Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sydney Feb 2013

We were too cheap to pay the toll road fare and exited before we hit the tollway across Sydney.  Unfortunately, we didn't have a good detail map and just had to wing it to find our way in the general direction of Randwick, where my friend Margaret lives.  We drove for miles in the wrong direction but there wasn't a road heading across.  We finally found a road that took us back up the way we wanted to go and we wound our way through the narrow streets in the mega-mobile that was our campervan.  I was driving, so my nerves had to stay calm while Jason searched in vain for a reference on any map we might have of Sydney.  It's such a big, spread out city that we just didn't have the detail we needed.  "Just keep driving" Jason said.... good thing it was still early afternoon.

We did finally reach Margaret's home and found a parking place with no restrictions just down the street from her house.  Parking in Australia is always a nightmare, and Margaret lives across from a college campus, so you can imagine what parking is like.  Luckily, many people really do use public transport and the gate to the campus by her was not a main entrance.  We ended up parking right in front of her house for days.
Margaret, me and Jason in her front yard
 Margaret on a walk out on a windy point.
 Just before we left, Margaret gave me a rock from her garden to remember her by.  I'm holding it in my hand there. She wasn't impressed by my opal rocks I'd brought in to show her from Opalton.  That's Margaret's daughter, Evelyn on the right.  She is a brilliant law graduate who was immersed in moots--mock trial competition--while we were there.  She ended up getting a trip to Washington, D.C. to compete with her team in an international mooting competition, but not before the judges in Canberra made a total mess of the scoring and had teams in and out of winning positions due to their mistakes.  It was a real cockup!
 Evelyn displaying the pearls Margaret bought her for her 21st birthday while she was with us in Tahiti last year.
 Margaret and Jason relaxing and enjoying a beer after a long day of touring.  Margaret drove us all over the city to see sights and areas we never would've been able to cover on our own. I think we saw it all!
 Margaret and me on a windy point overlooking one of the bays along the shore.  There were so many bays to see.

The world-famous Bondi Beach
 Bronte Beach.  We did the 'beach walk' from Bronte to Bondi beach, along the waterfront.  It's quite a walk and one of the things to do when in the area.
 Jason and Margaret on a rocky overhang with Sydney Harbour in the distance.
 Karen and Jason at a scenic stop on a beach walk.  You can still see the Sydney skyline in the distance.
 A rocky shoreline on the beach walk.
 A chasm in the rocks along the shore.

Looking at the cliff at The Gap, a famous suicide spot.
This golf hole way out on a rocky point looks like a fake one from a calendar I used to have of the World's Toughest Golf Holes.  Better have some water balls handy.
 The lee side of the rocky point at Watson's Bay.  There is reportedly good diving here and we saw some dive boats the day we were out here.
 Here you can see the layers of rock that create the formations at the shoreline at Vaucluse.  These same kinds of layers were evident at King's Canyon when we walked the rim at the inland park near Alice Springs.
 A lighthouse along the shore of the harbour.  That's Jason striding up the hill to check it out.
 Neat rock formations along the shore.
 The surf stops here.  There is nothing between here and New Zealand!
 Delicate looking rock formations on an overhang along the beach walk.
 Rocky sandstone overhangs.  You must be careful that you don't accidentally walk out onto the fragile ledges.  They can break off and you'd tumble to your death down the cliff into the ocean below.  Rugged stuff.
 Kelp at low tide along the shore.

A swimming beach along the shore of the harbour.  We walked across the beach and over the point in the distance.
 Another view of beautiful Bondi Beach and bay along the shores of Sydney.  
The Sky Mirror, an Anish Kapoor sculpture in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Sydney.

A tree turned into a sculpture in Chinatown.  The tree spouts water and the man below was laying prostrate in the stream, soaking wet and apparently quite "out of it".  He managed to sit up, but he didn't move far.  You never know what you might see around here.

