In The Land Down Under

I planned my trip in the land down under for months. It took me awhile to come up with itinerary. Few months before my flight, I made sure to see most of Sydney by making it a 4 days, 3 nights trip. But a week before my scheduled trip, a most devastating news came to me. My almost a year relationship ended via text message from the United States to the Philippines. I was so depressed but I was a little optimistic that I can save our relationship, I re-booked my airline trip from Sydney to the US making my tour in Australia a 2 days, 1 night trip.

This is how my 2 days, 1 night itinerary went in Sydney, Australia:

I arrived in Sydney from Singapore at 1030H via Scoot. I went directly to the hostel I booked which was Sydney Harbour YHA – The Rocks. Sydney Harbour YHA – The Rocks was about 25-min from SYD airport via taxi or Uber.

Sydney Harbour YHA – The Rocks

Sydney Harbour YHA – The Rocks was built above archaeological remnants of the colonial Sydney. The hostel combines state-of-the-art facilities with a heritage experience and is the only hostel in the city’s historic harbourside precinct – The Rocks – with the stunning panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge. It is located in 110 Cumberland St, Sydney, The Rocks, NSW 2000, with phone number: (+61) 2 8272 0900 or visit the site.

The Big Dig Archaeology Education Center which is part of Sydney Harbour YHA
Artifacts dug from the location
Sydney Harbour YHA Social Area
Famous tourist spots in Australia
Stairways to the rooms
Bunk Beds
Sydney Harbour Bridge view on the rooftop deck of Sydney Harbour YHA
Sydney skyscrapers

After I got settled in the hostel, I met these roommates, two lovely ladies from San Diego, California. Their names were Kelsey and Stephanie. I always traveled alone but it would be fun if I tag along with their discover Sydney trip. We talked and it seemed that all places that I would love to see were also on their list to visit. Our first stop was the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. On our way there from the hostel, I got to take some photos of city center.

  • Sydney streets
  • Old English Style Building
  • Statue of Edward VII
  • Another amazing looking building
  • Sydney Conservatorium of Music Conservatorium High School
  • The Government House Gate

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney was ginormous. It has Herb Garden, Palace Rose Garden, Art Gallery, Herbarium, Learning Center, Mrs Macquaries Point, Main Pond, Maiden Theater, some shops, restaurants, cafes and more. But not to worry since there were signages for tourists not to get lost.

  • Sign Post
  • Orchids in the Greenhouse
  • History of Cadigal
  • Sydney Fernery
  • Ferns
  • Plants with Bite Theme
  • The Calyx
  • The Venus Flytrap
  • The Biggest Tree
  • Lion on the Palace Rose Garden
  • Skyscrapers behind the Rose Garden
  • Capt Arthur Phillip statue
  • Pretty yellow rose

We started our walk around the city at 3PM Sydney Time and spent an hour in the Royal Botanic Garden. We went to the nearest train station which was Martin Place. Our second destination was Bondi Beach since we want to witness the famous sunset.

  • Traffic in City Center
  • Martin Place
  • Lift in the train station with Kelsey and Stephanie
  • Martin Place Train Stop
  • Single trip ticket

We got off the Bondi Junction. It was almost a 30-min train ride. While we were in Bondi Junction, we were kind of hungry. Good thing, Kelsey was a good navigator. From Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach, it was about 35-min walk. Here are the photos of our adventure to the beach from the train station.

We were starving, thus, we ended up going to the nearest burger pub. We went to Moo Gourmet Burgers. They have lots of choices but I wasn’t up for a steak challenge so, I got a delicious Australian beef burger instead. They were also affordable. After we satisfied our guts, we went directly to the beach. Bondi Beach is one of the most iconic beaches in Australia. It has reliable waves for surfers, laid-back cafes around the street for trendy and health-conscious locals and tourists, casual pubs for backpackers and travelers, and has dramatic scenery from the clifftop to the coastal walk for walkers and joggers.

