The past two days have definitely had their highs and lows. Yesterday (Monday 8th), we started off by meeting with the STA/Job Search people to talk about setting up bank accounts, tax codes, finding jobs and Medicare – basically, we were taught how to adult in Australia. I opened an Australian bank account (!!), but had to go back today to give them my UK national insurance number. God knows why they needed that, but it was only a tiny inconvenience. After that we had a quick lunch in Hyde Park until the cloudy skies before setting off to set up our Medicare account.
The first real ‘OMG what am I doing with my life’ moment of this adventure came when we trekked to the Medicare centre where we were told to go to and were told that they didn’t do enrolments at that centre and that we’d have to go to another one on the other side of the city. Not good. We literally sat outside on the steps and had a group ‘we need an adult’ moment. It was a tough five minutes.
We pulled ourselves together and Emily and I took ourselves off to the Sydney Observatory, where the oldest working telescope in Australia lives. Pretty cool, huh? There was an incredible view of the northern suburbs from up there, but it was slightly (…very) overshadowed by the storm clouds rolling in.
The view from the Sydney Observatory
We made the long slog back to our hostel after looking round the museum and made a quick dinner of pasta before playing some card games and becoming so delirious I almost cried laughing.
Tuesday was a new day, and because it was set to be stormy all day we decided to visit the SEAlife aquarium at Darling Harbour. It had everything from Emperor Penguins and Dugongs to jellyfish and sharks, which we even got to see being fed. If there’s one thing I leant today, it’s that Australian parents can be incredibly rude. I paid my $29 for my ticket (admittedly it was majorly discounted, but still, I paid) and it definitely included a ride on the penguin boat that I stood and waited patiently for. Alas, a family decided that they were more important and me and my two friends and that they should go first despite not waiting in the queue like everyone else. Not cool, bro.
After our trip to the aquarium it was a bit of lunch (why are the veggie options always the most expensive?!) and then onto the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Dad – you’d love it. It was full of all kinds of art from weird post-modern balloon sculptures to traditional Aboriginal works. My favourites was the old Anglo-Zulu war paintings and the photography exhibition of Pat Brassington’s works.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales
After our whistle-stop tour of the museum my blisters were almost burning holes in my feet so we went down to the Royal Botanic Gardens for to chill out and do a little yoga flow. Even though it was overcast all day it was incredibly warm and it was nice to lie on the grass and just be.
The Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful; we just made our way back to the hostel and had a very interesting dinner of leftover pita bread and hummus from yesterday and peach cereal. Yeah, I know.
Tomorrow’s adventure is a trip to the Blue Mountains, one of the things I was most excited to visit in NSW! For now, I’m off to sleep, while the guy on the bed across the room feels the need to play Michael McIntyre at top volume. Night!