Tag Archives: Opera House

Last day in Sydney… time to say goodbye… for this trip!

When I flew in early from Melbourne this morning I just knew I had to get the most out of my final full day in Sydney.  I took the train from the airport (the fastest route as I am now using public transport like a local) and dropped off my bag at the hotel.  Then I made for the top of Sydney’s tallest building (the Skytower) for an aerial view of the city and its spectacular harbour.

Not quite the top of the world but the tallest building in Sydney!
Not quite the top of the world but the tallest building in Sydney!

At the foot of the tower building is a very exclusive shopping centre where they have very cleverly fixed the escalators so that you need to walk past at least four or five shops to reach the next level.

I had no problem whatsoever passing Prada, Jimmy Choo or Gucci but Chanel caught me unawares with some stunning window displays and then there were the handbag shops….!  $5,000 didn’t seem to be an unusual price for anything!!!  Needless to say, I reached the Skytower ticket office unencumbered by purchases. Then it was into the 4D cinema to take a very unusual flight across and sail around Sydney.  The 4D effect came as an addition to the 3D through the coloured glasses.  It began with vibration through your feet, getting sprayed (literally) when you appeared to be in a sailing boat and a fine mist which provided the smell of the sea.  Impressive.  Then it was up to the top of the tower to step out and look down on one of the world’s most iconic views… although other tall buildings have taken part of the view of the bridge and confined the Opera House to being framed at the end of a street! It was a great experience but….nowhere near as much fun as being out on the water.  Decision made and down to the ferries.

As in London, the new buildings have dwarfed some of the city's heritage
As in London, the new buildings have dwarfed some of the city’s heritage
Fabulous harbour views
Fabulous harbour views
A different view of the Opera House
A different view of the Opera House

Having missed breakfast, a fruit smoothie felt like a good mid-morning option, and where do they do the best ones?  In Manly.  Therefore, the first ferry ride was to Manly, pick up said smoothie (a ‘Very Berry’), a quick wander to the beach to check that the surf was still in good order, which it was, and head back on the next boat.

Back on the water
Back on the water

The breeze in the harbour was wonderful and took the edge of the scorching sun, so long walks were not really a sensible option.  Everyone was out on the water as it was a public holiday.

Back at Circular Key, a Seacat was just about to leave for Rose Bay, Double Bay and Watsons Bay.  Having gone ashore at Watsons Bay to explore, I found the next ferry out was not for another hour and by then it was lunch time.  Fish and chips sounded a good idea (again) and the restaurant here came highly recommended by my son.  Thanks, James, a good call.

You can't see this and not say, "Wow!"
You can’t see this and not say, “Wow!”
All sorts of boats were out
All sorts of boats were out
Team Australia looked very impressive
Team Australia looked very impressive
At the Maritime Museum
At the Maritime Museum

The hub for all the ferries is Circular Quay and as I stepped off the Seacat there was another ferry just in and going to Darling Harbour, which I did want to explore properly.  Sitting at the top of the boat, right at the back, provided a little shade and some cool breezes and I was cool enough (!!) to have a wander around the Maritime Museum.  Then it was back once again to my starting point, just about done and ever so slightly ‘done in’.

I think my one regret is that again I have drawn a blank with a ticket for the Opera House.  Next time, I will book online and well in advance.  So, with the light fading, I have been back to my hotel and am ready to set off once more for a final look at Sydney by night.  I have done as much as it is possible to do within my limited time and, as on my previous visit, I have absolutely loved all things Australian.  But now it is time to go home and I am really excited by the prospect.  I will take off from here tomorrow afternoon and some 26 hours later (well, there is a refuelling stop in Singapore), I will reach Heathrow.  It’s only a day!!

Once again, I have been humbled by the experiences and opportunities I have had during the past 7 weeks.  (I know, it is a long time and I have travelled thousands of miles!).  But home is where I now really do want to be and I totally promise not to bore my friends and family with the photos… there are far too many and they can just look at the ones on the blog.  Thank you to all who have followed my adventures but it is worth repeating that this particular medium was simply my means of capturing my visits and tours so that I would not forget.  However, I really do need to say a very special thank you to my great friend, Carolyn, who allowed me to avoid all the frustrations of posting on a slow network by simply sending her the words and the photographs which she uploaded for me.  She has been a fantastic editor, used some techniques which are totally new to me and made the blog look great.  Huge thank yous and a definite ‘gold star’ award.

So, that’s it!  Travels done (for a week or two at least!) and now it’s back to the real world.

Goodnight Sydney....and Goodbye
Goodnight Sydney….and Goodbye


No matter where I go (and I have certainly been to a few places in the world in the last year or so), the place which holds a very special place in my heart is Sydney.  I wondered if the magic would still be there this year, but watching dawn break, seeing the sun come up over the Opera House and turn the Harbour Bridge to gold, I was once again totally captivated.





The Bridge turned golden by the dawn

Saying goodbye to the floating palace which is Queen Victoria, and which had been my home for the past six weeks, mattered not a jot.  I wanted to plant my feet firmly on the quayside and once again enjoy this wonderful city.

The city begins to wake…

Disembarkation and the transfer to my hotel were speedy and smooth and I was off like a greyhound out of the traps and back down to the harbour.  How strange was that?  After longing to get ashore, I was back on a boat again in no time, but this time it was the Ferry to Manly.  Last year I had paid it a very quick visit but had promised myself a very happy return were I to ever come back.  Manly was full of tourists heading for the beach and surfboard carrying young men and girls with just one thought – to get straight into the blue/green water and the pounding surf.  Not so dramatic as Bondi Beach but its golden sands were just as much a draw as the waves.

Queen Victoria docked between the bridge and the Opera House

I hadn’t come to swim this time and enjoyed a leisurely wander, stopping for a coffee in a pavement cafe along the way.  I had no need to check my watch and for the first time in weeks, I had no concern about missing the ship’s departure.  I settled at another cafe by the beach and did what most people do when they come here….I ordered fish and chips and a cold beer!  Forget the lobster, the steaks and all the fabulous food I have been served on the cruise…this was the real deal!

Yachts galore
Although I had been sitting in the shade, the temperature was increasing and late afternoon I reluctantly dragged myself away and bagged a seat at the top of the ferry in the breeze.  The harbour was a mass of yachting activity with some keenly fought racing going on.  Finally, I had a second chance at a sail into Sydney Harbour, which I had missed seeing in the darkness of our very early morning arrival on Queen Victoria.  It most certainly didn’t disappoint and, once again, I saw the Opera House from just about every angle.
But the clouds were gathering as we landed and with a final wave to Queen Victoria, I decided to make a quick dash to the hotel.  Not a minute too soon.  Thunder rolled, lightning flashed and the rain came down in a solid wall.  Well, Sydney, what else can you show me?  Last year when I left you we sailed into a hurricane.  Let’s hope the storm does not come back tomorrow and I can enjoy another full day taking in the sights.