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were moments when I just had to keep reminding myself “We’re closer to CHINA right now than we are to HOME! WEIRD!!!”. Sometimes when you fly for 15 hours and don’t sleep for 24 hours, you forget just how CRAZY it is that you’re half a world away from home and all that’s familiar to you. Michael and I flew to Sydney Australia at the end of July after an engagement session and a double header weekend. It was actually a great way to travel because we were so tired that we slept for a large portion of that super long flight from LAX to Sydney!

We left on Sunday night, arrived to LAX late Sunday evening and then arrived in Sydney on Tuesday…. evening though it was only a 15 hour flight! Monday just NEVER HAPPENED for us! The even WEIRDER part of traveling to and from Australia is that we left at 11am on Wednesday from Sydney and we arrived back to the US at 9am on Wednesday! Two hours before we even boarded the flight in Australia! So strange!! Anyway, we learned that there were a lot of strange things that we do or say differently than the Aussies! I actually kept a list on my phone to remember them all!! Here are some of our favorites! :

  1. Elevators are called “LIFTS”!
  2. They didn’t have “EXIT” signs, instead, they say “WAY OUT”
  3. “Lemonade” is just lemon-lime soda!
  4. You don’t really tip over there! But food is EXPENSIVE!!!
  5. Burger King is “Hungry Jacks”!
  6. You shouldn’t buy Kentucky Fried Chicken in Australia… ew, it’s just not the same!
  7. Trash is “Rubbish”… I think we should start saying “Take out the Rubbish” at home!
  8. Beet Root comes on Burgers… weird!
  9. We call any type of dog mixed with a poodle, a “Doodle”… we learned the hard way that Aussies use that term for part of the male anatomy. Yikes! It was hilarious though!
  10. Quad Bikes = 4-Wheelers
  11. Biscuits aren’t biscuits, they are cookies!
  12. Parking spots or garages are called “Car Parks”!
  13. Shopping carts are called “Trolleys”!
  14. They don’t say “Carry out” or “Take out” for ordering food to-go..they say “Take away”!
  15. Like a lot of other countries, they say “Surname” instead of “Last name”
  16. All of the toilets have a “Half Flush or Full Flush” option…. interesting.
  17. Did you know that there are CAMELS in Australia?! How did I not know that?!
  18. Koala’s are not bears… and they are endangered :(
  19. The Baubie = The Grill
  20. Don’t get me started on how they pronounce “Aluminum!”  haha

We had so much fun on this trip discovering a new world together. I still can’t believe that we had the opportunity to do this! It baffles me. Not only did we get the chance to travel to the other side of the world, we got to meet so many new friends at the workshop we hosted and I can’t WAIT to share more of those two days! Today I’m sharing our personal side of the trip! Remember, it’s WINTER over there right now and so that’s why we may look a little bundled up at times. However, we were truly blessed with incredible weather during our time there!! 50’s & 60’s aren’t bad at all!! Celsius makes everything seem colder than it really is! :) You should have seen the look on an Aussie’s face when I told them it was 90 degrees back home!!! ha!

Michael and I truly had a trip of a lifetime… we hope to go back one day because we love it over there and there is SO much we didn’t get to see! We feel like we really got a taste of Sydney… we even saw our first Opera at the Sydney Opera House! We spent three days there and then we flew to Adelaide (similar distance to us flying from VA to Florida) and that is where we rented a beach house and hosted the workshop! I honestly think that the hardest part of the trip was my favorite part. We absolutely LOVED our workshop crew! I’ll share more of those “Behind the scenes” shots soon! But for now, here are some images from our first day in Sydney!

We arrived after 24 hours of travel and it was 8am. We couldn’t check into our hotel room until 3pm and so we pushed through and started touring the city. We were tired but the excitement of being there helped us stay awake!! We bought 24 hour passes to the “Hop on-Hop off” touring buses and that allowed us to get anywhere in the city!

There’s something so crazy about seeing major city icons in person for the first time!! 

