Dave Steph Aussie Loop 2012 travel blog

Umina Beach and Creek mouth

Shot of the Umina caravan park pool

Pretty Beach jetty at low tide.

Caravan park staff cooking brekky

Norah Beach Lighthouse

Manly Beach

Manly Ferry

Our first view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House

Obviously the Sydney Oprea House

And obviously Sydney harbour Bridge

Us doing the tourist thing in front of the Bridge

The Opera House from the ferry

Steph, waiting for the rain while on the Red Hop On Hop...

The rain is coming

Our next boat trip THE BIG ONE AT THE BACK OF COURSE...

Dorothy from Wiggles display at the Power House

Cut of Opera House

Tuesday April 8th

This morning we went for a walk along the beach and around the caravan park in Umina. We then went for a drive around the southern area and all the beaches in the area. We have extended for another day, tomorrow there is a free breakfast for the oldies (US) and others in the park.

April 9th

Today we attended the free breakfast for Grey Nomads that was put on by the caravan park staff and management. We enjoyed the brekky of bacon and eggs with coffee and juice. There has been a National Bowling Championship competition in the area over the last week, a lot of the competitors are staying in the caravan park. Most of the people we spoke to were presidents of their clubs and so we spoke to a number of the players about the comp and also about bowling clubs in general. We were sitting with a couple of ladies who were the champs and obviously very happy with themselves. After brekky we went for another drive to the North of Umina, again had a look at a couple of other beaches and lookouts.

Thursday 10th April

Packed the caravan up today to head down to Sydney. I have booked into a caravan park to the North of Sydney, Nareembeen, but only about 24 kms out. This is the closest park to Sydney and is on a bus route (155). We headed down the Coastal Hwy, arrived around 11.30am. Booked in for 4 days.

In the afternoon we went for a drive to Manly Beach and also the Manly Wharf. At the wharf we inquired about how to get bus and ferry tickets. I decided to get a ticket for $31.50 ea that gave us unlimited trips on the ferrys, buses and light rail for a week. We also found out the easiest way and how we could get to Sydney. We then went to find how to get to Taronga Park Zoo. After this we headed back to the caravan park as it was now peak hour and also raining.

Friday 11th April

We were up and about early this morning to try and find our way into Sydney. Caught the bus which is just out the back of the caravan park, takes about 40 minutes to get to the Manly Wharf, then the ferry over to Circular Quay. The Manly Ferry takes just on 30 minutes for the trip. For anyone who has not been to Sydney this is the area that most of the ferrys buses and trains leave from.

We then went for a walk over to the Opera House for a bit of a look around. Took a ferry to Darling Harbour where the Wildlife Zoo, Madam Tussades and Sealife Aquarium and The Sydney Tower (Eye) are accessed.

By now it was lunchtime and we decided to stop in one of the many cafe for a bite to eat. When we were almost finished the lady in a table rose up, turned and tripped over her feet and fell, hitting her head on our table and knocked herself out. We were quite surprised as you could imagine, but she was a worker from the aquarium and other workers were there, who came to her assistance as well, it seemed one of them was a senior person who, as she calmed the lady down, took control of the situation. We made a discrete exit, knowing the injured lady was in good hands. Nice to know that people are generally keen to assist though.

We continued to look around this area, there was a pedestrian bridge to get to the other side of the bay but Dave decided we would just take the ferry back to Circular Quay. On our return we also found out where to buy a ticket for the "Hop on Hop off" bus tours. This is the red open top double decker bus that takes you around all the tourist sights in Sydney City Tour (29 stops) and Bondi Beach Loop (10 stops). We have decided that we will do that trip tomorrow. You can get 24 hour or 48 hour tickets, and I suggest you get the 48 hour one as there is so much to see and do.

We then headed back to the Ferry for our return to the caravan park as we want to get back in daylight. The ferry was just about to leave, so that was good, but we found the bus was a 45 minute wait once we arrived in Manly. So in the end we arrived back just on dark. The driver we had was I believe the driver from hell, she hit just about every kerb and did not know which was the brake pedal. We were extremely happy to get back to the park ALIVE and uninjured.

Tonight was to be the first pizza night at the caravan park, they sell wood fired pizzas, and they are OK !!!

Saturday 12th April

Up and about early, on the bus and heading to Manly Wharf. Connected to the ferry to head into Sydney. Today the ferry trip was interesting, as we headed across the Sydney Harbour Heads the water was a bit rough, there was a fairly reasonable swell happening :(

We arrived at Circular Quay OK, headed to the red bus "Hop on Hop off". We went through the city, on board there is a commentary that explains the main points on the trip. If you stay on the bus the trip takes about 1.5 hours for each loop.

We broke the trip and changed buses at one of the three interchange options, moving onto another bus that goes out to the famous Bondi Beach.

Unfortunately the weather has turned very nasty and there is a lot of rain. We got off the bus at Bondi and had a look around a couple of the blocks, and as we had only come out in light clothes, Steph took the opportunity for Dave to purchase Dave a HOODIE...note whose wearing it ;-0.

Then we went and watched the surf POUND in. It was very rough with about a 2 meter swell. The rain come in very quickly, blew over and then another big grey cloud would come in, almost as quickly. The winds were turning umbrellas inside out. Not many people swimming or surfing which was a shame.

After a very yummy Pork Belly and Chorizo lunch at "The Bucket List" cafe and a few more photos we headed back to the bus stop, and while waiting for the bus we decided to by Dave his own Bondi Hoodie, but in white..finally we were back on the bus to continue our journey and after about 8 stops, connected with the first bus again.

Unfortunately, we were all sitting on the bus and there appeared to be a problem with the suspension, after about 10 minutes the driver told us we had to get off the bus as this one was BROKEN !!. We were only going one stop to the Power House museum, and although we asked they advised us it was too far to walk quickly.

When we eventually arrived there and but when we spoke to the staff, they told us they were closing in 45 minutes and we would need a good 2 hours to enjoy the museum. So we decided to come back tomorrow to have a look at the museum.

Back to the bus stop, wait again, finished the loop back to Circular Quay, this has taken us from 10:47 to 17:00, and so we decide to see if we can upgrade the ticket to a 48 hour ticket as it will run out while we are in the museum tomorrow. But the manager of the tour company, advised us to catch the free city shuttle (555) with a small walk through Chinatown, and save ourselves $30 if we only want to go to the museum. We decide to do this.

We quickly catch the ferry at 17:30 to head back to the caravan park but again the trip across the heads was quite rough. Once we got in to Manly, then on the bus it was again a very late, dark and wet finish to the day. We both felt quite tired out, but this was also an excuse to have a couple of beers with dinner.

Sunday 13th

Again, up and about early as we had to get a bus at 8.10am, get us to the ferry and then over to Circular Quay, and had been advised to catch the free clipper bus as it was the most direct route to the Power House Museum.

We arrived there just after 10am, and a long queue of families and lots of children. We spent 2.5 hours in the museum, where there was so much to see, Train, Transport, Space travel, Technical & Design, History, Inventions, Strictly Ballroom outfits and storyline photos etc, Energy Saving section on how to save money in household and town planning, lots of interactive activities for kids. We went through most of the displays as far as we know including the Wiggles display.

I was on a challenge to try and get back to the caravan park by 1pm. (not going to happen) I wanted to get back so I could see the final Wildcats Basketball game (game 3 of a best of 3 final series).

We got to the park in time for me to see the last quarter and the end of the game, which was a HUGE win for the cats. Well done to them.

It was pouring rain again, and so we settled in for a quiet afternoon. We have decided to stay another few days hoping for some better weather for a Zoo Day.

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