Trip Start Sep 14, 2011
11Trip End Ongoing
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First of all, Sydney's "untitled" because everytime we log into here the title section mocks us with italics that read 'C'mon, you can think of a clever title!'. And we never can. Our ego's have taken a collective hammering, so thank you Travelpod for that.
Rolling into Sydney after the relative nightmare that was Coffs Harbour (can't remember if it was explained in Byron, but walking 12km with 20kg on your backs is ill-advised) we sorted our lives out with all manner of trips and got ourselves relatively used to the maze of streets which surrounded us. Now we've been told numerous times over the course of our time here that you're either a Sydney person or a Melbourne person; we're hoping to break records and become the first people in history to like both. Magic.
First few days we spent, naturally, being massive tourists and taking pictures of just about every piece of architecture going. Because somehow any building above three stories high has now become a massive novelty to us; Martin's skyline fetish certainly didn't help.
Apart from building spotting, we managed to take in the Westfield Observation Tower for panoramic views of Sydney and it's surroundings (including a brief dose of vertigo for Nick), the Australian Museum for it's Aboriginal section while we were feeling relatively cultural, and obviously the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House down at Circular Quay. Pretty strange to see it all with your own eyes after so many pictures and postcards; we're pleased to give you inside knowledge that the Opera House tiles are in fact cream, and not white. We all learned something lame today.
A night out in the infamous Kings Cross followed our touristic activities, whereby us and our English family (now in our 6th collective destination!) got into the Sydney Saturday spirit with teapot shots. Very sophisticated.
23rd October - 27th October
A number of family days out followed the night of the teapot
The Sydney Aquarium also recieved a flying visit when the weather turned impossibly wet again, paired up with watching the Rugby World Cup Final on the big screens at Darling Harbour, Sydney skyline in the background. A pretty special atmosphere all round. The 27th saw us say a further goodbye to Grizzie (Grace/Izzy/Rosie combo, apparently our childish imagination's still intact), a further Melbourne reunion awaits.
28th October - 29th October
Time for both of our Sydney trips we seemed to organise so long ago - The Hunter Valley Wine Region preceeded by the Blue Mountains.
The first thing we learned was that the Blue Mountains are not actually 'mountains' but a plateau, carved by the Cox river
The afternoon saw us take in the famous 'Three Sisters' rock formation at Echo Point; with it filled by bus-load after bus-load of other tourists however it turned out not to be the highlight of the Blue Mountain trip. That came about one hour later, when our tour guide Rod (hero) decided to take us off the beaten track for a drink. Stopping down a dirt track, Rod led us down a 200m bush track where we probably all thought the end was nigh, until it opened up onto a series of incredible overhanging rocks. No barriers, no other person for miles, we all sat down with a couple of cold beers and saw out the rest of our trip in style. A pretty special way to end our day here.
The 29th called us to the Hunter Valley - Australia's most famous wine region, but none of this is exported. This was clearly going to be as good a time as any for our mid-life crisis.
Over the course of the day, we made our way through over 2,360 different types of wine. Or 40ish, we forget. We very quickly realised that after 'mm, this is really nice' we had ran out of adjectives for wine, and so turned to others for help and guidance on the issue. Which apparently didn't help, as we continued along the whole day in the same fashion. But the wines were all really very nice! We even purchased ourselves a bottle from the Tempus Two Vinyard over lunch. Professional critics.
To be honest, the best thing about Hunter wine country was the cheese. We've never felt so unashamed to sit at the free tasting section and spear ourselves out square after square of the stuff; coincedently we have also never felt so full after free samples. Genius. The final stop for the day took in a brewery, the only one in the region, which included a 'mocha' ale among our favourites.
Of course no Sydney visit is complete without a trip to Bondi! Our leaving day was well spent on the most famous of Australian beaches with the sun out again, and following a coastal walk around to the next bay we headed back into town.
By our own admission we spent one or two days too long here and the nightlife was a bit disappointing, but we ended up enjoying Sydney far more than we had expected after some of the stories we'd heard from others! Next up; our long, long, but final (!!) Greyhound bus service to Melbourne. Twelve hours next to strange people who smell a little like damp, god help us.