  • Moo Burgers
  • Good for surfing
  • Bondi Beach
  • The Beach
  • The Clifftop
  • The Sun about to Set
  • Coastal Walk
  • The Famous Bondi Beach Sunset

It was already 8PM Sydney Time. Kelsey and Stephanie have decided to drink in the nearest pub. Since I don’t drink, I told them that I’ll just go back to the hostel. I got in the hostel thru Uber and went to the roof deck to witness this view of the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Opera House at night

The next day, Kelsey and Stephanie have left since their flight back to San Diego was early. I got the whole day before my flight back to the U.S. and of course, I haven’t visited the iconic landmark of Sydney. My next destination was the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge is a heritage-listed steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, bicycle, vehicular, and pedestrian traffic the city’s CBD and the North Shore. The bridge is one of the iconic view of Sydney and has been the famous location for tourists to visit.

Just the opposite of Sydney Harbour Bridge was the most known landmark in the world, the Sydney Opera House. It is everybody’s dream to set foot and take a photo with the Opera House. Every year, Aussies celebrate their New Year countdown in this location.

Sydney Opera House

The iconic landmark, Sydney Opera House, is a multi-venue performing arts center in the city. It has been named as one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings in the world.

That was how I spent my 2 days and 1 night in Sydney, Australia. I have seen the best of the city and have explored from skyscraper metropolis to sunset perfection beach. Sydney has indeed the city, beach and suburban living in one. Check out my vlog for my Land Down Under trip.

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IATA Code: SYD – Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Location Identifier uses a 3-letter code to identify locations of airports throughout the world.

SYD or Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport is an international airport in Sydney, Australia. It is located 5 miles south of Sydney city center, in the suburb of Mascot. SYD is the primary airport serving Sydney and is the primary hub of Qantas, as secondary hub of Virgin Australia and JetStar Airways. Sydney Airport is one of the world’s longest continuously operated commercial airports and the busiest airport in Australia.

Deplaning process started and I got off the plane fast. It was indeed a great day in Sydney, the sun was out and took a quick photo of JetStar since it signifies, I am in Australia. After I got out of the gates, stores welcomed the passengers. Stores selling cosmetics, perfumes, and more goodies lined the walkway to immigration counters. When I got to Immigration Counters, it was divided to all other passport holders and ePassport self service for citizens of Australia, UK, US, Singapore, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, and other eligible countries. It was an easy breezy passing the immigration counter. I made sure that I got my tourist visa and passport in my hand. Next was the baggage claim.

JetStar, one of Australian’s carriers
Sydney’s Duty Free
Immigration Counter
Baggage Claim Area

I was already in the arrival area, tourists can have their money exchange to Australian dollars in a money exchange booth. There were also restaurants, fastfood chains, and meeting point.

Foreign Money Exchange
Queue for Fastfood
Meeting Point

To get to the city center, travelers can choose variety of modes of transportation. They have choices of using the public trains, public buses, rental cars, private limousines and share/ transport app like Uber. I used the former by walking from the arrival area to the specified location for Uber pick-ups. I was directed by the app to head to P7 Express Pick-up.

SYD Arrival Area
Bus Stops
P7 Parking Spot
Then, I saw this waving at me, welcoming me officially to the Land Down Under, Australia

Getting back to the airport is easily accessible just by riding the train. It has 2 stops, the domestic airport station and international airport station. I got off of the international airport station and headed to the international departures area. The whole area was spacious, clean, well-planned as well as the ventilation and lighting were good. Check-in Information screens were in every check-in counter.

Inside the train
Welcome to International Airport Station – Sydney
Escalator going to the Departure Area
Check-In Information Board
Check-in Counters

Like every airport in the world, after passing check-in counter, passengers need to undergo routine checks such as security check, immigration clearance, and border patrol. After passing those checks, I was able to roam around the boarding gates. The airport has clean bathrooms but they don’t have bidet like Japan airports has. I just did window shopping to kill time since I already have what I needed at that moment. Then, I went to the boarding gate while waiting for my flight back to the US. I had a quick stop at the money exchange booth.

Immigration Counter – Departure Area
Stores
and more stores..
Boarding gate’s waiting chairs
Foreign Money Exchange Booth inside the Boarding Gates

The whole time I stayed in Sydney Airport while waiting for my flight was easy breezy. I got hungry but I got access to food. I needed to charge my phone but they have charging stations. Fairly, it was a good place to spend time waiting for your flight.

