Sydney January 2017 (Part 2)
We arrived back in Sydney early in the morning of Friday 20th January after a very choppy and windy sailing across the Tasman Sea from New Zealand. After breakfast we disembarked very efficiently and quickly and took a taxi to the Ibis Hotel in King Street Wharf where we stayed before. We were able to check in and take our bags to our room (which was much bigger than last time) on the 4th floor.
The weather forecast said it was going to rain so we decided to go and find out about tours at the Information Centre in Cockle Bay. We booked a coach tour to the Blue Mountains for the following day. Then we walked to the Opera House to find out about performances on whilst we are in Sydney. We booked to go and see La Boheme on Monday evening.
By now it was pouring with rain so we decided to go and see a film at the Dendy Cinema on the Harbour Wharf. We watched ‘Lion’ with Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, a film about Indian boy who was adopted by an Australian couple after getting lost from his own family. It is a true story about him searching for his family having no idea where he cam from; it is a very good film.
When we came out the sun was shining so we walked through the Botanic Gardens and then back to the hotel. In the evening we walked along Darling Harbour, which was very lively, and most of the bars and restaurants were full. We chose a Thai Restaurant in the Harbour Side Centre to have our meal and the food was good but expensive (as it seems all of Sydney’s restaurants are).
On Saturday 21st January we got up at 6am and went to the pick up point for the coach trip. This was only 5 minutes along the road from the hotel but we left in plenty of time. The coach arrived and we were allocated seats and given an envelope with our tickets and itinerary for the day. It was a very comfortable coach, leather seats, air con, toilet etc. and Peter, our driver and guide was very interesting and informative on the journey.
We stopped off for morning coffee in a village called Leura at about 9.30.am before going on to Katoomba, the capital of the region known as the Blue Mountains. We visited Scenic World where we first of all took the cable car across the Jamison Valley followed by a ride down the steepest incline railway in the world down into the valley. We walked through the valley floor on a boardwalk through the trees and then back up again in another cable bar to the restaurant at the top.
We had lunch in the restaurant where we had a reserved table as we had been (randomly) nominated ‘guest of the day’. After lunch we stopped at Echo Point where we had an excellent view of the rock formation known as the ‘Three Sisters’ before visiting the Waradah Aboriginal Centre. Here we had an Aboriginal song, dance and didgeridoo performance.
We then drove back towards Sydney City stopping off at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Here we saw Koala bears, Kangaroos, emus and a large crocodile close up. On the way back we drove round the Olympic Park before boarding a river cruise boat which would take us back to Darling Harbour along the Parramatta River. We arrived back at about 6pm after a long and full day but very enjoyable and worthwhile.
On Sunday 22nd January we started the day with a run through the Botanic Gardens to the Sydney Opera House. We stopped off at The Rocks for a coffee; the area was very lively with the Sunday market stalls in full swing and lots of people milling around. We returned to the hotel for a shower and then went to Circular Quay to catch a ferry to Manly. It was very busy but the ferry holds about a thousand people so it didn’t take too long to board and the journey across the harbour took about 25 minutes. It was a very hot and sunny day and the beach was very crowded. Many people were swimming or surfing in the sea and the lifeguards were being very vigilant as it could be dangerous if anyone got out of control.
We had lunch in a beach side café and then headed back to Sydney City arriving back at the hotel about 6.30.pm
On Monday 23rd January we started the day with a run again, this time we ran through Hyde Park then down to China Town where they were setting up for Chinese New Year and then across to the far side of Darling Harbour before returning to the hotel via Pyrmont Bridge. After showering we set off for Circular Quay again, this time to catch a bus to Bondi Beach. We arrived at about 11.30.am and we walked along the promenade watching the surfers. It was another hot and sunny day and there were lots of people on the beach but it much bigger than Manly so it didn’t appear to be so busy (and it was a Monday too but still school holidays). Mel took some pictures and then we found a café to have a drink and some lunch before heading back to Sydney on the bus. We had worked out how to use the Opal card (like an Oyster Card in London) which is valid on trains and buses and you just have to swipe it when you get on and off.
In the evening we got all dressed up to go to the Opera House to watch La Boheme. It was a very enjoyable experience which we will remember for a long time. We also watched another RC cruise ship sail out of the harbour, one of their biggest ships, the Ovation of the Seas.
Tuesday 24th January was very hot and humid. We decided to visit the Powerhouse Museum and were very glad of the air conditioning inside. It was an interesting museum focusing on Science, transport and technology. Afterwards we walked along George Street and found a Japanese shopping arcade where we had a savoury pancake for lunch. Later in the afternoon it rained heavily but it stopped in the evening and it had cooled the temperature down a little. We went to a Pakistani restaurant for dinner which was just along the road from the hotel; the food was very nice but expensive.
On Wednesday 25th January we departed from Sydney in the morning and caught our flight to Hong Kong.