After a week at Coogee, I’m ready for a change of pace. The original plan was to head to the Sydney Base, however one of my roommates recommended Bounce. Supposedly the best hostel in Australia.
And as an added bonus, it’s right next to the train station so I wont have too far to drag my bag when I finally leave.
Bounce certainly doesn’t look like much on the outside. With the exception of a small sign on the red brick, its almost invisible between a garage and pub. However, when you step in, its clearly a step above. White, clean and actually looking a lot fancier than a hostel. It feels more like an apartment building with additional features. And the upper terrace garden is a pretty great place to kill time when you don’t want to spend money.
The next day, I finally decided to see the city rather than just the outskirts. While at Bondi we’d picked up several leaflets, including one for a Free Walking Tour that started at the fountain in Hyde Park.
There are 2 free walking tours in Sydney. One is run by the government (or at least gets funding), while the other is solo run by a woman passionate about Sydney’s history – and the one I’d chosen to see.
This was a tour well worth doing. The guide Lily, starts with Archibald Fountain, considered the most romantic place in Sydney, before heading down Macquarie Street, named after Governer Lachlan Macquarie, who managed to revolutionise currency in Sydney. Some of the oldest buildings in the city are here, including a church (which started life as a school), and the newer hospital building (which ended up being just as bad, if not worse than the older hospital and had to build a giant wall around it to keep patients from escaping). Part of it has collapsed and been rebuilt into the government building. There’s also a square that has been used in a dozen films masquerading as New York.
The tour finishes in The Rocks, pretty much the only place in Sydney that has managed to retain the original buildings (thanks to huge protests in the 1970’s). Once little more than a ghetto and a horrifically dangerous place to live, it’s now one of the most expensive areas of Sydney and registered as a heritage area. I’m kicking myself for not finding it earlier, because most of Sydney is painfully generic and forgettable, but The Rocks are gloriously quirky and interesting. Walk down any backstreet or road and you’ll spot little things along the way – like old fireplaces built into walls of long gone buildings and old warehouses turned into museums.
It was a ‘pay what it’s worth’ tour, and after 2/12 hours $20 felt like a bargain. Kind of wish I’d done it earlier in my trip so I could have enjoyed the areas I found when I had more money and less stress/health issues. Money is starting to look tight, and a week in Coogee seems to have lowered my immune system to something rather weak and frail. Thankfully heading back to my mother’s in a few days so I can enjoy not paying food and rent – and hopefully getting some work before I head home in February.