What we did in Australia

about-anna-parsec-wallis
by Anna Parsec
Updated: November 21, 2023
20 minute read
Australia sunset

Travelling to Australia kicked off the whole idea of travel in our life. Not as a concept because we knew we would do an extended period of travel some day but set a timeframe and made us do that no matter what as well as plan our life around this adventure.

Sydney building and observation tower
The reason why we went to Australia was to attend James’ friend’s wedding. We figured that since we travel all the way there for this event that we wouldn’t want to miss, then we could stick around and look around familiar places and explore new ones.
James and Anna at wedding after speaches

Australia itself wasn’t on our priority list. James didn’t like the idea of all things dangerous and poisonous while I was very calm about the county. However, those Australians we had spoken to about our trip there (hi Chloe!) were pretty ecstatic about it. My impression of the country is built on the film Tracks with Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver while James imagined everything like in Crocodile Dundee and operated a suitable vocabulary. I think it was all a bit different after all. At least, those places that we’ve visited were not from those films.

Anna at Noosa beach

Most people were pretty shocked that we were going to spend only 2 weeks in Australia. However, we had an itinerary that made us settle on this duration and also we thought that we don’t want to spend too much time in a country that’s pretty expensive (comparable to the Asia). However, in the aftermath we thought that it was enough for us to get a good impression of the country as well as do all the socialising we went for.

Getting to Oz

To get to Australia we chose a trip via the Philippines just to get more impressions for the same (actually, less!) amount of money. It cost us £717 each to get to Brisbane while seeing Manila, Boracay island, and Sydney. We thought that’s great value.

James getting on the plane in Singapore
When flying over Australia, I was puzzled by all these wells and straight lines coming out of them. Any idea what it is? Not sure whether you can see.
On the flight Singapore-Sydney all the windows were pre-selected to the dark setting so I couldn't see anything. Hence, I had to use the 'communal' window to see what Australia is like.
Toilets in Singapore Changi airport are seriously luxurious
Arrived to Sydney after a pretty sleepless night but at least my hairstyle was fantastic
Australian border was really easy and fast
Everyone used to want to see my Russian passport but now nobody ever sees my British passport - it's all automatic
Sydney underground
We were impressed by underground double-decked trains
Destination: Museum station. That's where our hotel was but no wonder we've been to quite a few museums in the end
Travel edition
Being in Sydney was strangely familiar. First moments of feeling the city
Arrived to our Criterion hotel. James has tested the mattress (the best so far!) and it was time for the chair
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Sydney

Our first destination was Sydney. We really enjoyed our short stay (just over 24 hours) and have seen and done quite a bit there. We arrived at around 11am on 26th September, checked in, had a nap because our flight was overnight via Singapore, and started our exploration of this city. We felt that it was a mix of New York (how we imagine it as neither of us have even been there) and Singapore and with a London tint. First of all, we went to the Australian museum, then had food and just walked around.

James and Anna at the Sydney Opera House

The next day we went to the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Opera House and the Museum of Sydney. It was all diluted by our trips to various supermarkets because it turns out that is one of our favourite activities. Also, I tried to lull James’ the vigilance and end up in RM Williams boots shops for my second pair and his first but he was on the lookout for such a detour.

Park ranger at Sydney botanical gardners

All in all, we had a nice time in a good hotel with a really comfy mattress and felt like we managed to introduce ourselves to the key bits of this city. On our second day we were grabbing the train to Brisbane.

In the museums of Sydney

I'm super proud of this picture. It's such a curious connection between past and present, between different cultures. James thought it's Rodin's sculpture but I explained that if it were Rodin, we would definitely get a 360 view.
Some authentic applied art
In the New South Wales museum. Blue walls - Austrlian art, red walls - European art
I suspected 2 of the paintings were stolen but nobody has noticed
The art museum's guide was ecstatic about her stuff. However, we felt that we should have walked around ourselves instead
Modern aboriginal art?
Pieces I liked
Apparently, this 'cow' painting is famous in Oz
My classic James in the museum shot. Not staged
Peculiar animals of Oz
Maybe James enjoys viewing galleries as a whole including other visitors?
I remember my fasciantion of this bird as a child from some of the books for kids
Give me a spaceship and I'll be over the moon (literally)
Entrace of the Australia Museum
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Streets and moments of Sydney

