View from the northern side of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney NSW

Sydney Rocks!

It was great to arrive in Sydney in the early morning and know we could crash for a few hours in our airbnb apartment. Once again my man had chosen well. The apartment was in a quiet part of the city, Pott’s Point and had great views of the bay and over to Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I can’t say we did too much that day, we were still re-charging our batteries.

Sydney Harbour
Walking to a famous landmark.

This was day 2 and time to explore! We walked from Pott’s Point enjoying the fresh air and feeling excited to be in Sydney. We walked along the path by Woolloomooloo Bay (great name) up to the viewpoint at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. These Ozzies know how to name places! By then there were quite a few tourists around as it’s a popular spot to take pictures. The sky looked quite threatening but for me that kind of backdrop makes for good pictures.

We carried on through the Royal Botanic Garden which is beautiful and huge …30 hectares if you can imagine that. You can easily spend a day wandering around there but we were on a mission to do as many sights as possible!

Australian birds in the Royal Botanical Garden Sydney.
One or two of the exotic birds we spotted in the Royal Botanical Garden.
The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney
The Royal Botanic Garden.

We came out of the garden and joined the main path up to the Opera House. You kind-of pinch yourself – it’s so iconic. You’ve seen it in pictures etc and suddenly there it is in front of you. The design is incredible and even more so when you see it from the bay, it really does look like a ship on water!

Sydney Harbour
Walking to a famous landmark.
Front of the Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We went inside but decided not to pay for a guided tour and instead treated ourselves to a glass of fizz and a sandwich on the terrace. So glad we didn’t have a meal there as the seagulls are SO agressive and dive-bomb anyone eating food. The food on the plates is covered with a metal lid but you have to take it off to get at your food. Before the unsuspecting diners know what’s happening the seagulls are swooping down and grabbing it! To us it looked like a scene from ‘The Birds.’

Having enjoyed the free entertainment and managing to eat our sandwich we walked around as much of the outside of the building as you can and went to the loo inside without having to pay admission! Refreshed and ready to go again we took the path around Circular Quay walking towards an area of the city known as The Rocks.

The Rocks is definitely our favourite area of Sydney. It’s got character, open-air markets, lots of pubs and restaurants and a great atmosphere. The streets were teeming with people but I managed to spot a French bakery shop as we walked along towards the bridge; that’ll do I thought for after we’ve climbed up the bridge. I should say that we did the Pylon Lookout and not the walk across the whole span of the bridge. I’m sure that’s great but it’s not cheap and would have taken a huge chunk of time out of our day. To go up the 200 stairs to the south-east pylon lookout is only $10 dollars (concession rate) and you still get a great view. The exhibitions are interesting too with some fabulous pictures showing the men constructing the bridge. They had some guts to do that and amazingly only sixteen men died and only two actually fell to their deaths from the bridge.

A view from the south east pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Views from the south east pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

I’ve found the name of the French cake shop …very happy to give ‘La Renaissance’ a mention, the cakes were delicious. Suitably refreshed, we walked all the way back to our apartment. We’d certainly discovered a good part of Sydney and covered a few miles that day.

Day 3 and we had a wander around the city centre. Pretty much like any other but I did like this arcade, The Strand Arcade.

Strand Arcade in Sydney city centre.
Strand Arcade in the city centre.

Gosh it was chilly walking round and there was us thinking Sydney would be steaming! Fortunately we’d planned to go on the ferry across to Manly and over there, the sun was shining. It feels like you’re going across to an island but it’s boringly described by Wikipedia as a beach-side suburb of northern Sydney.

Manly Island NSW
Manly island.

We weren’t too impressed walking down to the seafront. Lot of shops that you find anywhere at seaside places …reminded us of Mablethorpe High Street without the motorised wheelchairs! Fortunately once we’d got away from that area and started walking the coastal path things looked up, so much so I almost missed seeing this water dragon. There were signs for them but I didn’t expect to spot one. They are quite impressive especially the way they blend in with the rocks. We didn’t get too close, (I used my long lens), they have serious claws and bite!

Water dragons of Sydney
Australian water dragon

After a fantastic fish lunch at a seafood cafe washed down with an excellent glass of Aussie wine we decided to do some exploring. It was funny to see this sign in the middle of a suburban area and yes, once we were back on the wooded trail we actually saw a bandicoot. Only for a second though, nervous critters clearly.

Sign for Bandicoots. NSW Australia
We just don’t get these at home …

By the time we got back to the ferry we’d probably walked six or seven miles. Ten out of ten for wildlife, the same for the beaches we came across and the terrain inland. Heavens knows how we came to stumble across a parade ground and barracks with no-one around or walk through a suburb of Manly but these things happen sometimes on our walks. We couldn’t help noticing on our way back to Sydney that the sky was overcast and the temperature when we got off the ferry was ten degrees colder than in Manly! Apparently it had been like that all afternoon in the city.

That night I took a final picture looking across from our apartment to the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It looked great with all the lights twinkling. Tomorrow we would be heading south in a hire car down Australia’s Pacific Coast.

Landmarks of Sydney at night
View from our apartment on our last night in Sydney.

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