TRAVEL | Spending Christmas and New Year on the other side of the planet! | AUSTRALIA


Sooo much has happened in the last year that it’s beginning to turn into a big blur – and I have to question myself on whether my life is real or not, and frequently look back at my 800 photos on my Oz album! And yes, I know I STILL need to write about my East Coast journey… It’s in working progress.

I’ve been Down Under for seven months now, and this was the first time I spent Christmas and New Years away from loved ones – and I must say, it was an extremely surreal sensation. And in all honestly, it just felt like another Summer’s day..

Usually I would be snuggling up by the fireplace in my big jumper and drinking mulled wine. Instead, I was about to spend my Xmas in 26 degree heat on two beaches with plenty of other crazy backpackers who had no idea what was going on!

I didn’t have the true backpacker Xmas mind you, as I was lucky enough to have some relatives in Sydney to have Xmas lunch with, before I headed to Bondi and then Coogee Beach later on in the afternoon.

If I’m completely honest, I didn’t feel Christmassy at all. And I found out that many other travellers felt exactly the same. Deep down, most of us missed the family nostalgia of Christmas.

Alas! We distract this homesick feeling with Goon, new friends, the great weather, and lots of Christmas hats!

So my Christmas went a little something like this… 

Staying in on Christmas Eve..

So my plan was to have a relaxing night in at my relatives’ home in the suburbs. I had a Lush filled bath, an hour long yoga session, and a catch up on American Horror Story.

I stuck with this plan as I knew I had to get up early to be with the family to begin the festivities – and out of respect, I didn’t want to be tired or hungover.

However, once I saw all these wonderful photos of my travel friends on boat parties, bar crawls and VIP booths, I felt instant regret.

I just hate missing out on things (I have FOMO), but I do realise in life that you have to make sacrifices and you can’t be everywhere at once!

So I soon got over it and slept it off.

A Manic Christmas Day! – Family meal and then hitting two very different beaches!

I started my day with a lovely breakfast in the family garden. Bacon and egg muffins with champagne orange juice dahhhhling!

I also had a few FaceTime chats with friends and family at home which made me feel more comfortable being thousands of miles away. I love how technology these days can keep your loved ones close.

We then had a huge delicious family roast with many cuts of meat and more champagne! The table was set beautifully and had a bright, summery feel to it.

It still felt weird wearing Christmas cracker hats and eating turkey whilst Michael Buble was playing in the background.

The whole thing kind of felt like a prank! It was still a very enjoyable lunch and I felt very lucky to have this food in front me considering I’m a backpacker… More like a glampacker!

So after the meal I was ready to hit Bondi Beach followed by Coogee beach! I was very bloated by this time so I was not wearing a bikini, but high wasted denim shorts and a crop top instead! Safer option…

 It was around 3pm when I arrived at Bondi (after queueing up for the bloody beach bus!) to meet the first group of friends.

We met up at a cafe called Lush at first, took some photos with our Santa hats, and then made our way to the busy beach to have a chill out session. There was also this sudden rave on the beach that we had to get involved in too!

At around 6pm I got another bus and arrived at Coogee Beach, where the atmosphere was COMPLETELY different…!

Coogee was the equivalent of a manic summer festival – drunk people everywhere, scattered goon boxes and beer bottles on the grass, along with footballs being kicked high in the air in which you had to avoid being hit by them!

This was definitely where the true backpacker party was! I wasn’t expecting this at all, and it was hilarious!
 I arrived to meet some more friends when everything was in full swing, and most people had drank a fair amount!

I was even told to open my mouth and catch up whilst goon was being poured down my throat!

There were even people climbing on buildings, and the music was blasting away. This happened more on the grassy fields rather than destroying the beach, in which I was happy about.

 It was rather weird seeing two guys walk along the beach when I looked over the viewpoint – as one was carrying a crate of beer whilst the other was carrying a Christmas tree! That’s not something you see everyday!

By 8pm it started to pour it down with rain. At least it was warm rain so it wasn’t cold or uncomfortable, but rather refreshing!

This caused chaos whilst backpackers tried to cram into buses, hitchhike (badly) and grab taxis.

We just ended up taking an expensive Uber taxi, as we really didn’t want to be amongst the bus crowds.

There wasn’t much going on in the evening unfortunately, as of course most places are usually shut on Christmas Day. Plus most of us were knackered so it was time to head home. I was also invited to a Boxing Day horse race so this was another event to look forward to!


