Waking-Up to Sydney
By Gillian Scholes
Last updated: 4th October 2011
I HAVE ARRIVEDDDD!!!
…Okay, so I actually arrived yesterday morning however it has been pretty non-stop since I got here and haven’t had a spare moment. I cannot believe I am actually here, but already feel like I have settled in to my second home.
So, a basic run through of my first few days here…Upon arrival at Sydney I quickly found my transfer who drove us the short distance to Wake-Up hostel, my home for the next week. First impressions were – cosy, friendly and clean, with comfy sofas and loads of computers and people milling around. I checked in with no problems, was given my key card and some free internet to get me started. My room is a 10bed dorm but a really good size so that all my clothes can be scattered around my bunk without interfering with other peoples – you will also never find a wardrobe so do not count on staying tidy. I eagerly wait to find out who my roommates are and straight away I meet a girl from Canada who is travelling on her own and arrived the same day. We getting chatting and I find out she is also on the same Sydney Introduction package as me and immediately we are both glad not to be going alone. That evening, the two of us headed down to reception to meet our group and then going downstairs to Side bar – yes this hostel has its own underground club; we are stuffed with pizza, wedges and beer and given a briefing on the week’s activities. Immediately, it was easy to relax to make friends as everyone was in the same boat…I think I introduced myself 20 times and no I don’t remember anyone’s names. That night was a frenzy of getting to know people, mixed with lots of drinking and a bit of dancing before jet lag hit and everyone collapsed not looking forward to the 10am start.
My second day consisted of a walking tour around Sydney and I can finally say I have seen the Sydney Opera House!! One of those iconic building you see in so many adverts that is associated with Australia – and there I was standing in front of it, which was a very surreal feeling, and honestly it is pretty cool. We walked along the harbour seeing the bridge and the tiny people walking over the top, and then carried on through the Botanical gardens, which felt like a whole other world. A quick steak for lunch overlooking the harbour and then we were then escorted to the Sydney office. There we were given introduction packs which contained all the necessary bits to get started in Oz. Including, a sim card, tax number, job help, plus loads of freebies and discounts. We then completed our RSA, a qualifications which enables us to work in bars here and then headed out again to a bar called The Scary Canary, a crazy traveller’s bar with music, quizzes and again we were fed and watered (only alcohol though). I have also been learning some Canadian and German drinking games which are starting to make me feel like a massive light-weight!!
First impressions of Sydney are that it has the bustling city vibe, with nice shops, parks and from what I have seen so far there is a load to do. I am feeling pretty excited for my next few days having met so many people already…Tomorrow starts with a boat cruise and all I have been told is to bring swimmers (which I assume and hope is a bikini of some sort) and beer, I see this will be another unforgettable experience.
P.S. – So far I am glad about my baggage choice after seeing other people with double the amount of suitcases as me…evidently a backpack just isn’t enough for us girls.