I arrived in Sydney before the sun came up, thanks to the bus. I have had enough of riding on a bus, that’s for sure. The hostel I stayed in was an interesting place. The kitchen/ dining/ reception area were on the rooftop, with a view of the CBD, Hyde Park and St. Mary’s Cathedral. This hostel was close to the Kings Cross neighbourhood, where most of the hostels are, and only about a ten minute walk to the CBD. Sydney is a beautiful city, but very busy. Traffic congestion is a constant problem, even though people have to pay extra for the privilege of driving into the city. I went up to the viewing platform of the tower in the city to get a good view of the city from there. Every time I go up one of these towers, I can’t help but compare it to the CN tower, and then of course they just don’t measure up. I walked pretty much everywhere I wanted to go. The city is quite lively day and night. In the evening of my first day, I walked to the Sydney Opera House. Seeing this building up close is a bit like a celebrity-sighting. I didn’t go inside, but just walked around the outside and of course took lots of photos, which I will post. The Sydney Harbour is quite peaceful at night. There is a walkway that goes all the way around the Opera House, which is nice to enjoy in the fresh night air. I saw all of the above during the day time as well. I got some views of the Harbour from the Harbour Bridge itself as well as views of the Bridge from the Botanic Gardens (remember how I said every major city in Australia has them). The Botanic Gardens were quite nice, situated right next to the Harbour. There is a large colony of fruit bats (aka flying foxes) that just hang out in the trees during the day.
I tried out Sydney’s public transit system one day and took the bus to the world famous Bondi Beach. It was the middle of “winter” and there were people surfing and swimming at the beach in clothes that I would normally reserve for the summer months. The sun was full-on, so I did enjoy a nice walk and sat on the beach watching the surf roll in. I can imagine that this place is packed bum-to-bum in the summer time. On another day, I visited Manly Beach. I took the ferry across the Harbour to get to Manly on another beautiful sunny day. It was a great day for a boat-ride. All of the other people who packed the small outdoor area on the boat seemed to think so as well. While at Manly, I also visited the craft markets, where there was a lot of nice stuff. The main beach at Manly was quite damaged by huge storms a few weeks earlier, and I heard people say that it seemed like half of the sand was gone. To me, it did look like there should be a lot more sand than what was there. I walked along a path to another shorter beach with lots of sand. Along this walk, I saw Dolphins swimming around in the bay. Have I mentioned that I love Dolphins? I didn’t get any pictures of these ones unfortunately.
Believe it or not, there is more to the Sydney area than just the city, so I took one day to visit the Blue Mountains. These “mountains” have a blue appearance due to the eucalyptus oil hanging over the valley, which is released by the trees. Our tour guide was a biologist, so we received an education regarding the many different types of eucalypt trees, various other flora and fauna in the area, as well as some information about how the aboriginals used these plants and animals. It was a pretty good tour, and I always like experiencing nature. I think that’s about it for my whirlwind trip to Sydney. I will have to add Sydney to my “places to visit again” list.