Traveling to Australia had been a dream of mine for years. After studying abroad in Italy, and traveling extensively around Europe, I had put Australia and South East Asia on my bucket list of places to travel next. Almost 10 years later, I finally made it to that side of the world!
Sharing how I decided to plan my trip requires a little bit of a back-story…
I originally planned this trip with my ex-boyfriend in mind. He and I traveled all over California and western coast of the United States in his conversion van. The idea was to rent a van in Sydney and road-trip up to Sunshine Coast. However, as I began to plan this trip it became clear I would be going alone. I was totally fine with that; but it changed my road trip plan. As comfortable as I am with traveling alone, driving on the other side of the road for my first time, in a van through extensive strips of uninhabited land, by myself, didn’t sound appealing. I love road tripping WITH friends (or at least one other).
The original “romantic Australian road trip” slowly transformed into my own Eat Pray Love.
If you are someone who is getting out of a long-term relationship, having to move house after breaking up with an ex, or just in need of some soul searching – I cannot recommend planning a solo trip enough! Traveling alone is something I have done before. It takes a lot of planning. You are the only input going into creating the adventure. What I love most about solo traveling is that it is THE BEST way to reconnect to what you enjoy. Every time I travel somewhere by myself I discover a new insight as to how I like to spend my time. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, as well as getting you out of your head! Traveling alone (safely at least, in my opinion) requires you to be extremely present.
This trip could not have come at a better time. Any moment I felt sad about what was happening back home with my ex, I became hyper-focused on the NOW. I would check-in with myself and become aware of where I was – living out a dream trip. It was the perfect opportunity to reflect on my recent relationship and appreciate how it helped me get to where I currently was. There was no anger or resentment. I consciously decided to focus on all the positive aspect of our relationship. I reflected on lessons I learned, and most importantly putting myself first!
I could do a whole other blog post on my own “Conscious Uncoupling” experience, the term Gwyneth Paltrow coined for her and Chris Martin’s divorce. Truly that was a HUGE part of this trip’s experience for me. I took it as time to reconnect with my intuition and myself. My ex and I are great friends and still enjoy each other’s company. And if there is anything I learned about this particular solo travel experience it is: Do what YOU want to do. Period.
Now back to how I planed this trip 🙂
Things I have known about myself: my love for traveling, exploring new places, eating delicious food, and discovering local shops and brands. All of this was reconfirmed throughout my trip in Australia. I spent a good majority of my time walking around Sydney and Byron Bay, planning my days around where I wanted to eat (yup! LOL), hanging out in nature (reading, hiking, biking, swimming, etc.), practicing yoga at local studios, and popping into shops. I stumbled upon a few outdoor farmers and artisan markets in both places as well. Spending a decent amount of time (I would consider that a minimum of 5 days) in a new place creates the opportunity to begin “living like the locals” and really immersing myself into the local culture. This is what inspires me!
When I looked into where I wanted to travel within Australia, I took all of these preferences into consideration. I wanted to go somewhere that was warm, near the beach (the ocean is extremely healing to me), had nature I could enjoy, and yummy food. I have friends of friends who live in Sydney so knew I wanted to visit there. As for Byron Bay, I had discovered it on social media through certain accounts I follow on Instagram. This is one of the things I love most about social media, it is a great resource for curating your desired experience.
Once I had the places I wanted to visit locked in, I looked into AirBnBs. I personally love staying in AirBnB’s versus a hotel because you can get a spot right in the heart of a city or local neighborhood, and it typically is more affordable – especially when traveling by yourself. I have had great experiences using AirBnB in the past, with the sweetest hosts who share local secret spots to check out.
Where I Stayed:
- AirBnB in Bondi Beach ~ perfect for one or two people. Right in the heart Bondi and walking distance to everything.
- AirBnB in Byron Bay ~ super cute beach bungalow. A little further outside of Byron’s main center, about a 20 minute walk. Another great AirBnB I would stay in next time I visit is HERE. Nicoletta, the host, is the absolute best. A girlfriend I went to college with was in Byron at the same time and she stayed there. During my stay I met Nicolette and she let me rent one of her bikes, which I highly recommend having a bike in Byron if you are staying outside of the main area. Also, rent a car! It was super easy to rent one “same day” in town, but highly recommend doing that and exploring the surrounding towns like Bangalow, Newrybar, and great hiking surrounding area!
Bondi Beach Favorites:
- Restaurants ~ Orchard Street, Harry’s Bondi, Drakes Eatery, Speedos Café (touristy/iconic spot with a great view), Bondi Hardwear (great dinner spot), Fishbowl, The Nine, Umu (health food store), Bondi Farmers Market (great food on Saturdays), Tiger (fun bar)
- Places outside of Bondi ~ Bare Naked Bowls (in Bronte & Surry Hills), Three Blue Ducks (in Bronte), Single O (Amazing coffee shop in Surry Hills), Toko (Sushi in Surry Hills), The Winery (Surry Hills), Cooge Pavilion, Market of Alexandria, Paddington Inn Hotel (Paddington), Fika Swedish Kitchen (Manly Beach), Chica Bonita (Manly), The Boathouse (Shelly Beach in Manly)
- Shops ~ Tuchuzy (and everything else along that street), Nimble (workout wear), Bondi Wash, Hope & May, and Bondi Markets (Sunday where the Farmers Market is)
- Places to See ~ Bondi to Bronte (or Cooge) Walk, the Opera House (obviously), Sydney Botanical Gardens, Ferry over to Manly Beach, Ferry to Taronga Zoo (the coolest gondola entrance, make sure to purchase your ticket for the zoo at the ferry dock).
- Yoga/Workout ~ MindBodyLife (Bondi) and F45 Training (Bondi)
Byron Bay Favorites:
- Restaurants ~ Folk (a short bike ride out of downtown Byron, has the best gluten free banana bread), The Byron Bay General Store, The Roadhouse, Bayleaf Café (ate here three times it was that good), Light Years (Retro-Asian diner. SO tasty), St Elmo (great dinner spot), The Mez Club (fun happy hour), Bang Bang (another great Asian fusion spot), Combi (breakfast and coffee spot), Espresso Head, and Beach Hotel (bar)
- Places outside of Byron ~ Three Blue Ducks (at the Farm, a bit of a bike ride out of town but worth it), Woods (Bangalow), and Newyrbar Merchants (restaurant across the street)
- Shops ~ Rowie, Spell, Go Vita (health food/supplement/convenience shop) the Byron Arts & Industrial Estate: St. Agni, The Beach People, One Teaspoon, Habitat, and more, plus Comma (for a massage)
- Places to See ~ Walk to the lighthouse, The Pass (beach/surf spot), Whites Beach, The Farm, Bangalow & Newyrbar (cute little towns, need to rent a car to visit), Killen Falls, and Mynon Falls (45 minutes outside Byron)
- Yoga ~ Bamboo Yoga
**NOTE: All of the places listed above were extremely gluten-free-friendly + conscious of all other dietary needs. It amazed me how easy it was eating there!
I shared a lot on my personal Instagram account @MeganECurry during this trip, and saved my stories in the highlights. You can watch those if you’d like to see more photos of all these places. I also made a vlog of this trip on our YouTube Channel which you can watch HERE!
I hope you enjoy this as much has I enjoyed putting it all together for you!! XO, Megs