return to the land of oz…

photo…a month long creative sojourn through australia!

what an amazing trip it was and how quickly time flew by, yet during that time i saw so much!  from sydney to the blue mountains, through the back roads into queensland.  up the gold coast to fraser island, down to the sunshine coast into brisbane and back to sydney again.  landing in late spring going into summer, festivals were in full swing, trees and flowers were in full bloom (i’m allergic to things i’d never seen before!) and beaches were populated with “schoolies” on a sleepless week-long break.  needless to say it’s taken me quite some time to pull my thoughts and photos together and in order to convey the full scope,  it’s going to require my breaking it down into multiple posts.

granted, this isn’t my first foray down under but i covered way more ground in this trip than previously.  i’ll start with a cultural overview of what i experienced, followed by some consumer insights (yes, i’m always working!).  i hope you enjoy!

week one saw me in sydney which is possibly one of the fastest changing cosmopolitan cities in the world.  it was already enjoying a major growth the last time i visited but this time i was blown away by how much of a transformation had taken place!  a new luxury mall had sprung up with new restaurants and cafes tripling.  collaborations have been taking place between artists and shop owners with small once abandoned alleyways brimming over with al fresco dining and festooned with installation art!

FelixAshStreetalleyways like this and the one below house fantastic bistros like felix and the ash street cellars which boast phenomenal wine lists.  downtown l.a. could use a facelift like this!


OldPostOfficethis luxe looking sidewalk cafe is actually part of an old historic post office which is a swanky gastronomic conversion into multiple restaurants and bars complete with a basement fine cheese and wine cellar.

ChinatownCherubsthese great neon “cherubs” dot the alleyways in sydney’s bustling chinatown.

first thing you’ll notice is the glut of architectural styling to be found in downtown.  although some of the sydney-siders i spoke with expressed dismay, i was delighted in seeing modern architecture butting up against beautiful old-world colonialism!  you have that feeling of history coupled with the youthful vigor of new design and rather than detract, i think it adds to the allure of the city.  it’s very different from the antiquated cities of europe which are beautiful in their own right but take on a mausoleum type quality in their quest to remain untouched.  i think if you tried to match the historical design style, you end up with a disney-esque appearance that’s stunted and off-putting.



FireHousethis modernist masterpiece is the city’s fire house! the old fire house is on the left.

although it doesn’t take much to trounce l.a.’s virtually non-existent transportation system, sydney’s complex system of waterway’s and ferries takes something as simple as a commute and turns it into an outing.  if i was a retiree living on a fixed income, much of my time would be taken up by traveling up and down sydney’s harbors using these affordable water taxis to visit a different beach community every day!  a pint in every port would be my motto!


Manly2one of my favorite ports of call was manly beach!

a quick trip to the suburb surry hills provided proof positive of it’s a-list ranking of 23 of the 50 most stylish neighborhoods in the world.  only six years ago, it was mostly bargain mom and pop eateries with nary a boutique in sight.  thanks to new liquor license laws aimed at smaller businesses, wine bars, upscale cafes and various shops cluster up and down bourke street tying foot traffic from surry down to oxford street.

SurryLibrarysurry hills library and community center.

SurryShopsa taste of what’s to come!

with the summer kick off, so was the historic, gentrified ex-slum, the rocks getting in on the action with the village bizarre.  the rocks is the oldest settlement in sydney which still contains many of it’s original sandstone structures including the oldest pub and a warehouse.  the revitalization of this area has been nothing short of amazing turning it into one of the most viable tourist attractions in town.  a new feature for me this time around, was the archeological dig that was taking place beneath the new youth hostel!

TheRocksstreet food, crafts and dancing are just a few of the many things to partake of at the village bizarre.

overviewthe prize winning angora rabbit took me by surprise especially since i had been led to believe they weren’t allowed in sydney.

LampshadeLanevisitors gather in this lane crisscrossed with re-purposed lampshades to watch a performance.

artefactsapparently the rocks was hard hit by the plague.  because it’s an archeological site, the hostel couldn’t be constructed on the grounds.  to circumvent this, the hostel was built over the grounds as seen in the lower right.

Stableas you can see from my photo on the right, the stable from the image on the left still remains.

and with that, i think i will leave you here since you must be exhausted and in need of a break!  trust me when i say i’ll be working away tomorrow to bring you the next act in which i will take you to the blue mountains into oberon where we’ll meet some sheep named beanie and bella, visit an organic winery in mudgee for the feeding of florence and on through some picturesque scenery.  and for those of you who missed the obligatory shot of the opera house, here it is:


all pictures were shot with a canon nex 5n and are ©janene dunbar