a really nice apartment and about a 5 mins walk from the main city centre. The city is not really that old, its around 200 years old, but then there was a fire, so most old buildings are around 150 years old. So in city terms its quite modern!

The city is quite, well compared to the likes of London or Paris its quite. Which is good, they have everything you’d expect a European capital to have, its just easier to walk around, get a table etc. They have a metro, which has one line! can’t get it wrong, they have trams running through all parts of the city and the trains are fast and cheap! As we didn’t really have much time on the first day, i dragged Bo into Hard Rock cafe Helsinki, on the basis he’s never been to Hard Rock Cafe. And taking him their made me laugh!

The next day we were picked up to be taken to a hotel we were staying at about 30mins form the city centre. the hotel was awesome, hidden in the trees, and right on the lake. All wood and glass! was brill. We started our Kayaking from there. Around Helsinki is 100’s of islands, so we kayaked the Baltic, around some islands and then got off and had a walk around an Island.

After the Kayak we went back to the hotel, and had a swim in the baltic. The sea was an amazing 25 degrees (Celsius). Finland also has an extraordinary amount of Saunas. Population 5.5m people, Saunas 3m!! they like saunas. So we embraced this and had a sauna, after 10 mins in the sauna, jumped in the Baltic and repeat. Ok the desired effect doesn’t really work when the fucking sea is 25 degrees!

The day after the Kayaking we went bike through the forest and along the coast line. In winter you can actually bike on the sea as its frozen!

 

After these activities we went back to Helsinki and had a few days there. We went to the 1952 Olympic swimming stadium, and had a swim. 50m pool too which was a novelty to swim in. It’s also outdoors, so i can only imagine they use it for 3 months of the year.

We went on a boat tour around the islands which was good, we also went on the stupid red tourist buses and did some exploring. We found some good bars and nice restaurants. One of which we had Reindeer, well worth it if anyone ever comes across it, very nice. They have a few bars that have outdoor swimming pool areas, and surprisingly saunas. One bar on the harbour had a sauna, and little jetty so after the sauna you could jump in the sea! then grab a beer! We somehow managed to walk into Helsinki’s football clubs ground, and there training pitch, while they were training! We went paddle boarding twice! as paddle boarding for two hours is cheaper than a beer! From where you start paddle boarding you can make your way into the Baltic sea! I’d highly recommend doing that!

Helsinki is a awesome city, and if you like outdoors and outdoor activities you should defiantly go. If you want to go for the night life and beer, don’t bother, there isn’t much and the beer isn’t cheap. Apparently the locals get a ferry to Estonia, as its cheaper. Its also pretty much crime free.