Australia trip – one year ago today: Friday 28th November

A year ago today was the final day of our month in Australia…


Sydney (and then leaving…)

I woke up pretty early this morning so went for a walk across the Harbour Bridge again. The weather was sunnier today, so got some different photos and enjoyed seeing the harbour from above.
We spent some time this morning exploring the CBD a bit more (and yes, doing a bit of final shopping). We then headed down to the Royal Botanical Gardens (site of the original landing and first colony farm) for a sit in the sun with some great views across the harbour.
After this, we headed to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, a spot where the wife of an early governor used to enjoy visiting and where there is a lovely view (and photo opp) back towards the city, plus the Opera House framed by the Harbour Bridge.
I’m writing this at Sydney Airport – we’ll be flying out later this evening. We have a 14.5 hour flight to Dubai, a couple of hours to interchange and then another 8 hours back to Manchester getting us in on Saturday morning.
Feeling very sad to be leaving Australia, as we’ve had an amazing time here.

View from the Botanic Gardens

A few last shots around the Opera House/Harbour Bridge

Our plane at Dubai airport, with the city in the background

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Australia trip – one year ago today: Thursday 27th November

That weird moment a year ago when we were seeing Christmas lights and decorations in summer…


Sydney

I got up early again for a walk by the harbour and round to Farm Cove to get a different view.
Once we both set off later, we decided to view Sydney from a different angle, namely using public transport.
We started by train, choosing to take a train which went over the Harbour Bridge and heading up into the north Sydney suburbs. This gave us a chance to ride on a double-decker train (and for me to admire the seats, whose back can be tilted so they face either way). We spent a little while exploring the town of Hornsby (some of the streets were quite Ramsay Street).
After heading back into Sydney (and having a little break), we then used the light rail (tram) line, which is fairly new, to explore in a different direction.
This evening we headed into the Oxford Street area before walking back through some of the ’ Christmas lights turn on’ events.
It still feels odd seeing and hearing Christmas stuff when it’s been so warm (although today we had intermittent drizzle and the temperature only touched 20 degrees).

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from Farm Cove

We spotted this fellow on someone’s front lawn in Hornsby

Sydney sights

Sydney trams

Australia trip – one year ago today: Wednesday 26th November

A year ago today, we were in our final week of a month exploring parts of Australia.


Sydney

While Rob had a lie-in this morning, I got up early and went for a walk. I was aiming for the Harbour Bridge but took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up exploring an area called Millers Point, an area with a good share of early colony buildings and a lot of character. I then found my way onto the bridge and walked across to the north Sydney suburb of Kirribilli, near the far end of the bridge and a lovely point to look back across at the city.
When I returned, and we’d breakfasted, we set off to explore The Rocks, the original area where the colony developed and full of historic buildings. We joined this up to Circular Quay, where we took a ferry to Manly. A short walk up its main street, the Corso, led us to the main beach, where we walked barefoot in the edge of the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed a good wander around the town before heading back on an early evening ferry.
We decided to take some time out of sightseeing, so watched the film Interstellar before having a late tea and a circuitous wander back to the hotel.

Views of (and from) the Harbour Bridge from my morning walk

Historic buildings from The Rocks and Millers Point

Manly

Night view of the Harbour Bridge

Australia trip – one year ago today: Tuesday 25th November

Another fantastic day in Australia one year ago today…


Blue Mountains

An early start today, but it was definitely worth it. We were picked up at eight to head out to the Blue Mountains.
After an hour or so’s drive and a comfort break by the Nepean River, we began to ascend the mountains along the Great Western Way. It took nearly another hour to reach the first of our lookout points at Lincoln Rock, which was marvellous.
A short drive later and we climbed down 240 steps to another lookout over the Wentworth Falls.
By this time, we were in need of lunch and were bundled into the fairly pretty town of Leura and found a nice cafe.
Our guide was a little regimented, so 50 minutes later we were herded into the minibus again to travel to Katoomba, and more specifically Scenic World.
We first rode the Scenic Skyway across the canton, before entering the complex and descending to the rainforest via the Scenic Cableway. We had a wander along the boardwalk on the first floor before returning via the Scenic Railway (you may spot a trend in the names here…).
The railway is the steepest in the world at 52 degrees – it was originally built for taking miners to the coal mines below. It’s certainly a thrilling ride.
The bus took us back off the mountains pass the Olympic Park, where we boarded a ferry to take us in a cruise back along the Paramatta river into Sydney.
We hopped off in Darling Harbour as there was an Indian restaurant we had been planning to go to (a good range of vegetarian options for me!), before coming back to the hotel.
A very enjoyable day!

