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Trip Report Thank you for a great holiday, Sydney

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Oh, what a great city Sydney is. How could I ever have thought it was uninteresting? We had a wonderful, very busy fortnight there, discovering even more activities than I had planned for, meaning we will just have to return!

For the first four days we stayed in a hotel in Park Road, between Elizabeth and Pitt Streets, with a great view of Hyde Park and the Night Noodle Markets from the bathroom window! The hotel was centrally located for transport to Darling Harbour and Circular Quay, very necessary for me as I was still on antibiotics and had not fully regained my strength and energy.
The weather while we were there was warm (one day reaching 30°C) and sunny apart from a couple of days in the second week when it was cool and/or wet for part of the day. That didn’t stop us though.

We arrived in Sydney at 7:20am on Sunday 30 September (daylight saving start in NZ) and by the time we were through Customs, etc, my sister was waiting for us. She drove us to the hotel where we left our bags in storage as it was too early to check in, then we went to Bondi Beach for breakfast, a wander along the beach and a quick look inside the Pavilion. Even at 9:15am Bondi was humming. We had planned to go back but ran out of time!
Once we had checked in and had a wee rest – no time for a longer rest! – we headed out to the beautiful Queen Victoria Building, and spent a couple of hours wandering around in there. There was an amazing Lego train and track set up which attracted many observers, both old and young. From there we walked through to Pitt Street and the Mall complete with street entertainers. We made several trips to Pitt Street and Mall during our fortnight.

So what else did we do?

A day at Darling Harbour. The Monorail to Darling Harbour and a walk across the Pyrmont Bridge, musing on the reason for two sets of gates that were locked open (watch for the revolving section in the middle), brought us to the Australian Maritime Museum. We wandered around the displays outside the Museum – the submarine HMAS Onslow, an oberon class sub is permanently moored alongside the HMAS Vampire, a daring class destroyer, and the HMAS Advance, an attack class patrol boat plus a mixture of smaller boats that were involved in the war efforts in some way. The Endeavour replica is also on display here as are the “James Craig” (a barque built in 1874 in Sunderland, England, originally names Clan MacLeod, renamed James Craig in 1905) and the “Carpentaria” (one of 4 lightships built 1916 / 1917 at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard). Parents and children were looking through the Cape Bowling Lighthouse which has been moved here.
Inside the Museum there are some interesting displays, too although I found the external display more interesting.
Back across the Pyrmont Bridge to Wildlife World. This is a place I spent a good two hours in last year, and this year was no different. However, there have been some changes while they are introducing new exhibits, and some of the birds I wanted to see again we were unable to access.  My DH was amazed to see koalas, wallabies and a wombat so close to the CBD! The Aquarium was next, and it too seems to have undergone/is undergoing changes. Once again I didn’t see the platypus but we did get to spend some quality time watching the Dugong!

A cruise on the Parramatta River. A friend at school recommended this trip, so we headed to Circular Quay and bought tickets. You can only purchase one-way tickets which seemed a little strange, and I couldn’t quite figure the explanation. This is an interesting trip, passing some incredibly large and imposing properties on the waterfront, past Goat and Cockatoo Islands before entering the Parramatta River and its many mangroves. Of course you can see other trees, housing and factories, too. There are stops along the way such as Kissing Point and Meadowbank but the first stop we made was at Rydalmere, about 10 minutes from Parramatta. Once at Parramatta we were required to disembark. You are able to join the back of the queue for a return trip if there is room, or wait for the next ferry. Sometimes, as we discovered, the water level is too low for the ferry to leave from Parramatta so a bus takes you to Rydalmere to connect with the ferry.

Circular Quay and The Rocks. We just loved this area, spending time over several days just strolling around or sitting watching people while licking a Royal Copenhagen ice-cream. We explored The Rocks area - the beautiful old buildings which include the old warehouses which now house an Aboriginal Art shop and the Ken Done Art Gallery amongst others (there is a great clock-tower atop these warehouses that is still functional), the tri-sculpture representing the first people to arrive in The Rocks, Cadman’s Cottage, and so many old buildings that make up the shopping area.
We wandered to the Opera House and as we had both been inside before, we walked right around this time. Alterations are being made to the outside at present, but we were still able to go in at a lower level to look for the plaques that commemorate the opening of the Sydney Opera House – 39 years ago yesterday, the same day as our son was born!
We ran out of time to go through the Royal Botanic Gardens - next time.

Ferry to Manly. We were a bit late in the day to do more than spend an hour or so over here, but it is a great place to visit. We walked along The Corso to the beach, very populated by families, young teenagers, and the odd older couple. We have collected several brochures with things to do for next time.

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