Saturday, February 12, 2011

First Trip to Sydney, January 30 - February 4, 2011

We took our first trip as a family to Sydney on January 30.  The drive to Sydney took about 3 hours.  We stayed at a hotel just a couple of blocks from an area called the Circular Quay (pronounced key) on Sydney Harbour.  The harbour is just spectacular.  On the left is the Sydney Harbour Bridge and to the right the Opera House.  That afternoon we strolled along the harbour making our way toward the bridge then headed down through a neighbourhood called, “The Rocks”.  The Rocks is an old historic neighbourhood that has a similar feel to it as the Old Port in Portland, Maine.  There were wonderful boutiques, some high end stores, several museums, restaurants, cafes and bars.  We stumbled upon the outdoor markets so, of course, we (as in I) had to poke around.  I was able to find a few memorabilia and then the atmosphere got the better of us.  There were several Irish pubs along the street so we decided to join the fun and have a nice cold Guinness.  Before dinner we walked down to the Opera House to get a closer view of it before heading back to The Rocks for dinner.  The Opera House is just as incredible up close as it is from afar.   
The next morning I got up early to run down by the Opera House.  The Concierge showed me a 6 kilometre (4 miles) loop that takes you down to the harbour passing by the ferry terminals and the Opera House and then around the Royal Botanical Gardens.  When I travel, one of my favourite things to do is run.  I love the feeling of being on an unfamiliar route, not really sure of how much farther until the end, and seeing the city as it is in the early morning.  And, in a place like Sydney, the sights really can’t be beat (well maybe except for the run I had in Hawaii).  I got back to the hotel after 27 minutes of running so I can only conclude that either this was not a 6 km loop or I took a short cut!  Either way, it was a fabulous run, and a great way to begin my day. 
Our trip was a business trip for Uri so while he went off to work the girls and I headed for the zoo.  We took a ferry across the harbour then a gondola ride up to the top of the hill that the zoo is built.  It was a very hot and sunny day (high 30s C/90s F).  We had plenty of sunblock, water and our hats with us.  We made our way down the hill seeing the koalas, giraffe, the baby elephant, the baby hippo and the chimpanzees.  We even saw a Komodo dragon which I took a picture of just for my mother.  She is convinced they live here in Australia, however, the only ones that do are those at the zoo.  About mid-way through the elephant show, we decided it was time to get back on the ferry.  It was just too hot!  We missed several other exhibits, but I’m sure we’ll be back.  That evening we had a delicious seafood dinner down on the Circular Quay.  We walked off our dinner by making our way up and across the Harbour Bridge.   From the bridge the Opera House was glowing.  It was a beautiful night. 
Over the next couple of days while Uri was working the girls and I did a lot of walking, sight-seeing by ferry, and some shopping.  Since we moved to Australia the girls have had a growth spurt.  I decided we should replace the crocs that were on their feet since we were beginning to see their toes sticking out of the holes.   We were all excited to find just the right style and colour…Mary Janes, one in pink and one in purple.  Off we went to the arcade (shopping mall).  Well, I have to tell you, here we are in the land where crocs are from and, guess what, they couldn’t be found!  We went to more than 5 stores from sporting goods to department stores to specialty shoe stores looking for them.  I was told in one sporting goods store that they don’t carry children’s apparel because not a lot of children live in Sydney and therefore they don’t move the merchandise.  She told me I may have better luck in the suburbs.  I really was surprised that not one store in all of Sydney had crocs.  As we made our way back to the hotel without new crocs I saw plenty of children walking along the streets and I’d say about half were wearing crocs.  Perhaps they were all tourists!  We have since found the girls new crocs here in Canberra where we live, but I have to say there was very little stock to choose from.  There was only one pair (pink camouflage and blue) and one style (not Mary Janes) in their sizes.  Do Aussie kids not wear crocs?
Darling Harbour is another beautiful part of Sydney.  It took us two attempts to get to it by ferry.  We ended up on the wrong ferry on our first attempt, but it was a welcoming mistake.  We saw parts of the harbour we never would have seen if not for the error. I really enjoyed Sydney, however, we had a difficult time doing everything we wanted to do with the hot weather.  Each day, the farenheit temperature was around 100 degrees which made it difficult for us to be outside.  I look forward to visiting Sydney again, perhaps in April when it'll be Autumn and cooler weather.  

From the gondola heading up to the entrance to the Taronga Zoo

Komodo dragon


  1. Love your hat!
    What's with your hubby's sour puss face? Isn't that a beer in his hand?

  2. Sounds like an amazing adventure for you and the girls. Too bad Dad had to work. Maybe that's why he looks so mad. Keep writing! I love hearing about your adventures.