A small plane
Only seats 4, but we managed to get 5 in.
So our time in Blinman is coming to end, our last full day had a very gentle pace to it, although Ian did take us up for ride in his 4 seater plane! That really was quite fun, 3 of us squished into the back, but the view that it gave us was spectacular. Up there you really did get the most wonderful views of the geological features that made up the landscape. Never had I seen the Earth looking so many hues of red before. Truly a beautiful sight. The rest of the day was spent doing mundane tasks like laundry and packing, while HB watched Beauty and the Beast on my laptop.
Before we move onto our next big adventure let me just say, if you ever want to truly experience what life is like in the outback then I highly recommend a trip to somewhere like Blinman to stay on a sheep farm. It really is a different way of life, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute that we spent there (apart from nearly walking into a giant spider’s web). However, as the saying goes “all good things must come to an end”.
3 in the back.
Even in the plane you can't get away from the flies.
The next day was a pretty exciting day for me; they had given me the weekend off! AHHHHH! Not just that but I was being left in Sydney while they went to visit friends. The morning couldn’t go any slower, we had one flight to Adelaide, and then from there it was onto Sydney. Once off the plane it was quick goodbye as I raced to freedom. Thankfully all my luggage was there and so was the driver ready to take me to The Sabel Pier One Hotel located right underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge. By the time I was checked into the hotel it was about 3pm and so the for the first time since starting this adventure I decided to do nothing, knowing full well that nobody was going to be coming into the hotel room. Ah the bliss.
Rather than do separate days I will just write up what I did for the weekend here. After a relaxing evening, and a peaceful sleep I was up and out by 10am. The first thing to do was to have a walk around the water front to see the Opera House. The whole waterfront area
is connected by a pathway, and the Sabel Pier was conveniently located on that path. Armed with my trusty map and having taken the 1st
of many pictures of the Opera House I found George Street and headed up to the shopping area. I had planned at some point in this trip to get my hair cut; it had been about 6 months since the last one, so my hair was in dire need of a trim. About 10 minutes into my walk, what should I stumble across? A hairdresser and they even had space right there and then with a girl named Jess who came from London. Small world eh? Just being able to talk to “normal” people that didn’t include the family I worked for (not that I don’t like talking to them) was such a pleasure, something I actually really missed doing. By the end of the appointment I had about 5 hairdressers all gathered round asking questions about what I was doing. Before I left I asked for their advice about what activities there were around that would be good for taking children to, it was a good thing I asked as well, but that would
be getting ahead of ourselves.
I carried on down George St, looking in a few shops but not finding anything that I really wanted to get. I eventually made it all the way down to the Queen Victoria Building, a high class mall with shops way out of my price range, but it was worth the look. They had some pretty impressive clocks, one had 6 different scenes from English History, the scenes I saw were King Henry VIII with his 6 wives, Queen Elizabeth I knighting Francis Drake and the execution of King Charles I. All accompanied by a fanfare. I did pick up a few things while I was there, a new travel diary and some aboriginal art. That was about it for my Saturday, after a quick bit to eat it was a leisurely walk back to the hotel for a chillax.
Sunday was when all the exciting things happened. I have a friend that lives near to Sydney that I hadn’t seen since 2005 so we had arranged, last minute to meet up at the Opera House as I had a backstage tour booked for some point during the morning.
A view from the hotel
The island in the back is where they filmed Water Rats - an Australian police drama.
It was a rather early start to the day, but the catch up and breakfast with my friend was worth it.
The backstage tour that I booked was called the Essential tour, and not really a backstage tour, more of an informative history lesson about the building. Still interesting though, did you know that it was originally meant to take 3 years and $7million to build (that is Australian Dollars), but did in fact take 16 years to complete going over budget by nearly $97 million! How the actually built the roof is the amazing part, all the sections are part of a circle. The tour took us into a few of the different studios, what really shocked me was the size of the Opera/Ballet Hall. It is tiny! Hard to imagine having a full cast of Swans on there for Swan Lake, I don’t think they would fit. Our tour guide did mention one funny incident that happened, that really does need to be repeated. I think it was an opera that was being performed, can’t quite remember, what ever it was the show required the use of ducklings to walk across the front of the
stage. Ahhh I hear you say, well one of the ducklings decided to get a little close to the edge of the stage and fell off into the lap of brass players, while he was playing. Ever the professional the brass player picked up the probably confused bird and threw it back onto the stage. You will be happy to hear there is now a safety net in place so stop any ducklings or cast from falling onto the musicians. Hehehe, it makes me giggle anyway. The tour finished around 11, so it was back to the hotel for a nap before the afternoon’s adventure.
Over the course of the weekend I had been debating whether or not I should climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, once the family arrived on Monday and chance I had of climbing it disappeared. I finally decided I would climb it; heights don’t bother me and according to the book 1000 ultimate travel experiences number 955 is climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Not only did I decide to climb I decided to do it at sunset, so half my climb would be in the dark. The whole thing takes over 3 hours
Sydney Opera House
1 of many pictures.
to do; I remember asking myself does it really take that long to climb it? The answer; no it doesn’t. The 1st
hour is spent introducing yourself, why you want to climb it and getting all the kit. A few of the people in the group were doing it to get over their fear of heights! Kudos to them, trust me it is high up. Getting kitted up takes forever! You are not allowed to have any lose articles on your person, including hairclips and certainly no cameras. If anything fell while you were at the top of the bridge it could apparently cause injuries to those driving below us. Once dressed and all items secured it was time for a practice climb, because climbing up and down takes a lot of skill. Seriously it does! The final thing to do before we left was get our radios, now it was onto the climb.
Getting up to the arch was relatively quick; we had a few stops on the way so that Graham (our guide) could tell us the interesting history of the bridge. While under construction 16 people fell off, of those 16 people only 1
One of the clocks in the Queen Victoria Building
This one I believe has 33 Australian scenes in it.
survived! He sustained 3 broken ribs and collar bone! The reason he survived was because he was a member of a club that liked to jump of high objects into water, so he knew the correct position to fall in. Sunset was fast approaching by the time we got to the arch, I am glad I paid that little bit extra to do it at sunset, the view and the colours were out of this world. The sky was cloudy, but you could see the golden rays coming over the top of it, with a sky awash with colours. I wish I could have taken a picture, but no cameras allowed. By the time I made it to the top the sunset was pretty much over, by the time I made it to the other side for the journey down, it was dark, still an amazing view of both sides of Sydney. Coming down was a little bit scary, but that was because it was dark and hard to see the stairs (good thing we practised). For those that are curious, you are harnessed to the bridge for the entire climb. Once back in the base camp, time to undress
and pick up the photos that the guide took. Would I say that it merits a mention in the book 1000 ultimate travel experiences? Yes, a most resounding yes. If you can do it; do it, and if you can fork out that little bit extra to climb it at dawn, dusk or evening then do. While climbing it, and even when I was standing at the top I never felt that I was actually that high up, despite being 134metres above the water. It was only once I was on the ground walking under it did I realise how high up I had been.
Well that certainly was a way to finish off my weekend in Sydney by myself; do I wish I had done more? Sure I do now, but at the time, it was a perfect mini break with the right mix of adventure and rest. Let’s see what adventures will happen once reunited with the family.
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