Lauren V Hockey

Bright lights, new city


Almost two weeks have passed since I was able to call Australia – specifically, Sydney – home. You can spend so long contemplating what your new life will look like that it feels like it will never happen. We found out we’d be emigrating (by way of Ben receiving a phenomenal job offer and relocation package) back in February, and the goodbyes have lasted almost as long. Fast forward six months and a new beginning starts here.

Jetlag has been kind to me – though arriving on an evening flight at 7.30pm is a good strategy for ensuring you’re ready for bed and sleep soundly. For anyone looking to fly long haul, I can’t recommend Singapore Airlines enough – professional, tasty food and beautiful planes that seem to purr over oceans.

Despite arriving in the middle of winter, we were blessed with endless blue skies and sunshine in my first week, and so took the well-trodden tourist trail around town, taking in Taronga Zoo, the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk and the pretty beaches of North Sydney suburb, Manly. A highlight was definitely watching the sun set from the 36th floor of the Shangri-La Hotel in The Rocks – a must-do whether you’re a local or a tourist (just be sure to get there for when it opens at 5pm to nab a seat – the best one’s provide arresting views over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House!)

If you’ve spent any time Down Under you’ll know brunch is somewhat of an occasion for Aussies, and as such we’ve dined well – with avocado, artisan breads & feta cheese featuring heavily. Our wallets are empty and are waistlines larger, albeit for good times making new friends (and catching up with old ones). Shout out to Single-O in Surry Hills for the best brunch and flat white (so far!). These guys *own* weekend brunching. There’s something about the warmer weather that lends itself to dining out(doors), and, because all good things must come to an end, the grey of winter returning this week was not a completely unwelcome sight (and boy, when it rains in Sydney town, it RAINS).

We’ve settled in Coogee, a beautiful suburb in the East and whose peace and tranquility are welcome traits after the constant rush of the city. Coogee Bay Village, to give it its official title, is awash with Poms who’ve either settled permanently in Australia, backpackers passing through, or the ‘457 set’ (that’s us!), named according to their visa class, who are effectively skilled migrants seeking a sunshine & surf way of life. The busy Coogee Bay Road is adorned with grocers, juice bars & surf shops, as well of course numerous spots to indulge in the Coffee Culture that Sydney is known for. One such spot is the recently renovated Coogee Pavillion, set back from the beachfront and whose high ceilings, domed roof and wraparound rooftop bar caters for pretty much anyone, from those nipping in for a morning juice, to lunchtime surf ‘n’ turf to late afternoon martinis as the sun goes down.

Getting around Sydney couldn’t be easier with an Opal card (the equivalent to London’s Oyster card). Buses are frequent and hassle-free, though you’ll need to hold tight once aboard as they don’t hang about and brake heavily.

We’ve so many spots on our adventure wish list that it’s hard to know where to begin! Stay tuned for travels around New South Wales and beyond – first stop, Hunter Valley!

Number of flat whites consumed: 4
Number of Bruce/Sheila’s encountered: 1
Number of avocados consumed: 6
Number of BBQs: every night (on account we don’t yet have our cooking utensils from the shipping container!)
Number of beaches visited: 8