Sidders, you've worn me out

Trip Start Nov 09, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2013

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Finally!   A civilised aircraft. We're on board an Airbus A320 on our way from
Sydney to Melbourne. Sad to wave goodbye to Sidders, but it's time
to move on to (sniff sniff) our last stop in Australia before we go
to New Zealand. Stop the clock – we need more time here before we
come home!

On our 5th day in Sydney we went to Bondi to Cooge Beach
walk. You get to Bondi by bus from Sydney CBD – approximately 20
minute journey. The walk is around 12km of trail that passes several
beaches and secluded bays. Unfortunately it was a cloudy and windy
day and felt quite cold in places, but the sights were stunning,
especially Bronte Beach, which had massive waves crashing over rocks
in the shore, and surfers out trying to ride the waves and getting
beasted – it was very cool...

Bondi Beach itself is a long stretch of beach in front of a promenade with
lots of cafes, eateries, tourist and clothes shops, which was just as
well cos we were so cold after we got back from our 3 hour walk we
had to treat ourselves to Bondi hoodies :-) And a Pizza :-) :-)

The following day we were quite tired and that showed in that we got a
little testy with each other. We decided to go sightseeing to take
our minds off how annoying each other was being, and visited Hyde
Park Barracks Museum, an old convict barracks. The UK shipped around
160,000 convicts and political prisoners to Australia in the 19th
century (as well as numerous other colonies) and a main place of stay
was in Sydney. Irish orphans, especially girls, where shipped over
as well during the potato famine to work as domestic servants and to
be married off. The prisons were workhouses and prisoners were used
to built infrastructure, there was even a mobile prison – basically
a cart where prisoners were chained to each other at night so that
they could work on building roads and be transported around. The use
of the Cat 'o' Nine Tails was used extensively, where prisoners were
whipped for refusing to work or being breaking the rules. It seemed
that the guards didn't need much of a reason to give the inmates a

We then went on a tour of the Opera House. It's actually 3 separate
buildings, one (largest) auditorium is used for symphony orchestra,
the other – the Joan Sutherland arena (smaller) is used for opera
and ballet. So although it's called the Opera House, the symphony
orchestra has the best digs. The other building is used as an
admin/tourist base. Before the Opera House was built it was used as
a transport hub for the local tram – or train, can't remember which
– and when the government gave the green light for the Opera House
to be built, it was only supposed to take 3 years and a few million
bucks to build – and this was in the 1950's – but because the
architect's drawing were so 'conceptual', not one could actually
figure out how to build it! And the building was eventually finished
25 years later and cost $102 million! 

Inside the theatres, the best seats apparently cost a packet – but there
are cheaper ones, and these are either ones where you can't see the
subtitles for the opera, or are called 'listening seats' where you
can't see the stage! Anyway, there are fantastic views out over the
harbour from inside the concourse, and up close, it is as amazing as
it is from a distance.

After our tours we decided to visit Darling Harbour, where restaurants are
arranged around the harbour water, a very busy and lively harbour.
We went for pizza but unfortunately it was quite busy and waiting
nearly 2 hours for it to arrive! Sucks! Because of the time delay,
we had no time to visit the Pancake shop and have pancakes and
chocolate with ice cream (drool)...

The next day we went on The Spit to Manly walk, around 10km of coastal
walk. It was amazing, we passed some of the most beautiful beaches
we've seen, with aqua waters, golden sand and thanks to the millions
of steps, some fantastic views out over the landscape. The weather
was excellent, clear blue skies and sunshine, We caught the bus over
to the The Spit bridge and caught the Manly ferry back which went
right passed the Opera House from the water – so we had a cheap
man's river cruise too... Manly is a lovely place with lots of
beaches, ice creams, eateries but we didn't get much time to stop and
play after our walk as we had to get back for our evening tour at the
Sydney Planetarium. The evening was fab, we walked up to the
observatory, which, when it was built in the 19th century
was in darkness so was easier to see the stars, and was instrumental
in telling and recording the time by using a time ball, where a ball
was dropped at 1pm each day – something that still happens today.
We were given an overview of the Southern Hemisphere's night sky,
including an introduction to the Southern Cross – which was used by
early explores (and by Aboriginal Australians before that) to
navigate. By drawing an imaginary line through the longest part of
the cross, and by creating a perpendicular triangle by using 2 near
stars, you can pin point South... After our overview and a
documentary we went to the dome to look through a 150 year telescope
at Jupiter and got to see not only Jupiter, but 2 dust clouds that
were raging on it – and 4 of its moons, around 120,000 years ago.
It was fantastically amazing. We then changed to a newer telescope
to look at celestial gas, where baby stars have formed. (Still the
stars were 1 million years old!)   Next we looked at some of the
oldest stars in the galaxy, around 6 billion years old and this was
quite a sight. Overall this was one of the best evenings – a
really wonderful experience. 

The following day we went to Paddy's Market – souvenir shopping, and it
was very stressful, with hoards of stupid people everywhere – it
was very busy but we got some lovely momentos of Australia to remind
us when we're back home. In the evening we went on our Sydney
Harbour Bridge Climb, climbing up from under the bridge, through the
steel structure of the bridge, before going up 1300 steps to the top
(where the flags are) – and it was fantastic, with phenomenal views
over the Harbour, Sydney CBD and Manly – as well as the islands
dotted around in the harbour (Sydney has the largest harbour in the
world)... We got all dressed up in overalls and harnesses and we
spent a good 2 hours climbing over the bridge and looking at the
views. To celebrate, we had some Baskin & Robins ice cream at
Circular Quay (by the Opera House) – num num num :-)

Our last full day in Sydney was spent mostly getting drunk at Darling
Harbour. We did some shopping at the Westfields centre and I found a
lovely pair of Nike trainers that I couldn't afford ($220!) before
going on a Monorail around the city centre, then stopping off for
pint at Darling Harbour. The equivalent of a pint is pint called
a Scooner and is a Midi (just less than pint). We spent a
lovely afternoon/evening by the harbour havi ng a few beers – or in
my case, Pimms.

Today (Monday) we are en route to Melbourne for some cricket, tennis,
penguin watching and Neighbours tour! And some serious backpack
rationalisation as they now weigh 20kg and we have to lie on them to
shut them...

Sydney is a busy city but has loads going on, when we left, SydFest was just
starting, where a massive rubber duck was randomly put in the
harbour. The weather's nice, in the late 20's, and the people are
nice and friendly – for a big city. The best thing about Sydney
after the Opera House and Harbour Bridge is Manly and Bondi – 2
spectacular places with pristine beaches and great walks. Definitely
a place to return to – next New Year?

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James Sterling on

A slightly belated MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year to yourself and the lovely Deborah.

I've had some trouble contacting you but been keeping a keen eye on the blog. Trip looks immense and can't wait to see some high res pics on your return. Maybe a slideshow...

Anyhow, hope you are both well.

Stay safe,
James x

kellycryer on


Merry Xm as and Happy New Year.

Glad you're reading my blogs and experiencing things with me, even if from a cold and rainy distance!

Hope all is okay at your end and both you and Freya are well and had a lovely break. I've got no phone but you can contact me on if you feel inclined :-)

See you soon xxxx

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