The first stop on our year-long visit to Australia was the iconic harbour city of Sydney. Such a beautiful city! Lots of stunning new architecture, we especially loved all the greenery and planting on balconies. There’s a lively, vibrant, young feel to the city, I can imagine living here 🙂
Use the train system
Kings Cross train station was a 2 minute walk away, and the train/underground system is comprehensive, quick, efficient and economical! Get an Opal card, tap on and tap off, and the cost of the journey is deducted automatically from the card. It’s easy to buy from many shops around the city, and top up is easy too. There are some really smart features: if you make 8 trips in a week, the rest of your trips are free! Travel all day Sunday for only AU$2.50, and weekly fares are capped at AU$60. And there’s a 30% reduction during off-peak hours. What a deal! Obviously they’re encouraging use of public transport, and it works! Parking in the city is difficult to find and expensive if you do find it, so a great public transport system is a good thing to have 🙂 The Opal card works on buses, light rail and ferries as well as the train/underground service.
Take the hop on/off bus tour
We made full use of the public transport system, as well as the hop on/hop off bus tour of Sydney and Bondi beach. The hop on/off bus is fun, with a commentary and an open top, and we were able to get about and hop off and visit places like the Australia museum, the Aquarium and Maritime Museum and the rather fun Mrs Macquarie’s chair. Which isn’t a chair, it’s a rock formation… Apparently Mrs Macquarie was the wife of Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. She used to ride around this area, and he had this huge block of sandstone hand-carved into a bench for her, by convicts.
Of course we went to Bondi Beach, dabbled our feet in the water and watched the surfers.
Visit the Australia Museum
The Australia Museum was very interesting, particularly in the exhibits and information about the indigenous people, who lived off the land and with the land, and have been badly treated by the colonists over the years. I’m looking forward to learning more about these interesting people as we travel round Australia.
Walk around Circular Quay
We enjoyed walking around Circular Quay and of course admiring the iconic Opera House. The Maritime Museum, and the Aquarium are also great places to visit. The Aquarium was gorgeous, with some incredible exhibits featuring fish and coral from all over Australia. Really lovely place.
The Rocks is one of the oldest and first settled places when the Europeans first came to Australia, and has some interesting buildings and history around it.
Visit Chinatown and Darling Harbour
On the edge of Chinatown, near Darling Harbour, is a magical place. The Chinese Friendship Garden is beautifully designed and laid out to show all the aspects of a traditional Chinese garden. It’s a wonderful place to spend some time relaxing and contemplating nature. And wondering if there’s any way I could replicate this somewhere, some time, if we stop travelling!
Take the Manly Ferry
Manly is a fun beach suburb of Sydney, and there’s a frequent ferry from Circular Quay. I think possibly the best views of the Opera House and of Sydney Harbour bridge are from the Manly ferry by night. How stunning! It’s hard not to take great pictures when you start with this material!
Check out a beach community – Cronulla
We were invited to meet friends of friends in Cronulla, a beach town just south of Sydney, to go sea-kayaking, and had a wonderful day, enjoying the water. We crossed the bay and landed, walked along a little to a rocky beach where we had our picnic lunch, and then walked across the headland to see the petroglyphs. After walking back to our kayaks we enjoyed a swim in the beautiful water. What a great day, thank you Harry & Chrystal!
Sydney has a great deal to offer, and we only saw some of it in the ten days we were here. Might have to come back – in fact we will, if only to visit the beautiful Blue Mountains, just north and west of the city. But that will be towards the end of 2016…
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