Australia, Sydney and Manly

We slept in, not to long but long enough, it was nice to have proper beds and duvets and we were happy to make full use of them. We finally emerged and had breakfast before heading for the ferry into Sydney. Rosi’s place is about 100m from the wharf and from there we took the fast ferry into town.
The trip only takes 18 minutes on a fast ferry so very quickly you round a headland and get to see the Harbour bridge and Opera House for the first time !! I’ve been to quite a few cities now but this skyline is truly unique and it’s breathtaking, I doubt I’ve taken a photo that truly does it justice !!
The ferry terminates at Circular Quay and as you pass through the barriers onto the wharf it really is a great feeling. To be in Sydney has been a long held dream, I never imagined that I’d cycle from Brisbane to get to see it. I was like a kid in a candy shop and couldn’t wait to take my first photo, the only issue was, Bridge or Opera House !!
Naomi and I had a tour of the Opera House booked so we headed that way and stopped for a coffee and a look at the souvenir shop before collecting our tickets. In the meantime the weather changed dramatically and within the space of a few minutes a full blown thunder storm was in progress. Glad to be inside we went to get our tickets, sadly the tour time had changed due to an impromptu performance so we had two and a half hours to do something with !!
Fortunately the rain had let up a bit so we headed for the tourist info to collect a few ideas, it’s a short walk round to the other side of the quay, more photo opportunities along the way. Our choices would be determined by the weather but we came away with a few ideas and also located a good bookshop, we wanted to find some good maps and tourist books for the next step of our Australian adventure. We set off up George Street, it was spitting with rain but we were to busy looking to be bothered by it. We reached Dymocks, the book shop and still couldn’t find what we wanted, very surprised at that !
We’d passed a few good looking eateries on the way up and we were certainly hungry now but also conscious that food in Sydney isn’t cheap. It just so happened that we stumbled across an Asian food court and were soon tucking into large plates of great food at only $6.50 a plate….bargain.
We arrived back in plenty of time to join the tour and took our place while we waited for the guide. The tour itself, although very good as was the guide, was still a little bit disappointing. They only show you the bits you could see if you bought a ticket to a show, no backstage or dressing rooms, no props or wardrobe, no lighting rigs or sound booths, in fact none of the things I really wanted to see. Apart from that you can’t even take photos in the actual theatres, copy write rules !!!
Despite my moaning I did enjoy the tour and the story of how it came to be and the man who’s dream it was, a sad story with an eventual happy ending πŸ˜‰
We took the ferry back to Manly immediately after the tour as we had an appointment with Hillary or “Hills” as she’s known to Naomi. Hills is a friend of Naomi’s from her Edinburgh days and she was looking forward to catching up. We met her in the Wharf Bar at Manly and sent Rosi a text to see if she wanted to join us. Nao and Hils were soon engrossed in girlie gossip and soon Rosi joined us. A few beers later and Hills had to leave so Nao, Rosi and myself went to a bar for a few beers and much needed food. The bar is also a micro brewery so Nao and myself had a taster rack of five ales….all were wonderful but we did have a favorite, the Pale Ale, it was full of hops and tasted incredible. Rosi, bless her paid for everything, very grateful not to mention….full !!
And so our first day in Sydney draws to a close, what a fantastic place, bring on tomorrow !!
Day 1’s photos…..

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Just a small sample from the days photos !!
Day two in Sydney, we were going to take the ferry tour, it’s a get on get off ferry that allows you to see all the major parts of Sydney Harbour but it was raining and to be honest we had no real interest in the zoo or other attractions that the ferry gets you close to. We changed our mind and decided to take the open top tour bus around Sydney instead πŸ˜‰
As I said it was raining but we were well dressed in our waterproofs and being British we were undeterred, we were of course the only ones on the top deck !!
It was hilarious, we laughed like school kids and took silly photos through the rain streaked windows, some of them turned out ok !
The tour lasts about 90 mins but we got off in Woolloomooloo, great name ! Don’t think I’ve ever been to a place with eight o’s before, we of course had a quick look round, took some photos, found a good coffee and cake then went in search of a sign to say we’d been there. With the help of the waiter we found the perfect sign, written in a way so that you can say it properly, you’ll see it below.
Our next getting off point was at the fish market, second largest in the world behind Tokyo, amazing place with all sorts of weird and wonderful fish and shell fish for sale. We again had a look round, took photos then had a fantastic fish and chip lunch, it was huge and so fresh and crispy….mmmm !!
Now the night before we’d been invited to go sailing but due to the weather being rubbish we wondered whether it would be cancelled, if so we’d carry on with the tour, if it was still on we’d make tracks to the sailing club. Lucky for us, Rosi had supplied us with a number, we texted and found that it had been called off. We were disappointed but at least we knew now. We carried on with our tour and got off underneath the bridge round by The Rocks, had a little wander about, followed the water back to Circular Quay then decided to use our tickets yo take another tour out to Bondi Beach. It was still wet but had lessened a bit so weren’t the only ones on the top deck. This tour was an hour and to be honest there wasn’t much to see, even Bondi Beach looked a bit run down compared to Manly. We didn’t even bother to get off, just took a snap from the bus, the place was designed to resemble Brighton but it just doesn’t have that cosmopolitan vine about it !!
Any way we soon arrived back at Circular Quay, tired but happy with our days adventures. When we got back to Rosi’s she’d cooked a yellow Thai curry, so we opened a couple of bottles of wine and ate and chatted until bed, another good day !!
And so to the photos….

