Sydney, My New Harbour Home ^_^

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August 29th 2010
Published: October 27th 2010
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First Glimpse of the Opera HouseFirst Glimpse of the Opera HouseFirst Glimpse of the Opera House

Circular Quay on 6/8/2010
August 2010 ~ I’ve moved countries again!!! This time I’ve gone down under for a year. Definitely excited to see the Aussie way of life. =D

Friday August 6th ~ After 14 hours across the Pacific in an airplane I’ve arrived in Australia a bit jetlagged. Simon showed me our new apartment and we walked past buildings old and new to Circular Quay. Downtown Sydney is a bit reminiscent of London or maybe even New York with its mix of Victorian artifacts and modern skyscrapers. Circular Quay is located between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and is where one can catch a Ferry to Taronga Zoo. From the water you can get amazing views of the city, when they said Sydney was best viewed from a ferry they weren’t joking. After disembarking the boat we took a skylift over the zoo. Peering into the enclosures from above is a really different way to view a zoo and get an idea of its layout. First section we perused was the Australian animals. Tasmanian Devils, lizards, snakes, crocodiles, kookaburras and other birds, platypuses, kangaroos, koalas (of course) and so much more. I really loved the rock wallabies and kind of want one for a pet. =D The rest of the zoo had lions, tigers and bears oh my! Plus everything else you could want from a world class zoo; elephants, giraffes, big cats, rhinos, monkeys and more. After several hours we boarded a ferry back to the city centre and walked back through downtown to Chinatown for a yummy noodle dinner in one of the food courts there. Not a bad first day in Sydney. ^_^

Saturday August 7th ~ We left home mid morning and walked a whole 4 blocks to the Powerhouse Museum, which is one of the best museums I’ve been to for kids of all ages. It is a museum dedicated mainly to science and technology and all the permanent exhibits are related to this. The temporary exhibits were a bit different, fun and more related to design. One was Remember the 80s, a dedication to 80s pop culture/ history in Australia. The other exhibits were related to fashion and photography. The day we were there they had set up a professional photo shoot in part of the museum so you could watch and learn about the whole process from start to finish. Because the place was so large and mazelike in design we ended up spending almost the entire day inside. We grabbed lunch from the museum café while we were there and after we left we were hungry enough to grab some pies from the little pie shop across the street from the museum before heading our tired feet back home.

Sunday August 8th ~ Back to Circular Quay this morning and we caught the famous ferry to Manly to eat some fish and chips and check out the beach community there. Since it’s winter here and not really warm enough yet to swim we ate our fare and walked along the beach around the coast, then past some more beaches. We kept walking up into the bush and went bush walking for a couple of hours. Sydney city may look like it could be anywhere, but the flora and fauna here are quite unique. I really love the unusual flowering trees and bushes. I never imagined flowers having some of the shapes they sprout into here. The bush walk ended up leading us back to Manly and the Manly Market where interesting cupcakes where discovered and consumed. That evening we met a couple of Simon’s friends at Sidebar back in central Sydney for a pub quiz. The topic was medicine and we almost won, but lost by a question. Win or lose it was lots of fun. =D

Monday August 9th ~ A night at the Opera House attending An Interview with Kevin Smith is a night well spent. Kevin Smith was hilarious (but a little whiney about money). It was a nice end to my day of cleaning and unpacking. Seeing the opera house all lit up at night was quite a treat and we got to see the inside of the building too. The show was in the Concert Hall and I snapped a few covert pictures of the hall and the stairway/hallway outside even though you’re not really allowed to take photos or videos inside.

Wednesday August 11th ~ I spent a day on my own checking out Darling Harbour, an entertainment area near to where I’m staying. Darling is a bit too planned and architecturally not all that, but there are great bars with harbour views, an Imax, an old bridge, an Aquarium, a Museum, etc. The Sydney Aquarium is pretty massive and I liked the Platypuses and the fact that you could walk underwater to see sharks, manta rays, dugongs and other fish. Dugongs are like mantees, but they live off the coast of Australia instead of the coast of Florida and the have a tail with a more v shape than a paddle shape. Overall the aquarium was great fun, but I still feel the aquarium in Osaka is the best I’ve seen. Across the Pyrmont Bridge from the aquarium is the National Maritime Museum. It is one of the free museums in the city so I thought I would check it out. It was alright, they have some really interesting ships docked outside of it and the section with the immigrant history was cool. The rest of the museum I just walked through. Naval history isn’t really for me I guess.

Wednesday August 18th ~ Wandered out to meet Simon and while waiting for him I wanted to look inside Town Hall, but it was closed for a function so I looked inside Gothic Revival St.Andrew’s Cathedral next door instead. Opened in 1868 it’s the oldest cathedral in Australia and the seat of the Anglican Church in New South Wales. For being a famous church right in the middle of downtown Sydney the inside felt more like a well loved local ministry. The original furniture, the well loved antique (but lovingly maintained) embroidery on the bench cushions kind of made me wonder if they really held services there still, I know they do, but it really felt almost a little lost in time. They also had a impressive massive blue organ built into the wall. I imagine you can hear it play outside the thick stone walls.

