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One Way to do Sydney

In the coming three weeks all three Cunard Queens will be calling at  Sydney. Continuing the current antipodean port visit series,  this edition therefore covers Sydney

While the view above encompasses the two iconic images of Sydney this review really starts at Circular Quay, a stones throw from the Sydney Cruise Terminal

…a touch of zoom, that’s Circular Quay to the left of Queen Mary 2 and is from where the harbour ferries depart…

(very close indeed, no distance at all)

Whether the cruise visitor is in Sydney for just the day, or maybe a couple of days prior to embarking  a cruise ship, my serious recommendation would be to start your visit of Australia’s famous harbour city with a ride on the Sydney Explorer..

There are two routes, the Sydney Route.

…which departs and finishes at Stop 1 Circular Quay and the tour duration is approximately 90 Minutes and the Bondi Route

The Bondi tour departs and finishes at Stop A Central Railway Station with two other interchange points at D and E or 3 and 4 depending on which route map you read. Again the tour duration is approximately 90 Minutes.

Here are a selection of sites accessible from the Sydney tour.

The Botanical Gardens with is impressive statues…

…and collection of tropical trees…

…and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair...

…an exposed sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench on the Botanical Garden peninsula that juts into Sydney Harbour. Hand carved by convicts from sandstone in 1810 for Governor Macquarie’s wife Elizabeth it is a very popular tourist photo spot.

Darling Harbour

An imaginative urban redevelopment with hotels, bars and restaurants forming harbour side complexes is a major tourist attraction…

…with multiple entertainment venues including the National Maritime Museum

…and the Imax Cinema

The HoHo bus continues along George Street past Sydney Town Hall…

and with stop 2  nearby the visitor can explore two landmark 19th Century buildings,  both with fascinating shopping arcades, The Strand and The Victoria Building

The latter’s arcade  consists of four main shopping floors…

The top three levels have large openings (protected by decorative cast-iron railings) that allow natural light from the ceiling to illuminate the lower floors.  And what about that central clock…

The Great Australian Clock weighs four tonnes and stands ten metres tall. It includes 33 scenes from Australian history, seen from both Aboriginal and European perspectives. Indeed, an Aboriginal hunter circles the exterior of the clock continuously, representing the never-ending passage of time.

Stop 3 is good for Hyde park, whose central feature is Sydney’s ANZAC Memorial

…seen here from the opposite side…

There really is something for everyone including the Art Gallery of New South Wales...

The Irish Famine Memorial

*****

The Sydney historic Mint

*****

…and St Mary’s Cathedral...

..seen here with its side elevation…

 

A quick mention of the Bondi Explorer route.

Bondi Beach is one of the most visited tourist sites in Australia and it would be a great shame to miss out on this iconic location…

…with its superb coastal walks…

The Bondi Explorer route also covers an area close to Sydney harbour entrance…

*****

*****

Closer to Circular Quay and very walkable from the Cruise Terminal are two of Sydney’s iconic sights, firstly  Sydney Opera House

*****

…and secondly, Sydney Harbour Bridge

The more adventurous would surely relish the official Bridge Climb…

…from a different angle…

Now here is a little tip if you’re not up to that climb. In the third picture above readers will notice that on the left hand side of the bridge span are two ‘Pylons‘, one each side of the roadway. The Pylon on this near side…

…that’s it behind me, is open to the public. It’s a dedicated museum to the bridge’s construction with additional access to the open top…

What’s more, whereas you aren’t allowed to take cameras on the outside bridge climb, there is no such restriction with the ‘pylon’ entry and here is an example of what can be photographed from the top of the ‘pylon’…

…and…

Of course you can also walk the length of the bridge, drop down the opposite side, and take in a somewhat different aspect of Sydney…

 

 

Equally easy to access from Circular Quay is the area known as The Rocks. It is immediately adjacent the Cruise Terminal, directly  opposite the Opera House. The Rocks is an urban locality and historic area, the site of Australia’s first European settlement in 1788.  Its historic nature and many period  buildings, restaurants and bars make ‘The Rocks’ very popular with tourists…

 

Old warehouses have been regenerated into accommodation, restaurants and shops…

…and some unusual views of Sydney bridge can be found along its waterfront area…

No visit to The Rocks is complete without a visit to Sydney’s oldest pub, The Fortune of War…

…situated on George Street

Further along George Street can be found a good example of how the urban development of the 1840s developed a system of lanes. So narrow that two people can’t walk abreast, these alley ways acquired their names before drains were installed – when rainwater would pour down their funnel-like passageway and gush across George Street. Lanes such as these were also once the haunt of the notorious late-19th-century Rocks gangs, when robbery was rife in the area.

One of few remaining such lanes, the Suez Canal,  tapers as it goes downhill until it’s less than a metre wide (hence the name, which is also a pun on the word ‘sewers’).

Harrington Lane acquired the name ‘Suez Canal’ around the turn of the century. “Suez Canal” was one of the most unsavoury places in Sydney in its time. It runs between George and Harrington streets…

…viewed from Harrington Street…

…and from George Street

At night ‘Suez Canal’ takes on a kind of spooky atmosphere which adds to the fun of the district…

…with the previously shown period characters now illuminated.

That concludes this review of Sydney. As noted in the opening paragraph, it is the kind of place one could spend a week discovering. I haven’t even touched on a ferry ride to Manley or an excursion to the Blue Mountains: maybe another day?

If you have enjoyed this edition of ‘One Way to do Sydney’ and would like to be amongst the first to hear of new reviews including  forthcoming cruise reviews of  Seabourn Sojourn and the new Irrawaddy river cruise ship Princess Panhwar,  plus port reviews ( which will soon include Toulon and  Salem from Boston), why not join the many other followers by clicking on the ‘Follow’ link on the front page.

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