Australia VS Northern Ireland

As I plan to move back home to Northern Ireland (at least for a few months) I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on both countries and delve into the pros and cons of living in each country. I had been thinking of these a lot over the past few months when trying to make a decision about where to live. As an expat, these are things we think about, pretty much on a daily basis, as sad as that sounds. In this post I will look at the pros and cons of Australia and in my next blog post I will look at Northern Ireland.

Australia Pros :

The weather. It’s pretty much warm for most of the year. Winter here can be cold enough but only lasts for about three months give or take.

The lifestyle. It’s very chilled out here in Australia, especially in Sydney where I live by the water. The sunshine makes people happy, the coastal walks, dining outdoors, exercising etc. I think just being outdoors is so good for our mental health and well-being.

The opportunities. Australia is the land of opportunity. There is plenty of work available here and you can process quickly. Even the fact I have been teaching here has been a huge opportunity that I wouldn’t have been given back home.

The money. The fact is, I earn a lot more as a nurse here than I ever will back home. That can be said for many jobs here. Yes the expense of living is much higher here but you can still manage to save money here and live a really fulfilling life.

The health system. It is amazing here, with a mixture of public and private, it works really well. I feel so fortunate to be in a country with such a fantastic health system, unlike America where it costs a fortune and many people can’t afford or the NHS that is really struggling and has been for many years now.

The activities. There is always something to do, especially in Sydney. There are an abundance of bars and restaurants, plenty of bush, beach and ocean walks, lots of experiences, seeing the sights and famous landmarks etc etc, I could go on forever here.

The sheer size of Australia. There is also so much to see and do all over Australia, therefore, you don’t really ever need to leave Australia if you want to see somewhere new. I don’t think I realised how big Australia actually is until I lived here for some time. It is unbelievably huge with each state completely different from the next and offering so much that really is a feast for anyone living here.

Australia Cons :

The weather. As much as I love the weather here, it can also be a negative for Australia, especially the past three years. The bush fires are becoming more aggressive, wiping out so much land and killing millions of animal species. 2019 was horrific, so I dread to think how the next bush fires will be. Then we have the other extreme, flooding. The last two years we have had the La Niña weather event, bringing catastrophic amounts of rainfall. This is also predicted to last well into next year. The only silver lining with the rain is that it prevents the bush fires. I feel also with global warming, that the weather here, sadly, will be seeing more and more extremes of weather disasters.

The distance. Personally, this is my biggest issue. It never used to bother me before covid. I always felt that if I needed to be home, I could always hop on a flight and be home within 24 hours. However, since being in lockdown, we haven’t been home in over three years. We suddenly feel very far from home. We are literally at the other side of the word. With lockdowns, it appeared to the outside world that Australia was very much cut off from everywhere else in the world. Family and friends are very important to me and if I can’t see them, that’s a big problem.

In conclusion, you can see I have many more pros than cons. I absolutely love Australia and its people. It is a magnificent country with lots to do and great opportunities but I don’t have my family here. I feel extremely far away and for that reason, I will be going home for a few months to see how it goes.

Keep an eye on my next blog post where I will write about the pros and cons of Northern Ireland. Thanks for reading everyone and have a pleasant day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V16

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors in Sydney. Luckily I still have quite a few to share before I move back to Ireland. Have a look below and let me know if you have a favourite this week.

1 – Paddington
2 – Edgecliff
3 – Paddington
4 – Darlinghurst
5 – Waverley

This is a tough one for me this week but I think number 4 just pipped at the post. I love the red door with its doorknob and letterbox but I also love the whole setting with the window to the side. The plants and flowers really add to the quaint and homely aesthetic. What do you think? I also love numbers 2 and 3, the former for its vibrant colour and the latter for its unique appearance of blending into the wall and the little step.

Please let me know and thanks again for reading.

Wayne ✌🏽

Five years of blogging!

Wow! Another milestone hit this week for me. I have been blogging for five years now and I really feel like I have come full circle.

I started blogging when I arrived in Australia five years ago. I wanted to document my travels and the plan was initially to share my travels with those from home in Ireland. However, I soon found that when I was blogging about places in Sydney, local Sydney people were taking an interest and learning from my travel experiences. This was fantastic and really gave me a boost to keep sharing the places I had been visiting.

Now after five years, I will be heading back home to Ireland. My blog has come full circle and I now really look forward to taking my blog back home and sharing travel experiences from Ireland and Europe. We have a lot to offer in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where I will be living. I hope you continue to follow my journey and see what the other side of the world has to offer.

It hasn’t been an easy decision to move back home after five years but again I have covid to thank for that. Suddenly we feel so far away from home here in Australia. Previously I always thought I could be home within a couple of days, however, it has now been over three years since I have been home. I miss my family and friends and feel I have to take this opportunity to return home and see what the future has in store for me there. That’s not to say I will never be back to Australia. It’s not a good bye but rather a “See you later”.

I will be doing a little travelling soon before I reach home with my partner so stay tuned and hopefully I will have some really interesting places to show you on my blog.

