|Sydney – our last few days.
We were picked up from the cruise by past cruise friends who live just 2 hours north of Sydney. We had 2 lovely days with Richard and Ngaire at their beautiful home overlooking Lake McQuarie. We took the train back to Sydney with more views of this massive lake on the way.
Next day we took the train and then bus to the Blue Mountains a rugged region west of Sydney.Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and the Three Sisters sandstone rock formation. A sort of grand canyon with cable cars and a train. We hiked the cliff top to a cable car to take us across the valley to meet the next cable car down into the valley. We had a short walk around the rain forest with old mine shafts visible. We took the 52 degree train back up and enjoyed it so much we took it back down and up again – like a mini roller coaster. A good day out
Friday we took a lovely ferry ride across Sydney Harbour to Manly Beach. A short walk through a pedestrian area of the town takes you to the other side and the beautiful beach area. There was a world beach volleyball competition going on to add to the excitement. It was a very hot day and a beer break was required before heading back to the ferry. Our favourite beer was 150 lashes pale ale; never less than $9! We went to a great Greek restaurant that night. It was very busy and we had to sit at the bar. We found eating out in Sydney very expensive compared to Canada. Main courses were generally $28-35 dollars, side salads $18+ etc. The Australian dollar was on par with the Canadian so no conversions were needed.
Saturday we spent time in an area called The Rocks. This is an area of small boutiques, restaurants and a really nice Saturday market with all kinds of lovely stuff for sale – no junk here!
Sunday was a window shopping day in beautiful heritage buildings and then off to the China town market and Paddy’s market in the same area. We took the train back up to the Quays next to the Opera house to see a really good festival of indigenous groups dancing and singing. We managed to catch a group from Fiji and one from NSW, Australia. There were also Tibetan monks doing a lovely sand mandala.
Monday, our last day, was a little damp so we decided to do some indoor exploring. The main library is a lovely building with a new area added on. They have a great reading room and displays of art and artifacts around the building. Then on to the Art gallery of NSW. This is another lovely building in a park setting next to the Botanic Gardens. We really only went to see the Aboriginal paintings.
All in all a great journey around Australia. Great old and new architecture, lovely scenery, friendly people, kangaroos and of course the adorable koalas. The cruise ship wasn’t bad either.