The Bonny Port of Sydney (first verse only), by Henry Lawson.
The lovely Port of Sydney
Lies laughing to the sky,
The bonny Port of Sydney,
Where the ships of nations lie.
You shall never see such beauty,
Though you sail the wide world o’er,
As the sunny Port of Sydney,
As we see it from the Shore.
This first verse of Henry Lawson’s poem really sums up what many may think of this wonderful city. There really is no place like Sydney and maybe that is why so many Australians and travelers from around the world love visiting this fair part of Australia.
I have been to Sydney on numerous occasions and never tire of seeing the harbour, the bridge and the Opera House as you fly or sail in. The way the morning light shines off the Opera House, the bridge so much a part of the landscape, the ferries at Circular Quay. What a wonderful place to visit with so much to do and see.
Sydney, the big smoke, full of people and traffic, not a place I would want to live but it is a place I love to visit. You can go there every year and still not see all the beauty Sydney has to offer so I will share with you a few of my favourites, the first being the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. This I wanted to do for my 50th birthday and so we did. And I loved it! Now I’m not very good with heights (oh and Wayne isn’t either!) but I was determined to do this. So glad we did as it was fantastic. The view from the top, the history of the bridge, the climb from under the bridge where you can see the workings, every bolt and screw, then walking up and above the cars, the stream of traffic flowing under your feet. It is an experience I would suggest to any of you if you are visiting Sydney. This is what it is all about!
There are a number of climbs you can do from a quick 1 ½ hour tour to the more in depth 3 ½ hour tour. Some go under and up, some go straight to the top and some only go up the inner arch, not quite so high for those less daring. The staff put you through your paces before you start your climb, where you are dressed in the Bridge Climb best grey overalls. We all had a laugh at each other in our new outfits before we got down to the serious business of the climb itself. Harnessed in and ready to go we were on our way to enjoy the beauty and excitement of being above the harbour, with a view as far as the eye can see.
Once the climb is finished you can wander over to the Pylon Lookout (free entry with your Bridge Climb ticket) where you can learn more of the history of this fascinating bridge as well as take some fantastic photos of the bridge, the Harbour, the Opera House. So while in Sydney, get out there, get up there and have fun! For more information and pricing go to www.bridgeclimb.com.
As you have probably realised, when Wayne and I travel we like to get out and see as much as we can, we jump on buses, trams and of course you can’t go to Sydney without jumping on a ferry at Circular Quay. There are a number of ferries going in all directions so take your pick. One of our favourite trips is on the Manly Ferry. As you head out of the harbour you can snap away with that camera, taking pictures of the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Fort Denison, Kirribilli House (home of the Prime Minister) and Admiralty House (home of the Governor-General) before your final destination, Manly.
Each time we take the Manly Ferry we are excited to see what the scenery will be like this time. Each trip brings another view you missed the last time, a different aspect as the sun rises or sets, and arriving at Manly is always fun and exciting. Manly itself is a place of contrast. There are locals, tourists, backpackers and families enjoying short walks along the beach and longer ones through national parks. So after our walk we checked out the shops, tried the cafes and frequented a brewery to relax and unwind in.
On our return from Manly we always have a wander around Circular Quay with buskers to entertain, and people watching to do, this is the place to do it. A short stroll through the Quay and you end up at the Sydney Opera House. The glow of the sun shining off the many tiles covering this magnificent building can be blinding at times. The many outdoor cafes/eateries provide you with that much needed refreshing beverage and snack so you can people watch in style and comfort before heading off to stroll around the Opera House and take in all the wonder and beauty of the magnificent place.
Another day, another trip and more exploring to do. I mentioned earlier we often take bus rides around the city as there’s no better way to see what’s around than on a bus while someone else is driving! In Sydney, as in many cities and tourist towns in the world, there are Hop on Hop off buses or as they are called in Sydney, Sydney Explorer buses. There are two different routes you can take so we did both. Why not! Driving through the city you can look around without the worry of traffic hassles, you can get off at places like Bondi Beach (as we did) to explore, shop and eat. Then hop back on to take in some of the surrounding suburbs and take notes on what places you want to stop at on the next trip.
Another good thing about visiting Sydney is that no matter where you stay, be it the city, Circular Quay or Darling Harbour you don’t have to worry about hiring a car. There really is no reason to hire a car unless you are heading out of the city. We love to walk around the city, along the coastline and through the parks. The ferries, buses and trains will take you anywhere you want to go and it is easy and hassle free.
The last time we visited Sydney we took the ferry across to Taronga Zoo. Now if you are going to the zoo make sure you have plenty of time as there is so much to see and do. From the ferry wharf you head up to the zoo entrance on the Sky Safari which is a cable car that makes your entrance to the zoo easier (no walking uphill!) and more enjoyable. Taronga Zoo is very well laid out so with map in hand and plenty of people to ask if you need help your best bet is to head in and get started. You will find everything you need on the map, places to eat, toilets, talk timetables and where all the animals are!
We arrived quite early and spent the whole day getting lost and enjoying the critters. Each and every one seemed to have its very own quirky personality. There’s frogs and lizards, koalas, kangaroos, elephants and giraffes, turtles, tigers, meerkats, lemurs, birds, fish seals…….. There are so many animals and some of them are very good at posing for the camera. I bet I took at least 100 pictures of all these crazy animals in the zoo as they just kept posing for me! Ohh and the views of the city from the zoo are fantastic so I had to take a few snaps of the city as well..
We had a great day enjoying the sun, the animals, the views and the ferry rides and I think my next trip to Taronga Zoo will have to include an overnight stay as part of the Roar and Snore Tour. How much fun would that be!? For more information on this and the entire zoo check out their website at www.taronga.org.au. So get your tickets, get on the ferry and go visit the animals. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the zoo.
Wow, that is only a small selection of what I want to share with you so make sure you come back. Sydney is a big place and I have more stories to tell and more fun times to share.