The feeling of arriving in Sydney and knowing this is the start of a long journey for us was amazing. We found a bar called AB Hotel near our hostel in Glebe Village that served $8 AU jugs of good beer. Which is extremely cheap by Australian standards. Alcohol costs and arm and a leg! You can drop $80 on a 6 pack of good beer. The bar also had a huge upstairs that we ended up having all to ourselves and free wifi.
I found out later the reason for the insane beer prices in Australia. The government taxes alcohol and cigarettes like crazy in order to pay for the hospital bills that it causes. Which makes sense since they have socialized medicine and when people go to the hospital or doctor they pay little or nothing for care. I wonder if this will happen to beer prices in the US??? I hope not.
Glebe Village Backpackers Hostel
At Glebe Village Backpackers Hostel, we met a couple of nice and very helpful Germans who gave us some tips about the city and the buses. The hostel was not bad for $24 AU/per person and they made pancakes in the morning that were delicious! They also have free BBQ on Friday nights. Just some wonder bread, a few hot dogs and hamburgers. But hey, it’s free. I wasn’t too stoked on the fact that there are no lockers or safes anywhere in the hostel, especially when you are sharing a room.
Since we had no idea where we wanted to go in Sydney, we just hopped on the bus and headed toward downtown. The bus driver was super informative and she was very enthusiastic about helping us plan our itinerary. We ended up fitting a lot into one day.
We walked the harbor bridge, checked out the opera house, went to the Royal Botanical Gardens (free admission might I add), and took another bus to Bondi Beach. The botanical gardens were full of flying foxes. I guess this is seasonal and you won’t always get to see them, but there were hundreds of them in the trees and flying around. They make a lot of noise and are pretty entertaining to watch.
Driving the van out of Sydney was stressful considering it’s a big city and we were driving on the opposite side of the road than we do in the US! One of the hardest things to get used to was that the blinkers and windshield wipers are also on the opposite sides of the steering wheel. Since driving is second nature to a lot of people, it is almost impossible to break the habit of wanting to use your right hand to turn on your signal. But instead the windshield wipers will come on and it causes even more frustration and confusion. It was pretty comical how many times we did that.
In order to get out of Sydney, you have to pass a few tolls. But they can’t just let you pay the tolls as you go through them. You have to go online to each website for each toll you pass within 48 hours and give them your credit card or they will fine you. Our camper van company charges $50 per toll!
Headed north to see where the wind blows us!