This Writing Life: Playing Tourist (Episode One)

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As many of you know, my darling beloved is in the military and that means we move around quite a lot. This has its joys and challenges, but one thing I love about the lifestyle is the opportunity it provides to see and experience new places.

Yet there have been times when we’ve taken locations for granted and not made the most of them. This latest posting has been one of those times.

We’ve been at the base of the Blue Mountains on the outer fringes of Sydney for three years now. Not a bad run, considering our previous posting to Melbourne lasted just short of twelve months. But I’m a bit ashamed to say we haven’t made the most of it. There have been plenty of trips west up the mountains, which are beautiful and ever-changing, home to great restaurants, shops, galleries and providores, and plain lovely to visit, but not so many days of venturing east into Sydney.

The truth is that neither of us are fans of Sydney (the city that is, the Sydney Swans AFL team I LOVE). Never have been. But maybe that’s because we don’t know it very well. Maybe we haven’t experienced enough of the cool stuff it has to offer.

Maybe it’s time to give it a fair go and play tourist in our own backyard.

So we’ve decided that this year we’re going to make a concerted effort to explore and experience more of the city. The new policy certainly got off to a good start when we ventured into town a few weekends ago to wander around the harbour and Royal Botanic Gardens. Sydney was putting on a show!

Here are a few happy snaps.

Cathryn Hein at Sydney Harbour with the bridge and Opera House in the background

The obligatory harbour photo. Well, it is pretty speccy!

Boats under the Harbour Bridge

It seemed like all sorts of boats were out.

Chinese New Year lanters

To celebrated Chinese New Year, there were a series of lantern displays around the CBD. This wonderful tai chi-ing rabbit installation was at the Customs House. Check out the cute one peeking out from the balcony.

Seal at the Opera House

There was a seal at the Sydney Opera House. Excited us no end but according to our blasé restaurant waitress they rest here often.

Government House

This is Government House. Isn’t it fantastically gothic? Love it. I wonder if it has a ghost. It looks like it should.

The Royal Botanic Garden's beautiful bottle tree.

The Royal Botanic Garden’s beautiful bottle tree.

Ibis preening

The ibises around the gardens are so used to humans they barely acknowledge you.

Mare and foal statue in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney

I adore this mare and foal statue. So peaceful.

Lotus flower

One of the beautiful lotus flowers in the lotus pond

Monument of Lydicrates and Sydney skyline

I liked the way this was framed with the Monument of Lysicrates on the left, the lush greenery of the gardens in front, and the modern skyline behind.

One of the fun sculptures at Finger Wharf - surfing animals

We were lucky to catch Sculpture at the Wharf at Finger Wharf, Woolloomooloo. These were great fun.

One of the fun sculptures at Finger Wharf

Another of the Finger Wharf sculptures.

One of the Finger Wharf sculptures - bird of prey

I thought this stylised bird of prey was beautiful

Yacht on the harbour

Someone stole my boat!

Wollemi pine

The ‘living dinosaur’ that is the famous Wollemi pine. It really does look prehistoric up close.

I’ve no idea when the next trip will be. Soon I hope. Lots more to see and restaurants to indulge in!


4 thoughts on “This Writing Life: Playing Tourist (Episode One)

  1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Those pics are gorgeous, Cathryn. Lucky you to have been there when the installations and sculptures were set up. We saw some amazing sculptures along the esplanade in Townsville 7 yrs ago, we were blown away by some of them – just spectacular.
    I love Sydney! It has everything I could want in a city. Many, many gorgeous theatres, the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Queen Victoria building, art galleries, The Rocks- also has a beautiful German restaurant – the Hofbrau Haus, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and it’s gorgeous attractions and many amazing events. And everything is pretty much walking distance but you can also take the tram.
    Oh Cathryn, you must do the Barangaroo walk, it’s pretty special, take the walk around Darling Harbour and before you start the Barangaroo walk you can visit Madam Tussauds, the wildlife park and the aquarium. I think the Barangaroo walk also takes you to The Rocks and further.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      One of my golf ladies said that Barangaroo is a must-do as well, Sue. We’re definitely putting it on the list. In fact, we might do that on our next trip into the city. Bit excited about that now, because it’ll be something new for us.

      We’ve done lots of the really touristy stuff, like the Opera House and NSW Art Gallery, Circular Quay and The Rocks etc, but there’s so much more to explore. Just need to get off our butts and do it!

  2. AvatarDB Tait

    A couple of trips that are fun are:
    Take the train into the city with food you’ve prepared yourself or drop into the the David Jones food hall, then get a ferry to Taronga Zoo, then a bus to Balmoral Beach and have a picnic.

    Or take the train again and get a ferry to Watsons Bay and have lunch at Doyles (pricey) or at the pub.

    All the little beaches around Vaucluse are lovely too.

    Or you could get the ferry to Woolwich Pier and then the bus up to the pub to have lunch.

    Having grown up in Sydney I have a love hate relationship with it.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      The zoo! I’d forgotten about that, DB. We went years ago when we were living in Newcastle. Made the trip down for the weekend and had a ball. That’d be huge fun to do it again.

      We did the Doyles thing last year and loved it. Great fun catching the ferry across the harbour and the meal was fab. It’s one of the places we’d like to go back to.

      Just looked up Woolwich Pier and the pub. That looks fab. Definitely sticking that on the list too. Thanks!!

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