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Early Retirement Travels - Week 5 Australia

Sydney Opera House

We've had a week of walking, with a little bit of lazing on the beach thrown in. It's not a bad way to spend the week.

I've also managed to catch up with my travel diary posts. I just need to make sure I don't fall behind again, and find time to write some financial independence / early retirement posts as well.

We started the week with a relatively short, three and a half hour, bus ride from Brisbane to Byron Bay, arriving just before 6pm. I find the travel days quite disjointed, and we end up not doing much. Waiting for the early afternoon bus gave Sally time to visit a salon, and me a chance to read a book.

I've not read much on our trip, but I enjoyed Free To Trade by Michael Ridpath. It was an easy read and, on special offer, it only cost £1, just over one USD. I got past my preference for paper books some years back, and now comfortably use the Kindle app on my phone.

We liked Byron Bay. It felt casual and relaxed, with an easy going vibe to it. I'd read that it was full of backpackers and hippies, but we didn't find that, instead it seemed quiet, perhaps because it was out of season. Compared to Noosa, where we'd been the previous week, it seemed a little less sophisticated, which suits me.

Our accommodation was a private room with en-suite bathroom at the Byron Bay YHA. It was quieter and more chilled than other hostels we'd stayed at, and we liked it. We gave it an excellent rating.

The walk from Byron Bay to the lighthouse is worth doing. More beautiful scenery, plus the chance to see whales and dolphins - we saw both. We stopped for an obligatory photo at the most easterly point of Australia, before continuing to the lighthouse to watch the sunset. A simple but good way to spend an afternoon.

After an expensive previous week, we decided to eat out less and avoid trips. Our next two days were low cost on the activity front, relaxing on the beach, enjoying the last of the warm weather. We can feel the chill in the air increasing as we travel further south.

We were tempted to spend another day in Byron Bay, but decided to head off. We changed our plan and chose to get the long bus journey to Sydney done in one go, meaning a 14 hour overnight bus trip. At least we saved a night's accommodation cost, although the bus doesn't give the best nights sleep.

It was cold when we arrived in Sydney just after 7am. In truth, not really cold, but certainly much cooler than we're used to. The stiff breeze made us feel the cooler temperature even more. We're going to have to toughen up before we head to the French Alps for the winter!

Sydney's been a lot of walking. On arrival day, we visited the Botanic Gardens, then the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and took our photo's of these Sydney icons. Day two was a short bus ride to Bondi Beach, where we walked the coastal path to Coogee Beach. It was very scenic and very windy. Day three, more walking - after a ferry across the Harbour to Manly, we walked another coastal path, towards the Spit, again very scenic even though we evidently turned back before reaching the best bit.

We finished with a treat on Sunday evening. Dinner with Andrew and Victoria and their children. I'd communicated with Andrew online through my blog, and he offered to meet up if we passed through Sydney. I still wonder if he was just being polite, but we took him up on the offer anyway!

It was a lovely evening. I don't consider myself outgoing, but I do enjoy meeting interesting people, particularly when we instantly get on. The alternative version from both Andrew's and our own kids is that it was weird that we met via a blog and then actually met up in person. The old working me would probably agree with them, the new me enjoys that I'm having these opportunities. I like being the new me😁

Daily diary and costs

I'm including a list of what we did during our week and the approximate costs - I'm using this part of my blog as a mini diary for myself, but feel free to read if you're interested.

Week 5 - what we've done:

Monday - Brisbane/Byron Bay. Sally went to a spa in the morning, before we caught the bus to Byron Beach in the afternoon.

Tuesday - Byron Bay. Laundry in the morning, followed by a walk to the lighthouse in the afternoon, and stayed to watch the sunset.

Wednesday - Byron Bay. A relaxing day looking around the town and lazing on the beach.

Thursday - Byron Bay. Beach day until early afternoon, before getting ready for our overnight bus trip to Sydney.

Friday - Arrived in Sydney in the morning. Visited the Botanical Gardens, Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Saturday - Sydney. Ran around the Harbour. Bondi Beach, followed by a scenic walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach.

Sunday - Sydney. Ferry across the Harbour to Manly. Walked along the coast path. Dinner with Andrew and Victoria.

Week 5 - we spent a total of £640 / $868 for 2 people on:

Accommodation £307 / $433

Meals/Coffee/Snacks £228 / $321

Transport £23 / $33

Laundry £6 / $8

Medicine £16 / $23

Haircut/Salon £57 / $80

Other £3 / $3


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