Friday August 20th ~ Another day of exploration to myself! By now I really should have started work, but as luck would have it I got ill for over a week. My plan for today was to head just east of the Central Business District to Hyde Park and the Australian Museum. Hyde Park is a long narrow park comprised of two rectangular blocks that resembles Central Park in New York a bit. Inside the park there is the Anzac Memorial at one end and the Archibald Fountain at the other. Around the east side there is the Australian Museum and St. Mary’s Cathedral. To the north are the Hyde Park Barracks
The Tasmanian DevilThe Tasmanian DevilThe Tasmanian Devil

He looks a bit like road kill.
Museum, St. James Church, Sydney Hospital and the State Library. The Anzac Memorial is an elegant art deco tribute to those fallen in wartime. It’s an impressive memorial; simple and stunning. I think it’s a beautiful testiment for those who died in service to their nation. The Archibald Fountain, a memorial to French alliance in WWI, is decorated with gaudy Greek Gods and, I suppose, a well known place to meet up with someone. St Mary’s Cathedral is an impressive structure and a really awesome back drop from the park. Someday I’d like to go inside and see what the interior looks like. The Australian Museum was having a school event in the temporary exhibit so I didn’t get to go to that part, but all the permanent exhibits were fascinating enough that I really didn’t mind. There was an exhibit of skeletons of all sorts of different animals, even the human animal. Another exhibit was entirely of rock specimens. One room was full of stuffed birds and dried insect. Of course there was a room dedicated to extinct and endangered Australian mammals. There was even a room for dinosaurs.

Saturday August 21st ~ The Rocks, located to west of Circular Quay, is the oldest section of Sydney. Full of history and old residences converted into modern dining and shopping. Every Saturday and Sunday they have the famous Rocks Market were you can buy overpriced souvenirs or locally made fashion and jewelry that costs an arm or a leg. Away from the markets it gets pretty quiet, even on a Saturday and you can cruise around the old alleyways and roads in relative peace. The Harbour Bridge connects to land in the Rocks and you can access the sidewalk that spans the bridge to North Sydney from here. The old Sydney observatory on the other side of Argyle Cut has a fabulous view from its hilltop location. This was another place that I was surprised to find so peaceful on a weekend. The Observatory is free to enter and look around. Apparently on some nights they still gaze at the skies and if you want to you can make a reservation to stargaze.

Sunday August 22nd ~ The Botanical Gardens, located to the east of Circular Quay, is a perfect spot for a Sunday outing or picnic. There were people here and there along the grass having birthday parties, romantic dates, picnics; people leisurely strolling along the paths; kids running amok all over the place and groups of guys playing sport in the grassy open areas. We took the path along the water that leads to Mrs. Macquarie’s Point where you can get incredible views of the Opera House in front of the Harbour Bridge. Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, a seat fashioned out of rock, is at the top of this point. Mrs. Macquarie was the governor’s wife in the early 1800s when the Botanic Gardens was all part of the governor’s private lands. Parts of the gardens have a bit of a British air, but for the most part the unusual Australian flora and fauna give it its own feel. In part of the park there was an abundance of some sort of white cockatiels with yellow crests on their heads. They were quite friendly, landing on the knees and shoulders of picnickers that fed them. One cheeky bird even landed on a bench and started sneaking into a woman’s purse before getting busted. The Government House in located in the gardens as well, but by the time we got there the last tour had already started so we’ll have to come here again another day. ^_^

Saturday August 28th ~ Up early to explore the Glebe Market. Spent an hour or so browsing the various bric-brac then another hour walking up and down Glebe Point Road window shopping and entering the occasional bookshop. There is a real small community feel to Glebe which is pretty interesting since it sits just minutes away from the heart of downtown Sydney. They call Sydney the City of Villages and the more places I see around here the more that slogan rings true. All the different areas, Glebe, Coogee, Darlinghurst, etc, all have there own personality. That evening Simon headed out to watch football with the boys and I headed out to check out the famous Luna Park with the girls. I took the ferry straight across to the park and met up at the toothy gate with the others. None of us wanted to buy a ride pass for the park since they were super expensive for vintage carnival rides. Luckily it is free to enter the park and walk around. It’s a pretty amazing piece of history, a park preserved from era that Coney Island had its heyday in. Old style rides and games, funhouse mirrors and even the art was little changed. After about an hour of theme park silliness I took the train back into the city and home.

Sunday August 29th ~ Our original plan for today was to get up early and catch the ferry to Manly. In the end we ended up heading out closer to lunchtime than breakfast time. We grabbed some fish and chips and had a picnic near the pier before embarking on the famous 3 hour hike from Manly to the Spit. The first part of the walk was paved and past coast on one side and houses on the other. After a good bit the pavement stopped and the real bush walk began. The path went uphill for a bit and we stopped at the top to enjoy some nice views of the bay and to let Simon recover since he was only just beginning to sober up from his tequila night. LOL. We continued on and made it the bridge at the Spit quite late in the day and by the time we got a bus back into the city centre we were exhausted and hungry, but happy we did the walk.

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