Hyde park of Sydney
Street style
Night streets of Sydney with familiar names (Edinburgh Castle)
The moon was amazingly high in the sk. I think those skyscrapers should be called moonscrapers
The iconic building was surprisingly down to Earth in a way
Amazign attention to details in one of the random streets of Sydney
This cathedral is visible from so many angles
TechnoSydney
We often do all the footage and pictures on all the devices and after that rest and embrace the present
We had to master this coffee machine in our hotel. I had to think like a space engineer
Love motion pictures
I noticed my tendency to pose with my profile in Sydney
Ready for the sightseeing
The Botanic Garden. What makes a botanic garden 'Royal', 'botanical' or 'gardens'?
Subway art
Eating local hamburger that landed majorly on James' gilet
First sunset in Sydney
Always on a lookout for a good shot. James that is.
One of my classic poses
Among the bamboo trees
Our favourite thing to do: seeing supermarkets
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Landscape shot of Sydney

That cathedral that you can see from many spots in Sydney
Some viewing tower
Sydney Opera House undoubtly is a wedding picture location
A bit unusual perspective of the Sydney Opera House
Attentively studying endangered animals of Australia
That was all quite impressive to see
The Museum of New South Wales made me appreciate our European museums even more
Our favourite place at the museum of Sydneu was a living room like gallery. We watched The Queen opening Sydenu Opera House
Sydney Opera House barbie is what I desire for my birthday. Not sure what to do with it though.
Walking the streets of Sydney
Our usual activity: connecting devices to WiFi for the footage upload
A very focuse-demanding job
Sydeny Bridge was alright
James in the sunset light
We are ready. For everything.
Something from Van Gogh
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Train ride

We chose a very unconventional route of getting from Sydney from Brisbane which was pretty unheard of to all the Australians we had spoken to. Train. ‘Why aren’t you just flying? So much quicker. Also, there are so many weirdos on such trains’. Indeed, it is not fast. However, if we take into account getting to the airport (1 hour), waiting around and going through all the checks (3 hours – we usually try to have at least 3 hours before all our flights), flight itself (1.5 hours) getting from the airport (1 hour) which would cost £10+£52+£10=£72 per person and 6.5 hours as opposed to 14 hour train ride when you get on a train at the centre and can be there just before the departure and end up at the city centre and it costs £50 each. So, price is the same but you spend more time on a train. However, you don’t need to go through millions of checks, prepare your backpack for the trip (liquids) but you also see some of the country from the window. We thought it was a very good option.
Sydney Central station platform with James
There were quite a few weirdos though, that was true. There were 3 police interventions to offboard those weird people (not that they did anything – maybe smoking or drinking somewhere?) which made the train late and which meant in turn that our train wasn’t allowed to get into the centre of Brisbane that easily as it would disrupt local train traffic during the rush hour. We were offboarded at Casino, a town nearby, and had a bus arranged to get to the centre of Brisbane. It was alright! We were in no rush and it was better to arrive at 7am than at 5am how it was planned. That was definitely an adventure and a different one from an Australian perspective.

Moments of travel from Sydney to Brisbane

Sydney Railway Station. Felt hidden, to be honest.
Love this shot because of the background and characters
Staff's clothing was really good. I wanted the same.
Something from the Waterloo Station?
In the beginning of our train journey
That guy by the window was talking very loudly to his quiet neighbour for 4 hours straightt telling all sorts about his life. We all heard all the details.
Views from the train
I think that was the commander of the train. It felt like she had to get to know every single passenger
had to stop at some sort of town called Casino and get on a bus
Some beaitiful sunrise though
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Brisbane

This city met us in a gloomy and grey mood. We were quite surprised and spent the first couple of days either freezing because we were not dressed appropriately or burning under the merciless sun. Those days were definitely warmed by meeting friends and having pre-wedding drinks. We embraced the evening and breakfast life of Brisbane and included a bit of city familiarisation. I personally was very impressed by the opera and classical music level of Brisbane Arts Center. To perform Wagner’s The Ring Cycle, a series of 4 operas, take some guts to do. I’ve been trying to see it for the past 10 years and haven’t succeeded. Almost worth flying back to Australia for that.

Romantic bridge in brisbane at night

Random moments of Brisbane in no particular order

Director and Photography: Anna. Opertor: James
James is in Brisbane
Our hostel
Hostel was called Somewhere to Stay
We arrived too early. James looked so tired that staff arranged our beds 5 hours early
Very lush
Banana flowers
What's that?
Typical birds of Oz cities
James often calls me 'a specimen'. I wonder why but I like it.
Houses seemed like from an American horror
That's how our beds looked after laundry was done.
Artistic
Thai food date
Merciless sun of Brisbane
Style
Bus seats print
No recollection of this statue but here you go
A very sexy statue. We admired it 3 nights on the row
People of Brisbane
Another Brisbane statue
Different chai lattes
One of the busiest breakfast places
Overground train
Opossum in the night
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Meeting friends in Brisbane

