Day Five :: Sydney
If you’ve been to Sydney, you’ll know how much of an amazingly beautiful city it is. The sparkling harbour, the Bridge, Opera House, Luna Park, the skyline – it truly is an amazing city. Truly, truly amazing.
After battling Pennant Hills Road, we made it to a train station for a not-too-long trip into the city. Emerging from a rail tunnel just before the bridge, we are seemingly catapulted from the north, over the bridge, into the heart of the city.
It’s as you expect. Loud, busy, unrelenting, amazing. We pass Martin Place and are soberly reminded of the horrible events just a few years ago. We pass old and new, all the way down to stunning Cockle Bay and Darling Harbour. Our first tourist trap is the National Maritime Museum, and it doesn’t disappoint. We tour the Advance, the Vampire, the submarine Onslow and a replica of the Endeavour, which, much to my children’s annoyance, wasn’t actually a pirate ship.
Lunch was spent overlooking the water in the harbour, where a nice Indian man struck up conversation with me:
“That’s your son?” he asked with his sub-continental accent
“Yes, that’s right, and that’s my daughter”
“You can tell. He looks like you. Big ears”…
After the Maritime Museum, we took the ferry over to Circular Quay. There’s something special about Sydney Ferries. A romance about those patented light yellow and green vessels, and Sydney Harbour didn’t disappoint. If you’ve ever been on a Sydney Ferry, you’ll know the feeling. That gentle bob up and down, the glisten of the light on the water, the soft growl of the diesel engines chugging through the harbour.
We round the finger wharfs and margined Observatory Hill. Luna Park smiled to our left as we chugged under that magnificent bridge. I reminded my children that Fort Dennison is where they sent the children who didn’t eat their vegetables. Before long, the classic sail-shaped roof of the Opera House comes into view and Circular Quay opens up like the pearl of an oyster.
Circular Quay is teeming. Ita Buttrose is filming an advertisement for something while disinterested tourists swarm around with selfie sticks and matching backpacks. Asian men dressed in beige pants with long-sleeved polo shirts tucked in walk slowly while their wives chatter and point, all donned in matching tracksuits and hats with the see-thru visor. Impossibly good looking 20-somethings swan up the steps of the Opera House, every photo they take is worthy of a travel brochure. Overweight security guards lean listlessly against concrete barriers, and I wonder how much of a deterrent they would be against someone hellbent on terrorising this beautiful corner of the world.
From the stairs of the Opera House, it’s hard not to fall in love with this city. The city, Lady Macquarie’s Chair, Fort Dennison, the Quay all laid out, glistening, happy, Sydney.
Our next stop is what I call Centerpoint Tower, but I think it’s changed names a few times since the 80’s. I can’t believe I’m paying money to catch a trip up an elevator, but honestly, it’s worth it. Sydney, sunshine, 360 degree views. The mighty Pacific to the east and those Blue Mountains to the west. Laid out before me, this city. The bright red Coke sign at the Cross, the stoic conservatorium, the harbour, Hyde Park and the silent memorial. It’s all there, aching to be explored.
We had a wonderful evening with various family and went to bed way to late, having enjoyed every second of this long, but amazing day.