It was a quick breakfast with Morgan and Kate before we hit the road out of Canberra towards Sydney. Again, kicking myself for not taking any photos with these guys…
We were lucky enough to be staying with a friend, May, in inner city Sydney (Kirribilli). There have been some massive bushfires burning in the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney) recently, which I’d forgotten about until we got closer to Sydney and noticed what we thought was pollution haze (it was smoke). We didn’t arrive until close to 3PM, and straight away went for a walk around Milsons Point towards Luna Park. It’s an odd place, but I can imagine it’d be a fun place to have a party. Expensive, too – rides were $10 each, or you could purchase an unlimited package for ~$50.
We followed our tour guide around the harbour, then up into North Sydney. There are so many places with amazing city/harbour views, it was somewhat surprising for me. I was also surprised by the size of North Sydney – it was like another mini CBD, with a dense concentration of mid-sized high-rise office buildings.
We had arrived in North Sydney at an odd time to eat – too late for lunch, too early for dinner. So, we sat in a bar for a while, caught up, and waited for a local pizza shop to open up at 4:30. It was good to catch up, we hadn’t seen May since we road tripped down here from Brisbane two years ago to see the New Years Eve fireworks (road trip was fun, Sydney was fun, fireworks were fun, queuing for 14 hours to see the fireworks… not so). Pizza was better than it looked, too (and it looked pretty damn good).
May had organised for a Saturday night out in Manly, which we were looking forward to as it wasn’t somewhere we’d been before. Manly is on the coast, and my first impressions were how similar it seemed to Surfers Paradise. Sure, there were plenty of differences; buildings were smaller, people were more natural (not so many examples of how not to have plastic surgery) and the place felt more relaxed in general. But, still, that feeling of walking down Cavil Avenue in Surfers Paradise remained.
First stop was to the excellent Four Pines brewery – I’d seen my brothers drinking it before, but didn’t know much about it. It had a very ‘hip’ feeling to the place, like lots of the other craft breweries that we’ve visited before. I bought the excellent Kolsch, which is their totally delicious German-style beer. It was more expensive than I was expecting, too – $7.5 for a ~360mL glass from memory. Risa got the Ginger Beer (delicious) and May got their Pale Ale (also delicious).
Second bar was InSitu, and this place was packed! It took a little while for enough people to leave for us to enter, and even then we had to squeeze through the human sardine tin to get to the bar. There were some quiet spots at the rear of the bar, but we went back to the crowded front where there was a really good live acoustic set going on (personal favourite was Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’).
To my surprise/shock/confusion, lots of the bars here shut at 12AM. We later found out that it’s due to new licensing laws being incredibly expensive for venues to stay open beyond midnight. So, like all the other displaced party people, we headed to the one giant bar/hotel that was still open, before calling it a night thirty minutes later. Also surprising was the 12:30AM (or maybe it was 1AM) lock-out that was in effect (you couldn’t enter a premise after this time, but you could stay in). $40 taxi back to Kirribilli and straight to bed.