Arriving into Sydney we were obviously excited and we were fortunate that my brothers mate Martin and his wife Kelly had offered to put us up whilst we stayed. Like most desirable cities, the accommodation skyrockets and so it was a real bonus to friends to stay with and so nice of them to offer. Martin was able to fly by the airport and pick us up, what a gent! We had planned to stay one night and then grab a hire car to drive to Port Stephens to do the Dolphin experience. Having finished that we would then head back to Martin and Kelly's to stay over a couple more nights and leave on the Monday. Arriving on the Thursday evening meant it was dinner at home and a good catch up, there was wine involved!. Kelly had made some pizzas which were scrumptious. 'Top Tip', cook the pumpkin first with garlic before adding onto the pizza to cook! Delicious!
The next day we had the morning free to go and check out the iconic Sydney Harbour! The station was only 15 min walk from Martin and Kelly's so we hopped on a train which took us straight to Circular Quay.
The double decker trains caught our attention straight away as it pulled into the station.
Pulling into Circular Quay we were met with the WOW factor as a huge cruise liner was parked up in the bay next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was huge! And as we walked out to see the full view of the bridge and the opera house it really struck me how iconic this area was! I could see why people love it so much.
Walking around we decided to go towards the Opera House, there was a bar situated on huge harbours edge and so we decided to walk around for a bit and end up there. Not sure what the what socks, vests and pants were about but it was quirky which we liked.
The Opera house and the Bridge together really catch your eye and there are photo opportunities at every point. We of course obliged.
It was cool with our camera zoom to be able to see the people climbing the harbour bridge up close as we had booked on to do this during our stay.
Walking round the opera house, Sarah had a go at Opera busking...
After taking in the awe of the harbour we headed on foot to see other parts of the city, which is the best way to get a feel for a place. My first impressions of the CBD area were good we walked up past the botanical gardens towards Hyde Park. (So many names familiar to UK have been used it started to feel like home). On our way through we passed this Wild Boar statue which is supposed to represent the friendship between Italy and Australia as it came from Florence. It is supposed to be good luck too rub its nose. Donations that people give go to the hospital that it sits outside of.
Walking towards Hyde Park we were lucky that Sydney Festival had begun that weekend and so there was a pop up village for people to walk around even fit with an inflatable Stonehenge! Why? I'm not sure, I guess why not! ... As it was the weekend the queue was long with families so we couldn't have a go...:-(
Making our way through the village we headed to a cafe for lunch and waited for a short while to walk to our hire car depot.......
The previous blog tells of our dolphin adventure...
And now I will start where Sarah left off .....
Getting back in the afternoon to Martin and Kelly's we had had so much excitement it felt like that should be the end of the day. Fortunately we had time to go into the city again with Martin and Kelly as they had thought it would be a cool idea to check out Cockatoo Island.
Sadly, upon arriving at Darling harbour there were a clamity of a errors with the staff saying the boat was full, then ushering people on to another one we could of caught without telling us. Then being handed 'priority tickets' for the next ride and when it arrived the floods of people went ahead of us because the staff hadn't informed the Boatmen so there was no space for us, the boarding passes meant nothing! Muppets! It wasn't meant to be....
Instead we caught the ferry back round to Circular Quay to enjoy the views from the river of the harbour, they took us to Martins favourite pub, which was like you typically English set up, full of character and good times. We chatted away about travels and suchlike which was great, it nice to hear what other people have done as it gives you inspiration for the next time.
We parted ways in early evening as Sarah and I had been treated to a classy meal at Peter Doyle's Restaurant, provided by Peter Doyle! Not the owner of course but Sarah's dad. Another gent!
What would normally be a stretch for Sarah and I was made possible by Peters generosity, which we are both very thankful for. Cheers mate! :-) x
What was even more of a treat was that we managed to bag a superb view of the Opera House as the sun went down. The seafood feast was indulgent and so bad but good, as was the wine. Sarah can vouch for that I think?
It was a fun night.
The next day we had our Sydney Harbour bridge climb and so a lazy morning nursing the indulgence we headed back into town in the afternoon. The climb experience is a definite must having done it. You are not able to take your own camera for safety of the drivers that pass under you as you climb the bridge and so we don't have many photos taken accept these money shots!
Our guide Tom was really informative about Sydney, the Bridge and the people who made it. Some of the stories of the workers was incredible. The best one was of a gentlemen who had fallen 50m from the bridge into the water and was certain to have died if not for his quick reactions to turn in the air so was feet first before hitting the water! Amazingly he survived with just a couple of broken ribs but when he was found later having been picked up by a passing boat his feet had gone through his shoes from the impact! He was back at work again within 2 weeks!
The bridge is an impressive feat of engineering and what I didn't know was that it is made of all straight metal parts, not one bend was used to create the arch.
The 4 hour experience had been well worth it! We were pretty tired after it and I wasn't feeling too well so we headed home.
Next day it was our flight out to New Zealand so we decided to do the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi beaches. To be honest this walk did make me think 'it would have been cool to live here'. Every turn there was a picture moment and the bays between the beaches had perfect spots to chill. The walk as well is challenging but easy too and many people would be jogging past us on their morning run.
As we reached Bondi we got to see the iconic beach that many impressions of Australia are based on. I was impressed but I had seen plenty of other beaches in Australia that would compete.
One of the cool extras was this pool which sits on the edge of the rocks full with sea water, an awesome place to do your laps. Apparently, during storms a whale was washed up into it!
After a well deserved coffee break we found a bit of food and chilled on the grass taking in the surrounds. We had to call it a day to head back to Martin's to get bags before heading to the airport.
A big thanks has to go Martin and Kelly for giving us a bed and showing us around. You guys are awesome!
Australia has been good to us and we were sad to say goodbye. We've made long life friends here and I hope we can all meet up someday in the future for some more shenanigans!
Stay tuned for more tales.