03.08.2010 - 11.08.2010 19 °C
Still playing catch up with these posts but seeing as we spent 8 days in Sydney, I should be able to get somewhere.
First thing after the surf camp, we were on our way to Sydney. A 9 hour journey, which got us in around tea time. After checking in to our hostel, we rejoined our bus friends at a local bar and joined in with the pub quiz going on there. Turns out we must have had a good variety of knowledge between us as we won the whole thing giving us a $100 bar tab to spend that night.
The following day, our first full day in the city, we headed to the famous aquarium. Apparently this is the place to go if you haven't seen the barrier reef yourself. During the many hours we managed to spend in the place, we got to see all sorts of Aussie marine life: penguins, rays, sharks, dugongs (sea cows to non-Australians) and sea snakes to name a few.
Feeling adventurous, on Thursday we took the ferry across the harbour to Manly. Two reasons for this. One, it's the best and cheapest way to see the two icons of Sydney (the Opera House and Harbour Bridge). Two, to walk the Manly Scenic Walk back to Sydney. This scenic walk really is scenic, a 9.5km walk around the bay itself over and under everything imaginable..well, nearly imaginable (it's not like there were icebergs or anything).
Friday we took a day trip to one of the local wine regions, Hunter Valley. This trip took us to three vineyards all who call them boutiques (basically, they're too small to export). Nevertheless, a good day to find out if Australian wine is liked, and if so, what type. The two main types of wine this area produces is the shiraz and the semillion. Findings? That chardonnay is horrible, semillion is alright if it's old and the two types which aren't their priority (verdelho and savignion blanc) are the best.
Another day tour was chosen for Saturday, this time exploring the dizzy heights of the Blue Mountains. These are given this name due to the euculyptus oil emitted by the trees. The day consisted of two walks separated by lunch. The morning's gander took us down to the bottom of one of the valleys to visit a famous waterfall (apparently the area was visited Charles Darwin many years ago). Then in the afternoon we took a walk down 1000 steps checking out the rainforest climate. Thankfully the return journey did not require dragging ourselves back up all the steps but rather a train journey back. Easy? Well, turns out the train track is famous for being the steepest in the world at a mega 58 degrees.
Sunday was a drastic change in pace and only consisted of two things: laundry and a film. For the first time this trip we upgraded our washing in the sink to a washing machine. Celebration. As for the film, we decided to experience the Sydney cinema and see Toy Story 3.
On Monday we finally managed to take a city tour and gain some historical knowledge of Sydney. The whole thing took a few hours and covered about 10km around the city centre. It took in the famous sights (Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge) and also some not so famous sights (for example, the site of the first execution in the country). Following all this information, the afternoon's activity was to follow up on this by visiting a museum to get a full run through of Australian/Sydney history.
Our last day in Sydney brought the horrible cold and rain - in fairness, we did very well only having sun and warmth until then. So we decided to seek cover in one of the city's musems - the Powerhouse museum (getting its name from utilising an old power station). The stuff inside is pretty much everything in all the London museums (bar the natural history stuff). Before we knew it, we'd spent 5 hours or so in the place.
So that is Sydney.