After being in New Zealand for so long I was craving a big city, and Sydney did not disappoint. I drank in the noise, the size and the wonderful busy-ness of the city! There were cheap-eateries, internet cafes, towering offices, greasy pizzas, and, the piece de resistance… a massive Woolworths! In the UK, Woolworths – well, it’s gone into administration now – but when it was still in existence it sold toys, CDs, pic-n-mix and odds and ends. In Australia it appeared to be an actual supermarket, which was fab! We did our Christmas shopping there. Which basically meant we each bought chocolate for each other 🙂
On Christmas Day we ate a three course meal at a hotel. We had to shop around to find one that wasn’t hideously expensive. After lunch we went for a stroll to Circular Quay and saw the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House which was magnificent!
In the next few days we explored the city. We had a tour of the Opera House which was interesting – I didn’t realise it was built by a Danish architect – Mr Utzon. We found Darling Harbour which we loved – there was a food court which did a mean pizza slice! We visited the nearby large casino, but I was denied entry as I was wearing “thongs” (they meant flip flops of course – I’m not an exhibitionist). Presumably most of Australia wouldn’t be allowed in either – as if anyone wears “thongs”, it’s the Aussies 🙂
We also explored some of the local beaches. Our favourite beach was Manly beach. This is easily accessible through a short ferry ride from Circular Quay, and I would highly recommend it. The ferry-ride itself was beautiful and the beach was vast and uncrowded.
We also went to the famous Bondi Beach, but only arrived as the sun was setting. We had a walk along the beach and then made a pretty impressive sandcastle using a discarded oar that we found on the beach. As you do…
I was horrified to find that there were cockroaches all over the pavements of Bondi. I know many would say that I am pathetic and these creatures are natural in hot climates. Perhaps… but they freak me out!!
And while on the topic of wildlife, how could I forget the bats?! There were large bats flying over Sydney. Even now that is a strange sentence to type… in the UK we don’t have bats, except for tiny ones that life in the countryside and come out at dusk. To see large black bats – I’d say the wingspan was about 2 foot – flying over the city at first struck me with horror and disbelief. However we found that they nest in the trees in Hyde Park, and we soon got used to them, and instead of being frightened, we tried to photograph them. If you’ve ever tried to photograph a bat on a camera phone you’ll understand our frustrations…
At the end of our stay in Sydney, and upon my boyfriend’s insistence, we signed up for the Bridge Climb. I was not keen on this endeavour. Firstly on account of price, which I shall discuss later. Secondly I didn’t appreciate having to remove my clothes and change into an outfit which could charitably be described as a catsuit, but which I can only describe as grey pyjamas. We had to go through a metal detector which picked me up as I had a metal underwire on my bra. It’s always nice to have your choice of bra discussed in front of a group of strangers. We weren’t allowed any loose objects, and anything we took (eg. sunglasses) had to be attached to us. We also had to be attached to the bridge. I can see why, as clearly if an object was to be dropped by a “bridge climber” and land on a car below it could be very serious. However this does mean that cameras are not allowed!!
On the upside, our tour guide was incredibly funny and particularly gorgeous! Objectively speaking, of course. The climb was enjoyable and the view from the top was spectacular. A cruise ship passed under the bridge when we were at the top, which was exciting! We had official photos taken at the summit of the bridge, which were then on sale later at a premium price. They know they have a captive audience as no-one will have a camera!
Included in the price of the Bridge Climb is a voucher to climb one of the “pylons” (the stone towers at each side of the bridge). This is normally about $10 AUD, and I believe you can take cameras up! Unfortunately as we didn’t know about this, we hadn’t left any time to do this, as we were flying out the following morning.
My review? The Bridge Climb was enjoyable, but definitely not worth the money involved. It was around $220 AUD each! The view was great but I would surmise that it isn’t much better than the view from the pylon, which is a fraction of the price and you can take your own camera. You could even put on grey pyjamas if you wanted to get an authentic experience…
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