Circular Quay is the hub of Sydney and it’s transport system. It’s a hive of activity at any time of the day. In the mornings and evenings it’s busy with business people and during the day and night time it’s the tourists that keep it busy.
This is the main ferry quay in Sydney and ferries depart here to Manly, Watson’s Bay, Middle Harbour, Darling Harbour and upriver to Parramatta amongst other destinations. There are also restaurants, cafes and tourist shops here. The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Overseas Passenger Terminal are located on the western side with the Opera House on the eastern side.
The area played a major part in the settling of New South Wales in 1788 after Botany Bay was thought to be an unsuitable place to set up the new colony.
Next stop on my walk was around The Rocks to Circular Quay. Many of the buildings in the area have been converted for other purposes. In the 1980’s it wasn’t a popular area and there was a movement to knock down a lot of buildings and build modern, probably high-rise buildings. The public rallied around and convinced authorities they should save the area and make it into a tourist area. If this hadn’t happened so much of Sydney’s and Australia’s history would have been lost forever.
The terrace houses above have been converted into shops and small businesses.
I always love seeing these walls with the trees, creepers and other plants growing within the cracks in the wall.
An example of some of the beautiful sandstone that you see buildings around Sydney made from.
The Harbour Rocks Hotel is quite famous in the area. I’ve often thought of staying there one day.
One of my favourite Aussie movies, Starstruck, was filmed at the Harbour View Hotel. It’s (now) a daggy but fun musical movie that launched the careers (some only short-lived) of some actors. For years I’ve wanted to see where the movie was filmed and researched it on the internet before going to Sydney. I knew I had plenty of time to walk around to find it, knowing it was just under the Harbour Bridge. I know that part of Sydney really well because it’s my favourite part, being the history buff I am, so I knew which streets went where.
The Hero of Waterloo is one of Sydney’s most historic and oldest pubs. It was built in 1863 and was a popular drinking spot for the Garrison Troops in those days. It’s famous for the tunnel that is supposed to run from the harbour to the hotel. There are some funny stories of men getting drunk at the hotel and being smuggled on to the ships that were at anchor on the harbour and waking up to find themselves as reluctant sailors on their way to some exotic destination.
The Garrison Church where the troops attended. This is one of my favourite spots in The Rocks. I love the architecture.
The Argyle Cut is one of the most amazing pieces of construction undertaken in Sydney in the 1800’s. Convicts cut through the sandstone and then when transportation ended, qualified stonemasons completed the work. Once completed, it allowed better access to the port facilities from The Rocks. If you didn’t know about the Cut you would walk right through without realising the significance but it was such an engineering feat at the time.
Susannah Place is a row of four original terrace houses in the historic Rocks area of Sydney. Dating back to 1844, they show how the early immigrants lived in Sydney. The houses look run down but inside they are meticulously cared for and kept as they were when they when they were built. Unfortunately the museum was closed at the time. I came across a tour group but they had already started so I was unable to join in. It’s one of the few complexes I’ve seen where they have so faithfully restored the homes.
The south-east pylon contains a lookout and museum but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the entrance. As far as I could see it’s not clearly advertised how to get there. If I’d had access to the internet I would have been able to look it up. Apparently there are 200 steps up to the pylon lookout and along the way you pass through 3 levels of exhibits that detail the history and construction of the bridge. The view would be amazing but even better would be the bridge climb which gives spectacular views of Sydney.
The Ibis Darling Harbour is located on the western side of Darling Harbour behind Harbourside shopping centre. I’d heard it had it’s own monorail station which provided easy transport access to the main part of the CBD and shopping areas. I’d also heard the rooms were really small. That turned out to be correct however I was staying there by myself and was in town for a conference so the small room didn’t matter. The room was clean and the bed very comfortable. It cost quite a lot more to have a city view so I settled for the Pyrmont view which looks over to the western suburbs. Again it didn’t matter but I realised on the first night that I would have killer sunsets to enjoy. The staff were so friendly and helpful. They made my stay so easy and enjoyable.
For dinner on night one I had a steak sandwich and the other night a Soft Shell Crab salad. Included in the room rate was one hour free internet access in one of the public areas. So each night I would take my laptop down to the bar, buy a drink or two during happy hour and take advantage of the free internet access. Adjoining the iBar was the iBistro where they served breakfast and lunch. Eating there at night was a highlight because of the views of Darling Harbour and the city all lit up.
The Sydney Tower stands 309 metres above, and in the heart of, Sydney’s CBD. To access the Observation Deck you have to enter the Westfield Sydney Shopping Centre (easily accessible from Pitt St Mall) then be transported 250m in a around 40 seconds up to the deck. Once on deck you are treated to a spectacular 360 degree view of Sydney from the western suburbs to Manly, Bondi and the ocean in the eastern suburbs. An interesting fact is that an observer on the deck can see 55km out to see whereas someone at Bondi Beach can only see 5km.
I was able to see the hotel where I was staying in Darling Harbour and a cruise ship docked at Barangaroo at the top of Darling Harbour. Earlier that day other passengers on the plane were excited to be going on the cruise so I was glad I was able to see it.
Looking over Darling Harbour.
The Hyde Park Anzac Memorial.
Winter Wonderland. Each year they’ve been setting up this very popular ice skating rink.