Sydney with the irish potato

Trip Start Sep 10, 2008
Trip End Dec 17, 2008

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Where I stayed
Caprice Apartments, Manly

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mama Mia on the plane was the perfect preparation for our week in Sydney as it made me ridiculously high and excited about going back.

We came in over Botany Bay rather than the harbour which meant Steve's first glimpse of it was aboard the Manly Ferry, en route to our appartment, which is probably the best way to see it.  We sat on the back of the boat and took in the picture perfect view of the Opera House and Bridge - as beautiful the hundredth time you see it as the first.  The lovely warm sunshine put us in an even better mood as we looked forward to some proper weather after the sketchy start in NZ!

Arriving back in Manly Wharf was great - nothing had changed much and I just felt glad to be back there, no longer a young impressionable 18 year old!  We met Eoghan at the entrance to the Corso, and as always it was like we'd seen him only last week.  We were so excited!  We walked the slightly sticky 10 minutes to the appartment, but I hardly noticed the 20kg weight on my back as we approached the ocean beach, South Steyne, as it was just STUNNING.  Huge, sweeping views for kilometres north up the shore, the sun glistening on the surface of the water, and plenty of surfers enjoying the late afternoon sunshine and huge swell.

Our apartment was absolutely perfect.  Right on the beach and five floors up with the most beautiful views right along the coast.  We spent the next couple of hours catching up, drinking wine and eating cheese overlooking the ocean.  Dinner was a fantastic pizza a few doors down, and a bit more wine, before a very contented and long sleep in what was to be our home for the next 8 days - hooray!  No more packing for over a week!  And, the best place we'd stayed in - it was like a proper home!

The next week passed by in a wonderful, fun filled, sunny, happy blur of wine, walks, great food, better company, animals, views, countryside and beaches.  It was the best week just relaxing and chilling out with our friends Eoghan and Emer.  We discovered Emer's hilarious comic side, which hadn't really come out when we last met up and also realised that her and Steve are the male and female equivalent of each other! We enjoyed lots of lazy breakfasts on the balcony critiquing the surfers and watching in awe as the kayakers made it over the huge waves.  Fab.  That's the shorthand version.  The longhand version goes something like this...

Friday we chilled in Manly, and enjoyed a walk round the coastal path to Shelley beach - it was a great relaxing day just catching up and recouperating from all our flying.  Dinner was lots of Margeritas and mexican in the local mexican joint.  Saturday we headed into Sydney centre for the afternoon, had coffee in Darling Harbour and then went to the Aquarium, which was awesome.  Spotted some HUGE sharks and an evil looking croc.  Then followed a slightly debauched evening with Manders and his girlfriend which started so well in an ultra hip bar called Gazebos, and ended dancing to Rage against the Machine in Zanzibar (via a curry house, lots of Mojitos, and 'Kings Cross' at its best)! 

Sunday was spent getting over the night before and then having a great deli lunch in the apartment with Andy and Jacs, who had just arrived after their horrendously long flight from England.  Emer and I went slightly overboard in the deli so we were enjoying the food for the rest of the week too!  That evening (after a great afternoon nap for the girls, and beer for the boys) we went to a fab fish restaurant just opposite the wharf, and Steve had his first (WHOLE) Barramundi, which went down well (he's been eating it in every restaurant ever since!).

Monday we decided to visit Taronga Zoo - possibly the best placed Zoo in the world right on the edge of the harbour in Mossman, with the most expensive views you could imagine of the harbour and opera house.  It was an awesome day spent discovering the best of Australian wildlife, and meeting some unfriendly creatures that we hoped we wouldn't encounter in the wild, including the Fierce Snake (most venomous in the world), a Funnel Web, a huntsman, a saltwater croc, as well as some slightly less Australian creatures including lions, tigers, Chimpanzees and Gorillas.  After all the animal action we could handle we headed to Bondi for a famous walk along the beach, and then came home via Wagamamas, despite some mild protests from the boys!

Tuesday we booked ourselves onto a Blue Mountains tour, which meant we could laze on the bus whilst someone else did the driving and map reading, and took us to all the best sites.  We had some fantastic views of the three sisters before moving on to the cable car ride and sky rail which took us down into the valley, then back up on the hairiest train ride we'd ever been on.  Emer was freaking out as we hit an angle of 52 degrees and felt like we were going to fall out the front on the train head first!  The views of the rainforest at the bottom was spectacular though and it was great to go and visit some of the old mining sites of the area.

We stopped for lunch in a place called Leura (I think?) and had some great salads with great views, before gorging on the best sweets ever from The Candy Store - my idea of a paradise shop with every imaginable sweet under the sun, including Alphabet Letters!

The afternoon was spent visiting an aboriginal site, then going in search of Kangaroos, which we found plenty of, as well as whole flocks of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos, which were quite spectactular when they all took off and landed together, flicking forward their crest as if to say 'check me out'!

We returned to Sydney via Paramatta on the jet cat down the river, and then headed off to the German beer hole in the rocks for some HUGE pints (and wine for me)!  It was one of those great evenings where after the first drink your plans go out of the window and you lose track of time, and 4 beers later we stumbled home on the ferry to a slightly drunken sleep.

The following day, Steve and I were craving a bit of exercise, so we headed off on the Manly Scenic Walkway while Emer caught up on some work and Eoghan chilled.  It was a longer and harder walk than we'd imagined, but took us through some stunning bushland and hugged the harbour for most of the way round, meaning we enjoyed some great views of the heads, and back towards Manly.  Several sweaty hours later we arrived back and got ready for dinner in Watsons Bay (on South Head), at the famous fish restaurant Doyles on the beach.

After a mildly painful two hour journey to get to the opposite headland that we were on, via the city) we arrived at Doyles and it really was the best spot for a perfect dinner of seafood and cocktails.  Our table had a great view across the harbour, to the city in the background and the fish was absolutely delicious.  The journey home was far less painful and the evening was a great way to end our time with Eoghan and Emer in Sydney.

The following morning we saw them off to the airport in the city, then made our way back to Manly to sort ourselves out for the next leg of the adventure.  We were both really sad to leave them, and that our week in Sydney had come to an end because it was so fab being in one place for longer than 3 days, but we soon picked ourselves up ready for excitement at the Barrier Reef!
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