In fall semester 2011 I met an Aussie boy on exchange to the University of Arizona. I had always wanted to travel to Australia and after he went home we stayed in touch. One night when we were chatting I spontaneously told him I wanted to come and visit. Although I had never been overseas and didn’t have enough money to pay for the airfares, I took a leap and got tickets on my credit card and told him I would be there in a few weeks.

It didn’t really hit me until I was on the plane that I was actually going. I was too excited to sleep on the 14 hour plane ride and any thoughts of wasting a moment disappeared the moment I glimpsed the sun rising over Sydney harbour from 6000 feet up.

We headed straight from the airport to Bondi beach to grab breakfast and go exploring. Being very jetlagged I made the mistake of asking for ‘coffee’ and receiving only a quizzical look. Aussies are very specific when it comes to what type of coffee they want and the quality they expect.

After breakfast we headed down to the beach and did the very popular Bondi to Bronte walk – a lovely sprawling trail running around the cliff face between two of the most beautiful beaches you have ever laid eyes on nestled in the bay.

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After soaking up the sun and enjoying the beach for a while we wanted a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, so we packed up and headed to the Blue Mountains that evening. Driving in late we were treated to incredible vistas of a heavily forested valley as far as the eye could see. The name comes from the subtle blue haze which hangs above the eucalypt forest in the valley.

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We went and checked into a rustic and beautiful little bed and breakfast called Chalet Blue Mountains (www.chaletbluemountains.com.au) and were lucky enough to be upgraded as it was the quiet season.

For dinner we headed to Leura garage (www.leuragarage.com.au). Hidden down a little sidestreet in the tiny township of Leura, the restaurant had a cosy and intimate setting with great service and incredible food.

Jetlag did finally get the better of me after a lovely dinner, but fortunately we spent the rest of the week exploring the Blue Mountains; hiking down into the valley and enjoying the scenery before the next leg of our journey.

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Next stop: Manly and Melbourne

Written by Aimee C