Friday, January 8, 2016

Carlson Honeymoon! Volume I: Australia, Part VII: Sydney

The next day (November 18th) we left beautiful Queensland (after eating a quick breakfast) and flew to Sydney (our last stop in Australia). On the flight we were able to see the Great Barrier Reefs and the beautiful beaches that cover the eastern coast of Australia. 

We arrived in Sydney (after a bumpy flight) and checked into the Harbour Rocks Hotel. This hotel was pretty unique and was in a great location! The Rocks is located just a four minute walk from Circular Quay (pronounced "key") where the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House, and the ships terminal are.

After checking into the hotel we sent off our laundry and then walked down the street where we found this cute little Italian place. After enjoying our pizza we walked over to Circular Quay so we could find where our ship would be docked in just a few days.

[The Rocks]

[Sydney Harbour Bridge]

We found the terminal and saw the "Voyager of the Seas!" I know this ship! I've been on this ship! During my Junior year of college, my family went on a Mexican Riviera cruise. It was crazy to see it in Australia 10 years later!

[My first time seeing the Opera House!]

[Downtown Sydney]

We walked around the Circular Quay and The Rocks for a while before heading back to the hotel. Since we had a late lunch we ended up eating at the hotels bar where we got a cheese plate which consisted of local cheeses. Josh stayed away from the Blue Cheese (Fine then! More for me!) but he liked the rest of them.

The next morning (November 19th) we slept in and then went to to get lunch at the Opera Bar (a bar that is located underneath the Opera House).

At 1:00 PM we went back to the hotel where we were supposed to meet for our Panoramic Sydney Tour.

When we got back to the hotel we were told that we were the only ones signed up for the tour that day so we could leave whenever we wanted! Sweet!

Here is a map of where we went on our driving pano tour: The star above the "n" in Sydney is The Rocks where we started. The star below the "s" is Darling Harbour. The southeastern star is Bondi Beach and the northeaster star is Manly.

Our tour guide picked us up and told us that since we are the only ones on the tour we could customize it if we wanted to. He convinced us that instead of ending the tour back at the hotel, we should end it in Manly and then we can take the ferry back to Circular Quay. Sounds good to me!

We left The Rocks and headed over to Darling Harbour where the Maritime Museum and the Aquarium is.

We then drove through downtown Sydney to Mrs. Macquaries Point. Here we had another great view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. 

[Fort Denison]

[This is where Mrs. Macquaries would sit, look out over the Harbour, and think about life]

We then drove through Oxford Street and Paddington. Along the way our driver told us about the convict history in Sydney and about the current economy. He said that any house that can see the water (ocean or the Harbour) was worth at least a million dollars! It was then that we learn just how much of a socialist our driver was. Don't get me wrong, he was a great tour guide and was a lot of fun, but he had some pretty strong views.

We then arrived at Tamarama and Bronte where we saw the beautiful sea cliffs and the entrance to the Harbour.

We then turned south and went to Bondi Beach. Our tour guide let us walk around for 45 minutes before we continued our tour. The beach was beautiful! The sand was so soft and the waves were perfect!

We then drove back through downtown Sydney, passing through Hyde Park, crossed over the Harbour Bridge, and were dropped off in Manly.

Manly had a beautiful beach and a nice open air shopping area. We walked through the shopping area before reaching the wharf where we bought our ferry tickets back to Circular Quay.

A few minutes later we were boarding our "slow" ferry (you can pay more and go on a faster one if you were in a hurry) and headed across the Harbour. 

[By the time we got back the sun was setting and we were able to get this shot of the Opera House]

We ate dinner at a steak and seafood restaurant in Circular Quay. Josh had kangaroo steaks which were delicious!

On our way home we stopped by the Suez Canal and took some pictures.

[The east side is really narrow]

[The west side, which was right next to our hotel]

Even though Sydney revolves around the Harbour, seeing it from a van is definitely a good idea. We had a blast exploring the city with our tour guide!

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