We love Australia. Fact. I mean, why wouldn’t we? It’s a country filled with stunningly diverse scenery, beautiful coral reefs, amazing wildlife, incredible beaches and super cool cities.
It’s no wonder so many of us poms spend our time day dreaming about packing up and heading off on a dream trip to Oz.
Over the next few weeks we will be meeting various travellers who, for reasons they will explain, have fallen head over heals in love with the land down under. They’ll tell us in their own words about the highlight of their experience and why they found it so incredible.
Today, Tom Denning, 25, who currently works at a London university, shares the story of his own Aussie adventure in New South Wales.
Tom Denning Tells Us What Made Australia So Amazing For Him
I fell in love with New South Wales in Spring, earlier this year, during a family holiday to meet my Aussie partner’s family. We visited with an open mind, but liked it so much we’re planing on emigrating there next year.
I’d heard so much about Australia, so had a good idea about the what I wanted to experience while I was there, but the main objective was to hurl myself at an adrenaline sport. Before I left, I did some research and booked myself onto a skydive for my first full day in Sydney. There was no chickening out now, as I’d paid up front.
Not me unfortunately but other parachutists following me down!
Our Sydney hostel was in a great location, on the corner where Oxford Street meets Hyde Park (not to be mistaken for London!). In the evening I spent a fair bit of time sat captivated and watching huge fruit bats screeching overhead. Then, on our first morning there, we rose early to walk to the skydive centre, from where took an hour bus journey to the ‘drop zone’.
As the bus wound through the New South Wales countryside, I grew ever more anxious. Looking up at the huge Australian skies spurred a mixture of emotions, as I knew I’d soon be tumbling through the air without control. After our safety briefing I was strapped tightly into my jumpsuit.
As we soared skywards on a breath of tense conversation, I peered out across an endless landscape of brown and green bush, before levelling out at our jump height of 14,000 feet. My heart was thumping more than I’d ever known it.
After I gave the nod, my instructor swung us from the tiny plane in a swift, confident manoeuvre, and we rushed through the air in an unforgettable freefall. I remember the moment I gathered my senses, and looked out across the unmistakable beauty of New South Wales.
To my right, the Pacific coast glistened behind the Sydney skyline; to my left, the rolling Blue Mountains tore through the horizon; while a patchwork of farmland and gum trees carpeted the ground below.
Later that afternoon, I sat in the hostel wondering how I could possibly top that experience, which is when I decided to tick off the second item on my wishlist: the famous Spit to Manly Bushwalk. After receiving directions from a friendly bus driver, I began the 10km walk from Spit Bridge to Manly Cove, along Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Panorama with Manly just to the left
The walk followed the natural harbour and visited several hidden coves and beaches, which were almost entirely empty. I learned a surprising amount about the history of the bay, and viewed original Aboriginal carvings. It was a pleasant walk, through beautiful bushland, offering amazing views of the surrounding ocean and bush — and after a quick excursion, we stopped for a relaxing picnic in the shadow of a small lighthouse on the tip of a peninsula.
After arriving in Manly, with tired — but well travelled — legs, and a camera loaded with plenty of local wildlife, we grabbed an ice cream and waded into the Pacific Ocean, to watch the surfers carve up the waves, before catching the ferry back to Circular Quay, and enjoying the most spectacular sunset I’d ever seen, with the epic Harbour Bridge standing tall in the foreground.
The incredible sunset behind the Harbour Bridge
Sydney saw of tough competition to steal the headlines of my trip to Australia. When I return, I’ve decided my next challenge will be braving the shark cage…