Ebony and Bill headed off to the Kings Park pick up point and were greeted by 9 smiling faces. 

The young people selected to participate in this incredible opportunity were chosen for a number of reasons. They have been involved and committed to the Cottage by the Sea Mentor Program for up to 4 years. They have demonstrated an eagerness to learn and grow as they have continually taken on the challenges and opportunities we have offered them. They are all engaged at school, attending regularly and working towards achieving good results.

As a whole the group was very excited about the weekend and looking forward to a new city.  The only meticulously planned event was the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. The rest of the weekend was open to group discussion and consensus.  In this way, the campers were required to take responsibility for their experience.

Upon landing, we navigated our way to Bondi Junction to find our apartment, dropped off our bags and assumed the role of sightseers for he next fifty-one hours.

Everyone enjoyed a slow walk out to the Sydney Opera House.  Tourist eyes darted all around, observing the sights.  We gazed across the Harbour and caught sight of the Bridge.   Ebony and Bill took the opportunity to raise conversation surrounding mindfulness and the importance of bringing attention to the here and now.

A walk back around Circular Quay and through the Rocks lead us to what was for many of the group the highlight of the trip.  We met Tony (CBTS CEO) and Dominic (from Musician Making a Difference) and thus began our afternoon on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The group found that the climb was a great way to learn about the bridge and the history surrounding the building process.  We spent the 2 hours looking at glorious views and learning some key facts.  We captured many incredible photos that will serve as a poignant reminder of a glorious afternoon.

At 5 pm, we finished up on the Bridge and jumped aboard Australia’s busiest city’s public transport system.   Ebony and Bill shepherded the group back to Bondi Junction and onto the next mission; dinner.

We were soon seated around the dining table eating a healthy feast of home cooked chicken and vegie stir-fry before a nice bowl of ice cream.  The discussion at circle time that night centred on ways that we could become fully engaged and involved in all opportunities.  A successful day had been achieved.

Leaving our accommodation at 8 am the following morning, we climbed aboard the ferry and were transported across the Harbour to the Zoo.

After a solid few hours enjoying one of the world’s best zoos, it was back onto a ferry for a sunny trip back across to Circular Quay and then under the Bridge to Darling Harbour.  We wandered on to Chinatown for lunch at Dixon Street Food Court.  We feasted upon traditional Asian style street food and encouraged a few within the group to be adventurous with the chilli intake. 

The group then headed into Paddy’s markets to find some classy souvenirs to take home with them.  After a busy and hectic walk down George and Pitt Streets, we again found ourselves on a wonderful double decker train with the choice of upstairs or downstairs.

Our first chance to swim in the hotel pool acted as an afternoon energy boost and soon the group was splashing around excitedly.   Dinner rolled around and we feasted upon Mexican before some choc chip cookies and ice cream to satisfy the sweet tooths.  We once again reflected upon the day during circle time.

Day 3 arrived and with tired eyes and legs, we navigated our way to the bus terminal and made our way down to Bondi Beach.  With a beautiful clear sky and the first glimpse of the Tasman Sea, the group soon had vigour for more sightseeing and tourist watching.

We walked up along the rocks behind the Icebreaker Sea Baths for a group photo and good view of the beach.  The sun may have been shining but the air temperature of around 13 degrees was chilling.  A slow walk along the promenade ensued; we stopped to look at the street art and the local Bondi Board Riders surf competition.   The sun rose higher in the sky and warmed our faces before two in the group braved the clear winter waters.

The group relaxed and enjoying the views while ‘people watching’ on the steps of the promenade. A quick lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches was eaten in front of the views of the beach.  We jumped back on public transport and used our Opal cards one last occasion to end our time as tourists in Australia’s busiest city.

An afternoon flight home ended with the group being reunited with their families at 5pm.  Ebony and Bill travelled back to Queenscliff in the bus to end what was a fulfilling and worthwhile weekend away!

Thank you kindly to Massachusetts Financial Services who funded this experience and made the trip a possibility!