Australia and New Zealand-Ongoing

Dec 31st, 2015, 07:37 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Happy New Year to the Dukeys!

looking forward to the next instalment......
annhig is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 12:32 PM
  #42  
 
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Happy New Year - lovely descriptions. Now now there's no sodium in avocado Dukey!!!
northie is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 01:22 PM
  #43  
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Thursdaysd,

You bring up some very good points which i shall attempt to address here.

I am not sure what getting off (for any number of days/nights) would have done to the price of the train trip but I can say that we could have almost undoubtedly easily afforded it (given the amount of money we have spent on this entire trip) but we did not chose to do that which is instructive in and of itself.

It appears we have basically made this sort of 'mad dash' (if you can call the speed of this train a "dash") across an entire continent. It reminds me of people who come to the US and see both coasts and skip the so-called "flyover zone" in the middle because it doesn't seem very interesting.

I admit to not having done a lot of research about some parts of Australia and some cities, Adelaide included. Perhaps had i done so we would have considered stopping for a couple of days, renting a car to explore, etc.

There ARE areas of the country we purposely decided not to include due to our not totally unlimited time available (sorry, but I will only leave my beloved dog in the care of our trusted pet sitter for so long regardless of how fabulous a place being visited is and please remember there are various issues within our family which I have not, and will not disclose that impact on where and how we travel).

Since we live ON the beach and even though that beach is not the most scenic, at least not as scenic as the one I lived on in Hawaii, we decided to skip the whole "Gold Coast" experience and also the GBR. Darwin I am sure would have been interesting as would the Red Center but we made our choices and are doing our very best to make the most of those in a NON-critical fashion. As polite visitors I think we owe at least that much to the people of this country.

If my journey report is not as detailed as some others I apologize for my apparent poor planning but it is what it is. I 'm just glad we didn't go somewhere in which people are losing their homes to bush fires and the local authorities are complaining about the possible lack of tourist dollars.
Dukey1 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 01:40 PM
  #44  
 
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Thanks - my comment wasn't intended to be critical, but the sleepers on that train would be a stretch for me. When I visited Oz I only saw Sydney (opted for NZ instead) which is one reason I'm considering a return.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 01:41 PM
  #45  
 
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Dukey1, your report is fine so far. No need to apologise.

Happy New Year to you and your husbear. I hope you are out and about enjoying this gorgeous sunny New Years Day.
cathies is online now  
Dec 31st, 2015, 04:28 PM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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We have the same issue when we go to the US, Europe or Asia, Dukey. It takes a while to get there and whilst we want to see as much as we can, time & travel preferences determine how much of that we can achieve on a single trip.

In your case, I think you're wise to skip the Red Centre and FNQ (far North Queensland ) in summer. You may be used to heat, but ours can be jarring in the dry areas of the Centre, and very humid, interspersed with varying degrees of wet in the tropical north.

What did you end up doing last night?
I'm curious to see what you thought of the "bunch of fireworks off a bridge"

It has its fans & detractors at home. Some feel the $7m could be better spent on welfare. Others, myself included, think it's a spectacular entry to the New Year, with a great atmosphere & enjoyed by locals & visitors. As a tourism advertisement for Australia generally & Sydney specifically, in the Northern Hemisphere's winter, I'd be very surprised if it weren't quite cost-effective.

There has been some negative press this morning about one of the quite expensive venues not being up to par.
Friends who were at the Opera House & others watching ( free) from Cremorne all had a great night.

We had a go at you for your initial comments months ago; but, speaking for myself of course, we don't want you to sugar-coat your comments & are as genuinely interested in your impressions as we are in helping you enjoy your time with us in any way we can.

Today is what we describe as a sparkling Sydney summer day. Up here at my house on the northern beaches, there is a lovely ocean breeze & it's nice & cool. On the beach, it's enticingly hot and I had a swim on my way home from my walk earlier on.

It would be a nice day for the Botanic Gardens if you felt like a walk. Or a little ferry trip - Watsons Bay, Kirribilli ( Jeffrey street wharf ) walk back across the bridge to town. Takes me about 15-20 mins.

I can't remember - are you going to the Blue Mountains?
Bokhara2 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 04:32 PM
  #47  
 
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I'm not suggesting Manly today because it's likely to be a zoo, with "every man & both his dogs" flocking over there.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 06:39 AM
  #48  
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On our first full day in Sydney I gather we didn't do nearly enough to satisfy most people but I'll recount it nonetheless.

