Sydney highlights

We've been in Sydney for only 3 days, yet it seems like a week! There is so much to explore here. Most of our tours were arranged before we arrived, yet we managed to cram even a few more events in.

Our first day we arrived in the morning and did some exploring on our own, resisting the urge to just go to sleep. We'd been warned the jet lag would be worse by taking a nap and tried to soak up some sunshine. It's summertime here in sydney and the weather is fine! The beautiful Hilton hotel where we are staying is directly across from Hyde park and we're on the 9th floor so the view is green tree tops- very nice! We walked through Hyde park and then had an amazing lunch at a nearby Westfield mall, which has an international food court of sorts. We had Lebanese kebabs and salads. That first night we walked to the wharf near the opera house and dined outdoors, fighting off the cheeky seagulls who finally succeeded in getting a bite of pasta off Abdul's plate by swooping down and racing off again! Later at the Opera house we saw a comedy trio, called Tripod. I haven't laughed so hard, nor heard quite so many lewd songs. We both enjoyed it immensely. The walk back took us through the botanical garden under the moonlight- quite safe and even a bit romantic. There seems to be so little crime and very few homeless people- quite a surprise for a large city with such good weather.

The 2nd day we awoke early and caught a free concert at sunrise in Hyde Park as part of the sydney festival. It was an alpenhorn player. Lovely! The rest of the day was spent doing a local tour with Australian Eco tours. This was a great way to get an overview of the city but we didn't really get to "do" much. We saw the botanic gardens, Paddington, the Rocks, and Bondi beach, along with a few more areas i don't recall. In the afternoon we took a Harbor tour on a private yacht. It was an incredibly hot sunny day so the breeze on the yacht felt great. The captain took us around all the big homes situated on the banks of the harbor, and shared stories about their owners or construction of the dwellings. It was quite interesting and a great way to see the opera house and famous Sydney bridge from a different viewpoint. We ended up the evening at a Thai massage, which turned out to be a new and incredible experience on its own. I was most surprised by the masseuse hopping on top of my back and digging elbows and knees into my flesh. It's one of those things that feels better when you are walking out the door. Nepalese curry was dinner as we did "people watching" on Potts St. Wow! You will see all sorts of characters in that part of town.

We awoke early on day 3 as we headed to the Blue mountains for the day, stopping first at an animal park where you could see and even handle many of Australia's well known critters such as koalas, wallaby, and kangaroos. We had morning tea and apple pie in bilpin,a region known for their fruits. Then it was an afternoon in the eucalyptus forests where the air was fresh but temps were high. Extreme heat caused the park's trails to be closed so the only real hiking was at scenic world in katoomba, where you can take a sky tram and railway to the bottom of the canyons that were used for mining in past years. This was a great idea because the air was a bit cooler and you could breathe so much easier among the greenery of the lush rain forest. We enjoyed views of the 3 sisters rock formation. We also took in an aboriginal show and learned a bit about the lifestyle of aborigines both past and present. It was a great tour.

Sydney opera house and bridge as seen from nearby gardens

St. Mary's Cathedral in Hyde Park

Popular Bondi beach has a shark net encircling the swimming area to keep swimmers safe
a sleepy koala
this kangaroo knows where the food comes from!

Sailing under the Sydney bridge

the 3 sisters at Blue Mountains


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