West to East across Australia
25.11.2012 - 30.11.2012 30 °C
Sunday 25th November found us at Perth airport for a 9am flight to Sydney. Again, it was easy to check in and get through security, although there was a bit more to see in the airport itself this time- we browsed the bookshop and sat down for a coffee while we waited for our flight to be called. I’d managed to strain my back the previous day getting off the bus (I have no idea how), so James threw himself into an enthusiastic demonstration of how to stand up which ended up with the lady behind him being belted with a stray elbow- I’m not sure why standing up involves arms flailing, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t either, but at least she found it funny.
The flight went pretty quickly in spite of the turbulence- we flew through the storm system that had passed over Perth the previous night. Four hours later we found ourselves at Sydney domestic airport which is huge! It was 4.30pm by then, so we were a bit thrown by missing 3 hours of our day. James’ uncle kindly picked us up from the airport, and we got to experience Sydney traffic! It was a half hour trip out to Liverpool where they live. I hadn’t realised how huge Sydney and the surrounding suburbs are- it seems to take as long to get into Sydney from Liverpool on public transport as it took to get from Oxford to central London!
We had a couple of relaxed days lazing around the house, doing laundry and going into Liverpool- it was humid, rainy weather which was perfect for a couple of days of reading and shopping. On Wednesday we headed into Sydney for a couple of nights, staying the first night at a hotel in Woolloomooloo, right next to the main park. We caught the train from Liverpool, and then were able to walk to the hotel. From the hotel we went straight out to walk along Finger Wharf, stopping for lunch at a café opposite the Art Gallery and followed by a wander into the Botanical Gardens. The Botanical Gardens are beautiful although not very big- but the cockatoos flying around made up for that! I also saw my first orb spider- actually really interesting, rather than scary, although I’m glad not to have walked into it! Dad and Ann will be pleased to know that there are ‘Friends of the Gardens’- they do indeed get everywhere!
From the Botanical Gardens we walked on through the park, where I got my first view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge- I was quite excited, and think I might have taken a few too many photos! It was quite an overcast day which meant it was quite cool and ideal for walking, so we headed round the quay to have a closer look at the Opera House. It’s covered in over a million tiles, and really is spectacular to look at. We went into the reception area to have a look around and see what was on, and get a close up view of the inside. After a break sitting down at the quayside to write some postcards, we headed on around Circular quay to an area called The Rocks- a really lively area of Sydney filled with lots of winding passages and restaurants. From there we headed out to Chinatown to find dinner, before making our way back to the hotel.
We started Thursday with a bracing walk- 268m above Sydney! We had headed up the Sydney Tower for a guided walk around the outside of it on a platform which gave us spectacular views all around the area. We were strapped onto a rail, which helped us to feel a bit more secure, particularly when we headed out onto the glass walkway which we could see straight through…and had to jump up and down on for photos. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but thoroughly worth it- I’d do it again given the chance. After that we moved on to Sydney’s Madame Tussauds- my first experience of one, and absolutely brilliant fun! We took some fantastic photos, and enjoyed being very touristy. We caught the tram back to the hotel, and then headed to the ferry over to Manly, which is north of Sydney. The ferry ride was one of my favourite things on the trip so far- the sun was out so I got some better photos of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and it was great to see the sights from a distance. Manly itself is a lovely place- family friendly but also very vibrant, and popular with surfers. We waited to meet Dean at a bar at the wharf, which gave us some great views of the ferries and sailing ships heading in and out. Dean and Donna live in an apartment on the beachfront, with a balcony which looks out over the beach and ocean- absolutely perfect for a night away from the city! We went out for dinner in a pub which boasted 4 table tennis tables, which made for an interesting experience trying to get out after we’d eaten. We made a stop at a rum and cider bar before heading back to the apartment for the night.
This morning was spent walking along the beach, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and spotting Water Dragons sunning themselves on the rocks. We also spent some time watching some of the local school children having swimming and surfing lessons, which looked like a great way to spend a sunny Friday morning! We’re now back in Liverpool for the weekend to spend time with some of James’ family, before moving on to stay with some more family in a different suburb next week- no doubt we’ll be back in central Sydney at least one more time before we fly to Melbourne a week today.