Off to the Randwick Races for Boxing Day!

This was a rather good day with a busy and buzzed atmosphere, as well as it being my very first horse race experience!

It was mostly full of people who were generally posh, as well as us backpackers pretending to be posh… All people with an international passport could get in to this event for free, so that’s why we could afford to go!
We still ended up ordering Moët champagne at $9 a glass which isn’t that bad, but we had an excuse – we were at a horse race! La di da.

So off to the bar we went to get some drinks, and then headed to a pretty little field where each horse was displayed before you place your bets.

I wasn’t too bothered about their appearances, I just wanted to pick a cool name with average odds!

So that’s exactly what I did – my first bet was on a horse called ‘Feeling Lucky’, and I won $44 from a $5 bet! Not bad! It was good seeing the view of the huge race field, as well as the races close up on the big screen.

However, I ended up getting over-confident and losing my winnings. Oh well! It was still a good day, but it wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world, so I doubt I would actually pay to go to the races in the future… At least I can say I’ve experienced a horse race on Boxing Day!

After the event, we caught yet another Uber taxi to a really cool beach bar called Coogee Pavilion.

I was rather tired from the champagne, so I knew that a couple of pina coladas and the new discovery of Jammy Dodger shots would wake me up!

I would definitely go back to this bar again, because the interior was like the inside of a really posh beach hut!

The decor was full of seaside paintings, as well as large plants, bird cages and hanging bicycles?! It also had a beautiful view of Coogee Beach on the rooftop terrace.

The drinks were flowing by this point and we had a good old social gathering and enjoyed the great music! Today was one up from a typical backpacker night out – fun, yet sophisticated!

But the sophistication soon ended when I ordered a chicken burger from the kebab shop and happily scoffed it whilst sitting on a flight of concrete stairs… But I remember having a moment of contentment just sitting there and people-watching in the middle of the city. I think alcohol in my system prevented me from thinking how trashy I looked at that point… I really didn’t care.


NYE at Luna Park Sydney! – 

This was by far my highlight! What a way to celebrate the New Year whilst travelling!

First off, I booked the Harbour Party Luna Park ticket by myself in advance, as I didn’t want to wait around and then end up disappointed.

I knew that this was something I wanted to do for myself, and I knew I would get an amazing view, access to rides and a guaranteed place to be without all those crowds!

I met up with a few backpackers who were also going to the event, as well as my original crew from the very beginning who ended up getting tickets at the last minute!

This made me so happy, as it was a lovely reunion to start the New Year celebrating with familiar faces!

Luna Park was such a cool, exciting 1930s style theme park. I have to say it was pretty creepy with the clown mascots and weird decor… However, the whole place reminded me of Grease, the Musical! I felt like I was leaving Rydell High and going on all the crazy old-school rides!

 This caused me to drink less, as I was getting enough adrenaline from all the activities! This is a good thing, as I actually wanted to remember it!

So after spending six hours having lots of fun, drinking a few cocktails (which had flashing skull glasses!) and enjoying the view of the harbour along with the bastards on their boats, it was time to head to the Boardwalk to grab a good spot in view of the iconic Harbour Bridge!

 We gathered around in a circle and played some cards and had a good old natter, and then all of a sudden everyone was upstanding for that hugely anticipated countdown!

5-4-3-2-1 – HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016!!!! 
And my god what a display it was!

 As expected, the bridge was absolutely spectacular, as well as plenty of fireworks surrounding us in a full 360 view!

I was in awe, as I’ve always seen the Sydney fireworks on TV in the UK, and now I’m finally here – Celebrating New Years before most of the world! Mwahaha!

So after all the awesomely bright and colourful fireworks, why not finish the night off by going on the dodgems? We all felt like kids again. It was such a hilarious and special night that I will never forget.

Oh and also, because the last few days were busy and hectic, I lost my voice by the end of the night. And ever since entering 2016 I still haven’t fully got my voice back! I quite like the husky sound of it…
We decided to get the train back. Even though we were worried about it being busy, we didn’t leave Luna Park until around 1:30am anyway, and the trains ended up being fine!

The organisation of the trains in Sydney are amazing, it went FAR better than London 2012…! That was like being in a pack of sardines!
So there you have it! My weird and wonderful Australian Christmas and New Year!

If you have any awesome stories about your Christmas and New Year whilst traveling, feel free to share below! 

Amy Lee xx


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