Hey y'all! Checking in today to take a look at some Sydney, Australia sights. A few weeks ago, Dennis had guy plans for the weekend with his Cleveland buddies. Fly fishing down in Taupo and boy stuff like that. The kids and I were tempted to stay here pining away for him but instead came up with a quick trip over to Sydney. It's only a 3 1/2 hour flight and we figured as long as we're this close, we should spend at least a few days there. If nothing else, Laurel really needed to see the Opera House. Something to do with a show she used to watch when she was 5 -- The Wonder Pets. We printed out some maps and addresses and got all of our visas, return itineraries (to prove we are eventually leaving NZ so that they let us back in) and passports together and headed west.
As if a few days in this lovely city weren't enough, it happens that two of Dennis's co-workers live there and were very, very kind to offer to show us around a bit. Samy and his wife Laurie even fed us a wonderful dinner (no kidding, the best lasagna ever and my grandmother was from Italy) and Phil picked us up, supplied us with water and hats (unless you're trying to age in a hurry, hats are very necessary in the Southern hemisphere!) and showed us the spectacular Pacific beaches east of the city. What a cool way to see a new place. Our experience was much richer because of these generous people.
Man was it hot there. We didn't realize there would be a 30 degree temp difference and got up all optimistic about walking over to the Opera House and around downtown and Chinatown and to this museum and that. At 9am, after our scones, crumpets, muesli, and tea, we started off strong for about ten minutes and then quickly wilted for the rest of our 12 hour day. Wow. Indoor air-conditioned venues replaced some of our walking plans, but it was all interesting and well-done.
It was fun that Sydney is most definitely a tourist city. There were people wandering around from possibly every country in the world. And they seemed so happy to be there. The city is gorgeous -- literally just sparkling. The buildings, the clear water... everything just glitters.
We did actually take the tour of the Opera House. It was only an hour long and interesting enough even for the kids. I mean, if the Wonder Pets found it worthy of a fly-over, we had to learn more! The sea of royal purple carpet was eye-catching!
Sydney's ferries are the easy, fun, and very inexpensive way to make your way around the city and we enjoyed them very much. I think on Sunday we paid a total of $7.50 for the three of us to make unlimited trips wherever we dared to roam.
Both of my children are way into animals. Laurel enjoys the cuddly ones and Trey loves anything to do with aquatic life. Lucky for us the Sydney Wildlife World and the aquarium were right next to each other -- and...air conditioned, you know it!! The funniest thing about this whole day was the derelict gang of passed-out kangaroos that we found there. It was the middle of the day and I guess they're nocturnal b/c they lay shattered on the ground like a bunch of drunk frat boys. One scratched his armpit and another lay there asleep, but pooping. Crass, I know. Sorry, but it was just freaking hilarious. We could not stop laughing.
We also saw nicer things at the animal parks. Such as -- a DUGONG. Which is the Southern hemisphere's version of a manatee. The two vary in fins and facial structure only slightly and there are just five dugongs in captivity. Clearly this called for purchase of a stuffed version for Laurel.
I had no idea how gorgeous the beaches are in Sydney!! Wow!!! Stunning. Enormous crashing walls of waves on sandstone cliffs. Thousands of people on Bondi Beach with its surfing, lifeguard competitions, topless sunbathers (Trey SWORE he did not notice all of the naked boobies, but I'm having a difficult time believing this as even I noticed them and boobies are not really my thing), and on and on. It was nice of Phil to take a few photos of the three of us. I only appear in a sum total of 7 for the entirety of this trip and most of them are blurry.
One of the coolest things that we did was to walk across the Harbour Bridge. It was not the very daring and much vaunted Bridge Climb (with caps) as that required 1. no camera (yeah right) 2. special jumpsuits in the 93 degree heat 3. climbing the Harbour Bridge 4. everyone has to be chained together which is a bit much to ask of a slightly (very) claustrophobic person and 5. it cost a heck of a lot of money for three people to do it. We simply found the end of the bridge, climbed some stairs and walked across. We did climb to the top of one of the pylon lookouts and that was pretty darned impressive.
On the other side of the bridge, and just about right underneath, is this crazy old amusement park called Luna Park. You can just picture a whole week-long special series of Scooby Doo taking place here. The kids had a ball on that big old wavy slide and these other death trap rides that probably should've given me pause, but they really looked like fun.
We were so glad we were able to go! What a lovely place Sydney is. There were soooo many more things that we wanted to see and do, but we'll take what we can get. We hope to return some day. Adios amigos! xo, K.