Lots to do...

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
Trip End Feb 27, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

After a morning spent browsing in the many music shops, Rie and me headed towards the Harbour Bridge in the afternoon. We'd been debating whether or not to do the Bridge Climb (extortionately priced at $160), and indeed we've still not decided to this day. In the meantime, we climbed the 200 steps to the Pylon Lookout which offers similar views, but costs a lot less (just $8!). It was a great vantage point, and needless to say, my memory card was filled with yet more photographs of the Opera House!

We went to the huge cinema on George Street that evening to watch Walking The Line, the Johnny Cash biopic. I really enjoyed it, and I'm sure I'll invest in some of his cds when I get back (once I've received my first pay packet!).

Thankfully Rie is similar to me in that she doesn't like staying in the hostel for long, so after the movie we explored Chinatown and had another walk down to the harbour. This actually became quite a common scenario for us, and usually there'd be some performers down near the Opera House, be it aboriginals playing their didgeridoos, or rastamen playing their reggae. There was always a buzz around Circular Quay, and we enjoyed relaxing down there (and my Japanese vocabulary is increasing as a result!).

Friday began with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (or "Contemporary Art of Museum" as Rie called it!), and I was less than impressed to be honest. I was even warned on one occasion for touching a flag on display! Naughty. It was free admission so I'm reluctant to complain too much, but I just don't 'get' Art...I could have easily bettered some of the work there!

I don't mind admitting that our visit to the Sydney Aquarium was much more my kind of thing, and we spent a couple of hours roaming around. There were seals, penguins and an angry looking crocodile, but the highlight was the shark tank as you could walk through an underwater tunnel to get some great close up views. In fact, after going for a KFC, we decided to return as the crowds were sure to have died down, and we still had our hands stamped to prove that we'd paid. Another couple of hours entertainment meant that we'd certainly got our $20 worth!

We returned to the hostel via a very busy Chinatown, as there was a market in full swing...at nearly midnight! It was interesting seeing all the Asian people crammed into such a small space, and Rie bought herself a nice bracelet from one of the stalls. I've never considered myself to be a city person, but the fact that there is so much to do in a place like Sydney, at any time of day, means that I may yet be converted...

The weekend began with a trip to another market, this one at Paddington. I was in charge of getting us there due to Rie's questionable sense of direction (hope she doesn't read this!). It was a good 20 minute walk and it was very warm, but it was worth it because the market was really good, though a little upmarket for our tight pursestrings. Rie just loves wandering around markets, and so do I to a lesser extent, but I was ready for an ice cream after we'd finished.

We mooched around some more in the afternoon, and spent a lot of time in the beautiful Queen Victoria Building that is home to various posh brands. We were more interested in the unique, old fashioned elevator, and the impressive statues of the Queen herself. A delicious smoothie from the foodhall downstairs was just the tonic as well, as we made our way back home.

I went down to the internet cafe while Rie had a nap, and researched hotels in Singapore (that's right, hotels). They seem reasonably cheap so I intend to spend my last 5 nights travelling in the relative luxury of a single room! So with that to look forward to, I met up with Rie again and we trotted down to the Opera House...again! I won't get bored of that view across the harbour in a hurry...

Sunday was probably my favourite day in Sydney so far, as the weather was lovely and we managed to fit a lot in, beginning with a wander around The Rocks Market. As my guide book suggested, it was a more touristy market with lots of souvenirs on offer (cuddly koalas, boomerangs etc), but it was nice having a browse.

I then suggested a stroll through the Botanic Gardens that Donna had branded "the best she'd seen," and I would have to agree. They were so vast and peaceful, and the views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge were second to none. My favourite view yet came at Mrs Macquarie's Chair, as you could see both of the famous landmarks in your line of sight, making a great photograph.

We contemplated doing a tour of the Opera House after the Gardens, but decided to wait for another day as it was quite busy. Instead, we just wandered around inside before enjoying an ice cream whilst listening to a jazz band in a nearby restaurant. It was a very relaxing afternoon...

As the weather was so good, with barely a cloud in the sky, we thought it would be a perfect time to scale the Sky Tower. At 250m high, it provided great views of the city, and a bizarre moment came when I looked through one of the set of binoculars. I knew the cricket was on at the SCG, so I had a look and to my surprise, I was greeted by the sight of Ricky Ponting acknowledging the crowd on the big screen - he'd just been given out after scoring a century!

We had an hour up at the top, before returning to Ground Level for the second part of our Sky Tower Experience. "Oz Quest" as it was called, was a 3 part journey through Australian history, via a few different cinemas. The final one was the best, as the seats shook and vibrated as the camera encountered sharks, crocodiles and snakes. Very entertaining.

A quick visit to the Queen Victoria Building for a smoothie and some photographs followed, before we returned to the hostel...via KFC! I was having a great time, and I already consider Sydney to be my favourite city in Australasia by a country mile.
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