I took A LOT of seagull pictures… mainly because every time I saw them, I felt compelled to start chanting “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!” from Finding Nemo!! 

Pretty money!!

There was a huge boat show happening at Darling Harbor!

More seagulls…

There are so many “Car/Trucks” there!!!

Just going on a joy ride!

This is an awesome mall!! It’s beautiful!!!

The view from our hotel room….

Day two! We took the bus to the Botanical Gardens! 

If only you could have seen us trying to take this! We’re smiling big because my camera was on a tripod that was way too small and we were trying to take this shot at every stoplight. After an almost-disaster, we captured this one and I love it! 

Most fountains at parks have pretty fish, they had EELS!!! 

There it is!! The best view of the Opera house and the bridge! 

Favorite picture of the trip! 

ONA in Australia! 

Then we decided to catch a ferry over the Manly Beach. It was fun not having set plans for the day! We just did whatever we thought of and it was wonderful! 

Manly reminded us so much of Santa Barbara, CA!

“Ah! Freezing!!!!”

One of BEST meals. This place was awesome! 

Gelato! You don’t want to know how much these little cups were! Yikes!

Ha!!! “Rice Bubbles”! Cracks me up!

This shot on the left is for our friend Mandy who loves birds! We missed our friends who are our normal travel buddies!!! 

Then we splurged a little an had our last dinner in Sydney on top of a tall building and it rotated! It wasn’t the “Tower Eye”, it was another option and it was awesome! 

See us in the mirror?!

The view!!!!

The next day we headed out for a tour of the Blue Mountains! So beautiful! 

It was SO WINDY… look at all of these attempts to get one good shot of me. 

And then we road a cable car across the canyon and Michael is afraid of heights! haha

That little square box on the left is our shadow!!

This super steep train takes you down the mountainside!

The bottom of the cable car floor is glass!

awwwwwww!!!! 

A baby dingo!!!

And then we took a ferry home at sunset!

Then we flew to Adelaide the next day and started prepping for the workshop! 

The workshop was amazing!! I can’t wait to share more about those two days soon!!

The day after the workshop, we took a drive to the Adelaide Hills! Michael was so brave and drove on the left side of the road and the right side of the car!!

And THIS was one of the HIGHLIGHTS of the trip!!! Holding a koala!!!!! So fluffy!!

YAY!!!!! Dreams are coming true! 

Then we ate lunch in a little German town called Hahndorf! Yum!

This was our last night in Adelaide and we made it to the pier… or the “Jetty” before the light was gone! 

So thankful for this man. He planned this whole trip and I would have never been able to do that. He’s gifted in that area and I’m not and so thankful that he can fill in where my skills are lacking. He’s truly my best friend and I loved sharing all of these experiences by his side! I just can’t believe it’s OVER! We’ll just have to go back one day and take him to New Zealand!!!!

Some instagrams from our “#Alsopsdownunder” Hashtag! 

xoxo, Katelyn
34 Comments Personal, Travels
  1. Ryan Abbas reply

    Beautiful photos! You even ate at my favourite place “Haus” in Hahndorf. Missing you guys! :)

  2. Lauren Hooker reply

    You two are such a fun couple! I can’t help but smile at all of these photos – it looks like you had a blast :)

  3. Jessica Horton reply

    I would love to know how you packed your gear to fly! We have our first destination wedding in January & I’m so nervous!

  4. Kat reply

    Ah YAY!!!! SO FUN!!!!!

  5. Linda reply

    Amazing photos!! It reminds me of my own trip to Australia seven years ago! I visited a lot of the same places as you :) So glad you two were able to take this trip of a lifetime! I hope to go back someday with my husband.

  6. Laura Beth Stricker reply

    Wow! All of these pictures are amazing!!!

  7. Ashley reply

    What a gorgeous trip!!! You guys looked like you had an amazing time! loved all the pictures and sights!!!

