Sydney January 2017 (Part 1)
We left home on Tuesday 3rd January and drove to Manchester airport to catch our Emirates flight to Dubai at 20:35. The flight was excellent; the food was very good and the comfort and in flight entertainment first class (but we were economy class!). We managed to get some sleep during the nine-hour flight arriving in Dubai at about 8am local time (four hours ahead of the UK). We quickly transferred to our connecting flight with Quantas to Sydney, which left about one and a half hours later. We stayed awake for a few hours but eventually we slept which was good because we arrived in Sydney about 7am (local time) so this helped to step into the new time zone (now 11 hours ahead of the UK).
It was raining when we arrived which was a surprise but at least it wasn’t cold. We caught the airport train to Wynyard Station, a journey of about 20 minutes and then we had to walk to the Ibis Hotel King Street Wharf. It was a bit of a challenge because our map wasn’t very detailed but we eventually found it and checked in. They gave us our room, which was really good as it meant we could change and have a shower and then go out and explore Sydney.
The hotel is two minutes walk away from Darling Harbour so we walked there and had a look around, stopping to buy an umbrella and then have a coffee and pastry. It was still raining quite heavily so we headed for the indoor Paddy’s Market where there were a lot of stalls selling souvenirs and local products. Mel bought some new sandals, which he needed, and then we continued our walking tour towards Sydney harbour. Mel took lots of pictures along the way and even more at the harbour of the iconic Opera house and the harbour bridge. The rain had stopped by now but it was fairly cloudy and a bit dull but we still enjoyed seeing the sights. We stopped for a late lunch snack in The Rocks area (one of the oldest settlements in Sydney) and then headed back to the hotel.
We were quite tired by now so we had a rest, which turned into a sleep and we didn’t manage to properly wake up until the next morning! We had an awake period in the middle of the night but we both went back to sleep waking about 7am to another wet morning. We didn’t rush out as the hotel had given us a late check out time. After getting ready and repacking our cases we left the hotel and went for breakfast in Darling Harbour.
We walked via a different route back to Sydney Harbour and booked onto a guided tour of the Opera House at 12.15 pm. Sue, our guide who gave us a very interesting and informative tour of the Opera House. We were very pleased we had taken part in this as it gave us the opportunity to see inside the amazing building and hear about the history of its construction.
We walked back to the hotel and then got a taxi to the Overseas Passenger Terminal to check in for the cruise aboard the Radiance of the Seas. We had already seen the ship docked in the harbour so we knew where to go and the checking in and boarding process was very quick and efficient. We found our cabin and met our Cabin Steward, Hadi but our suitcases hadn’t arrived yet so we had a wander round the ship trying to get our bearings. Our cabin was the last one at the front of the ship on deck 3 with a sea view, a comfortable looking king size bed, seating area and shower room – everything we would need for two weeks on board.
At 5pm all passengers had to go to a safety briefing in the main theatre and then we went back to the cabin to find the suitcases had arrived so we unpacked and hung up some of our clothes. We had booked a table in the dining room for 7.45.pm so we went along to dinner which was OK but not too much choice and the food was obviously served up and kept warm so came out a bit dry. We were very tired by now so we went back to our room and went to bed (which was very comfortable).