Things I Have Learned In Sydney, Australia
“But when the sun comes out in Sydney, it bats its eyelids, it’s glamorous, beautiful, attractive, smart, and it’s very hard to get away from its magnetic pull.” Baz Luhrmann
Sidney is located in the Australian state of New South Wales.
Sydney is the largest city in Australia with over 4,000,000 people. Canberra which is the capital city has 300,000.
I am a threat in the Sydney airport. I have been checked for explosives, found to be carrying unidentified metal in my plastic peak flow meter, patted down for weapons, pulled aside for a search and set off the walk through security with my bracelets – in the five times I was there.
The Sydney Opera House and the story of its magnificent design deserves its own blog.
Bondi beach has the cutest lifeguards.
Australians may not have invented surfing but when you see the long rolling waves on Bondi Beach, you know this is the place to surf. (This is coming from someone who lives in California )
The traveling rock-music festival, “Big Day Out”, originated in Sydney. Grouplove is playing Big Day Out in Sydney on January 26 and 27. Check dates for other cities in Australia and New Zealand.
The most famous legal art mural in Bondi Beach is one that is in memory of Chloe, a Bondi girl who was killed in the Bali bombings of 2002.
You have to take a breathalyzer test before climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. (bridge climb – photo Sean Dirks)
It is touristy but definitely something I want to do. (some day) You have to be reasonably fit, have no issues with height and a few hundred dollars to pay for it. Facing your fear of heights does not come cheaply.
It is also the sixth longest spanning arch bridge in the world, and it is the tallest steel arch bridge. It was also the world’s widest long-span bridge, until construction of the new Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver. (under the bridge -photo Sean Dirks)
The Rocks is the oldest area in Australia. It was the first European settlement – mostly military and convicts. It is filled with historical buildings museums and stories. Take a tour or get a map and explore by yourself. The Rocks Museum a good place to start. There are cool restaurants, bars and shops. It is a little touristy now but the history is everywhere. They have a great weekend market also.
Taronga Zoo is on some prime coastal real estate. You take one of those vintage ferries from Circular Quay ( check the schedule) and then ride a lift up to the entrance. Remember to get your ticket for all of that and your zoo entrance before you embark. You can also go by car or bus. So what if it was a hot afternoon and the animals were sleeping. Sleeping kangaroos are better than no kangaroos.
Jordy gives a great Koala feeding demonstration if you happen to get there during feeding time. (Probably a good idea since that is the only time they move.) Koalas live on Eucalyptus leaves (called and spelled Eucalyp In Australia) which doesn’t give them enough energy to stay awake more than four hours a day. (They tell the tourists they are drunk but that is not true.)
One of the best museums in Sydney is the Art Gallery Of New South Wales. It is located in the beautiful parklands (That is how Australians refer to parks. It makes it sound further away then ten minutes of walking). The museum is five levels down – a lot bigger than that neo classical building looks. There are huge modern gallery installations. The Modern Australian Art and Aboriginal Art galleries are worth seeing.
If you are walking to the gallery from Circular Quay, you will pass The State Library of New South Wales. It is located on Macquarie St. (One of the many main streets in Australia names Macquarie, after the colonial Governor of New South Wales.). It is the oldest library in Australia and was built in 1826. When I was there they had a great fashion photography exhibit, but if you are walking by, just pop in and see the grand splendor of the building.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is located on Circular Quay . The back entrance lets you out in The Rocks Area. It is a new beautiful building. There is a wonderful exhibit called String – modern interpretations of Aboriginal string games. It is a small museum, free and easy to find. Even if you aren’t a fan of contemporary art, walk in, while you are waiting for the ferry, exploring the rocks or having a drink on the Quay.
Rugby league is the most popular sport in Sydney. The NRL which began in Sydney in 1908 is the largest and most prestigious domestic rugby league competition in the Southern Hemisphere.
October is Food Month in Sydney and that means Noodle Market in Hyde Park. There are 47 stalls from Sydney’s Asian restaurants, art, music and entertainment.
A great place to stay in Sydney is the Hughenden Hotel (http://thehughenden.com.au). It was a family residence built in the 1870’s which renowned children’s author Susanne Gervay and family has turned into a boutique hotel. It feels more like a home away from home than a hotel. Each room is different and breakfast is included. The hotel is filled with art, memorabilia, and illustrations from famous authors. Their new restaurant, Vincent is already one of the trendy hard to get into places in Sydney for dinner. Make reservations.
The hotel is located in the affluent Paddington/Woolahra area which is ten minutes away from downtown Sydney. Paddington is filled with heritage Victorian houses, trendy stores, antique stores, pubs, cafes and has a wonderful market on Sundays.
It is across the street from the Centennial Parklands , a beautiful park filled with local residents horses swans and cockatoos.
One of the two statues of Charles Dickens in the world is found in Centennial Parklands in Sydney. The other is in Philadelphia. He wanted to be remembered by his words only.
Sydney has the deepest natural harbor in the world.
The view of Sydney Harbor with the bridge on one side, the opera house on the other and the ferries in between will become one of my great travel memories. I plan to come back but if not, it will last a lifetime. Good memories are like that. (sitting at the Opera House cafe overlooking the harbor – a last coffee before I go – long black with a side of milk)