Thursday, June 21, 2007

Australia Report #3: Sydney

We just got back from three days in Sydney. Mum and Dad treated us to a little mini-vacation (without the joeys!) and bought us two nights at a posh Sydney hotel in Darling Harbour. Sydney is just a one-hour flight from Melbourne, and we flew Jetstar there, which is QANTAS' low-cost carrier operating here in Australia.

We took in the major sites, visiting the Sydney Opera House and taking a tour of the concert halls there. We also checked out the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the lovely promenade along Circular Quay, with all its fine restaurants and cafes.

When we travel, though, we like to look at how the locals live. So, we explored Sydney, mostly by foot and monorail, from one end to the other. All along the coastline there are the most fantastic walking trails, winding their way along the shoreline and interspersed with rows of shops, cafes and parklands. Within the city itself, we enjoyed the maze-like streets and high-end stores (Rolex, Louis Vitton) as well as the back alleys.

Interestingly, when we walked down to the Aussie Navy Base within Sydney itself, we came across an old (circa 1890s????) sailboat known as the "Esmeralda". This vessel was apparently a prison ship used by the Pinochet Government, and protests surrounding the ship's visit are scheduled for this Saturday. Nothing like a bit of intrigue to make things interesting!

Next to the base, we came across Harry's Cafe de Wheels! This world-famous little vendor makes lovely Aussie meat pies but smothers them with mashed potatoes, mushy peas and beef gravy (see pic to the left!). Fantastic to eat on a cold winter's day and we wolfed ours down in no time!

We also spent some time in the China Town area. It's full of Chinese restaurants, toy stores, herbal remedy outlets and bakeries. We got a great banquet meal at one restaurant and noshed on some "Emporer's Puff" donut-type desserts as we walked around the area.

Overall, we were impressed with city of Sydney. Massively multicultural and modern, it had a very distinct character. You could literally spend days just walking around the city itself, exploring all of the stores and sites it has to offer.

Back in Melbourne now. We are celebrating my son's birthday tomorrow, then probably off to Phillip Island on Sunday!


imjeffp said...

Sounds like you're having a great trip! I'm jealous of your skies.

Phil said...

Don't be too jealous - clouds have set in every night but one so far. Maybe tonight will be better! I want at least one more look at Omega Centauri.