A ticket to Ryde.....and back again

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End Apr 22, 2011

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Lane Cove River Tourist Park

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, September 28, 2010


28th September 2010

We are off to spend four nights in a campsite just outside Sydney, we are booked into Lane Cove River Tourist Park in North Ryde. As it is only two hours away we are no hurry to leave this morning so we took River for a walk over to the beach while the laundry finished it circle and then set him up in his new kennel outside.  Mark and Di had gone to work so this was his first day on his own in the new house.  As we drove off we could hear whimpering coming from the back garden.....poor old River.  Our first stop wasn't too far away, Dave’s house, to steel some more wifi and put last week’s blog on.  As we pulled up Dave came out and had a chat with Gary while I did the business.   Our second and third stops were in Newcastle to Diane and Mark’s places of work to say hi.  Mark’s is a family business so we also got to say hi to his Dad, brother, niece and nephew and Adrian.  Diane works for Mark and Kath Russ, Mark R gave us the full tour and we said hi to one of their Neighbours, Tanya, who has just started working there.

Today is a double anniversary, twelve years married and one year away, so we went for a fancy lunch at the Dockyard on the Harbour.  The weather was hot but the wind was really fierce coming in off the water and we struggled to keep everything on the table from blowing away.  The harbour looks over the Newcastle coal loader, doesn’t sound too romantic but it was a beautiful setting with Nobby’s Beach to the right of us and the harbour out in front.  There was also a cruise ship in dock that towered above the smaller boats. 

Newcastle is named after its English counterpart because of the amount of coal found here.  The harbour was found accidently when some convict’s stole a ship and the officer sent in pursuit of them stumbling across a harbour with a fresh water river and an abundance of coal lying in the sea, they have been mining it in this area ever since.  Redhead and Dudley where both big mines that are now closed.

We drove the coast line to get some good photos, we started with Nobby’s head which was very popular because it’s school holidays.  We also stopped at the Ocean Baths, the original sea baths from the nineteen hundreds when you could only use the baths after dark to wash in.  It’s an amazing stretch of coast line the brow of every hill gives you a fabulous view.

Two hours to Sydney, took us on familiar roads.  The campsite we are staying is round the corner from Ikea......maybe I could just pop in and have a little look....no ok!!

Wednesday 29th September 2010

Last week exhausted both of us and we crashed early, asleep by 9pm, but camp life is an early one so once again we were awake before 6am.   Today’s plan is to jump on a train to Sydney and do our tourist bit.  It was all very easy, the train station was only a 10min walk away and it was only $5 each for a return ticket.  With one change we arrived at Circular Quay right next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.  We retraced our steps from fourteen years ago by walking through the Botanical Gardens to get that perfect shot of the Bridge and Opera house together.  We then asked a nice Japanese lady to take our photo...they take all the best shots.  We left the Gardens and followed the harbour walk round to the Opera house for a few close up snaps. 
The harbour is incredibly busy boats and ferries are constantly coming in and out.  From the Opera House we followed the walkway round under the bridge and over towards Darling Harbour.  We passed rows of fancy waterside restaurants and cafes and carried on until we found a Subway......poor humble backpackers, plus we had a two for one voucher!!  Full and happy we continued on our journey to the next tourist attraction the Sydney Tower, a 360 degree view of the whole of Sydney at 305 metres up.  An express elevator shot us up to the viewing deck where we wandered round admiring the sights.  There would have been an excellent view of Sydney’s famous bridge and opera house from above but there was a ugly building stuck right in front.....shame!!  Oh I better check it’s not a Deloitte building....!!!

We left Sydney on a high, having had a fun but tiring day.  We jumped back on the train and walked the short distance back to the campsite.  Once back at the van we set about sorting out and slimming down the two hundred pictures we had taken during the day.

Thursday 30th September 2010

We are meeting my brother’s wife’s sister for a drink in Sydney tonight, I sent Alice a text when we arrived on Tuesday and have arranged to meet tonight at 6pm after she finishes work.  She has been over here for a while so should know all the best pubs to go to.  We jumped back on a train again at 10am for another day of tourist attractions.  This time we alighted the train before the Harbour bridge and took the long walk over it into Sydney.  The bridge is nothing exciting close up and they have ruined any decant photos by encasing the walkway in barbed wire to stop you climbing over.  It was like walking through a prison gate, but there was a good view through the bars.  Once on the other side we walked to Circular Quay to book our harbour cruise for that afternoon. 

