31 October – 3 November, 2014 – Sydney
I was excited to wake up and explore Sydney on my first day in the city. Sad too, though, because it was my last stop on this whirlwind tour.
I spent the first morning
getting lost exploring the area near the ANZAC Bridge and made my way toward Darling Harbour. They have a lot of touristy things there. There was a Maritime Museum with an interesting photo exhibition but I didn’t go. There was a lot of things I wanted to see in the city and didn’t really have time. I did take time to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Have to go whenever I’m near one! I actually almost spent a couple of nights in Surfer’s Paradise just to go to the one they have there… then realized that was just stupid. The store was not well stocked. I still need to email the manager to get my regular HRC things! The place was decorated for Halloween, which I hear isn’t really a big thing around there. There is also a small ‘zoo’ in this area, which I had originally planned on going to while in the city. Maybe even to have breakfast with the Koalas! But, after seeing them in the wild in Melbourne and even seeing one in a small enclosure in the main foyer of the ‘zoo’, there was no reason to spend the time or money to visit the attraction for real.
After that, I made my way to Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. I was taking a tour and then had tickets to the Symphony after (Dvorak’s New World Symphony). Some interesting facts: They have several halls with about 2500 events each year. The roof of the Opera House is made up of about 1, 005, 556 tiles. A few days prior, they actually had Beethoven’s 9th performed here. I knew that before and actually considered rearranging my vacation to be there for it, but didn’t. Dvorak was amazing though. The music wraps around you like a blanket. Two days ago (February 1st), I went to my first symphony since returning, at the Rebecca Cohn in Halifax. I’m definitely happy there were a few months in between the performances. As it was, the music felt almost claustrophobic in the smaller Halifax venue.
The next day, I ‘photographed’ my way to Hyde Park, where I stopped for breakfast before making my way to “Lady MacQuarrie’s Chair”. This spot is the popular viewing spot for the Opera House and Bridge. After that, I headed back to the Opera House and a nearby restaurant where I met up with a bunch of Aussie writers for a meal and drinks and then back to the hotel. Lots of walking, but a nice relaxing day!
(Un)finally, it was my last day in the city. Still so many things to do! On the list: the beach, a museum or two, the observatory. First stop: Bondi Beach. Some backstory: There were a lot of bush fires burning near Sydney since I arrived in the continent – up to 72 at one time, I heard. In New Zealand, it was all over the news. Once I arrived in Australia, it was like there was no such thing as fire. One could imagine it there had never been a fire… Until the morning of the 2nd. The air, especially at the beach, was heavy with smoke. At one point you couldn’t even see to the other end of the beach. Horrible but… it smelled good! This was also good because, you know, I generally hate beaches, but because there was no sun, it was quite enjoyable and spent a lot of time walking up and done in the surf. The wind changed and the smoke lifted around noon. The sun shone bright so I headed back into the city.
I didn’t have time to do a museum and the observatory before suppertime. I had to choose. I figured that I’d already seen an observatory in Wellington and the museum was a convict barracks museum. I decided on the museum because I figured learning about that part of the country’s history was a must-do. Besides, I could go to the observatory at night, right? The museum was definitely worth it. I was great and I got some good photos. It deconstructed part of the building, which I enjoyed as someone who like architecture. Of course, the museum was focused mostly on its convict history, but also the other uses of the building. I was there until I was ‘kicked out’ at closing. I could have stayed at least another half hour. Maybe longer. There was a dorm with hammocks strung that visitors could get comfy in. I could have fallen asleep!
Saturday crowds at the Opera House.
After that, I headed to the observatory in the area called ‘The Rocks’. In the half hour I was in the area, I saw six different wedding parties having their photos taken. It’s clearly so popular that even if I wanted my photos taken there, I’d try and be more creative. It was an amazing spot for photos though. As for the observatory… I could have visited at night… but only if I bought my ticket during the day. Sigh. Not to worry. I took the opportunity to head back to the Opera House look out and photograph it during sun set.
I wanted to hang around for the fireworks that the city
was putting on in my honour, to see me off puts on each Saturday, but I would have had to wait about two hours. It was a dark, secluded park and I had nothing to keep me busy for that time. If I’m ever back in the area, I’ll be more prepared! Of course, the bats made for great entertainment. Big bats! Big bats but blurry photos. :( Once again I made my way back to the Opera House and arrived just a few minutes before the fireworks started. They were awesome, even if the location for photographic composition was not.
I hung around as long as I could, just enjoying the atmosphere, until I headed back to the hotel for my last night of sleep of vacation.
Thanks for joining me on my little trip!
Impressions: Sydney was great! I’d love to go back and explore more of the city. I hated leaving, but of course, that meant I was also leaving Australia. :(
Daily Casualties: Just myself a couple of times, on the first day and then also on the trains. Those are confusing! Definitely not the London Underground. Also ‘lost’ the stuff I left behind on purpose to make room in my bag. :) I did come to realize why I kept forgetting stuff or losing stuff… I was upside down! Of course things were falling off me. ;)
Walked: About 28 miles.
Just so you know, the widget I use to capture my flickr photos usually leaves a few out of the gallery. If you really want to make sure you see all the photos, check out my flickr stream. 400 photos. Sorry y’all. I suck at self editing.
The Rest of the story:
Aurora Announces her trip!
Aurora’s Australian Pre-planning
Working with a Travel Agent
My Trip Down Under:
- Day 123 - The Journey
- Day 4 - Auckland
- Day 5 - North Island Culture
- Day 6 - Rotorua
- Day 7 - Wellington
- Day 8 - Wellington
- Day 9 & 10 - South Island Scenery
- Day 11 – Queenstown
- Day 12 – Middle Earth
- Day 13 – The Last Day
- Day 14 – Great Barrier Reef
- Day 15 – Alice Springs
- Day 16, 17 & 18 – The Outback
- Day 19, 20 and 21 – Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road
- Days 22 to 25 – Sydney and the End
Down Under Assignments