Exploring Sydney - Week 1

Friday 18th December 2015

 

Well, a week later and we are becoming expert ‘bus wallers’ (an _expression_ of my children’s, cleaned up!)  It means that we have cracked the numbers, timings and appropriate stops of the buses into the city and back, and with the help of the Opal app can pretty much navigate our way anywhere in the city using public transport.  Of course, that’s not to say we haven’t had a couple of hiccups, but on the whole we are happy using our Opal cards – especially when the ALL DAY fare on a Sunday is $2.50 (about £1.20).  It means we can hop on and off buses, trains and ferries all day on a Sunday for just over a quid.  Can’t be bad!  Any other day of the week the daily fare is capped at $15, and after eight journeys in any week, the rest is free.  Not bad at all.

 

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Our bus stop has this lovely shelter to wait in.                                                     Steve showing our all-important Opal cards.

 

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This Sydney burb is very green and pleasant.                      The bus stop opposite, which we sometimes use, has a matching shelter.

 

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This is one of ours – the 263 into the City via Neutral Bay.                              The bus drivers are invariably cheerful and helpful. G’morning!

 

So, what have we been doing, apart from riding the buses?  Lots.  This week we have been to The Rocks area several times, as there is a lot to see there.  The title of this area goes way back to the time of the first settlers.  When the First Fleet arrived, settlements grew up on both sides of Sydney Cove, where the fleet anchored.  One side, where the Opera House now is, was grassy and wooded, the other was rocky.  Guess which side became ‘The Rocks’! 

 

One of the first things we did was to tour the Opera House and collect our tickets for a performance of Great Opera Hits on the 27th in the Opera Hall.  Well, it has to be done! We also visited some museums – Susannah Place, a terrace of four houses in The Rocks built in the early 1880’s, the Museum of Crime and Justice, and of course the Australian National Maritime Museum. We also visited the Sydney Observatory where the time ball still drops at 1300 hours every day, and enjoyed a peaceful break in the shade of some trees in the Botanical Gardens.  We took our first ride on a ferry, from Circular Quay to Pyrmont Bay, which headed under the bridge and over to Luna Park on the north shore before making a couple more stops on the way to Darling Harbour and then Pyrmont Wharf where we got off for the Maritime Museum.

 

In between times, we have wandered the streets, sat in cafes, watched the people, taken in the everyday sights of the big city, and loved every minute of it.

 

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An anchor from HMS Sirius, flagship of the First Fleet, left the Isle of Wight on 13 May 1787, arrived Botany Bay 24 Jan 1788, anchored in Sydney Cove two days later after Capt. Phillip decided Botany Bay was too inhospitable. Now in Macquarie Place Park, the first formally laid-out public space in Sydney, 1810.

 

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Two skippers – one you know, the other William Bligh, who, 15 years after the mutiny on The Bounty, became Governor of New South Wales, with orders to clean up the corrupt rum trade.

 

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Taking advantage of an available deckchair for a rest in the shade of a tree beside Cadman’s Cottage.

 

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A familiar name, but not for beer!  Found in a bar we just happened to pop into one hot day.

 

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The bridge, taken from our resting point in the Botanic Gardens.

 

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The old and the new.

 

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Inside Queen Victoria building.

 

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About to board the F4 ferry to Pyrmont Wharf.                                                 Windswept but happy!

 

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Coffee at the Maritime Museum cafe.