We then walked round the Rocks and visited the Museum, which was very educational and totally unbiased.   It showed both sides of the story, one being the Europeans landing and eventually forcing the native families further north and then the other as the Europeans invading their land and bring disease and death to the Aborigines.  Sydney was the first area to be colonised, they had landed on Botany Bay but it lacked fresh water.  When Sydney Harbour was discovered just round the corner from Botany Bay it was described as a perfect harbour because it was deep and sheltered.  Sydney and the area round the Rocks were chosen as the new site as it had a fresh water stream.  We also found out that the ugly building in front of the Sydney Tower was actually there before the tower and the tower was built before the Opera House.....and it isn’t the Deloitte building......but I’ll come to that later.

Having done our cultural bit it was time for lunch and a sit in the park with our sandwiches....well we are backpackers.  We sat in the sun until 1.45pm when we had to catch our mini cruise round the Harbour.  The lady doing the commentary was very informative and pointed out all the more interesting sights, like the three naturist beaches....it was funny to see how many people (including me) people took photos of the naked man on the beach.  There were lots of expensive houses with moorings for their boats, some of the houses are on the side of steep cliffs so they have lifts that take them up and down......!!!  The River is alive with sailing boats, apparently at the weekend and bank holidays you can’t move for them.....the ferries and cruise boats have to give way to them....engine must give way to sail.   The tour came with afternoon tea so Gary filled our cool bag up with spare cakes and biscuits.....backpackers remember!!! We arrived back at the Quays having had an interesting afternoon. 

We had a bit of time to kill before meeting Alice so we went for a walk up George Street, which is the oldest street in Sydney, to find an internet cafe to check emails.  I was just about to check out the address for the Deloitte office in Sydney when Alice rang to say she was ready early and did I want to meet her outside her office.....Deloitte in George Street......what a small world we live in.  The funniest thing was that she was back in England the week before and had a meeting with someone I knew but she was also shown round the Campus Service Centre, which I ran before I came away, and saw my girls.  It was great to catch up with Alice we haven’t seen her since my Brother’s wedding which must have been over four years ago. 
She is a lot of fun and likes a good drink she took us to the Rocks area and went in an Irish pub.  Gary had his first Guinness since leaving home, I was happy on the cider, booze in Australia is priced very similar to home so the night wasn’t too expensive.  We left one pub and went in search of one with live music.  After another drink we said our goodbyes to Alice and promised to catch up again when we come back round next year.  We got the train home and got off at the right stop which was impressive the amount the booze we’d had.  Did I mention that our walk home takes up down a gloomy road with a graveyard down one side....... really what’s the worst that could happen!!!

Friday 1st October 2010

I woke up thinking a possum had slept in my mouth.  A cold morning and a hangover is a perfect recipe for a very slow start.  We didn’t have too much planned for today, just a visit to the Clarendon homes village to see which one Luke and Erin where buying but also just for a noisy round the seventeen different homes they had set up. 

Campervans have one major problem, you have to pack everything up if you want to go for a drive.  So things had to go back into cupboard and draws, the bed had to go away, the pop up roof had to come down, curtains had to be tied back and the electric had to be disconnected. We finally left about 11am.  We arrived at the show home and wandered round each house, discussing which bits we liked or disliked about the houses.....almost like we were actually going to buy one.  We decided we didn’t like the two story houses, too much wasted space and too many lounge rooms....why would anyone need five different rooms with settees in?  No the single stories were more us.  Three hours we walked around looking at the houses, we hadn’t realized we had been so long.  We left there and headed back home as it was bank holiday weekend and the traffic was getting heavy.  Back at the campsite we unpacked the van again and settled down for the night, back to Redhead in the morning for our last night before the big trip starts.
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Lucy Evans on

Hey Guys,
Still looking good! We stopped in Newcastle as well. James was fascinated by the massive coal ships there. He even bravely took a dip in the baths, but it was really cold, so I just huddled in the corner and watched.
Can't believe you've been away for a year. Sounds like you are going strong. Enjoy your adventure around Oz!

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