A Travellerspoint blog

Sydney

G'day all. I can safely say I am blown away by Sydney.
Really nice and very well located Hyatt Regency Hotel, they didn't have our booking but within 5 minutes had us sorted. Blip somewhere between Trailfinders and the hotel.
The back Entrance leads onto Darling harbour. Enjoyed a nice lunch and took a walk through the main shopping area once again in search of the the size 62 hat due to Nick leaving the other one plus his camera in a restaurant in Melbourne, which by the way is being posted to is by a very nice lady called Minnie. Thank you Minnie.
We could only get a size 61 this time with some stretch so as they sat 'twill do.
When we arrived at circular quay I felt WOW this is just amazing. A huge Royal Caribbean Liner was berthed and it dwarfed everything around.
I thought of the men coming home from the war in Suvla Bay (from the song Waltzing Mathilda) and felt emotional. There is an outline on the harbour made with brass plates indicating where the Quay was years ago at it really was circular.
The Opera House is stunning and gigantic and the Sydney Harbour Bridge is equally fantastic.
As we took in the views the liner made its way slowly out of the port and it really was a sight to behold.
Finished the day with some really delicious prawns and a nice Marlborough Sauvignon.
Splendid day.

Posted by helencosgrave 12:20 Comments (0)

Last day in Melbourne

We are having our final meal in a really nice Chineese restaurant - ManMo on the South Bank recommended to us by Derek.Top class.
We had a wonderful day, spent the morning and evening at the tennis championships with a nice break in the middle at Derek and Catherine's apartment in Richmond, a lovely suburb of Melbourne.
The highlight of the tennis was watching the stars of the past in an exhibition match between Martina Navratilova and LIndsey Davenport followed by the men's singles match between Dan Evans and JW Tsonga. We also saw Zverev (the guy who beat Murray) doing his warm up.
Suddenly I'm a tennis fan.
We are sad to be saying goodbye to this lovely city.
Recommend: The Pensione Hotel for location.
The South Bank for food and atmosphere.
The art galleries and many musical theatres.
The transport system is terrific.
So much to do in the city it's just not necessary to do day trips.
We did love the penguins tho.
The huge added bonus was the tennis.
The only negative was the lunatic driver so definitely would recommend Melbourne.

Posted by helencosgrave 04:10 Comments (0)

Day 3

A quieter day today.
On Derek's advice we took a trip to the Melbourne cricket ground which is in close proximity to the Tennis village.
We were moved to see a statue of Jim Stynes an Irishman at age 18 came out to Melbourne and made a name for himself in Australian Rules football playing for Melbourne Football Club. He was awarded the Brownlee medal in 1991 the highest honour that can be bestowed. His parents are clubmates of mine at Enniscorthy Golf Club. RIP Jim.
We spent the afternoon and evening at Churchill island and Philip Island.
It's a long drive from the city through very flat farmland, our driver Luka an Italian was excellent, a fountain of knowledge on Australia and its history.
Philip Island is famous for the Penguin Parade and a whole tourist industry has been built around the penguins..
All the 20metre high penguins parade out from the sea at dusk, they come out at dusk to avoid been eaten by birds of prey, they really are tiny little birds and it is quite the sight to see them make their way back to their nests.
We saw Koalas who we learned spend 20 hours sleeping so we were lucky to see one awake lying on a low branch of the Eucalyptus tree. The eucalyptus leaves give very little nourishment so the Koala has very little energy hence the 20 hour sleep.
A good day

Posted by helencosgrave 15:06 Comments (0)

Day 2

Woke up to a typical Irish day wet and windy but soon dried up enough for us to continue our bus tour of the city.
Spent a very pleasant hour at the National Gallery of Victoria in Federation Square (later in the day to be the scene of a horrific car rampage) before we continued our bus tour which took us past the south bank are and on up to Melbourne Zoo. Nicely laid out but the animals were living in quite small enclosures.
Our main interest was in the native Australian animals and birds, the Kangaroo, the wombat, the Kuala being my favourites along with the beautiful colourful birds and the wild African dogs were also quite impressive.
Took a tram back to town only for the tram to be stopped two stops short of our destination when we discovered that a major incident has taken place at Federation Square.
A maniac driver having driven erratically through the city careered down Bourke Street a pedestrian mall killing 4 and injuring over 20 people before he was shot by police.
There was mayhem and I can honestly say I have never witnessed such police activity all around the city centre.
We took refuge in The Spicy Fish restaurant in Chinatown and I won't be back.
We eventually got back to our hotel which took time due to road closures, police cordons etc.
Had a delightful dinner at the lovely Sirocco restaurant next door to our hotel. Had a drink with Derek Hennessey and 8 month pregnant Cathetine. A lovely end to an eventful day.

Posted by helencosgrave 15:03 Comments (0)

Dai 1

Woke to a beautiful sunny morning, adequate self service continental breakfast in our very central hotel we went in search of that elusive size 62 hat which we eventually found in a souvenir shop where we discovered they sell a huge array of boomerangs and other paraphernalia.
A welcome pint at Time Out cafe on Federation square which was alive with tourists and locals being entertained by an excellent acrobat while the giant screen kept everyone in tune with the Australian Open tennis tournament which is held just a short stroll from the square.
Took a short tour of St Pauls Cathedral and then off we set on the open top bus, there are two routes, the city centre route and the southern route.
We opted for the southern coastal route which took us to St Kilda. Really nice seaside area. We had an overpriced lunch of fish and chips in the famous (I believe) Donovan's restaurant.
Watched skateboarders do their stuff and took a long stroll by the seafront.
Continued the bus trip and noted the places which we will return to tomorrow.
Back to the hotel in time for happy hour .
After a rest we finished the day with Tapas and wine on the very trendy and popularDegraves street. A great selection of restaurants and bars on the street but it seems they all close up at 10pm. All in all a lovely day.

Posted by helencosgrave 11:20 Comments (0)

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