Perhaps we saved the best to last in Australia. As the largest city by population, Sydney oozes confidence, style and a welcoming charm. We stayed in the heart of the city in Hyde Park and it was the perfect spot from which to go exploring. We were opposite the Anzac war memorial, which although closed to the public for refurbishment, is still an elegant landmark in the park. Here’s a night time picture.
There is lots of heritage to see here. Not far from our hotel was the Queen Victoria Building, a very large multi-story shopping mall, built around 1895. It is still elegant and full of interesting shops.
We also got to the more historic end of town – The Rocks. This is where the first convicts were dumped when they arrived in Australia and left to fend for themselves. As it was surrounded on three sides by sea, only one side needed guarding, reducing the amount of supervision needed. From these humble beginnings a substantial neighbourhood has emerged, with a mixed and sometimes unsavoury past. We took a walking night tour to hear about some of the past characters.
This is Cadmans cottage, one of the first buildings on the Rocks and now one of the oldest buildings in Sydney. Built in 1816 for the use of the governmental coxswains and their crews that would help to navigate the ships through the treacherous rocky coast of Sydney.
We took a bus ride around the city, which ended up being excellent. We used Free Tours . The bus ride is $18AUD each, and then you pay the guide what you think it was worth. Fantastic concept and the guide was informative and funny. We got to see Bondi Beach. Joy was able to soak it all in, but I had to run around trying to find an ATM that worked, as we still owed the driver for our ticket. Also Macquarie Lighthouse which was built in 1818.
We also found a great restaurant for lunch one day. You pay on weight very like Tidbits in London, if anyone has been there. Very tasty dishes and the desserts were positively sinful at Om Vegan .
Of course, no visit to Sydney would be complete without seeing Darling Harbour and the Opera House. It is an iconic building and it was very exciting to see it up close. There are no bad angles to this building. It is quite an extraordinary structure. The front of it almost looks like a glass cathedral. The contrast inside was quite stark, where unrelenting grey concrete is everywhere and was quite ugly when compared to the exterior.
We also noticed this lamp in the corner of our hotel lobby. Anyone who has visited the BA Lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5 will recognise them.
The last thing we went to see was the architectural quirk of the Business School of University Technology Sydney in Surry Hills. The building is made from brick, but with such a fluid shape it’s hard to believe. The building’s façade, which was made of 320,000 custom designed bricks, is described as the “squashed brown paper bag” and you can see why from this picture.
So we know that Little Man has been a little shy lately, but he does pop up here somewhere. Can you spot him?