Amazing Australia- A Backpacker’s Life for Me

Hello Dear Readers!

Now, you guys know I’m not a snob, right?



Ok, listen, I know that perhaps I spend a little too much time in really nice hotels, and maybe I brag about having elite status all the time (you should get it too), but this trip I was utterly determined to live that hostel life.

Which is how I found myself in a ten bed dorm at the Blue Parrot Sydney, which I had splurged an extra $2 on in order to have a private toilet (shared with only 10 others!). Actually, in all reality, this place was pretty nice. Yes, it was a 10 bed dorm, but there was only one other girl staying there, and we made friends pretty quickly, even spending my last day together.

See, it’s currently winter in Australia right now (what? Shocker!), so the travel season down south is pretty slow. This suited me just fine, and I spent all my days in Sydney happily bundled up and gloating about the extreme heat in California.

They even have a Chinese friendship garden!

No but seriously, my last two days in Sydney were really great. I explored Bondi beach, rode the ferry over to Manly Beach, and generally decided that Australia is one of my new favorite countries.

Next up- Brisbane. Oh god, Brisbane.

Carissa “The Backpacker” Rawson

Amazing Australia- Sydney Bridgeclimb

Hello Dear Readers!

My second day dawned bright and early, with me squinting angrily through blurry contacts at the shining sun outside. I’d only booked the Intercontinental for one night, (I’ll write a post about why later), so packed up my things and dropped them off at luggage storage before heading out for the day.

Has anyone ever planned anything that they then regretted and dreaded?

Yeah, that was me with the Sydney Bridgeclimb. I’d planned it literally the day earlier and was not looking forward to it in the slightest. In theory, it’s this super climb hike up to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, where you can overlook the city and then have bragging rights over all your friends. In actuality, however, I was feeling super jet-lagged and not in the slightest ready to climb some 1600 steps.

So it was with a feeling of trepidation that I dragged myself to the Bridgeclimb office, inwardly moping and all set to have a miserable time.

Joke was on me! It was super awesome. I mean, they make you take off everything from bobby pins to Fitbits (did my climb even count?), and you had to wear super doofy Bridgeclimb jumpsuits, but this is seriously one of the coolest things I did.


I immediately met the only Australian on the tour and befriended her, which is a good thing because everyone is strapped into a single line and you’re stuck next to your partner for a good four hours.

The climb itself wasn’t too strenuous, and I had chosen the sunset climb, which meant I got to watch the sun go down over the city, which was incredible.

It also happened to be couple’s night, so a guitarist strummed love songs at the top while couples gazed lovingly into everyone’s eyes and a few different people proposed. It was very romantic, and if you look carefully, you can see me squeezed uncomfortably in the back of all their celebration photos. Win!

Since they don’t let you bring your cameras to the top, (something about terminal velocity), they have a photographer come up, which means they can charge exorbitant prices for your precious memories. Seriously, it was $20 for one photo, $40 for two, or $60 for ten. Obviously I chose all ten, but I’m a genius and had them put it on a USB (I don’t bring my laptop with me), so I waited three long weeks to view them in all their glory.

To that end, you guys are welcome:

I am literally the most awkward person ever.

-Carissa “Da Monkey” Rawson

Amazing Australia: Strolling Through Sydney

Hello Dear Readers!

Ok, it’s time to delve into this Australia thing. It’s been a long, crazy trip, and I’m so excited to share it all with you!

I landed in Sydney super early on the 4th, which meant plenty of time to hang out, attempt to avoid jet lag (which failed) and begin to explore the city.

First stop? The Intercontinental Sydney, which (due to my elite status) let me check in at 7am and drop my things before heading out to the Sydney Opera House.

Now, I know we’ve all sent the Opera House a thousand times in photos, but it’s one of those buildings that is truly awe-inspiring. It was recently awarded the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, because, as they said, it is a building that has “changed the image of a nation.” And that is so true:


After my tour, I wandered the Botanic Gardens, which were gorgeous, and headed up to the Rocks, a neat little neighborhood home to quirky shops and a weekend market, which I found myself returning to daily during my stay in Sydney.

One of the stalls in the market, named Natalia Ness Jewelry, looked especially enticing, and I stopped to hang out with the owner, having her make me my own little necklace.

That’s right, handmade! She even added a little plane charm to the end, since I’m a travel blogger and all. Very cool.


I’m now going to shamefully admit that, despite my efforts, my first day in Sydney ended at 7pm, when I turned on Netflix in my room, attempted to drink the bottle of wine they’d given me as a welcome gift (I finished half a glass), and fell asleep fully clothed in bed.


Which prepared me for my Bridgeclimb the next day!

-Carissa “The Snooze” Rawson