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I know, there’s a lot of photos, but you like…don’t you ?
Sydney, day three and the one I’d been looking forward to, the Bridge Climb !!
Yes, I blew the budget on a Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk, I was booked in for 10.15 but I turned up early, those that know me will not be surprised by this !!
Because I was early and there was space I went in the 9.45 tour, after being given the safety briefing and signing the indemnity we were issued with, boiler suits, caps, handkerchiefs, radios and harness. Everything, including the cap is tethered to your boiler suit and is checked before you leave. Your not allowed to take anything, no cameras, watches, necklaces or bangles, you can if you need them, take spectacles but they issue you a tether for them. There safety record is not surprisingly top class and there not about to let anyone mess it up.
As we lined up to finally get out on the bridge we were already tethered to the safety line, we wouldn’t be able to get off it until we’d completed the entire bridge walk.
It starts on a double wooden plank that runs out over The Rocks, the guide, who was brilliant by the way, gave us a running commentary on what we could see and some stories about the building of the bridge. Soon enough we came to the most difficult part, three quite steep sets of metal stairs, one or two people were a bit nervous but our guide soon had them climbing up to admire the view. From the top of the stairs your now on the top arch and you can see it stretching out I fronton you for what seems like a mile !! It’s wide though, if it wasn’t for all the hand rails and other additions it would easily be wide enough to drive a car on, so wide in fact that it’s probably the part you feel safest on. The views are incredible and you really start to admire the guys that built it. Our guide kept the facts and figures coming in between taking the inevitable photos. We reached the top, where the two flags are, had our last photo then began the slow return to the changing rooms, we were never rushed and we all felt that we’d had a good opportunity to take in all the sights.
My only complaint would be the prices they wanted to charge me for photos, they give you a cap, certificate and a photo of the group but the rest are so damned expensive. The tour is $220 and it’s going up in price soon, for that you’d think that maybe they could charge a little less for photos. They’ve already invested in taking them so why not charge less, people would buy more and they’d actually make more, in the meantime it would improve there image !!
After the climb I joined Nao and Hills in a restaurant on the quay side, towards the Opera House. A few beers later we were ready to continue our sightseeing of Sydney. Off to the Sky Tower, we had tickets already, another concession from the tour bus !!
It’s a short walk up the hill to the tower and once there it didn’t take long to get up to the observation deck. Some great views from there but alas the views of the bridge and opera house are obscured by one of the ugliest buildings in Sydney, what a shame !!
Returning to ground level we strolled back to the Opera bar where we finally got our tasting plate, it should have been on the same day as the tour but as they’d changed the time and date twice we decided to use it today !! It was good and we washed it all down with a couple of real ales, Rosi joined us straight from work and as we sipped on another ale we decided to head home, order pizza and watch a movie, this is something we rarely get a chance to do. The movie over it was time for bed, this tourist thing is tiring πŸ˜‰
And yet more photos….

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Not to many photos today but I’ve not finished yet !!
Day 4 in Sydney started early, we’d agreed to join Rosi on her early morning cycle ride !! Cycling in Sydney is never easy due to the volume of traffic so most cycle groups go out early for a couple of hours, even on weekends. It was Saturday and we were up at 5.15, dressed, ready and on our bikes by 6.15. We met up with the group on the Pittwater Road but one of them had a flat, as they were all on lightweight racers we decided to get a head start. We followed the same route towards Palm Beach that we’d come in on but turned left before we got there. No surprise that the others passed us fairly quickly and were at the turn around point when we got there. The route our was on the busy main road but the route back to Manly tries to follow the coast more closely. This means plenty of hills, views and photos…wish I’d taken a camera now !!
We managed a respectable 46km in about two hours and were soon joining the rest of the group for coffee and cakes, that’s what cycling so all about πŸ˜‰ A great bunch and very interested in our travels, we’d meet a couple of them later as Rosi had decided to have a BBQ !
As we’d not yet explored the Manly area Rosi was keen to show us at least one of her favourite walks. We quickly showered and changed then set of along Manly Beach towards the headland, there’s a great path for walking and cycling with lots if access to the beach and swimming pools. There’s boats, surf boarders, kayakers, swimmers, people sunbathing, families and singles, such a great place with fabulous facilities. The walk climbs higher up above the beach and as you’d expect the views are stunning, there’s little lizards sunning themselves on rocks, incredible plants, so vibrant !! At the top is a large plateau with a small pond, you can hear the frogs calling and there’s so many birds, the noise is incredible ! We walked to a visitor centre before heading back into town via the roads, great to see a little bit of the area but now we needed to shop.
Rosi already had a good idea of what she needed so shopping didn’t take long and we were soon back at the apartment prepping ready for the BBQ. People began to arrive about 7.00pm and very quickly it turned into a very pleasant evening. Naomi and I were fielding questions about our trip all evening, although we did get a few of our own in. A fabulous evening with great people, good food and beer, what more could you need. Another wonderful day but time for bed, we fly to Uluru tomorrow !!
Night all πŸ˜‰
Just a few photos, didn’t take to many today…

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Well that’s the end of the Sydney blog, what a fantastic place, I don’t think you’d ever get to see everything and I’m quite sure that everyone will ask if we saw “this” or did “that”, we did our best given the time and weather and we’re more than happy with what we’ve seen !!
I would like to say a big thank you to Rosi for putting us up, she really made Sydney easy and accessible for us πŸ˜‰
Keep reading folks, more to come !!
JC

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About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
This entry was posted in Australia, Cycling, Sydney and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Australia, Sydney and Manly

  1. John Axford says:

    Great blog John from one of my all time favourite cities .. Sydney really does have a big place in my heart .

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