We had this drinks and dinner for the English side of the wedding party the day before the wedding day
Night side of Brisbane
I'm so cute
Boys' talk
White Russian was the favourite cocktail of the night
The first time of seeing Adam in Australia (as opposed to in London) was quite surreal
The most hilarious thing about that night was that the bar manager approached us and warned that we were getting carried away and too loud. The odd thing was...we were just sitting pretty quietly and talking in a groups of 2-3 people.
Fragments
Posing in cold Brisbane (why was it so cold?)
Night stroll
One of many bus rides (we got some special Go card). When we tried to use contactless, the siren started and the driver politely noted that it is not like in England. We had a free ride!
That's nice
Andy and James used to be especially close. Good to see them together again
See! Friendship
After groomsmen suits fitting
Some high position views for the history
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Anna relaxing in Brisbane park

Wedding

30 September was a joyful and beautiful day of Andy and Lexi’s wedding. The most beautiful and memorable moment was when Lexi was walking down the aisle. We were asked not to use any devices and it made my day. I loved having witnessed that moment and captured it only in my mind. Made it super precious. The vow exchange made me very emotional. I wish James and I had one (we should, my love! Let’s think about it).
Anna James Lexi Andy after wedding ceremony
Lovely sunset on a lovely day
My beautiful wedding reception neighbours: Em and Becky (vice versa really)
Very fancy menu
That was my look, by the way
Close up of the look
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Got some professional pictures from the day
Discussing babies, countries and English/American culture.
Quick picture in the Sirromet wineries where the wedding took place
Wilmslow boys
Love this picture of Lexi at the dance floor
The sunset was getting even better
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After-wedding

We had another 9 days after the wedding which we spent in the circle and among our close friends: 

the koala sanctuary with Chris (hi Chris!)…

At the koala sanctuary where we saw koalas for the first time in our lives
A quick hike with Chris
This koala provide us with plenty of entertainment by scratching itself really well
Waiting for our fish and chips instead of admiring the sunset
Due to the bank holiday (The King's birthday) the surchage was 15%. The lady at the car rentals said to us God Save the King - I said it back.
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…beach time and a lovely Mexican dinner with Fiona, Gordon, Charlotte and Joe (hi all!)…

You would think that;s a family picture. Well, almost! left to right: Gordon, Fiona, Chris, Joe, Ralph, James, Anna
Operation: ordering takeaway at Guzman's
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I said to James 'Just 5 min and I'll be out with a bikini'. James predicted an hour. Guess how long it took!
This new bikini took me an hour to find.
Gordon is making cocktails with Gordon's Gin.
Fiona's chocolates.
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Noosa beach with Adam (hi Adam!)…

James and Adam at Noosa beach
That's a cool picture
We call this 'Beckham tuck' - the way how James did his T-Shirt. Noticed that David does that. Hence, the title.
Anna the Supermodel
A;ways ready to give a hand
Local birds
Noosa beach was really pleasant. I think we hears the shark alert only twice (it might not have been that but that's what we thought it was)
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…hikes to Glasshouse mountains by ourselves and with friends…

Anna sat looking at the Glass House Mountains
One of the Glasshouse mountains
I guess that's Glasshouse as well?
Solid ground on a windy summit
The adventurer
Camelia Japonica
I wonder who drove here before? Look at the lines
Trees we often saw. Mid-spring in Australia
Beautiful sunset (as you can see)
Forest flowers
View from one of the mountains
That's what Australia looks like
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…enjoyable family stay with Andy, Lexi, Ally and Riley (hi Ashworth-Ironside family!)…
A Surf club is like an English pub in Australia
Full house, busy house
Leftovers of the wedding in the house (the flowers)
Kangoroo steak /bbq was not a joke (I thought it was)
Gordon''s birthday
Buddies
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They are dressed like twins
Beach day was too windy so we spent it in the bakery
Find Andy and Ally saying bye
Half-Russian coffee shop at the outskirts of Brisbane
I can't remember whose initiative was to put everyone on Andy's lap but that's funny
This picture makes me laugh each time I see it. Lexi, Andy's wife, told off all the boys for playing with the ball inside the house which caused Ally to fall. Look at the dog's expression. Even he knows they were told off.
We turned the guest bedroom into a mess somehow
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…and Australia Zoo where we saw Steve Irvin’s son (he wasn’t one of the caged animals).

