Friday 7th March - Sydney
Lovely sunny day, temp about 25°C. Met friends for lunch
at the Oaks pub – a huge place with lots of outdoor
A relaxing day then a good night out. Walked up to Military
Road – this area has many good restaurants – and
had a reasonable Thai meal. Most restaurants here are B.Y.O.
although they may also have their own alcohol licence.
Finished off the evening at the Oaks pub.
Saturday 8th March – Sydney
After a late start, we headed for Oporto’s famous
grilled chicken in North Sydney (the business district) for
lunch. They do great chicken fillet burgers with chilli sauce
(the Bondi burger).
Then walked across the Harbour Bridge, round the Opera House,
and through the botanic gardens. Here, there were literally
hundreds of bats in the trees. We continued on to Mrs Macquaries
Point, from where you can see a great view of the Opera House
in front of the Harbour Bridge. Returned to friends' flat
by ferry - a great way to travel in Sydney.
Sunday 9th March – Sydney
Started the day with cocktails at the bar on the 36th floor
of the ANA Harbour Grand Hotel. From here there’s an
excellent view of the bridge, opera house and the whole of
the harbour. Cocktails were not cheap ($17) but they were
delicious, so we had to have two!
We then walked across the city, around Darling Harbour and
on to the fish markets. This is a wonderful place where you
can buy an enormous variety of fish as well as eat them –
there are plenty of cafés and restaurants. We saw pelicans
very close to, standing on the rocks by the harbour. Weather
was partly cloudy today but still pleasant.
In the evening we went for a good Italian meal in The Rocks
area of town. Walking back over the bridge after dark, we
had wonderful views of the city and opera house.
Monday 10th March – Day trip to Katoomba, The
Took the train to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains (a 2 hour
trip). The first hour of the journey is through the suburbs
of Sydney and not very exciting, whilst the remainder of the
line travels up through lovely scenery into the mountains.
Unfortunately we travelled through some torrential rain on
the way, and on arrival at Katoomba it was quite foggy and
After a good all-day breakfast in town we continued on to
Echo Point, from where there should be a wonderful view of
the Three Sisters – a beautiful rock formation –
however the fog was so dense that we could barely see the
nearest trees! We walked a short distance down the cliff walk
to Lady Game Lookout, and just then the clouds lifted and
we had a great view of the Sisters and across the valley to
the other side. Almost immediately however it started to rain
so we rushed back to the Information Centre at Echo Point.
During a brief break in the rain we ventured out onto the
new viewing platform, a large raised area surrounded by a
metal handrail, and whilst out there we, and several other
people, were struck by lightning. We saw a bright flash and
felt a whoosh over our heads, then heard the thunder. It was
an extraordinary experience! One person reckoned the lightning
had hit the handrail surrounding the viewing platform. We
hadn’t heard any thunder prior to this, but didn’t
stay out there for long after this!
The rain became heavier so we caught a bus back to Katoomba
station and returned to Sydney.
Tuesday 11th March – Sydney
After walking across the Harbour Bridge and seeing some of
the sights around the harbour we headed for the Fish Markets.
Had a good look around at the huge variety of fish, then had
grilled lobster for lunch ($17 for half a grilled lobster)
and a seafood noodle dish – both delicious.
Caught the tram back to Chinatown, did some shopping, then
got train & ferry back to Neutral Bay. Weather was pretty
good today (mostly sunny and about 23°C) but once we got
back to the flat there was torrential rain, so much so that
the Harbour Bridge was no longer visible. Stayed in for the
evening and saw a possum on the balcony.
Wednesday 12th March – Sydney
The morning was wet so we stayed in but the weather improved
dramatically at lunchtime so we ventured up the road for an
excellent lunch at Bistro Niche – pasta and a lovely
glass of Evans & Tate wine for just $10. Did some supermarket
shopping in Woolworths (nothing like Woolworths in the UK).
Had a look around the wonderful Hayden
Orpheum Picture Palace cinema – first opened in
1935, this has been restored to its former glory and makes
a nice change from the current multiplex trend.
Saw a small firework display over the city from the flat
later in the evening.
Thursday 13th March – Bushwalking in Kuring-gai
Chase National Park, north of Sydney
A very nice warm and sunny day - about 25°C. Took a train from
Milsons Point to Wahroonga, about 10 miles north, and the
stop after Turramurra and Warrawee. Walked through the outskirts
of this very well-to-do suburb with huge mansions and manicured
lawns (both within and outside the grounds of the houses).
There were hundreds of tiny lizards scurrying away into the
bushes as we walked along.
After about 1½ miles we walked into Kuring-gai Chase
National Park, and embarked on our hike down to the river.
As soon as we reached the river, we saw our first large lizard
– about 50-60 cm long. As we continued alongside the
river, we saw plenty more, as well as two or three goannas
– the largest being at least a metre long. We had some
excellent views of the goannas as it was possible to get really
close before they bolted for the nearest undergrowth. The
forest was full of gum trees, oozing a bright blood-red gum
from their trunks, as well as many other trees including the
wonderful scented eucalyptus.
Eventually we reached areas of mangroves, with hundreds of
tiny crabs living in their holes, down which they disappeared
as soon as they saw us approaching. Whilst walking around
the lake, we saw an echidna – very spiny and with its
huge long snout foraging in the bush – then climbed
up for the last 2 miles of the walk towards Mount Kuring-gai
station. Just as we were nearing the outskirts of the town
we caught sight of a wallaby bounding away into the bush.
The whole walk was just under 9 miles, and we then caught
the train back to Milsons Point, the nearest station to where
we are staying.
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