Sydney is Heaps Good Mate!

Trip Start Mar 15, 2008
Trip End Oct 02, 2009

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Flag of Australia  ,
Saturday, March 22, 2008

This is Ben reporting. Sydney. Australia's largest city and, perhaps, it's most romanticised. With a population of 4.2 million and a size equal to that of greater London, Sydney truly is a place in Australia.

I haven't visited Sydney, personally, in my short 28 years, so I was very keen to arrive and experience a place so close that I'd only ever known in postcards.

We left Darwin at 1:30 am and arrived in Sydney at 9:30 am (with a brief stopover in Brisbane) and thus hadn't slept for over 24 hours. We taxied to my cousin Kelly's house where we collapsed exhausted in the spare room and slept. Welcome to Sydney.

Our first full day began the following day with a walk across the amazing Sydney Harbour Bridge. 'The Coat Hanger' runs about 1km long and is made up of a lot of steel (I can't remember how much, sorry). After crossing the bridge we walked down to a tourist area called The Rocks, wandered around Circular Quay (which is more square than circular) and then ventured up the steps of the Sydney Opera House. It's an amazing sight to see first hand, after only seeing it on the telly, and builds excitement for some of the other monuments we'll visit in the next few months. We then walked down through the Botanic Gardens and down to the Sydney Aquarium. Having never visited an Aquarium (where have I been my whole live) I was pretty gob smacked. Rip out the Adelaide Zoo and replace it with one of these, it's an absolutely amazing experience. The underwater tunnels where Sharks, Fish, Rays and Eels share a tank and swim right overhead is really something to see.

The following day we wandered across the bridge again (we're staying in North Sydney, just the other side of the Bay to Sydney City) back into town. We headed to a tour with a difference - the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. The whole tour takes three-and-a-half hours, which includes hour training, kitting up into what I call a 'moon suit' and attaching yourself to a special bridge harness. The climb is incredibly exhausting but well worth the effort (maybe a little overpriced). You get to trounce through the bowels of the bridge, up some very very steep stairs and then up to the very summit of the bridge. When you look at a photo of the bridge, look at where the flags are on top - that's where we were! It felt like a real achievement until I realised that well over 2 million people have done it in around 10 years of the tour running. Oh well, at least the views were great.

Our last full day in Sydney was a lazier one. We caught the ferry to Circular Quay and wandered into the main shopping district. We took a ride on the Monorail, ate at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and then enjoyed a Dr Seuss Art Exhibition, while generally just admiring the city.

My impression of Sydney is a big, busy place with layers of history and interesting stories underneath the more renowned cosmopolitan lifestyle. From an outsiders point of view it's a beautiful city, its famous Harbour is alive with interesting activity and its city centre seems to hide many surprises such as old pubs, street markets and classic architecture.

There seem to be more tourists in the city than actual Sydney-siders, but it's nice to think they're interested in Australia enough to visit. I can imagine living here would be quite exhausting, but to visit and relax around the place... and to be seen! Sydney is a pretty great place to spend your time.

Well, next off, overseas! Wish us luck!!
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