Thank you everyone again for following my journey and I hope to keep you further entertained in the next chapter of my life.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Orchid Canna

Happy Friday everyone. I am delighted to finally have that Friday feeling and have a whole 2 days off this weekend 🤗. You can see my flower of the day below. They definitely suit my mood today 😊.

Today’s flower of the day is the stunning orchid canna, also known as canna lilies (however, not actually lilies). I see these all the time doing the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. They are dotted along the walkway, specifically when leaving Bondi at the beginning of the walk. These flowers always mesmerise me every time I see them, the bright colours, especially against the blue backdrop of the sky and sea 😍.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Robertson Park

Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you all are having a lovely weekend. Today’s sunset picture was taken in 2018 at Robertson Park, just beside the famous Watson’s Bay in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

December 2018, summer time in Sydney ☺️

Wayne ✌🏽

Vivid Sydney 2022

Vivid Sydney is a yearly light show that is on display in many key parts of Sydney. You can find light displays around Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo, Taronga Zoo, The Royal Botanical Gardens and many more spots around Sydney. You can find lots of information on the official website https://www.vividsydney.com with timings, locations and what’s on offer.

This year is a special Vivid as the last two years have been cancelled due to Covid, so every is very excited to witness the event. It truly is a spectacular show and a real feast for the eyes. It starts as soon as the sun sets, making the lights really stand out and the best thing about it, is that it’s a free event for everyone.

I would say the best time to visit is during the week as it becomes pretty busy at the weekends. Pick a location to start and spend some time walking around and to take it all in. There are food trucks around and plenty of portable toilets around Circular Quay and on the route to Barangaroo, which is great if you have a weak bladder like myself. You could head over after you have had your dinner or pick somewhere nearby for a bite to eat. We chose to eat at a Thai restaurant at Circular Quay and watch the sunset at the Sydney Opera House.

View of the Opera House from the left side of Circular Quay.

We really wanted to see the Opera House lighting up first before we started our walking light tour. We headed from Circular Quay around to Barangaroo and there were many light installations on the way. Many impressive buildings also have light shows depicting different stories and show case the distinctive areas of Sydney. These shows are pretty magical for children and the whole family.

We never had the chance to see the Royal Botanic Gardens but we will try this week to visit Vivid again before it finishes on the 18th June. Be sure to head down and visit if you’re living in Sydney and if you live abroad, you can check out the website or my pictures below 👇🏼🤗.

Sydney Opera House

Let me know if you have heard of Vivid, have ever been or plan to go in the future. It really is quite the spectacle, with locals and tourists really looking forward to this event every year.

Thanks for reading and take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunrise 🌅 – Bronte

Happy Sunday everyone. I have shown a lot of sunset pictures over the past few Sundays so I thought it was finally time to show you a sunrise snap. The eastern suburbs have the best sunrises, I guess because the sun rises in the east, therefore, we have a great view point. I hope you like the shot. This particular morning was a special one. I went for a sunrise swim with my cousin and we fortunate enough to see dolphins swimming in the distance. Truly spectacular 😊.

Bronte rock pool – November 2019 05:55

Enjoy your day guys.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Bondi Beach

2018 Bondi Beach. This was taken at Icebergs restaurant. It’s a beautiful spot to see the sun set and the skies often turn beautiful colours. With my partner at one of my favourite places.

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope you all have a lovely day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Solo Sunday in Sydney 🙋🏼‍♂️

Today I am flying solo. I am off from work and the sun is finally shining in Sydney. It feels strange but exciting to see blue skies after having so much rain. I am dying to get out and about so I take myself off for a really long walk, wanting to soak up as much vitamin D as possible and to increase my step count for the week. I can’t do the Bondi to Coogee walk as it will be packed on a Sunday. So I decide to walk to Watson’s Bay via the residential streets, hoping to encounter as few people as possible. I pass Macquarie Lighthouse and from there I walk to Camp Cove, just past Watson’s Bay. It’s a little beach that is not as well know, unless you live here in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I take the South Head heritage trail to Hornby Lighthouse and return to Watson’s Bay. Here I take the coastal walk from the Gap Lookout and return home via Rose Bay.

As well as being a beautiful walk and a good distance for gaining the steps, it also gives me the opportunity to take many photos, most of which I can add to my future posts for my Doors of WordPress and my Friday Flowers ☺️.

I hope you enjoy some of the scenic shots from today. This is my happy place. Walking in beautiful weather, with stunning scenery and the chance to see what I can photograph.

Macquarie Lighthouse
Camp Cove – a small beach with lots of charm and city views
Camp Cove kiosk – I love the quaintness of this kiosk and it was the perfect spot to stop for lunch
Views for days when you take the South Head heritage trail to the lighthouse
Hornby Lighthouse
Walking from the Gap Lookout towards Bondi.
The coastal views are stunning.
City views and the Harbour Bridge.
When I passed Macquarie Lighthouse again, I took the residential streets to Rose Bay and then home.

All in all, my walk was about 3.5 hours with a lunch stop. My feet are walked off me but I feel great for having done it and I can now put the feet up at home.

