Sydney: Cockatoo Island (…the accidental film set)

OK, so weird fact about Lucy and I – we both love anything to do with murders, prisons and anything a bit gruesome, so when we heard about Cockatoo Island we knew it was worth a visit. Cockatoo Island is a little island located in the harbour but when you’re there it feels like you’re a million miles away from the city and even from the current day, it really feels like an island that’s lost in time.
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Now I can’t remember all the facts that I learnt about the island (the $5 audio tour was actually really cool and interesting!) but I will say that between 1839 and 1869 Cockatoo Island was an island for convicts who had re-offended and was NOT a place you wanted to end up. In 1869 the convicts were relocated and the island became a reform school for girls and a very sad place to grow up,
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So weirdly enough you can actually camp on the island, as you start the tour around the old barracks you can see lots of little tents lined up amongst the old metal ruins. The views across the harbour of the city were pretty sweet from here too!
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Walking through the ruins was really interesting, we had the audio tour playing in our ears telling us stories of how the convicts would have lived and the conditions that they had to deal with.
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We then walked around the parts of the island that were used to house young girls who had committed petty crimes, it was really sad to walk around there and listen to the lives that these young girls would have lived. This place had a real eerie feel to it and a real sad atmosphere.
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We walked to another part of the island that is called the Industrial Centre, the insides looked like a factory and had old discarded machines inside, whilst I was walking taking photos Lucy gasped and starting freaking out “They filmed Wolverine here! They filmed Wolverine here!”…low and behold, they had filmed Wolverine there! We found this VERY exciting (the film Unbroken had also been filmed there too but c’mon guys it’s Wolverine!)
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The video below is the scene that was shot on the island, it also features Hugh Jackman naked so it’s worth a watch…just saying.

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We really enjoyed our trip around Cockatoo Island, finding out about the history and walking amongst it all was great. It was hard to believe we were only a 5 minute ferry ride from the city’s harbour, it’s definetly worth a visit, if just to geek out about the Wolverine set!

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Sydney: Coogee to Bondi walk

We had been staying in Sydney for 3 days when we decided to do the coastal walk that runs from Bondi to Coogee (or Coogee to Bondi depending on which way round you do it!) We had spent alot of time in and round the city and fancied a change of scenery.

We were full of optimism and enthusiasm when we caught the bus to Coogee, the weather was lovely and it looked like the perfect day for a coastal stroll. When we actually arrived in Coogee however, this had all changed – it was windy and a storm was threatening to make an appearance on the horizon. Our choice of summer dresses and flip-flops were not a practical idea – although we did start out walk admiring this beautiful rainbow which was pretty great!
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We had heard mixed reports about how long the walk would take us, some people said 2 hours and one person said 6.5 hours so we didn’t really know what to expect! We walked along the coasts edge which was beautiful then, randomly, you walk through a grave yard!
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This place was incredible and I couldn’t belive my eyes. There were gravestones as far as the eye could see and to me, there was something really beautiful about it all. It was a very peaceful place.
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I could not believe that a huge graveyard would be so close to the coasts edge, it was unbelievable. I also found it very cute that all of the graves looked over the cliff and out onto the sea.
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The coastal walk was beautiful and the terrain would change with every corner that we took, sandy beach one minute, cliffs and rocks the next.
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It was an easy walk but we walked at quite a pace because we were scared the heavens would open at any minute!
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Luckily for us we didn’t get rained on and we made it to Bondi in 2 hours! It was great to see Bondi beach so empty because I’ve only ever been at the weekends before and you can’t move for people but this day the moody weather was putting everyone off! Below is a video that I shot on my GoPro of the walk…

I’ll end this post with the photos of this incredible pool at Bondi beach, look at it!! The pool is touching the edge of the sea, imagine starting your day off with a dip in there!
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I would definitely recommend this walk if you’re staying in Sydney, it’s nice to get out of the city and see some amazing sights, maybe even pack your cozzy and have a dip in the pool!

First few days in Sydney (on a budget)

After having a great time in Melbourne it was time for Greyhound bus journey to Sydney (yay!…NOT) We stocked up on snacks, had all our electricals charged, had podcasts and films at the ready and finally boarded the bus at 10pm, 12 hours later we were in Sydney (and feeling pretty gross after being cooped up on a bus all night) We checked into our hostel and decided to freshen up, put our tourists hats on and have a walk down to the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

We then walked back to the hostel, freshened up, made friends with one of the girls in our room, bought the cheapest bottle of wine we could find and then headed out to Darling Harbour to go for some drinks…que the one drunken photo we took from that night.

The next day we decided to check out The Rocks area of Sydney, I had never been there before and it was really great to discover this gem of the city. The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney and is full of history. We walked along the cobbled streets and alleyways and visited The Rocks Discovery Centre.
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The next day was Anzac Day and a public holiday in Australia, we woke up and decided to go and do some exploring (if anywhere was open!) We got given a map from our hostel that had a free walking tour on it so we decided to give that a go and it was bloody brilliant!!
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There was a really nice atmosphere in the city on Anzac Day, we were out early and it was lovely to see so many people who were going to march in the parade later that afternoon.
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We continued on our tour and it was great to learn all about the history of the city. There were so many hidden treasures that we learnt about and our tour guide was brilliant, she was so enthusiastic and funny and the tour was so interesting. This is the website for the tours – it was all FREE and I would definitely recommend doing it if you’re in Sydney, they also do them in Melbourne too.
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I particularly loved this piece of street art that was in a little alley way. It’s called Forgotten Songs and it’s a memorial for all the species of birds that would once have lived within the city. “Forgotten Songs commemorates the songs of fifty birds once heard in central Sydney, before they were gradually forced out by European settlement. The calls, which filter down from the canopy of birdcages suspended above Angel Place, change as day shifts to night; the daytime birds’ songs disappearing with the sun, and those of the nocturnal birds, which inhabited the area, sounding into the evening” – quote from the citysydneyart.com website.
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We finished our tour at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, learning about how the bridge was made and how you can take a tour across the top of the bridge! After the tour was finished Lucy and I decided to take a walk across it, this was my third trip to Sydney but I’d only ever seen the bridge from across the river.
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We started our walk along the bridge, the views from the top were great and it was nice to see the Opera House from the other side.
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The walk along the bridge was fun, although we felt we were fighting the onset of a downpour so we walked at quite a quick pace just incase!
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Spending your time in a city can soon get expensive but there are so many free choices that you can make. With a little research you can see amazing sights within the city without breaking the bank. I’ve visited Sydney twice before but didn’t see half as much as I did in the first few days of this trip.
My advice for anyone visiting a new city is to take part in some kind of tour to get your bearings of the city you’ll be staying in. The tour guide is usually a local who can recommend great places for you to eat, drink and enjoy during your stay!