Tag Archives: Sydney

#15 Helicopter ride over Sydney

13 Nov

This was a fun one! I bought this helicopter ride for Nick for his 30th birthday and the timing worked well as we booked it for our last day in Sydney before the FINAL move. A lovely way to say goodbye to my beautiful home city! And the weather was perfect… it usually is in Sydney anyway.

We hired a Go Get car (as I sold my Peugeot in May) and at 8am we were off to Sydney airport. When we got there, there was no one else in the office – YES! We weren’t sharing the helicopter with any other groups!

After watching a safety video and signing our life away we were taken out to a tiny helicopter. It was honestly about the size of a car! Nick sat in the front (as it was his gift!) and I sat in the back, which had just as good of a view.

Taking off felt strangely smooth. I’m so used to taking off in huge A380 or 737 and feeling the vibration along the runway. In a helicopter you simply lift off the floor. I know that seems obvious but it hadn’t occurred to me until then that it would be so flawless. The same goes for the flight. We both felt like we were just driving in a car in the sky. Very surreal.

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A quick two minutes in the sky and we were already approaching the city and looking down on the skyscrapers as if they were matchsticks and the people as if they were ants. We passed our apartment and I felt a little emotional knowing that it was going to be the last time we saw it from the outside.

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Over the tall city buildings and then through Sydney Harbour. The Sydney Harbour Bridge on our left and Opera House on our right… Sydney sparkled like a diamond. Almost as if it knew we were leaving that day.

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Then next we passed over the suburb where I grew up – Mosman. We flew all around the bays and beaches and it was lovely to see my part of the world from above. Next we went out to Manly Beach and came back into Sydney Harbour then made our way over to Bondi Beach.

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With over 100 beaches in Sydney, there are too many that we passed over to name, but they all looked beautiful. Before we knew it we were passing over Maroubra Beach and heading back south to the airport. The 20 minutes had gone by so quickly and we didn’t want it to end, but definitely glad we did this activity in Sydney of all cities. It truly is the most naturally beautiful city in the world!

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#27 Get upgraded on a flight

4 Aug

To be honest, this is one that I never thought would happen, but it is probably one of the ones that I wanted the most. Nick doesn’t really understand what the big deal is, but us Australians are so passionate about our travel and go such long distances to get there that it is like winning the lottery. The travel lottery. You see, a business class return ticket from Sydney to London will cost you about USD 10,000 (Damn Australia’s thriving economy and high salaries).

Nick and I are in the process of moving to London. He has already made the move and I still have a few weeks in Sydney to tie up a few loose ends. Following our recent Italian holiday in July, we had to part at Rome Fiumicino airport. On top of an emotional goodbye, I had a long 26 hours in transit. In economy. The farewell was difficult, but I’m sure a few of those tears were in sympathy for the pain my neck and back would endure in a chair more uncomfortable than a concrete bench.

By the time I walked back to my check-in gate (after saying goodbye) my face must have looked like a thousand bees had stung it. Puffy and red-eyed I was still sniffling a little bit. The lady behind the counter obviously took pity on me because she lent forward and whispered those magic words “Miss Davies, Emirates would be privileged to upgrade you to business class for your journey”.

I’ve flown business class once before, so I knew what a brilliant result this was.

Priority boarding! Glass of Veuve Clicquot upon arrival! A flat bed to sleep in! For 26 hours!

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Emirates offers a full menu with celebrity chef created meals. A fantastic wine and liquor selection and a full cocktail menu. Feel like a mojito 35,000ft in the air? Not a problem. Another glass of Veuve? Don’t mind if I do!

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Who wants to balance their head on a blow-up travel pillow when you get to rest your head, horizontally, on a plush full size cloud!

Even though this wasn’t something that happened together, Nick told me that his flight from London to Rome was up the front of the plane in a larger chair than usual… so I’m counting that as an upgrade to business class also ūüėČ

Moral of the story is, if you aren’t going with the honeymoon story for an upgrade… just shed a few tears, and you never know!

#5 Become Certified Scuba Divers

3 Apr

The previous item that we crossed off our list¬†involved going 14,000ft in the air. So it made sense to check out what is down below for our next activity. Scuba diving involves quite a bit of preparation before you can submerge. It is recommended (but apparently not essential) that you get a diving medical and there is quite a bit of theory to study. We found the study element particularly¬†difficult¬†as we can’t even go though a five minute ad break without saying something to each other!!

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The main purpose of the medical is to test your lung capacity and your balance through your ears. Nick had no problem getting his ears checked. I on the other hand had a Madame Tussauds open for business in my ear canals and needed an ear flush. Mortifying.

