Published: September 6th 2010August 31st 2010
Photo of me across the circular quay. First day in Sydney.
Sydney wasn't my favorite town. Compared to Canberra, with it's free cultural and historical centers, Sydney didn't have much to offer. Sure, if I had $30 to blow on two hours of entertainment, Sydney could have been a ball. But since I was trying to travel on somewhat of a budget, I was a bit dismayed by how expensive everything was.
I spent four days in Sydney, which I would have gladly shaved down to three. The first day I meandered down to the circular quay, which is where all the ferries come into port. It's essentially the transportation center of Sydney, and I made the mistake of living across the Sydney Harbor in Kirribilli. Although my location was physically located directly between my two farthest destinations, the capital theater and the Taronga zoo, I actually had to travel to the circular quay (a 35 min walk) to get anywhere by ferry.
Sydney does have it's good points though - a few good sites, and some good food. The opera house, harbor bridge, and the botanic gardens are worth a couple days of exploring. The "garden" is more like a public park with labels than an actual botanic garden,
I'm sitting against a parasitic tree which strangles out the original tree. It grows very large and shoots out huge roots and abundant shade. I took this with a time elasped shutter.
but the spring flowers were starting to bloom and it wasn't too warm to spend the day walking outside. Since I was on my own, I had the opportunity to experiment with some time elapsed shutter photography.
Another excellent thing about Sydney was the food. Eating out is about the same price in Sydney as other cities I've been too, but all the food I had was delicious. There was even a Guylian Belgian chocolate cafe that wasn't too bad for being a specialty shop. On my last evening in town, I met up with a fellow Fulbright scholar and her friends at the famous Loewenbraeu Keller pub. This traditional Bavarian style pub was nothing short of fantastic. I enjoyed some delicious wurst on mash, several tall glasses of "Dark" bier, and traditionally clad men and women as servers. I particularly enjoyed the bier, since most Australian beers are light and I had started to miss my dark ales and stouts.
Ironically, the three most iconic places in Sydney, the Sydney harbor bridge, the opera house, and the Sydney tower can be viewed by the mountain goats from their enclosure at the Taronga zoo. In fact, the Taronga
View of the gardens near the governors historic house inside the botanic gardens.
zoo has some of the best views of Sydney harbor - it's certainly prime real estate.
Overall, the zoo was amazing - it's the only zoo I've been to where you can actually enter into some habitats. There were a few bird enclosures, as well as a "wild Australia" exhibit, that you can walk into and be among the animals. I got some close views of Kangaroos, wallabies, and various tropical birds. It was amazing. Unlike other events, I feel the high cost of admission was justified. This zoo does a lot of conservation work and well as general education.
I also splurged on a Broadway show. Wicked
was in town and closing by the end of September, so I got a great seat at a very reasonable price. The show was amazing and the orchestra pit was top class. The singing, acting, and dancing certainly ranks with the show I watched in New York. I highly recommend Wicked
if you haven't watched it yet and are into musicals.
There are more photos below