Blog based on Facebook posts made by Alex Reid during a trip to Sydney, before and after our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, along with the Brooks, in February 2024.

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Monday, 12-Feb-24:

Off to Sydney, then more...

Tuesday, 13-feb-24:
We had booked our apartment to be near the airport but also near the Mascot train station (easy walking distance). So we took the train to Circular Quay, where we had breakfast.
I enjoyed pavlova for breakfast - as you do!!

We then took ferries to see Sydney Harbour (Queeen Elizabeth docked at the Ocean termina), starting with the ferry to Darling Harbour and back, including Balmain and Milson's Point, with great views of the Bridge and the Opera House, also Barangaroo, and the Endeavour replica.

Back at Cicrular Quay, we took the ferry to Watson's Bay, whence Sydney "Gap" can be easily viewed, and with the intention of having fish & chips at Doyle's, but we hadn't "wasted" enough time since breakfast, so no-one was hungry.

So we instead took the bus to Bondi Beach (every visitor has at least to see Bondi).

We then took another bus back to Circular Quay (had a snack there for "lunch") and then took the train back to Mascot and our hotel (fully exploiting the daily cap on transport charges using an Opal card).
The next morning we checked out of the hotel and went to Sydney International Airport for the flight to Vietnam.

Interlude while we went to Vietnam & Cambodia, returning to Sydney on 28-Feb-24.

To follow our travels in Vietnam (followed by Cambodia), go to the Vietnam Travel Blog HERE

Wednesday, 28-Feb-24:
Staying with Sydney, to which we returned following our Vietnam/Cambodia tour, we checked into our apartment mid-afternoon, at the Oaks Goldsborough building on the West side of Darling Harbour. A tremendous job they did of repurposing this former wool store. Our apartment was on 2 levels, with the living area upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs. We had great views out over Darling Harbour (here seen in daylight and at night).

We were all pretty tired following our Indo-China tour, and the overnight flight from Siem Reap to Sydney (via Hanoi), and one or more of us were coming down with a cold (which had affected most of the members of our tour group).
I went for a short walk to explore how easy it was to get to Darling Harbour (very easy!), and where the light rail station was (about 100m from the apartment, you had to cross the track to get to Darling Harbour). Here's a view back towards the hotel, and a general view of Darling Harbour with the Pyrmont foot bridge central.

Thursday, 29-Feb-24:
This was a very quiet day for all of us. Lynda basically slept all day (her cold had freshened up). Helen slept a fair bit, too. Meanwhile, Michael and I caught up with email, sorting photos, etc, etc. By mid-afternoon, I went for another walk, this time checking out how far the Chinese Friendship Garden was (discovering a McDonald's in the process), crossed Pyrmont Bridge, and located the nearest ferry terminal behind the Museaum, adjacent to the Immigration Wall (they were inviting people to participate in adding their names to the Wall; I thought of myself or someone like Monte Sala*, but discovered it cost about $500 each!.
* see Monte Sala's Cryptographic Achievements
Michael and I ventured out later to buy McDonald's for dinner!

Friday, 1-Mar-24:
Today Lynda and Michael visited Taronga Park Zoo, walking to the ferry stop, taking the ferry to Circular Quay, then transferring to the Taronga Park ferry. They spent a very enjoyable morning and afternoon. Helen slept most of the day, partly because her cold had freshened up, and partly because she had been awake a lot of the early hours of the morning. I did some shopping and did more photo sorting, etc, and read my book.
Here's a photo that the Brooks took at Taronga Park, showing off the wonderful backdrop it has.

Saturday, 2-Mar-24:
We were all feeling a little more energetic by now, so we decided we really should try to take in fish & chips at Doyle's at Watson's Bay.
So we took the ferry from Pyrmont Bay to Circular Quay, then the Watson's Bay ferry, arriving there in time for lunch (and Doyle's had a vacancy). We all had fish & chips - very nice it was, too, though the servings were very large (we Reids had decided to get one serve & share it); the Brooks ended up with more than one serve left over, so we boxed it and took it back to the apartment where we shared it for dinner. Below shows us at Doyle's.
We took the ferry(ies) back to the apartment, but on returning to Circular Quay the Brooks first did a walk around The Rocks (with an audio guide), which they warmly recommended.

Sunday, 3-Mar-24:
Today we checked out of the hotel, leaving our bags in storage. The Brooks and Helen decided to visit the MuSEAum (Australian National Maritime Museum), mainly to see the underwater photography exhibition. They urged me to do the walk around The Rocks, which I did, taking the ferry to Circular Quay, close to the start point of the guided self-paced audio walking tour. But first, a couple of scenes within the MuSEAum - a whale shark, and the speeboat Spirit of Australia (it set a new world water speed record on 8-Oct-1978 at 511.11 km/h - still the record-holder).

Here's a pictorial tour of The Rocks (audio guide by Steven Lewis, which I can highly recommend (about 45 mins, plus pausing time)):

Above: 1. A lane way at the start of the walk, under Cahill Expressway marked by a mural showing what it used to look like. 2. The Police Station built in 1882 to try and bring law and order to The Rocks: the message of the lion's head and truncheon is clear: Uphold the law, or else... 3. A sillouette depicting one of the notorious "Push" gang.

Above: 1. "Suez Canal" lane, so named due to the name's similarity to the Sewage that typically filled the lane. 2. Cadman's Cottage (overlooking the Ocean Terminal), the first building on The Rocks shoreline, and 2nd-oldest surviving building in Sydney, built in 1816 for the Superintendent of Government Boats (Cadman was a former convict). 3. The Settlers concave sculpture.

Above: 1. Terrace houses in The Rocks area. 2. The Hero of Waterloo pub. 3. Higher up the hill was where the rich people lived, letting their refuse/effluent roll down the hill.

Above: 1. The Garrison church. 2. The Observatory on top of Obs Hill. 3. Views over the harbour from Observatory Hill (you can just make out a Holland-America ship berhed at White Bay Terminal).

Above: 1. More views from Observatory Hill (with Queen Elizabeth at anchor in the harbour as both the Ocean Terminal and the White Bay Terminal were occupied). 2. Finds from archaeological digs in the Rocks reveal much about life at that time (early 19th century). 3. Sussanah Place and the former grocery shop (now a museum).

Above: 1. Mural depicting Gloucester Street as it used to be before it was bisected by the Cahill Expressway. 2. St Phillip's Church Hill (as shown on the mural).

When I completed the walking tour of the Rocks, I walked back to catch up with the others at the MuSEAum (quicker than taking the ferry back, though I did feel quite exhausted after all this walking - over 18,000 steps today).
Back at the hotel, we collected our bags and caught a pre-ordered Uber to the airport for our flight home. And I have to say, we really were glad to be heading home - it's been a quite wonderful holiday and visit from our good friends, but also rather full-on for retired folks like Helen and me!!

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Alex Reid