We packed up everything we had for China in Alice’s gym bag to leave in the luggage storage (I had one eBag packing cube and a SuperDry jacket) and left the apartment to drop it off. When we got to the place (it did look kinda dodgy), no one seemed to be there so Alice rang them up and eventually someone came along. We paid around $22 in total to leave the bag for just over a month – really good value when you think about it.
Since the luggage storage was based in a shopping centre, Alice and I decided that we would both split off after lunch to buy each other Christmas presents. Walking around the food court we spotted a Nando’s: God how we were craving it! We both gave in and agreed to get one: a whole chicken with 2 large sides. It was so good, although I was really disappointed by their lack of wild herb sauce – that really makes a difference. We didn’t manage to finish our lunch so we took half of it away in boxes before going off in search of presents.
I browsed around lots of different shops and eventually decided what I was going to get Alice – a Santa hat was included in this and I even bought one for myself! I also got her a nail polish kit, tangfastics (always too expensive to afford generally) and a big Lindt chocolate bar (she had been going on about how much she wanted one). I still wanted to get something else but there just wasn’t anything in the shops. I was in search of a really nice stationary shop but I just couldn’t find one, grr.
I met back up with Alice and we caught the train to Circular Quay – cocktail o’clock at the Opera House Bar 😏. I was still in search of Alice’s missing Christmas present so I left my bags with her and hurried off to find some shops. After walking for 20 minutes in the direction of what looked like shops, I found that everything was closed. Damn. I couldn’t walk all the way back in my flip flops so I was lazy and got a train back haha.
I found Alice on the Opera House steps eventually (after several messages and phone calls) and after taking a few photos, we found ourselves seats right by the river. I ordered a summer sangria cocktail and Alice got a raspberry fling.
As it was Christmas Eve, I thought it would be best to give Alice one of her Christmas presents early: her Santa hat. Everybody around the Opera House and harbour seemed to be wearing either a Santa hat or some sort of Christmas headband; we had to join in. Plus, a Santa hat is no use if you can only wear it on Christmas Day, right?
We enjoyed the sunset and sipped our cocktails while watching everyone enjoy their Christmas Eve. The bar had live music and people had got up to dance and everyone just seemed to be having a great time. It was really really nice and in that moment, I honestly thought that there was nowhere else I would rather be.
CHRISTMAS DAY 🎅🏼🎄🎁🎉✨
Although we didn’t get to sleep until way past midnight
(so technically Christmas Day already), we were still both surprised that it was actually Christmas Day. We got ready to spend it on Bondi Beach – yep, we’d be spending our Christmas on the beach 😎. Making sure to pack our Santa hats, we jumped on the train and made our way there. Everybody seemed to be wearing something Christmassy and the beach was packed out. There were a lot of guys wearing full Santa suits (how can they in such hot weather?!) and girls in red bikinis.
We enjoyed soaking up the sun and dodging the waves with everybody else. It was definitely a surreal experience having a hot Christmas but I wasn’t complaining! (I did miss not having my stocking to open first thing in the morning though).
At about 5pm we decided it was time to head back so we’d have enough time to cook Christmas dinner (food food food food). I’m terrible when it comes to cooking meat in big quantities and I certainly had no clue with Christmas dinner. Luckily, Alice was the chef here and though I offered to help with the veg (I’m good at that), Alice got on with it all on her own and my gosh she did extremely well. Christmas dinner was absolutely delicious.
Just look at that – thank you Alice!
We watched Sex and the City while we ate and after I’d finished my massive plate, I got out the tub of Ben & Jerry’s half-baked that I had treated myself to, mmm.
‘But what about presents?!’ you ask.
Since there was no wrapping paper, Alice and I had to each take it in turns to wrap our gifts in tin foil (yes, tin foil) so it wasn’t until 11pm that we exchanged our presents! Despite being on a budget for pressies, I couldn’t have asked for anything better: salted caramel Lindt chocolates (if you know me you’ll know that salted caramel is my thing), l’occitane hand cream and a really cute pen and sticky note set from this stationary brand I love.
I also Skype’d my family back home and they all gathered around the screen to wish me a happy Christmas and catch up – it was really lovely. All in all, although I didn’t have your usual Christmas, I loved every minute.
When we eventually woke up after a nice lie-in we had leftover Christmas dinner for breakfast (who doesn’t love the leftovers?!) and then made sandwiches with the rest of the chicken for dinner. The afternoon was spent sorting out all the leftover food (there was quite a lot left) as well as packing our bags up. Today was the first day we’d be taking the Greyhound bus to travel further up the coast!
We left a bottle of wine and some quince for our lovely host, Cath, and then left the apartment at about 6pm. Our coach was at 7pm from Sydney’s bus station and we successfully got on (though it was all confusing at first with several different Greyhound buses). The journey wasn’t going to be the best since we didn’t get into Port Macquarie until 1:45am and from there we had to make our way to the hostel! Luckily the place we were staying allowed us to check-in at such a late time and we managed to find them in the dark – though it was pretty creepy walking down the roads which weren’t properly lit.
Christmas was definitely a different experience but I loved every second! It really was sad to leave Sydney but also exciting to move on. The real backpacking begins now with only a few nights here and there; we’d always be on the move from now on.
If you’re not following the adventure already, here are the links:
Instagram & Twitter – @violahelen_
Snapchat – violahelen
Peace and love,