Australia: Ten things we will miss
After nearly nine months of travelling, living and working in Australia, we feel as though we've only scratched the surface of this vast and beautiful country.
The endless sunny days spent swimming in harbour baths, the relaxed nature of Sydney-siders and of course, the plentiful BBQs - there's so many things we will miss when we're travelling and once we're back in the UK...
Nº 1 - g'day mate!
There are a few words and phrases that we are going to heartily miss hearing. We'll miss being greeted with 'How's it going?' and the response when we tell people about our travel plans: 'Far out!'. We won't count on hearing that there is 'heaps' going on in London and we won't be wearing our 'thongs' day-in, day-out, feeling the cool air on our skin (that's flip-flops to our fellow Brits!)
Nº 2 - The water
The Thames, in its gloomy grey glory, doesn't quite compare to the lapping bays that surround Sydney's city and suburbs.
The blue hues and the boats - so many boats - that sail on the water every day are a joy to watch. Catching the ferry to and from Manly is the epitome of an awesome commute.
Nº 3 - Gelato Messina
Probably the best gelato we've had outside of Italy. It's truly incredible - thick, creamy, and downright delicious. With weekly specials (such as the Wagon Wheel) and so many varieties (there's around five different types of chocolate gelato), we spent a lot of time (and money) at Messina.
Nº 4 - Chinese Food
There's been a rise of Chinese immigrants to Australia in the past decade, and this has led to an increase in quality restaurants across the city.
We slurped soupy dumplings at the aptly named Dumplings & Beer, and devoured half a duck at Mr Wong. Melbourne's Supernormal fed us a feast of sticky delights, too.
Nº 5 - the outdoorsy vibe
Given the country's pleasant weather, most people enjoy being outside.
Whether it's taking the dog for a run in the park, doing yoga on the beach, or the Aussie standard - surfing - people like getting out of the house.
Most Sydney-siders we met a fair amount of time on their bikes, or in their sneakers. We'll miss seeing twentysomethings in their (tight and fashionable) lululemon gym outfits, not on the treadmill, but at a café for brunch. Sigh...
Nº 6 - Seafood
Before we left for Australia, Matt detested seafood. He even needed to be persuaded to get fish and chips when we had a weekend away to Newquay.
Now, though, you can load his plate up with kingfish sashimi and tiger prawns and he'll be having the time of his life. Heck, we even went to a fish restaurant (cheers, Saint Peter).
Nº 7 - The lack of chain restaurants
We can only remember a handful of chain restaurants between us. And I mean, proper restaurants, of course we know there's heaps of Hungry Jacks about.
It's very rare to find a street lined with big names like Nando's, Pizza Express, Wahaca, Prezzo - as you find in London - and it's great!
Nº 8 - dual-flush toilets
Okay, this might sound weird... but pressing the 'half-flush' button makes us feel like we're doing our teeny tiny bit for the environment each day when we're not carelessly wasting water! It's a great option when 'if it's yellow, let it mellow' isn't feasible...
Nº 9 - The Salaries
It's no secret that Australia pays well; it's a large reason why many people decide to live and work there! Having more disposable income really does increase your quality of life.
Nº 10 - The wildlife
We've driven alongside bouncing kangaroos and watched koalas sleeping soundly in the trees. We've swam with whale sharks near Exmouth, spotted clown fish and huge grouper fish on the Great Barrier Reef, watched dolphins alongside surfers and humpback whales frolicking in the sea.
We'll miss you Australia! Until next time (and there will be a next time...)