Visa to the Commonwealth of Australia

It has been more than a month that I haven’t posted in my blog after migrating all my articles from my previous site. It also happened that the northern hemisphere of the world is under winter season and people tend to hibernate with this kind of weather. Thus, I ended up to be a home boy for quite awhile. Anyway, while I was under the roof of comfort of my apartment, my mind was somewhere else. My brain kept on wandering and planning on my next trip. Then, I opened my blogsite and checked the menus and discovered that I’ve only been to two continents still. I looked on the map of the world and has decided that my next trip will be somewhere south and in a different continent aside from Asia and North America. It was then finalized that I’ll be going to Australia. Since I am holding a Philippine passport, I need a visa to get to Australia and here is the process I needed to follow.

Visa is a form of documentation issued by the nation’s government allowing the bearer to enter or leave that country.

Australian Tourist Visa

Commonwealth of Australia is a country and sovereign state in the southern hemisphere, located on its own continent between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Its capital city is Canberra and its largest city is Sydney. Australia is the sixth biggest country in the world by land area, and is part of the Oceanic and Australasians regions. Oceania or Australasia region is a region that includes Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and several other island nations in the surrounding area.

Getting a tourist visa to enter the country of Australia is easy. As a start, travelers can lodge their application online which I also did by myself. You just have to have all the necessary documents in hand to finish your application within a day. Mine, it took me a week since I was also busy working and I have to go to the county library to have my paperwork scanned and sent to my e-mail for them to be ready to be attached as application documents. Once you have all the documents needed such as:
1. Passport Bio Page
2. Recent Passport-size Photo
3. National Identification Card (I am a legal permanent resident in the US, so, I have to add it to my application.)
4. Previous Travel Stamps in your Passport (It really helped a lot if you travel frequently.)
5. Travel Itinerary
6. Pay Slips
7. Bank Statements or Proof of Sufficient Funds (I included my credit cards.)
8. Visa Application Fee (It cost AUD140 for the application with AUD1.37 as handling fee. as of 03/08/2018)
Then, you are ready to follow these steps:

First, Find out what kind of visa you need.

Australian Visa application has different classes and subclasses. The main reason of your trip to the land down under will determine the appropriate visa application. It will also set the criteria you are eligible for applying a visa. Several choices are Visitor Visa (subclass 600), Partner Visa (subclasses 801 & 820) and many others. To find out what classification, you can visit the Department of Home Affairs site by clicking here.

Second, Create an ImmiAccount.

Apply online by visiting this site https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login and create an immiaccount. This is where you will put all the information. This is also where you are going to attach your documents and pay your application fee. Your account will be your source in getting updates on your application.

Third, Filling out the online application form.

Once you got your ImmiAccount, you can start filling out the online application form. Make sure to answer the questions and provide information that are true and correct. Information include personal data, travel dates, travel history, proof of sufficient funding for the trip, and many more.  If you plan to visit some of your friends, relatives, or family member, you are required to put their pertinent details.

Fourth, Attach the required documents.

To meet the requirements of your application, you need to attach your scanned paperwork. These paperwork are important such as passport pages, bank statements and financial capabilities, itinerary, visas from other countries, residence status in your home country, evidence of employment, letter of invitation from relatives or friends if you are visiting them, certified copy of birth certificate, and so on.

Fifth, Make a payment.

The last part after attaching the scanned documents is reviewing all the information that you put in the application. Once you submitted them, make a payment thru credit card. Credit card fees apply. The visa fee differs in the type of visa you applied for.

Sixth, Wait for the processing time.

It takes about 20 to 33 days to have your application reviewed but for the meantime, just wait. You can always visit your ImmiAccount for information on your visa application.

Processing Times

The whole process was easy. The platform of the online visa application was user friendly and straightforward. I lodged my application on the 8th of March, 2018. By March 16th, I got my granted visa letter from the Australian Government giving me a year validity to visit the country down under. Now, I am just waiting for an affordable airline ticket to check Australia off of my list of places I would love to visit.