I hope you all are able to have a lovely Sunday wherever you are. Take care and keep safe,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V3

My love of doors continues to thrive. I cannot wait to travel again and see doors from other countries too. However, I do love how Sydney has such an array of door types and fortunately for me, are all in my neighbourhood. If you are also a lover of doors, check out Thursday Doors here. You can take a look at my top 5 doors this week below 👇🏼.

Woollahra, Sydney
Bondi, Sydney
Woollahra, Sydney
Point Piper, Sydney
Waverley, Sydney

Thanks for taking a look and stay safe guys,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sir Joseph Banks Park

If you’re looking to check out somewhere different near Sydney, then this could be your next stop. Situated near Botany, this park has it all, including a walking trail, a sports oval, themed gardens and ornamental animals, a maze, shaded walkways and picnic benches dotted around the park.

If you’re intrigued to know who Sir Joseph Banks was click here.
The tiger pen…you wouldn’t get this close if they were real 😝
Beautiful sculptures
Stunning scenery along the water

This park is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a sunny morning/afternoon. It’s always a blessing to find a new spot to discover and explore.

Thanks for taking a look with me,

Wayne ✌🏽

Travel bloggers question time 🤗

A really cool blogger Theredphoneboxtravels that I follow and always inspires me suggested these questions to be answered by her followers. I thought it was a great idea to share travel experiences ✌🏽. Feel free to have a read below ⬇️

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in 2017 when I moved to Australia from Ireland. I initially wanted to share my new experiences here in Sydney and keep people updated with my goings on. However, I soon started to blog about places of interest to travel and explore. I wanted to share trips locally to promote them and show others interesting places to check out. Lots of people ask me about places I have travelled so I thought it would be fun and beneficial to create blog posts about them ✌🏽

What souvenirs do you buy on your travels?

I like to buy items that remind me of a place I have been. I especially like items with the place name on them, for example, T-shirts or vests that state the name. I also like fridge magnets that remind me of a certain place.

Name your top 5 cities that you’ve visited.

This is hard as I feel I have seen so many amazing cities from living in Europe most of my life.

Number 1 – I suppose this ought to be Sydney. I lived here in 2009 and fell in love with this city. I had to come back and explore it more. Hence, why I have lived here for the past 4 years. I love the scenery, the weather, the culture and the fact that there is always something new to discover. You have the city life, beach life and bush walks all in one place.

Number 2 – Amalfi. This is more a town than a city but it is my most favourite place I have ever visited. The area is absolutely stunning. The quaint little streets are beautiful and the Amalfi Cathedral is breathtaking. The view of the cathedral and the steps leading to it from the Piazza del Duomo are really a sight to behold. The food, the people, the culture, scenery and infamous coastline make this area simply out of this world.

Number 3 – Paris. The best city to get lost in. Beautiful city, oozing with culture, history and diversity. The famous landmarks do not disappoint.

Number 4 – Berlin. The city that keeps on giving. Steeped in history and offers so many things to see and do. Constantly evolving and so so friendly. To be honest I love any city in Germany!

Number 5 – Barcelona. Never a dull moment in this city. Love the architecture and culture. The food and eateries are stunning. You could walk around the streets of this city all day and night.

What’s the best dessert you’ve ever had on your travels?

Limencello. Also not really a desert but this always stands out in my mind and it’s something I would have after a main course so it feels like a desert to me. The first time I experienced this liqueur was in Amalfi. Obviously it was going to be unreal here and it was constantly being offered to you. My love for limencello had begun 🍋.

Have you ever travelled somewhere by boat? (ferries, cruise ships, river boats etc.)

Too many places to mention. Taking the boat from Nadi, Fiji to Musket Cove was an unreal experience and definitely worth doing if you’re over this side of the world.

I once took a small boat trip to Tory Island, just off the coast of Donegal, Ireland. Take the boat from Magheroarty in Donegal and head over to Tory. Not best if you suffer from travel sickness as the waters can be very choppy but it is an amazing island to visit and explore some of the fine art available.

Do you have a favourite travel movie/book?

Life of Pi is one of my favourite books and the story is set in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The movie is pretty epic too with the special effects. I was also fortunate enough to see the stage show at the Grand Opera House Belfast and it was fantastic.

What are you looking forward to when the lockdown/covid-19 restrictions in your country finish?

Travelling home to Ireland to see my family and friends. It’s been 2 years this week since I have been home and the home sickness is well and truly setting in.

For those of you who are up for participating, here are the rules: provide a link to the creator’s original award post; answer the questions provided; create 7 unique questions; nominate up to 10 bloggers; ensure that they are aware of their nomination.

My questions:

1 – Why did you start blogging?

2 – Where has been your favourite place to visit on your travels?

3 – What has been your favourite food on your travels?

4 – What is your favourite thing about the country you are from?

5 – Who do you love to travel with?

6 – What is your favourite type of accommodation to stay in whilst travelling and has there been a stand out accommodation experience?

7 – What is your favourite thing to do whilst travelling?

I have nominated 5 bloggers. Please feel free to answer my questions and there is no pressure if you choose not too ☺️

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