As I was perusing Facebook yesterday I stumbled upon this breathtaking photograph of the Sydney Opera House at sunset. It reminded me how much I loved Sydney (and all of Australia) when Sergio and I visited back in November and December of 2009. I wrote about that trip quite a bit. Here are two posts you may find interesting if you share my fascination / love of Australia, An Americans’ observations about Australia and Seductive Sydney.
Much thanks to Marc Keeper who posted this on his FB page. It made my evening.
Australian Gay Rights Tribute
A touching video tribute to Australia’s fight for LGBT equality was shared this morning on Towleroad, and I wanted to pick up and pass this along.
Earlier this week David over at WickedGayBlog posted a series of photographs of this extremely handsome Australian rugby player, David Pocock. In all fairness, David has posted this handsome jock before, but I wanted to give the post a shout out since you may be unaware of this very handsome heterosexual LGBT ally who recently made news when he told the media he would not marry until all Australian couples could legally marry. Like what you see? Check out all the photos that David posted on WGB.
As they say in Australia, Good On Ya David Pocock.
Do you live in or have friends in Australia? This is a great video to share with them and to post on your facebook page. The video explains why legalizing marriage is important and repudiates the same tired, homophobic arguments we hear in the United States.
Join the campaign for marriage equality in Australia www.ido.org.au
Thank you to Brenton for posting this on his blog
Here is something that is certain to make you laugh in spite of the fact that it is Monday. Check out “Spandy Andy” as he shows off at St. Kilda Beach in Melbourne Australia. He’s got the moves and the personality to match.
I spent the first two and last six nights of my trip to Australia in Sydney, and I left loving the city wishing I had more time. I did not fall in love with Sydney right away, because initially I was so busy visiting the locations I had always seen in photographs (i.e. Opera House, Darling Harbour, etc…). The city seemed one-dimensional and lacking charm until I ventured out of downtown to Sydney’s neighborhoods and beaches. Anyone planning to visit Sydney must make time to visit the tourist sites, but you do yourself wrong if the only view of Sydney you can recall is from standing atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Make the time to venture out – it is worth it.
I was able to catch a drag show at the Sydney Opera House which will go down as the funniest and most extravagant I have ever seen, I’m sure. The show was called, “Drag – Camp as Christmas”.
You can check out a promo video clip here
or do a search on Facebook to see more. As I said to a few of the drag queens later that evening, they could teach Ms. Spears a thing or two about how to lip sync.
The drag show was only the tip of what turns out to be a mountain of options when contemplating what to do each evening. In addition to all the activity in the CBD (Central Business District) night ferries provide endless options and are both easy and affordable. I also enjoyed spending time on Crown Street in Surrey Hills
, which is easily accessible from downtown and filled with galleries, antiques, cafes and pubs. I also enjoyed a great meal on Victoria Street which was quite a mixed crowd and near the gayborhood.
Since I never made it out to see the nightlife in Melbourne, I made a concerted effort to check out what Sydney had to offer. Like many cities, “the scene” is pretty concentrated on Oxford Street. The area is a bit dumpy similar to the Castro in San Francisco, but I enjoyed checking out the clubs, sipping coffees at Coco Cubano (note there is good wireless here and it is free) and even nosing around in the GLBT bookstore, The bookshop darlinghurst, where I made several purchases. The two main clubs that I visited could not have been more different except that they both had a lot of energy and some very good people watching. The clubs I visited Arq and Slide will probably end up changing names (as all clubs do) but I had a great time and would suggest even if you are not a club-kid (as I most definitely am not) it is still worth checking out for fun and laughs.
As with my write-up about Melbourne, I’ve also included a slide show which is a collection of photographs from my trip, please enjoy.
A huge reason I’ve fallen head over heels with Australia is because of a city called Melbourne
. There is a magnificent contrast of architecture that compliment rather than compete with each other and provides a sense of charm that I was hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Some of my favorite activities included: strolling down Lygon Street which is chalk full of Italian cafes, shops and gelateria; checking out the ever so hip Gertrude Street which had a definite San Francisco-vibe; seeing the Fitzroy Gardens and in particular the conservatory; hanging out in Federation Square which has been scorned by many but I think is an excellent example of modern architecture and houses interesting cafes, restaurants, pubs and museums – not the least of which is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Melbourne is surrounded by wine country, which is so easy to visit if you are willing to drive on the other side of the road. I opted to select an overnight in Hepburn Springs, which is next to the quaint town of Daylesford. The drive is easy and picturesque making it a great overnight trip, although I will admit I did not want to leave and would have enjoyed spending more time there. On the positive side, I made the excellent decision to book at the Peppers Springs Retreat which is 1-2 hour drive from Melbourne depending on 1) how fast you drive and 2) how direct your route is to get there. After taking the indirect route to see the countryside, I can tell you that your best bet is to drive directly there (the scenery is beautiful regardless of the route) and the towns prior to Daylesford and Hepburn Springs simply are not worth visting.
If you do book a stay in the country, I would definitely recommend the Peppers Springs Retreat which is less than a 5 minute drive to Daylesford downtown. Request a room in the main building with a private deck that overlooks the countryside. The two owners, Chris and Wayne, are as warm and friendly as the rest of the staff and the trip provided the perfect respite between visits to Melbourne and Sydney (Australia’s two largest cities). If you want to learn more about the retreat, you can read my glowing review on TripAdvisor.com here. Visiting wineries from the hotel is easy to do, but I preferred the pampering of the natural springs spa on sight and eating at the hotel’s restaurant – rarely have I ever been so full in my life. Below I’ve included a sampling of photos from my time in Melbourne, the drive out of the city and the stay in Hepburn Springs.