The drive from Merimbula to Sydney is a shorter one. But we still woke up and checked out early. Like they say, better early than late! And we won’t want to miss too much of Sydney. So after making sure we’ve got everything, we left Merimbula and continued on to Sydney on the Princes Highway.
The Bega Cheese Factory is located at Bega. Bega is located on the Princes Highway and it’s about 30 minutes away from Merimbula. It’s on the way if you’re driving to Sydney so you can’t miss it.
You can’t actually visit the factory where they make the cheese, but you can take a look at some cheese making equipment that they have on display at the Bega Cheese Factory Visitor Center. They have free cheese tasting and they sell all sorts of cheese as well as souvenirs there. You can also have your meals there. Definitely a place worth visiting if you’re passing by Bega.
Panorama taken near Bega. Click here for a slightly larger version. Let me know if you want the humongous version.
Left Bega after buying some cow themed post cards. We headed further north on the Princes Highway and came to Batemans Bay. Batemans’ Bay is around 140km away from Bega. Passing by Batemans’ Bay, you’ll see clear blue waters and lots of boats.
We would have loved to stop by and explore Batemans’ Bay but we were in a hurry to reach Sydney. On the way we stopped by KFC to have our very late lunch. The menus here are very different from what we have in Malaysia. Once I had this breakfast roll at MCD with ham and eggs in it. Very tasty.
Driving from Merimbula to Sydney, I can actually feel the change in temperature. It gets hotter as we approach Sydney. Soon we had to use the air cond because it was getting too hot. 4 degrees latitude can sure make a lot of difference.
We drove into Sydney at 6pm. After some confusion on the roads, we arrived at Malaysia Hall Sydney at Alison Road, Randwick at close to 7pm.
The Malaysia Hall is a place where Malaysian undergraduates or postgraduates can stay. There are Malaysia Halls everywhere. There’s one in Melbourne and there’s one in the UK as well. If you are a Malaysian and you’re traveling on a tight budget, do consider staying at Malaysia Hall. We paid AUD4 per person per night at the Sydney Malaysia Hall. Click here for more information.
Malaysia Hall is not a hotel, but it has everything that you need for a comfortable stay. Hot water, personal toilets, comfortable beds, laundry machines and friendly residents. Remember to bring your own detergent if you wish to do your laundry there. I didn’t but I was able to borrow a few cups of it from a friendly fellow Malaysian who was also staying there. Thanks!
Right after we checked in with the warden (friendly ex-Malaysian who’s been in Sydney for almost 20 years), we drove out to Bondi Beach which is 6km away from Malaysia Hall. Parking is hard to find at Bondi Beach at night because the place is packed.
Parking at Sydney is expensive. The cheapest is around AUD2.50 per hour and it can go up to AUD10 per hour. So over the next few days we’ll be mainly using public transport to get around because parking at Malaysia Hall is free.
Top left: Parking coupon at Bondi Beach. We wanted to park at Bondi beach but didn’t have enough change to get the desired duration of parking. So what do we do? We wait at the parking meter. And we got it exactly till 9:59pm because after 10pm, parking is free.
Unfortunately I don’t have any good photos of Bondi Beach because it was dark and I didn’t bring a tripod along. But Bondi Beach is somehow similar to St Kilda Beach. You have a beach and along the beach there are places to dine. At Bondi Beach, there’s also a skate park. Since we had a late lunch, we played Frisbee on the beach for a while. The weather here at night is perfect. It’s slightly colder than Malaysia, but not to the point where you’ll need to wear a jacket. We even saw some people going for a swim (at around 10pm?).
When traveling in Australia, it is advisable to bring along a bottle of water at all times because bottled water is not cheap here. In Melbourne, there are water fountains in the city so you can always fill up your bottles. Tap water is also drinkable in Melbourne.
After our dinner we drove to the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera house is located at Circular Quay. To get there you can take a train to the Circular Quay station.
It was very happening at the Sydney Opera House that night. Most people are out to enjoy the eve of New Year’s Eve. Walking from Circular Quay towards the Sydney Opera House, you’ll see bars and pubs and diners. At the Sydney Opera House itself, there’s a fine dining restaurant which looked very expensive. From the Sydney Opera House, the city skyline is visible and you can see the Sydney Harbour Bridge in full.
So how did they design and build such an icon? According to Ben, the designer drew the domes freehand so the engineers had no idea how to build them. It was only until halfway through the project that they suddenly came up with the idea of carving out metal spheres into the shape of the domes. The whole project overshot the initial budget by 3000%. Yes, that’s 3 thousand percent. But it was probably worth it. Now Sydney has one of the world’s most recognizable buildings.
Took a walk around the Sydney Opera House to see it up close. The domes are actually covered with tiles. We decided to leave walking the Circular Quay for another day. Didn’t linger long in the city because tomorrow will be a very long day.