After having breakfast in the business lounge of the hotel we set out on foot and within a very few minutes found ourselves to the "entrance" of the Circular Quay area of the city.

Workers were already erecting various barriers for the upcoming evening fireworks extravaganza and there were signs posted everywhere on some of the streets about how cars would not be allowed to park and would be towed, etc. t was fairly obvious that the New Years Eve celebration in the city is a very serious one.

The local newspaper which arrived on our hotel room doorknob earier in the morning had a picture of people who had already been literally camping out in a prefereed viewing spot. I looked around at the various hotels and began to realize why establishments like the Park Hyatt and the Shangri La were already sold out for this date a long time ago.

Not a lot of other physical activity going on and we trudged around The Rocks area like a couple of unwilling mountain sheep. I perhaps should have said the city reminds me of San Francisco now that I came to realize that flat, Sydney is definitely not.

We had been advised that there are two fireworks displays, the first one at 9PM is the "family" display and that after it is concluded, "A lot of people will leave and go home."

The question was, did we want to return to the area "No later than seven o'clock" to even get in? We love fireworks but for various reasons I will not reiterate here we decided to watch the whole thing on local TV.

We spent part of the afternoon simply walking the downtown area and looking at, and into some, of the various buildings. The Queen Victoria Building is a visible magnet IMO and we stopped in there and ended up in The Palace "tea room" with its faded elegance ragged upholstery (on some) chairs but otherwise great fare.

We noticed a lot of the city was beginning to shut down in the early afternoon in anticipation of the night's events.

As I said, we ended up watching both the fireworks displays on local television and, as you might imagine, the next morning's paper had at least one letter about the waste of money. It seems apparent that the city wants this display to be the best anywhere and the presence of the giant metal framework otherwise known as a bridge from which to shoot a LOT of fireworks, as well as produce a "waterfall" effect at one point, helps a lot.

The two TV hosts ON ABC television were memorable in their own way as well. The man's haircut was as spectacular as the fireworks in some ways, too.

Yesterday brought more beautiful weather and a very quiet downtown area. We made the short walk over to The Domain area and then into the adjacent Royal Botanic Garden. I thought this latter was absolutely wonderful and we spent more than a little time looking at the various plants and flowerbeds along with some of the huge trees.

A lot of the "specimens" are very familiar to us, although like the aforementioned Agapanthus, we know them under different names. Many of the palm trees we also have at home as well as what we know as "magnolia," "live oak," and "strangler fig" trees.

The whole thing is beautifully laid out with great views of the water and the towering buildings around, too. Plenty of people in attendance and we also spent time on the "choo choo" train with its running commentary which we took from and back to the opera house area.

Learned all about the Macquaries, especially the Mrs., too.

We bypassed the opportunity to go closer to the opera house since we will be there later today for a matinee performance.

I noticed people were taking that tour up to the top of the bridge and wish I had the nerve.

The retail and food area near the opera house was mobbed with people as were the various ferries leaving for other destinations.

I understand we may have rain early in the week but so far the weather has been perfect.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 08:21 AM
  #49  
 
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Glad the weather cooperated with your Sydney visit. It's interesting to gain a little insight into how the city and its residents get ready for the biggest event of the year.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 12:01 PM
  #50  
 
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The ABC TV presentation of the fireworks was appalling! Those buffoons were neither amusing nor entertaining.

This is the 2nd year the ABC has dropped the ball on this & should be out of contention for future screening rights.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 07:02 PM
  #51  
 
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Enjoying a first timer's take on Australia, Dukey. I'd love to get up to see the Sydney fireworks someday.

I'm with you on Vegemite! I've become an expert on spreading it thin on toast and sandwiches, just like an Aussie likes it. But I still don't. Loved the description with the bouillon.

The fish and chip shop next to us has a $6.50 lunch pack with flake (as good as I've had anywhere else) and good size handful of chips. But that's out in the burbs. $10 wouldn't be outrageous in a spot of convenience like inside a train station or a tourist attraction or where it's a pita to source fresh fish.

Can you believe we have a regular Fodorite, Peter from Melbourne, who made that trip across the Nullarbor to Perth alone on his bicycle? I'm just very impressed with that.

