Sydney

We went from Melbourne to Sydney by train, just to mix it up.  13 hours, but not actually a bad journey, but you got to see some of the countryside, and towns with great names like The Rock and Wagga Wagga.

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Like the intercity 125 from the 80s, but not as fast
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Literally in the middle of nowhere

We had an apartment in an area of the city called Glebe, a decent sized place for us with a seperate bedroom, but sadly no wifi.  This seemed like a good idea when we booked it, but we had so much left to organise that this was a mistake so we spent a lot of our spare time hanging at the local mall as they had free wifi, with all the cool kids.  To make up for that the landlady gave us a cat!

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We called him Syd

Our first full day and I’m afraid to say we did the most touristy thing possible, an open top bus.  This however was a good thing as Sydney is big and not as easy to navigate as other cities we have been to.

Using the bus, and quite a lot of walking we pretty much saw all the major sights in one day, Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge – we crossed half way but didn’t do the bridge climb because:

A) have you seen how high that is!!!  and

B) they wanted $150 for the privelage.

we saw Darling Harbour, the Rocks and the Botanic Gardens, did a lovely walk from the bridge to the opera house, through the Domain (Aussie for big park) and out to Mrs Macquaries chair (it’s a rock) for excellent views back in to the city.  One big surprise though was the opera house wasn’t white as I’d thought, but a pale shade of magnolia, a bit like your nans living room.

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Armed with guide book
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The iconic bridge
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The view from Mrs Macquaries chair
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It’s not a chair, it’s a rock
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Sydney from the Domain
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Just to prove we were here.

The next day we wandered around Darling harbour spent the day exploring the city in a little more detail and did so much walking our feet hurt.

The Blue Mountains

We did a day trip to the Blue Mountains, and it didn’t start so well.  Whe we got tou our pick up point, our driver and guide was telling a group of (slightly) older people than me that they were on the wrong tour as this was an adventure tour and there was now way they were up to it as it would “destroy” them, we were worried that we may have bitten off more than we could chew, however he let us on without comment.  we then discovered that he had a chip on his shoulder so large, that he walked with a limp, and spent the whole journey up to the mountains slagging off the British and how we had done terrible things to Australia.  He didn’t get a tip, which was unfortunate as he was extremely knowledgeable ad at times quite interesting.

The tour itself was very good and the whole area is extremely beautiful, we walked up and down thousands of steps to a waterfall (nearly killed me getting up them though, literlly couldn’t talk for 5 minutes) .  We also did a walk from Scenic World (really) in Katoomba down through some amazing scenery and caught a near vertical train back up which was excellent!

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Beautiful views and the rain held off
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Note guides limp due to massive chip on shoulder
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The waterfalls were pretty
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More stunning vistas
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The 3 sisters
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The train back up

The next day we had at leisure near the flat, we laid in, hung out and explored Glebe, which is a arty district with a village feel, yet only 5 minutes from the city on the bus.

That evening we caught a bus to Kings Cross, and had a budget steak in an open air restaurant in the middle of the red light district, an entertaining evening with some colourful sights

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El Alemain fountain at Kings Cross
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Another dumb bird getting a tattoo done!

Our last full day we hit the beach, not Bondi, we had been warned, but Manly Beach which has the advantage of having an excellent ferry with incredible views, for a fraction of the cost of the harbour cruises.

It was busy, really busy.  It was a Sunday, 32 degrees and everyone wanted to go to the beach.  We had excellent fish and chips and found a quiet (ish) spot on the beach, we didn’t go in as the risk from stingers (jelly fish) was high and we didn’t have stinger suits.

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Manly beach, right next to feminine beach.

On the return ferry we had to wait half an hour outside Sydney Opera house as a massive cruise ship was leaving port and we had to give way, but it gave us some excellent view of the city.

Monday morning we picked up our car (no problems this time) and set off on our epic 2 week journey up the east cost to Cairns!

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Bye bye Sydney – it’s been great!

A quick  note, there is a big rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne about which is the best city.  Well for what it’s worth, Sydney has some of the better sights, but Melbourne is more friendly and has a  much nicer more cosmopolitan vibe.  So Melbourne wins, hope that clears it up for everyone!

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