Views of the Blue Mountains (and us, of course)

Views from the Scenic Skyway (including through glass floor) and Scenic Cableway

Walk along the rainforest floor, an entrance to the old coal mine and The Three Sisters (a famous Blue Mountains outcrop, about which there is an Aborigine Dreamtime story)

Views from the river cruise

Some additional photos which Rob took

Australia trip – one year ago today: Monday 24th November

A year ago today, we were in Australia. Here’s a chance to look back.


Canberra (and back to Sydney)

To my surprise, I had an enjoyable day in Canberra after dropping Rob off to his meetings at the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Belconnen (a satellite town of Canberra).
I stated with a stroll by the local lake (Ginninderra), then I drove back into Canberra for a cruise on Lake Burley Griffin (the one we didn’t manage yesterday). It was very enjoyable, mostly focusing on the (somewhat bizarre) history of Canberra’s development from sheep station to national capital.
I then headed up to Parliament House. It was quite fascinating to see, including going into the Houses of Senators and Representatives (although there were hardly politicians actually there).
After lunch, I went down the hill to the Old Parliament House (now the Museum of Democracy). To say, I was charmed was an understatement. A mere $2 (£1) to enter, and there was absolutely loads to wander round, including exhibitions, the prime minister’s office suite, the original Senate and Representatives chambers (much nicer than the new ones!) and more.
I could have spent even more time there, but needed to get back to Belconnen to pick Rob up so we could get to the airport.
Our flight was delayed by half an hour (given the number of flights we’ve done this month, it’s a miracle that was our first delay).
Back in Sydney, we popped down to Circular Quay for a late tea.

Random Australian birds…

Parliament House, Canberra

Old Parliament House
Inside: old Senators Chamber, former Representatives Chamber, Prime Minister’s office (left as last used by Bob Hawke in 1988)

Australia trip – one year ago today: Sunday 23rd November

One year ago today we were in Australia as part of a month’s holiday.


Sydney to Canberra

Rob has a work meeting in Canberra on Monday, so we decided we’d fly over together today and have a little look round, with me having time to explore further tomorrow.
Our flight was late morning, but the joys of transfers/check in meant that we left Sydney centre pretty early. The flight was a smallish plane (2 seats each side of the aisle) and had propellers!

The heat wave has followed us, so it hovered around 36/37 today and even at 9.00 is still around 30 degrees.
We hired a car, checked in and then decided to hear out to navigate the ‘city in a park’ which is Canberra. We grabbed a quick lunch at Questacon (apparently the national science and technology centre). We were going to go in, but it seemed more kiddy-centre and we’d spotted that there was a cruise an hour later on the massive (artificial) Lake Burley Griffin which runs through the centre. We popped across the road (in the sweltering heat) instead to the National Library of Australia and saw their Treasures Gallery.
We drove to the lake and waited for the boat to come in, only to find that the next cruise was cancelled. Getting a bit fed up as Canberra doesn’t seem (to us) to have many redeeming features, we decided to get out of the heat by popping into the Canberra Centre (a shopping mall…). We noticed that it had a cinema and joined what seemed like half of the city there. We opted to see Pride, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was an element of recent history I was completely unaware of, plus it was incredibly heartwarming and enjoyable. After tea, we decided to view the Captain James Cook Memorial Jet which shoots water from the lake over 100 foot into the air. It wasn’t on. Apparently, it only functions between 2 and 4… We sat by the lake for a while as twilight drew in, which was pleasant.
We’ve also noticed that the city, which seems to run almost exclusively on car journeys charges for parking everywhere.
I wouldn’t say the place has made the best impression on us. Maybe it can redeem itself tomorrow.

Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra at twilight

Australia trip – one year ago today: Saturday 22nd November

Reliving our amazing November 2014 trip to Australia…


Sydney

This morning started with a walk through the CBD to get to the Sydney Tower Eye. From the top of here, we had a great view all across the city. One thing that really strikes you is just how much the harbour spreads out and the city weaves itself around it.
We sat in Hyde Park with our picnic lunch before exploring it further, including the Anzac Memorial, and then mooching back through a different part of the CBD.
This evening we wandered back to the Opera House for tea and then a concert (Brahms, Beethoven and a Finnish composer I hadn’t heard of before). It was wonderful to be inside the Opera House, especially as the area around the concert hall was open only for concert-goers for the hour before, giving us since exclusive views inside and across the harbour.
We had ice-cream on our wander back round Circular Quay and through the Rocks (which we intend to explore in a few days).

Sydney Tower Eye and views from it

Hyde Park and Anzac Memorial

Older buildings in the CBD

Inside Sydney Opera House

Nighttime views…