Home > Australia > Sydney – why is it not the capital?

Sydney – why is it not the capital?

After missing the fireworks, we were determined to make the most of Sydney, and just in the first afternoon we despatched the botanical gardens (after finding the oldest bridge in Australia, a whole 4 feet long!), the Opera House and the ferry to Manly. Only mistake – it was a bank holiday Monday and Manly was mental, with the beaches, streets, cafes and ferry all rammed.

 

 

first stop - see the bridge and the opera house

second stop - Manly Beach on Bank holiday Monday - mad!

The action started on the ferry, half way across harbour the ferry suddenly heeled over turning sharply to the right, a few seconds later we heard scratching and banging as a mast came clattering past us – the ferry had taken out a yacht, the funny thing was, the revs never dropped and  just kept going – no doubt who has right of way on this busy stretch of water. Luckily the yacht did not sink, but we could see the captain heading for the drinks cabinet.

The return journey in the evening was far more sedate, like a scene out of a Hollywood movie coming into the harbour on the bow of the boat with the lights twinkling on the bridge and Opera House – it was really quite nice.

claterred yacht a bit worse for wear

opera house all lit up on the return journey

Other things on the tourists list: – we obviously had to cross the bridge – pretty spectacular (so spectacular we almost missed the taxi to the airport!);  and get the views from the Skytower (fab Christmas present from sister) to get a sense of perspective before really exploring the less obvious treats the city had to offer.

The Anzac Memorial was probably our biggest pleasant surprise, located just outside the window of our hotel, it offers a powerful thought provoking tribute to the men who lost their lives through war – we were to visit another Anzac Memorial near the Burmese border in Thailand a week later, so it was an education for us all.

Anzac and the walk through Hyde Park

site of the original gaol

opera house and the Louis Vuitton koala

The Botanical Gardens were much more light hearted – we joined up with the family we met in Port Stephens for an evening picnic, watching the cruise liners come and go, goading the cockatoo and being spooked by the large fruit bats circling overhead like vultures. We enjoyed it so much, that we didn’t notice the park slowly emptying – a sure sign that the gates were about to lock. An hour later we were at the park gates laughing at the sign that said the park was locking at 8pm. We called the ranger who, with rather more good humour than we deserved, opened up the gates and let us off on our merry way.

new meaning to "having a lock-in"

late night sightseeing

My final highlight (the others tolerated me but must have been bored), was a whole exhibition in the Mitchell Library dedicated to Antarctic mapping – heaven.

We often compared Sydney to Brisbane, a tough comparison, and whilst Sydney does have the big draws of the Opera House, bridge, beaches, and a host of historical buildings, great swathes of downtown are a bit dated (with plenty of homeless too) – making it a bit of an ill-fitting middle aged man next to the young slick cosmopolitan buck of Brisbane.

 

So with this blog we say goodbye to Oz. We can certainly see why people love to live here, it is a place full of opportunity for plenty of R&R, sports, beaches and hiking – maybe a bit of a loafers paradise too? People talk of quality of life here; to some degree they have a point, but I think it is actually more about the quality of the downtime – which is just brilliant. As a wholesome place to live – I‘m not so sure.

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Categories: Australia Tags: , , ,
  1. Martin Perryman
    January 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Alan – not sure where your Australian travels are taking you but Peter Robinson leaves us on Friday to start a new life with his family in Perth – working in our T&T office there.

    I’ve given him the link to your blog just in case you happen to be heading in that direction

    If you want to contact him its peter.robinson@turntown.co.uk

    I follow you every now and then on this – very jealous (but then sometimes I’m not – hotels/transport etc… in Chile springs to mind!!).

    Hope you are all well and enjoy the rest of your journey

    Martin

  2. Martin Perryman
    January 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    ha ha – i’ve now read your sydney blog and realise you are leaving oz!

    but that made me remember that Nick Heald has relocated to our tokyo office – he spends time there, vietnam, shanghai, hong kong, singapore, south korea to name a few – I’ve also sent the link for your blog to him as well…………..

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