First trip ashore in Sydney

Scott-Free’s blog
Steve & Chris
Wed 9 Dec 2015 19:42

Wednesday 9th December 2015


At the dinghy dock we met Ken and his wife from ‘Seawife’, who gave us directions to the main road where we could either walk or get a bus into town.  Along the foreshore a short distance and then up Cook Street (really?!) - a steep hill, and in fifteen minutes or so we were on Glebe Point Road.  Our first task was to get an Opal card, Sydney’s equivalent of the Oyster card in London, so that we could use the transport system. 


We walked along a road that might have been in London – small shops, coffee houses and terraces of houses.  I noticed, particularly, the amount of wrought iron work on verandas, porches and fences, and realised that parts of London would probably have been the same before the demands of WW2 saw them all removed.  After passing two bus stops we found a small shop selling Opal cards, charged them up, and we were ready to go.  Next stop, though, was to sample the coffee, so we stopped at the next coffee shop to do so.


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Looking down a side street towards the city centre.                                         The art deco building where we stopped for coffee.


All charged up, we hopped on a bus and headed into the city.  We got off ten minutes later in a very busy thoroughfare below the towering buildings we had seen in the distance from the boat, outside of Sydney Heads.  We walked past a wonderful old bank building of pink granite, at 48 Martin Place, and had to stop to go inside and take a look.  It was wonderful in there, all marble and columns, but no photos allowed unfortunately.  Got these from the internet:


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It was like going back in time to 1928.                                                                     Pink granite exterior.


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Very modern tower blocks reached up into the sky by contrast.


We wandered through the streets and eventually found ourselves at Circular Quay, looking out over Sydney Cove, the bay where the First Fleet of eleven ships led by Captain Arthur Phillip anchored in January 1788, named by Phillip after the then Secretary of State, Lord Sydney.  This is where the colonisation of Australia by the British began.  Although Botany Bay, to the south of Sydney, had been identified by Cook in 1770 as the ideal place for a settlement, when the First Fleet arrived they found the land there inhospitable and the bay unsheltered, and the decision was made by Phillip to head north to Port Jackson which offered much better protection. 


Today, Circular Quay is a transport hub for the modern city, with a train station and six wharves where ferries to numerous destinations in the greater Sydney area depart and arrive.  Buses from all over Sydney stop at the countless bus stands nearby.  To one side of the quay is a peninsula now called ‘The Rocks’, where the first penal colony and settlement were built, and on which the great pillars of one side of the harbour bridge stands. On the other is a peninsula upon which the Sydney Opera House stands and the Botanical Gardens begin.  We spent the day wandering one side of the bay and then the other, with no plan other than to just be there.


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Looking down towards Circular Quay from Bridge Street.                                              The Museum of Contemporary Art overlooks Sydney Cove.


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Very, very happy to be here!                                                                                       The ferry wharves of Circular Quay beyond cruise ship ropes.


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We started on The Rocks side of the bay.                              Looking across Sydney Cove to the Opera House from The Rocks.


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First Impressions Sculpture – a soldier on one side, a convict and settlers on the other two  – represent the early settlers of Sydney.


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Taking a breather in the shade at Dawes Point (Tarr-ra) Park.                    Dawes Point Battery – site of Australia’s first fortified position.


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View across the harbour from Dawes Point Battery.                                        Through the trees across Sydney Cove to the Opera House from same spot.


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Cadman’s Cottage(1816) in The Rocks, oldest residential building in Australia.    Buildings and wharves along the quayside at The Rocks.


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White Ibis wander freely around the First Fleet Park in The Rocks.              Both happy to be here!



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Customs House, now a public resource centre, opposite Circular Quay.   ASN Co. Victorian warehouse.


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From the steps of the Opera House.                                                                        This cruise ship doesn’t have a lot of clearance under the bridge!


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Extreme cats racing off the Opera House and Farm Cove.                             Thirsty work, sightseeing!


Lots to explore further – another day!