(Guest post by Bethany. Thank you Bethy! :)
In our first year of marriage, 2011, my husband and I lived in Sydney. He was in the Navy and posted there at the beginning of the year.
I did not want to move to Sydney. I am very close to my family, and I had lived in the same house for as long as I could remember, been to the same school from Pre-school to year 12, ordered the same thing every time from Subway or KFC or Kebabs or any other kind of take out food.
I didn't like change. I wasn't used to change and I had no interest in building a relationship with it. And to move to the enemy state!? Where everything would be blue come State of Origin series? Incomprehensible. Add to that that at the time we didn't know we would be there just for a year (thought it would be for at least several) so I was a little dreading it.
But move I did. And you know what? I loved our year there! Yes, I missed my family and the goings on and I got so excited at the chance to see them, but I really am grateful that we got to have that experience. We made some awesome friends, I had a job that I loved, and we had a lovely apartment.
I think what made the difference between our time there being amazing or possibly not so, was the location where we were living.
Thanks to the navy (Robbie was posted at Balmoral base) we had an apartment in Mosman, which is a suburb about 10 mins from the city, and about 3 mins from several different bays. It was also about 10 mins from my work, 3 mins from Robbie's work, and 5 mins to church. It was a massive blessing that we got to live in Mosman. Very limited defense housing in that area (it's extremely expensive!) and even his friends in the Navy envied Robbie for being able to live there.
Some of my favourite places -
1. Balmoral Bay
My favourite place to go while we were in Sydney was Balmoral Bay. Bamoral was only a few minutes from us and it is beautiful. We would go there a lot. Robbie's base was right on the bay so sometimes I'd drop him off at work and just sit and read there for a while. Sooo relaxing and sweet :)
My absolute favourite view of the bay was driving down the road to it, which is a very steep hill, and suddenly the scene opens up and you can see the blue, blue water, with a headland on one side and a cliff with a lighthouse on the other. This photo doesn't do it justice but I just loved it:
Balmoral is a really family friendly beach and has a lot of great parkland too. It was a perfect place to go for a swim during summer, go for a walk along the sand, or sit on the rocks and enjoy the late afternoon sun.
This is a picnic spot Robbie and I liked on one of the hills:
I loved this gorgeous gazebo at Balmoral Bay. Sometimes they'd have plays there and people would put their towels down and eat fish and chips. We were there when a theatre group performed 'Shakespeare by the Sea', which we got bored of quickly so we left (after we'd finished out fish and chips) but it was a cool concept and felt really cool to be a part of!
2. Georges Head.
Georges Head is a gorgeous lookout with about a 250 degree uninterrupted view of Sydney Harbour. You can see the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Tower, Balmoral and other bays, and nearby Manly. Absolutely gorgeous on a sunny day with dozens of sailboats on the water. No photos can do it justice. It's also cool because it's the site of the old Georges Head Battery which was built in 1871 and was one of the three forts in the area that were built for the purpose of defending the outer harbour.
I couldn't find a suitable photo of us at this lookout so I've put up one of some friends (hope they don't mind! :P)
3. Bradleys Head.
Bradleys Head has this fabulous amphitheater that we happened to stumble across one day. It has large grass spaces and a jetty and you can literally walk into the water of Sydney Harbour. The Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are so close you almost feel like you can touch them. You can also see Sydney Tower and the city. It's such an awesome place to have a picnic! It's enclosed by trees so it feels like you're in your own private little piece of paradise :)
Please excuse this photo (I was pregnant, a legitimate excuse! Not a good looking time I'm afraid...) but don't you just feel like you're practically in the water?? I remember Robbie did try to push me in.....
And what a cool place to have a wedding!!
I went on two Harbour cruises while I was in Sydney, both courtesy of Tammy :) And though I only have photos of one of them, which was unfortunately a rainy day, the harbour is incredible magical when the sun is out. This is something I would recommend!
SO, if you're ever visiting Sydney, these are some gorgeous places if you love views and the water :)