For many people a hot Christmas is the norm, but not for us. I think it’s safe to say that Christmas in Australia is the polar opposite to what we are used to. For starters, the fake snow in shop windows just seems bizarre in the middle of an Australian summer; the decorations look completely misplaced. Kind of like they just forgot to take them down from last winter…Why has nobody thought to adapt this I wonder?!
Suffice to say, we weren’t really sure what was going on. All we knew was this: With just the two of us in Sydney for Christmas Day, we had to do everything we could to make things feel festive. So with a very last minute plan in place, we were out to create that festive feeling! Or, you know, just get a little tipsy. You could argue that these are one and the same anyway ;).
Our first port of call was Manly Beach. With a bottle of bubbly in tow and some lunchtime treats, things were looking good. Sidenote: Parking in Australia can be hideously expensive, and Manly beach is a prime example of this. You have been warned!
The beach itself was pretty busy, but nothing too chaotic. It was so surreal (for us) to see people playing cricket in their swimwear and Santa hats. On Christmas day. Weird, right?!
Beach barbecues replaced our roast turkeys; chilled wine instead of mulled. Pure madness!
The one clear similarity between an Aussie and British Christmas was the family fun. Everyone around us was celebrating with loved ones. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is really about (and presents, and food, and wine)?
We spent the majority of our day enjoying the bubbles, people watching, and sunbathing – which still sounds crazy to me! Seriously though, that is all we did. We had spoken to fellow travellers about their Christmas plans, and everyone seemed to be doing the same thing.
Lots had planned on visiting Bondi Beach for Xmas, but the word on the grapevine is that you have to arrive super early in order to mark your territory. Now I don’t know about you, but an early start throughout the holiday season hasn’t happened since I was 7, so this option was absolutely not going to work out for me.
Thus our decision to visit Manly was born. We arrived there at around midday, and space-wise all was well.
After a solid few hours of soaking in the winter rays (I know, still strange), we went back to our campsite to get ready for dinner.
It was actually really tricky booking somewhere for Christmas dinner; not just because we left it quite late (far too late), but also because we had no clue where to start. We couldn’t even get recommendations from our Australian friends as they all stayed home for Christmas! So how did we choose? Google, obviously.
After much deliberation (thanks to mixed online reviews), we booked ourselves into the ‘360 Bar and Dining‘. Sadly, in keeping with the online reviews, the food was less than average. Our only choice was a buffet dinner, and it was all over the place. The styles of cuisine seemed so random together and the quality of the food itself was nothing to write home about. On plus side, we did get Christmas crackers…
Despite the dinner part of Christmas dinner, the views here were second to none. The floor actually rotates so that you can see all of Sydney throughout the duration of your meal – but don’t worry, it doesn’t spin too fast!
Christmas day on the other side of the world was definitely an unforgettable experience, but I think we will stick to a white Christmas from now on. After all, it’s spending time with your friends and family that counts, and Skyping just wasn’t quite the same!
Have you ever spent Christmas day in Australia? Where did you have dinner?!