A Sydneysider for the day

Sydney Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 40 › view all entries
My artistic masterpiece. Sydney harbor bridge and Opera House at night from a ferry.

Today we played the role of pure tourists, which isn't always bad.  We made no attempt to do what the locals do, eat where the locals eat, see what the locals see.  We were tourists, plain and simple… but we loved every minute of it.

After a wonderful continental breakfast, we hiked twenty minutes to the nearest metro station and journeyed into downtown Sydney.  The city’s subway trains are double decked and clean, and they run on time and often.  We had no trouble whatsoever in winding our way through the northern suburbs and across the Harbour Bridge to plop down in the middle of beautiful, amazing, and enchanting Sydney.

We roamed down a few streets and wound our way to the Sydney Tower, which is over 250 meters (more than 800 feet) tall and looms large over metropolitan Sydney.

The Sydney Sky Tower. 250 meters high and a great view.
  The view from the tower’s observation deck is breathtaking (save for the last of the summer smog that lingered to the west of downtown) and provides an excellent orientation to the city’s geography and points of interest.   

After a brief stop at the tower, we headed to the city’s two most famous landmarks: Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.  While both sites are known the world over, nothing takes the place of seeing them with your own eyeballs… especially on a clear, sunny, and crisp day like today.  We walked along Circular Quay (pronounced “key”) and, like so many other tourists, snapped dozens of pixilated memories of the bridge, the harbor, and the Opera House.  We decided to take a tour of the Opera House, which was well worth the nominal fee and the hour’s sacrifice.

The world famous Opera House
  Our tour guide, Sally, was extraordinarily dynamic and engaging.  She interacted with the whole group, asking from whence we came and giving us hints about what to see in the rest of Sydney.  She even offered us an opportunity to sing in one of the Opera House’s five theatres, and I resisted the urge to stand up and belt out something.

The Opera House is a marvel of architecture and engineering.  Everyone instantly recognizes the tiled façade that mimics the waves of the sea.  But inside those tiles is tons of poured concrete that forms inner shells.  Those inner shells are augmented by Australia eucalyptus and birch woods to form the world-famous arenas for music, dance, and drama.  The opera theatre is relatively small (1,500 seating) but symphony hall, with its impressive organ of 10,000 pipes, seats 2,700.

Another great shot of the Opera House.
  My only regret is that nothing was playing in either of the two larger venues.  Otherwise, I would have gobbled up a ticket to hear or see something performed.  Sometimes the landmark places everyone goes in a famous city (e.g., the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Westminster in London, and the Old City in Jerusalem) transcend “tourist trap” and are really something special.  Such is the case with the Opera House.

From there, we caught the ferry to Manly Beach.  (No, there is not a Womanly Beach.

Chris on the ferry to Manly. He sure looks cold!
)  Manly Beach is about seven miles north of Sydney and immediately north of Sydney Harbor’s outlet to the Pacific Ocean.  I am not exactly sure how to describe it other than to liken it to a beach town somewhere on the eastern seaboard of the States.  There was no boardwalk, but the shops and eateries were there… just on the main street of the township.  The attraction, though, wasn’t Manly itself; it was the (chilly) ride on the harbor.  The vistas (particularly on our return to Circular Quay in Sydney) were postcards from every angle.  Rather than write more about it, I will let the attached pictures speak for themselves.  Needless to say, though, if you are in Sydney, do not spend needless dollars on a cruise around the harbor.
Such a wonderful and pretty harbor. And a great day for sailing.
  Take the USD$3 ferry ride and enjoy the spectacular view.

We concluded our day by whisking out to the site of the 2000 Olympic Games. Sydney was smart.  Almost every single venue – and the Olympic Village – was located in this massive park area west of downtown.  All of the biggies were there – the stadium for the ceremonies and track and field, the aquatic center, gymnastics, basketball… and lots of the less known sports, too, such as field hockey, judo, and archery.  While we weren’t able to go into any of the venues themselves (without paying a handsome visitation fee), we were able to appreciate their beauty and architecture… and see what they did right. 

We caught another ferry back to downtown.  Sydney is pretty by day but dazzling by night.  The lights were twinkling and aglow, and we observed it all from the deck of our ferry.  We decided to stay downtown for dinner and ate in an old area of town known as the Rocks.  Quaint and eclectic, it provided the perfect place to converse and reminiscence on a great day.

Tomorrow, we’ll awake and spend another day in Sydney!

Let us hear from you!  (Please!)

Chris

TimesTwo says:
Chris! This is awesome. I feel like I'm on your trip with you because of the great pics and powerful descriptions. I especially liked the Ayers Rock and the reefs. While the photos of the popular landmarks everyone knows are great, its nice to see other parts of the countryside that are less well known. Remember, if you can smuggle back a koala for me Sweetpea will love you like the uncle he never had! Carry on...D
Posted on: May 31, 2006
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
My artistic masterpiece.  Sydney h…
My artistic masterpiece. Sydney …
The Sydney Sky Tower.  250 meters …
The Sydney Sky Tower. 250 meters…
The world famous Opera House
The world famous Opera House
Another great shot of the Opera Ho…
Another great shot of the Opera H…
Chris on the ferry to Manly.  He s…
Chris on the ferry to Manly. He …
Such a wonderful and pretty harbor…
Such a wonderful and pretty harbo…
No, its not an adjetive.  Its an a…
No, its not an adjetive. Its an …
A strange but neat tree.  The Faul…
A strange but neat tree. The Fau…
Another great shot of the Opera Ho…
Another great shot of the Opera H…
We took a tour of the Opera House …
We took a tour of the Opera House…
Olympic Park.  A ladder that symbo…
Olympic Park. A ladder that symb…
Telstra stadium. Formerly Olympic …
Telstra stadium. Formerly Olympic…
Proof we were there.
Proof we were there.
One of 3 sculptures like this on t…
One of 3 sculptures like this on …
Sydney at night...from a moving fe…
Sydney at night...from a moving f…
Sydney Opera House at night. Very …
Sydney Opera House at night. Very…
Sydney
photo by: Sunflower300