That was fantastic. We positioned ourselves so fortunatley behind a very active viewer
Thsi parrot was tasked with taking $5 from this guy
And then return it back
He was very active
Find the parrots
Rob Irwin in action
Something to learn
Good crocodile
Rob Irwin addressing the public I think about conservation
That's an impressive jump
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Хороший котик (good kitten)
We ordered Rainbow sorbet but they made mango sorbet by mistake first. Our luck!
Slumber party
Another slumber party
James is immersed
We couldn't understand whether it's a dog or a dingo - so casually they were wanderign through the zoo
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Free wandering animal
They were all surprisingly chilled
We were not sure how close we are allowed to be
Architecture of the tiger house
Another animal, another stroll
Caucious
Realised that we can touch them
I think that's the tallest giraff in the captivity at the background
Something unusual for James
Free roaming
Echidna
Random birds but what a shot. Australia is quite rich on bird variety
All together
Rhinos resting under the stone shelter
Rhinos out
That's such a good pose
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One of the most exciting trips was to Fraser island that James tells us about in his story and outlook. When we think about Australia, we agree that the best bits were Fraser Island and Lexi’s salad (that’s apart from the wedding ceremony!).

The ocean at Champagne Pools
The End & The Start

Flying around Australia

Brisbane-Sydney
Before the flight stayed at the surfer's hotel
He took a picture of us with one of the boards
The only hostel I've seen with fridges full of free food. Look at teh level of orgnisation
Having breakfast
So cool
Tim Tam was my favourite food in Australia
Saw cash for teh first time on our last day in Australia
Free wine tasting in Sydney airport
Somehow we had so many crates at the security
Terminal change was a challenge (sydney airport)
hped to see Ayers Rock from the plane. Alas no.
Working on the plane
Full working mode for 8 hours. Melbourne - Ho Chi Mihn City
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Melbourne

When we were at the registration desk to fly to New Zealand, we were made to make a quick decision about our outbound flight. We thought it would be Singapore but when we started checking all the options on the spot and discussing ideas, we settled on a flight from Queenstown to Melbourne for 2 days and then to Vietnam. That’s how we ended up back in Australia.
That's fancy
Local architecture
More closely
River in Melbourne
Look at the booth design
Lots of construction workers in the city. This time male ones, but even more female.
Females in construction
James called it a Hulk bulding
WE love visiting supermarkets
Another female construction worker
We loved these coffee machines
What a variety of architectural solutions
This sort of a ponytail always makes my scalp hurt so much
Very popular sushi rolls in Melbourne
Just wanted to prove that there are many ladies in construction
Millions of layers but that minute was warm and sunny
Stairs in our hostel The Mansion
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From Melbourne we got an impression that we were in Hong Kong that was blended by Australian architecture because of the huge number of Asian people. There was even a Chinese parade that was very interesting to watch.

Also, it was the most intense weather possible; how Allen said (hi Allen!) – All four seasons in one day. That was so true. It was cold with cold wind but at the same time with some merciless sun that was trying to kill you. We went to the Science Gallery, Arts Center where we played a very cool game Heavenly Bodies which used the designs of the spaceship interior by the Russian designer from the 70s Galina Balshova and ate some food here and there. From there we flew to Saigon (or how it is internationally known these days, Ho Chi Minh City).

The highlight of my museum visits: playing The Heavenly Bodies game. Very serious!
Look! I'm on Mars
That's us
Lots of Soviet stuff as an inspiration at this exhibition about games
See!
The Dressmaker film with Kate Winslet: it was incredible to see dresses from the film in real life
Curious video.
All clear. Me, science, museum
Installation using elements from CERN
An installation where you can turn time into the forth dimension
A video about CERN engineers. Fascinating!
That[s the exhibition we've attended. One of them in Melbourne.
Can't wait to play this game again. Heavenly Bodies
James is always listening
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Lexi's Salad Recipe

Lexi made us some fantastic salad that both looked like a centre piece at the table and tasted absolutely fantastic.

Here is her recipe:
Mixed salad leaves (lots of them)
1 x orange – chop segments
Diced avocado
Toasted walnuts OR cashews with drizzle of honey (she dry fries them in the pan- once the honey starts to sizzle stir continuously till browned, take off the heat)
If you have feta you could crumble a little bit over the top.

Dressing: drizzle of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, and 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and drizzle of honey. Season with salt and pepper.

Here is another variation:
Mixed salad leaves
Chopped mini tomatoes
Diced avocado
Toasted sunflower seeds (dry fry them in the pan)
Sprinkle of Goji berries

Dressing: drizzle of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, and 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper

What I actually see in the picture and as far as I remember:
Mixed salad leaves
Chopped pepper
1 x orange – chop segments
Diced avocado
Toasted sunflower seeds (dry fry them in the pan)
Grilled halloumi

Dressing: drizzle of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, and 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Lexis Green Salad Recipe
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