We ended up becoming SDI certified over a three day course which will allow us to dive anywhere in the world to 18 meters underwater. Next stop, Great Barrier Reef!

The course consisted of:

  • a day of theory with an exam
  • a day of confined water diving to get used to the diving equipment and underwater communication
  • a day of open water diving and skills

After completing the course you can understand why there is so much involved in becoming certified. You are completely reliant on your equipment and a small error in your pre-dive checks can result in a complication. Anything from your air tank running out or your weight belt coming off and rising to the surface too quickly and tearing a lung.

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Your equipment is quite heavy and it is a relief when you get in the water and take the weight off your body. Especially if there is a distance to get to the water. I always thought that you just jumped in the water and swam down with ease and you had a tube to suck air through a tank. That’s how it looks in the movies! No one mentioned equalizing, safety stops, regulator checks, weight belts, purging, decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis (however, that last one could be kinda funny!).

Its all worth it though! It is incredibly peaceful down there. You almost feel as though you are in slow motion and the only thing you can really hear is your breath. Schools of fish dance past you and there are endless areas to explore and fish to admire near rocks and in caves. I think its safe to say that we will be scuba diving again in the near future!

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30 March 2013 – 1 April 2013

#3 Skydiving!

21 Mar

When people ask you what it feels like to jump out of a plane and plummet towards earth at 200kms/h… you can’t really describe the feeling. You can’t find the words. Most people assume it’s like being on a descending roller-coaster for 60 seconds. It isn’t. At all. Imagine yourself floating over a large industrial size fan. You don’t feel gravity… all you feel is the wind on your face and the pressure in your ears. You have no concept of falling apart from the terrifying fact that the ground appears to be getting closer. Your screams are hardly heard and your whole life rests in the hands of someone who is strapped onto your back. Its absolutely exhilarating!

When answering the first asked questions “So, what was it like? Was it scary?”, my honest answer is that the plane ride is scarier than jumping out. You’re in a tiny tin plane with nine or so others and you’re all sitting on the floor being deafened by the single engine struggling to get you all up to 14,000ft… and gusts of wind are not this plane’s friend!

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The relief when you feel when that parachute pulls you to a more civilized speed makes you want to kiss the ground. How ironic! You’ve still got a long way to go. Thankfully the rest of the descent is a peaceful and scenic float back down to earth.

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It is truly the most surreal thing that you will do in your life. We would recommend this to anyone that is open to doing it. It is worth every single dollar that you pay… and as you can see, you MUST get the photos and DVD.

Hey, if my Mum could do it at 50, you can too!

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We organised our jump through Skydive the Beach in Wollongong, NSW, Australia.


15 February 2013

#31 Watch a movie at the OpenAir Cinema

18 Jan

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I know that #31 isn’t supposed to exist on a 30 under 30 list, but rules are made to be broken and this experience was absolutely worth a mention. I can’t think of anywhere else in the world where you can watch a movie outside, on a 30 degree night, with such an iconic background. Sometimes I found myself watching the view instead of the screen!

Two good friends of ours managed to get four tickets to this sell-out event. Each year the St George OpenAir Cinema runs for the month of January and it sells out online within minutes. So we were pretty happy that they chose to invite us!

I can see why the event is a¬†sell-out¬†every year. You are able arrive early for a glass of champagne (or a bottle) at the outdoor bar and watch the sunset over the harbour. When it gets dark enough a screen comes up from the ground letting you know that its time to go to your seat… and you are allowed to take your glass (bottle) of champagne with you!

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Oh, and the movie playing that night was The Impossible. A very emotional true story and a miracle! Worth watching if you remember the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.

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#24 Attend a Coldplay Concert!

20 Nov

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Finally! Thanks to Coldplay we get to make our first post and what a great first post to make! We were lucky enough to go see these guys on Sunday 18 November 2012 at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Easily one of the best concerts we’ve both been to.

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Originally there was only meant to be one Sydney concert to promote their new album, Mylo Xyloto, but it sold out so quickly that they announced another and after attending one, you can see why! From start to finish it was a complete audio and visual experience and every Coldplay classic performed. Yellow. Paradise. Fix You. Clocks. Speed of Sound. If it was a hit, they played it! Confetti shot up into the air raining over everyone (Nick almost inhaled some! It was hilarious!), beach balls bounced around the crowd and lasers lit up the stadium. However, by far the most amazing sight was watching over 50,000 lights around people’s wrists (given upon entrance) pulse to the music.

To top it all off, on the way out of the stadium, they were handing out Coldplay fridge magnets. #24 and #8 both accomplished in one night!

Fridge magnet #3 out of 30! (With a heart shaped piece of confetti from the concert!)