Leaving the land of Oz

Sydney I spent the majority of my final day in Australia at the Museum of Contemporary Art - a brilliant modern art gallery, which was hosting an exhibition of work by British sculptor Anish Kapoor. The works on display were typical of his work - simple curves and flowing forms, in a variety of materials. Some were massive in scale, like the 15m Sky Mirror located outside the gallery, while most were more modest in scale. The optical effects caused by some pieces really have to be seen to be appreciated, as they seemed to almost warp space - a very peculiar feeling indeed. A trip to Manly Beach had been highly recommended for me, and I took the ferry across Sydney Harbour to see it. Unfortunately I was pretty underwhelmed - while a nice enough beach, its only pull seemed to be the fact that it was a beach within easy reach of the city. The harbour views from the ferry made the trip worthwhile though, and I had a nice relaxing time on the ferry crossing.
A strange sculpture at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art

A strange sculpture at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art. Yes, that is Spiderman...

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Manly Beach

Manly Beach

Anish Kapoor installation at the MCA

Anish Kapoor at MOCA

Final thoughts... Australia is a great place, there's definitely no denying that. From wide empty beaches to steamy forest treks, cute koalas and deadly snakes, blazing hot days and monsoon rains - it has something for everyone. The people are almost exclusively friendly, and the country just felt comfortable to be in. I loved Melbourne in particular, and of the places I have visited so far, it is the only one that I can imagine living in. The biggest problem is the cost of living. The Australian dollar is incredibly strong right now, and this makes travelling there a costly exercise, particularly if you are trying to stay to a tight budget. with dorm rooms costing around A$30 a night and beers in a bar at A$10 a pint, the costs soon mount up. I had originally planned on spending around three more weeks in Australia, but decided that I had better move on and save money elsewhere, rather than spend all of my travel budget in one country. I will return, of that I'm certain. There are a few places, especially the north (Darwin, the Kimberley) and centre (Alice Springs and Uluru) that I want to visit - but they'll have to wait. I've a lot of travelling before I come round again...
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