Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Australia, Part 4: Sydney

   Patrick and I took the red-eye from Perth to Sydney and I will never again do that. While it was nice to get into Sydney so early in the morning, it was horrible at the same time because of course our hotel room was not ready and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. We got into Sydney on the hottest day they had had yet this year (90 degrees), so I was very happy that I had worn layers so I could strip down to my sleeveless shirt as we wandered about the city aimlessly. We did get to see most of what you think of when you hear "Sydney" as we walked around the opera house and the Sydney bridge for several hours until I got hungry and we stopped at one of the many open air cafes for a snack. It was at least a beautiful day and the opera house was shining bright white (I discovered that if it isn't sunny, it can look pretty dingy and not like the pristine opera house I am used to seeing).
Our first morning in Sydney (plus obligatory shot on the red-eye)
  We finally got to sleep in our room after several hours and I was much happier and ready to see the city. We stayed in the Park Royal right off Darling Harbour which was an easy walk to various areas. I really enjoyed Sydney as it was faster paced than Perth (though Perth was probably the cleanest city I've been in and absolutely gorgeous) and had much more to do. Sydney reminds me a little of New York City, but a little cleaner. We ended up down in Opera Quays (area around the opera house) most of the time because it had free wifi and was just a gorgeous area with lots of benches around the water and cafes.
You could walk down to Opera Quays through this adorable arch
  We also spent a lot of time down in Darling Harbour as we could walk there in about a minute or so over a bridge and it had an array of restaurants and things to do. We had dinner one night at a mall off the Harbour at a Japanese hibachi restaurant where I had the best rose wine I have ever had! We tried to find the bottle everywhere but to no avail. We had lunch down on the Harbour one day and the waiters don't get tips but are salaried so they could kind of care less when they seat you and serve you. However, it was a nice little break from what we do in the U.S. as Patrick and I had a leisurely lunch (about 2 and a half hours) and really got to enjoy our meal. Of course, the only thing I can really complain about it that Australia is much more expensive than most places I am used to in Atlanta, so it was a little shock to pay $25 for a glass of house wine with a burger and chips (fries). But I still loved it!
the walkway from our hotel to the harbour
view from lunch on the harbour
Darling Harbour at night

  We also went to the aquarium one day after we wandered all around the city and ended up being back at Darling Harbour after going up and down and around Opera Quays. Patrick and I didn't really plan too much to do in Sydney and while it probably drove him crazy, I enjoyed just waking up and doing whatever the heck we wanted to do (even though some days it wasn't until 1pm or so--whoops! Let's blame it on the time change!)
  I did enjoy the aquarium and got to see a dugong that I fell in love with! They have two dugongs and the one we saw was swimming around and eating his pounds of lettuce from a little crate thing they have designed for him. Once Pig was finished with his lettuce, he would send the device back up to the top so they could refill it. Atlanta's aquarium is still pretty impressive, but we did have a good time seeing all the different rays and sharks Sydney had. 

Most of the fish were native to Australia, but these cuties aren't (though they are bred in Australia)

We watched this little turtle wedge himself down like this. It was quite bizarre but he seemed to like it.
Pig, the dugong, eating his lettuce

Little penguins (my favorite, of course!)

Glow in the dark!!

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