Just a unimportant sidenote if you haven't since realized, Woolworths (Woolies to some locals) isn't actually associated with the old FW Woolworths of the US five and dime fame. It's just a large chain of grocery stores and oddly, were mostly still named "Safeway" when I got here. (they also own a number of other businesses, like Big W).
CounterClifton is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 08:08 PM
  #52  
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No, I did not know about the non- five and ten connection and thank you for that clarification. As to biking across the Nullabor...wow!!!

Travel can produce some very memorable moments and this afternoon one of them happened for us as we attended a matinee performance of "The Magic Flute" but first, the venue.

The opera house here certainly has to have become as iconic a structure as the Eiffel Tower (and don't forget, the Parisians hated it when it first went up) and the clock tower in London.

We are told it was inspired by a combination of swans, sails, and seashell and it was wonderful to finaly be inside. The interior presence of reinforced concrete reminded me of the National in London. The Sutherland Theatre is remarkably intimate which certainly makes up for any lack of so-called adornment one finds in houses like the Liceu in Barcelona with its days and days worth of marble and gilt/gold leaf. This IS Sydney, not "old" Europe; the view over the water alone is pretty spectacular, too

This Flute production was reproduced from the origial New York Met undertaking and was first mounted here in January 2012.

This most fanciful of operas has been made even more so by the Julie Taymor puppetry and even though I usually don't particularly like operas sung in English the translation for this production was lots of fun.

Really really great voices and the many small children in the pretty much sold out audience seemed to love it, too.

I once reported here that a production of "Faust" at Covent Garden had several arias which brought tears to my eyes and this prformance brought many many smiles to my face and a lot of catcalls, feet stamping, and bravos at the curtain call.

When I think of Sydney in the future I will undoubtedly remember the certain "magic" of this afternoon.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 10:07 PM
  #53  
 
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And now you know what I'm on about when I say my Opera subscription would be worth it for the vista from the top bar alone.

If you have time & the interest, Joern Utzen's notebooks, original sketches & his notes detailing why he had to vary his design & the book of his submission to win the design competition are at the Mitchell Library.
Go & see the people at the reception desk & ask if you can see them. I promise you, it's worth the effort - if that's something that piques your interest.

If it is, in a completely different tack at the Mitchell Library, you might like to see the Shakespeare Room. It's an exact copy of Cardinal Wolsley's " withdrawing room", except for a detail that you wouldn't notice unless they tell you.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 10:17 PM
  #54  
 
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Here's a link to Safeways which was taken over by Woolworths some years ago. Woolworths ("Woollies") has been operating in NSW & other States since Adam was in nappies.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworths_Supermarkets
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2016, 09:04 AM
  #55  
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I have this funny feeling tht all those people who shop at those storesmust have rushed down to the Circular Quy area yesterday because it was again very very busy when we walked through to and from the opera house. The restaurants were busy and the ferry ticket area was prticularly full of folks buying tickets, etc.

I am wondring what it will be like when we go there today.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2016, 09:13 AM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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who can tell, Dukey? last Saturday when I drove past one of the few american style shopping malls that we have here the queue to get in was enormous. Today, when I had to go to pick something up from one of the shops there, there was no queue at all.

hope that you have another lovely day wherever the crowds choose to go.
annhig is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2016, 10:59 AM
  #57  
 
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Hoping that the crowds dissipate for you. Have you had a chance to go out on the water yet?
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2016, 11:39 AM
  #58  
 
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You're right in the prime tourist area, at Circular Quay & The Rocks, at the height of our holiday period, so that area is generally going to be busy.

Hop on a ferry to Watsons Bay, Fort Dennison, Cockatoo Island ...
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2016, 12:10 PM
  #59  
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I think today is the day we need to take one of those ferries somewhere despite the possibilities of rain today (and again tomorrow) so am looking at my list of recommended things (by folks here) to do and will decide shortly with umbrellas at the ready.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2016, 12:18 PM
  #60  
 
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Try to go this morning before the weather changes. This time last year I took a Morning Tea cruise (about $50 pp from memory). It was excellent, it departed from circular quay at about 10am. It lasted for a couple of hours, and took in quite a decent chunk of the harbour. Otherwise you could jump onto a Manly ferry, spend a few hours there and then catch one back.
cathies is online now  

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