  8. SHalese reply

    WOAH, definitely had no idea there were camels in Australia! This trip looks AMAZING! I can’t wait to see more of the workshop. :)

  9. Megan reply

    We miss you! Thank you again for visiting us, we loved every minute of our workshop! you guys became our friends over those two days and are now honorary Aussies!! How did we not educate you on those “car /trucks”? We call them “utes”. Xx

  10. Urška Majer reply

    This looks like super fun trip!

  11. Kathryn Grace reply

    Love it!

  12. Anna reply

    So many amazing photos!!! Looks like you guys had an amazing time! I love your apartment too! So modern!

  13. Haley reply

    Your trip looks like it was amazing!! I want to go to Australia even more now!

  14. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    Australia is so beautiful! I love all of your scenic photos and the pictures of y’all holding the koala! I work for a lady who’s from Australia and so I’ve always wanted to go…your pictures confirmed for me that it is a beautiful country! :)

  15. Tanya Lloyd reply

    …and don’t forget that its okay to call us “aussies” haha! Loved meeting you both and so glad you had a great time. Hopefully one day you do make it back so you can see the rest that we have to offer. One day I would love to bring my family to the “south” – which I have a secret obsession about….forgot to tell you that :) Take care, and thanks again for everything. Txxxx

  16. Annetta reply

    What an awesome trip!!! Thanks for taking us along to experience it through your photos.

  17. Kate Robinson reply

    Come to NZ!!!!!!!!!!! You guys are such an AWESOME team. Miss you both! Love this post xx

  18. Tricia reply

    What an amazing adventure. Thanks for sharing.

  19. ashley link reply

    ahhhhhh!!!! all of this is so amazing! i felt like i was watching finding nemo and kangaroo jack! haha. such a fun adventure! you guys are the best!!! love seeing these post of your new travels!!! glad y’all made it back safely!

  20. liesl roos reply

    Looks like you had a fabulous time! many of the “strange” things on your list is very similar to how we name things in South Africa. :-) So now that you learned this, maybe it is a good time to visit us! The Africa experience will however be very different.

  21. Brittany Riggan reply

    These photos are beautiful! What an incredible experience for you guys to be able to share together!

  22. elizabeth reply

    dream trip of a lifetime for sure!!!! I never knew they had camels there either. looks like you two had a wonderful trip — yep put me on the jealous category!!!

  23. Brittany Lewry reply

    I can’t get over that Koala!!!! Way too adorable!! Love all of the photos!!

  24. Michele Ashley reply

    Awwww, looks like such a great time!!!

  25. Katie reply

    This trip looks AMAZING!!!! I’m so happy that you two were able to enjoy work so much!!! ;) Love you guys!

  26. Sydni Jackson reply

    Ahhhh love seeing these pictures!! We got back from down under one year ago and you’re making me miss it hard!! One of my fave things was the birds there -they provide the most beautiful soundtrack. Michael looks like he belongs with that koala. I love the night pic of the city with the palm trees at the end. Can’t wait for the rest!

  27. Misty Minna reply

    Katelyn, I’m a long time reader- first time commenting :) I’d love to know how you packed your gear for traveling as well. I always struggle with how much to bring- what will fit carry on wise and how to make to most of my space. Thanks, LOVE your work!

  28. Kristina W. reply

    What a trip! Looks absolutely incredible!

  29. Photo I Heart No. 27 | The Fete Blog reply

    […] The lovely Richmond-based photographer Katelyn James has long been on my radar (I love following her on Twitter!) and man-oh-man is she blowing my mind with this shot from her photography workshop in Australia. […]

  30. Tonya Damron reply

    ohhh to travel!!

  31. Truan reply

    Wow! It’s so amazing seeing my city through a tourists eyes – it makes me appreciate it a little more! Hope you guys had an amazing time :) :)

  32. Emily Smith reply

    Katelyn! My fiancé and I are going to Sydney for our honeymoon next month, so I am glad we can get some fun activity ideas from you! We’re also going to the Blue Mountains, so it’s great to see some things to do there as well!! We were hoping to hold Koalas, but you can’t in that region. We’re so jealous!! Maybe next time :)

  33. Lindsey reply

    Do you have a post on what gear you travel with?

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