Can you believe we’ve been in Sydney a full week? We have seen some extraordinary sights, made new friends, walked miles, taken over 800 photos, and there is so much more to see just in this beautiful city.
Karen hasn’t been able to cuddle a koala yet, but we were able to get up close and personal with an 8-month old baby being held by a zoo attendant. Its mother was “not well” and the baby was taken away from her. Under zoo care, the baby was starting to thrive. There are no words to describe the thrill of seeing something so small, so cute, being given a chance for life. While the pictures won’t show it, the baby was being carried on a stuffed koala bear!
Captain Cook got it right! What a beautiful place to make land fall. Well, actually, he sailed into Botany Bay, the next harbor to the west, but who cares. Sydney is absolutely beautiful. All our adventures have started on the water and ended on the water. Most mornings we have taken a ferry to Sydney’s transportation hub, Circular Quay (pronounced “key”). Along the way we stop at the ferry wharf coffee kiosk where the barista already knows our morning drinks. Other times, we walked to another wharf, but we always ended up on the water, motoring toward the Opera House and Harbor Bridge.
Our daily travels have taken us around the central part of Sydney and to Bondi Beach. Here’s a rundown…
The harbor is graced with a number of walking paths that follow the shoreline from ferry wharf to ferry wharf. Seeking dinner, we explored one of these paths around Mosman Bay to a restaurant in a rowing club. The bartender asked us to “join” the club for the night. After signing in we enjoyed the rustic ambiance of wood walls, racing shells hanging from the ceiling, and plastic furniture.
The twilight walk to the club followed a sealed path along a steep embankment, passing through the back yards of old, million dollar homes. Remembering that there are over 400 ways for wild animals to kill you in Oz, we brought our torches for the return walk. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the only thing we encountered on the return was a heavy rain.
Bondi (pronounced bond-eye) beach is one of Sydney’s best known beaches and it is connected by coastal trail to Coogee (pronounced coo-gee) beach. The walk took us through residential hillsides with view of blue water and white sand beaches. The trail hangs on the cliffs just above the crashing surf and wanders through beachside suburbs full of pastel buildings with tile roofs. It’s all reminiscent of Italian villages along the Mediterranean.
Another morning found us on Marine 1 – the New South Wales Fire Brigade’s new water rescue boat. We were met by Michelle, the Brigade’s Executive Officer and walked to the wharf. The boat approached the landing, jumping up and down on the waves of passing ferries. We had a private one-hour tour of the harbor which was a trip we won’t forget. We have traveled on ferries around the harbor for the past week, but on Marine 1, we felt a part of the workings of the harbor. Chris, a Brigade officer, Michelle, and James, the pilot, explained all the workings of the boat, the sights we were seeing, and in general, made us feel so welcomed!
A walk around three bays brought us to the Taronga Zoo yesterday. For a good hour, we walked up steps, up hills, through neighborhoods, down steps, and around boardwalks, to arrive at the Zoo. The zoo, built on a hillside, offers a tramway ride to the top (think chairlift over animals instead of snow). Australia’s wild side brought us up close and personal with koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, and the baby koala described above.
We are headed out into the country. A stop in the Blue Mountains – Katoomba – and then north to Dubbo to go to the Wild Plains Zoo. The fire brigade gave us free tickets for the Zoo here in Sydney and the one out in Dubbo. They have been so good to us. Riley has only been able to talk to his friend, the Commissioner, on the phone… but we plan to come back into Sydney for a week before we head home. We’ll get together during that time.
More to follow soon.