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Published: October 30th 2018
View from the bottom of our road
I had forgotten about TimTams until I saw them in the supermarket ...for those of you who have never been here they are a bit like Penguin biscuits at Home. Anzac biscuits , homemade of course are the best , but I wasn’t up to a baking session so it’s been TimTam time with a cuppa every day when we’ve got back to base after a day‘s Walkabout.
I was lucky enough to be offered Sue and Joe‘s apartment in McMahons Point and what a great location...a few minutes walk down the hill and round the corner there is the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House behind. Having been here for a month last time in 2010 things feel familiar and I have a map in my head and so am happy to potter about on the ferries and busses with my OPAL card.
Much excitement came on Monday when the driver of my special platinum tour arrived with his assistant.... it was Dancing Dave and Denise , fellow travel bloggers, who had kindly arranged to take me out and about that day. We have corresponded and followed each other’s blogs for some years so it was
great to meet up and spend that time together. First we explored Wendys Secret Garden not far from here ... Wendy was grief stricken after her husband , the artist Bret Whitely , died and she threw her energy into making a most beautiful garden by the side of the harbour for everyone to enjoy. We slowly meandered along paths, Dave giving me instructions where to stand and walk as he turned this into a photo shoot ! Denise and I sat and chatted and swapped travel stories . Then off again we drove to Bradley Head and walked through the bush seeing several water dragons ( a small reptile) on the way and admiring the scenic coves and as always the magnificent trees. After stopping for a delicious lunch in Chowder Bay , previously a submariners base where mines were laid in the harbour to deter any enemy ships , Dave tackled the heavy North Sydney suburbs traffic to show me the Northern Beaches finally stopping at Palm Beach where we were almost the only people there. We slipped off our shoes and walked along Barrenjoey Beach towards the imposing sandstone lighthouse built on the headland, which is the
most northerly point of Sydney. We watched a fisherman bringing in his catch then took a path through the dunes across the isthmus to watch the the sun set. And to finish off the day what better than a fish n chips supper in the inn at Newport ....Dave returning me safely to my Sydney home it had been a wonderful special day and many thanks to you both for the “Platinum Tour Of North Sydney ”.
What a way to start the week and there was lots more to come .... a ferry to Rose Bay and meeting up with Angela -we then spent an afternoon on the beach at Neilson Park complete with shark net , however I wasn’t tempted , water is still too cold for me to get my swimmers on ! Then Jenny arrived after her long long flight from England but after a good nights rest she was raring to go and we it was a ferry to Watsons Bay and a beautiful walk to the Southern Heads of the Harbour entrance ... then to Bondi Beach and walk the annual Sculptures by the Sea to Tamarama Beach. We then had to figure
out how to get get back “ home “ but there are busses everywhere and ferries and that enables you to see a lot more of the city as you travel those routes . Jenny only has had 3 days to explore and while I am still in bed she is up early every morning and out exploring neighbourhood and has even walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and back while I am drinking my morning cuppa! ( She’s used to getting up every day early and walking her dog )
My phone says we walked 16 km one day and 13 km the next ....my knees feel like it ! There’s a new development on the Harbour -Barangaroo, it’s not quite finished but lots of money has been spent on beautiful parkland , native bush plants , walkways with beautiful sandstone blocks delineating the paths and coves . More wandering then through the streets admiring old houses with their metalwork balconies , down to the ferry terminal at Circular Quay , up the steps to the Botanic Gardens , more wandering there and to the Art Gallery to peruse the Aboriginal and Australian art. Back on the ferry
it was time for a quick cuppa and out again on the ferry to the Opera House for a cabaret performance of the Tap Pack ...5 guys who were amazing tap dancers and fused their dancing with music from the RatPack era. Wonderful - such a joy to see the fun, energy and the slick performance. A nighttime ferry home again gave us the opportunity to see the city lights .
On Saturday morning at The Rocks there is a market ...more wandering ...more steps more ferries ....this was the area first settled with convicts and then tradera and merchants and there is the Discovery Museum which gives you a feel for the history of the place , including the fact that there was a bubonic plague in the late 1800s.
BIt of history now : After James Cook arrived on the East Coast fo Australia in 1770 the British thought it was a good idea to colonise this place ( well also to stop the French doing it ) so in 1780 a fleet of 11ships arrived with over 1,500 men women and children .first they arrived in Botany Bay then in Port Jackson, Sydney Harbour. Governor
Arthur Philip was ordered to establish a “settlement “ for convicts and “conciliate the affections “of the people he would disposess ... in other words the clan of aboriginal people who had lived there for tens of thousands of years . The indigenous population was decreased by about a half in the next decade as disease spread . Dispossession soon followed when in 1794 ex-convict Samuel Lightfoot was granted land in Kirribilli . Some convicts got free pardons and became successful citizens like Greenway the architect of many Sydney buildings , but many were treated very harshly , I read about one who was repeatedly beaten starved and punished till finally he was chained to a rock for 2 years . We admire their labours today as we look at the sandstone architecture.
A further highlight of the week was meeting 4 lovely women who had been on our Vietnam tour last year ...back to the Opera House Bar again for lunch and lots of reminiscing. We still had a few more hours in the day so up the stone steps again into the Botanic Gardens again ( we are getting quite familiar with this place ) past the
Art Gallery again and into Hyde Park ( Sydney) and on to see the War Memorial. Why were we the only ones not wearing dirndl skirts and white embroidered frilly tops and why were all the blokes we saw wearing lederhosen ... it’s not what you expect from Aussies ! But then we realised it was the Oktoberfest and if you were dressed up I think you got a discount to get in to the event ...it was fun to see all these young folk dressed up . We weren’t too far from Darling Harbour now so what’s a few more kilometres walkabout with time to explore there and wander the peaceful pathways and pavilions of the Chinese Friendship Garden ...if you come to Sydney don’t miss it .
Badu Gili ... Disappointment on our last night as we had read about how the Opera House has a laser light display featuring aboriginal art on the sails at sunset and 9pm every night so off we went again down the hill and sat on a bench for half an hour while nothing happened ...we had failed to read the small print which said that the best place to view
this was from the monumental steps at the front of the Opera House ...we had been looking at the side view. If you cannot get to Sydney to see this then google it and you will see what we missed !
So my week and Jenny’s three days were over and we had packed in as much as we possibly could and the TimTams were all gone so it was time to move on ...New Zealand awaits .
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