We watched the governor land in her helicopter.  We missed the tours offered of the house 3 times, so we finally had to give up!  We never did get to see the inside.  It's in the middle of the Botanical Gardens, so we walked all over them instead.

Hyde Park and its fountain.
 Jason and Karen on the shore of a Sydney bay
  This sculpture of wildlife strung out over almost a block of a park in the city.  It has so many animals that I saw something new every time I looked again.  Pretty intricate and it stays graffiti-free.  So nice.
  A close-up of part of the animal sculpture.  How many creatures can you find and identify in just this small section?
 The observatory above Sydney with the ball tower on top.  The ball would drop at precisely 1pm every day so ships in the harbour could calibrate their clocks.
 Birdcages hanging in an alley.  We just happened onto the street art as we walked around.

This sculpture of a boar is pretty famous.  People rub its snout for luck.  You can see how shiny it is.  They also rub other parts for luck--you'll have to look for the other shiny spot.

Old parts of different architecture were strewn around this hilltop across from the Botanical Gardens.  So many cool old pieces of buildings as art.

This is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Sydney, now a museum depicting how folks lived back in the days of early settlement here--1840's I think.
The Argyle Stairs leading to The Rocks, the first area of settlement in Sydney.

A surf rescue helicopter taking off from a station along one of the cliffside walks we took.

A sand sculpture in front of the Customs Bldg. on Circular Quay in downtown Sydney.  Tourists took turns sitting in an empty 'seat' and getting their photos taken.  A couple of days later, it was all gone!  

Circular Quay downtown.  Cruise ship in background.  If you look closely you can also see an aboriginal band is performing by the light pole in the background. The sounds of their didgeridoo could be heard all along the quay.

Sydney Harbour with bridge in background.

Sydney Observatory
 The Sydney Opera House.  You could go in and use the bathroom, but you must pay to see the inside or actually go to a performance there to see it.  The designer never saw it once completed.

The Suicide cliff at The Gap.  Jason walked up to the spot, but he came back.

Zumbaron towers.  Zumbarons are very tasty small cookies that have intense colors and flavors.  Google it and see what they are currently offering.  I ate 1/2 dozen while Margaret drove us around town--a gustatory delight!
The Opera House and harbour ferries in Sydney Harbour.
 Footprints on the walls of a stairwell.  Some of them are over 8 feet up the wall.
 Weird pink, black and blue paint job on a building we passed on the bus to/from the city from Margaret's.  Excuse the reflection, sorry.
 An old building in The Rock's, the first designed by a convict.  It's still in pretty good shape!

The 'Golden Bucket' tower in Sydney.  It's actually the Westfield Tower, the highest point in Sydney.

We watched this unicyclist performer for a bit, but he got quite blunt about wanting money for his performance.  And not change, like a busker; he asked for the $10 and $20s or gold coins only (gold coins in Australia are $1 and $2).  He told the crowd to keep the silver.  These performers stake out a space and are found there many days in the same spots.

A view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Observatory.  A view not generally seen.
 A walkway along The Gap towards the cliff where people are known to jump to their deaths.
We needed to get moving to get back to Brisbane to return the van on time.  We used Margaret's hose to clean the van in front of her house.  The gutters ran red with the dust we cleaned out of the vehicle.  I had to open every cupboard and door and Jason literally hosed out the interior in the driver's area.  We spent over an hour wiping out every nook and cranny in that vehicle so you couldn't tell that it had been so filthy earlier.  We reloaded our stuff into the still damp interior and headed off, stopping for fish and chips for Jason at a local place the tour guide had told him about in Randwick.

We headed through downtown Sydney to take the Harbour Bridge north (no toll this direction) and carry on towards Brisbane.  We had no idea how far we'd get or where we might want to stop along the way.  As it turned out, we didn't get far.....downtown Sydney, right next to Hyde Park and then the van died at an intersection when we stopped for a yellow light.  Uh oh... this is not good.  See the blog entry about the breakdown for that whole event.