Archive: Australia

Things to do in Sydney

Sydney- Day out in the City with my sister

Leah stayed in the same hotel as us on Sunday 29th August and Monday 30th August. Leah had been to Sydney 10 years ago when she spent a year living in Brisbane, so she knew some of the places she wanted to see. Also we had already spent a few days in the city, so we were able to also advise on a few places she may want to see.

We started off the day with breakfast at Paul’s favourite place-Mc Donalds! Yes that’s right, even after all the wonderful food we have tasted all over the world, Paul still wants Mc Donalds…..and he is still craving a Kearne’s Sausage sandwich (he will have to wait till he’s at home in Ireland for that one).

The first place we went to was Hyde Park. We looked around the gardens then took a look In the Cathedral.

Leah and Ruth-Fountain in Hyde Park

Leah and Ruth-Fountain in Hyde Park

Then we walked over to the Domain Gardens and the Botanical Gardens. We took some photos in the botanical gardens, looking over to the opera house. Then we took a walk over to the opera house.

Ruth outside the opera house

Ruth outside the opera house

Then we walked over the Sydney Harbour bridge. We got a large chips to share for lunch on the other side of the bridge.

Walking over the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Walking over the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Paul, Ruth and Leah after walking over the Harbour Bridge

Paul, Ruth and Leah after walking over the Harbour Bridge

Leah really enjoys taking photos, so she wanted to make the most of her last day to take photos in Australia, before leaving for Singapore.

We went to Queen street Mall and looked around some shops. Leah was looking for shoes, but couldn’t find any.

We went back to the botanical gardens to watch the sun setting over the Sydney Opera house. It was a beautiful sunset and Leah was able to get some good photos.

To finish off the day we decided we should go out for Leah’s birthday which was coming up soon (13th September). We took her out for dessert at a place called Pancakes on the Rocks. It was delicious, but extremely filling. Here are some pictures to make you feel hungry.

Yummy Pancakes from 'Pancakes on the Rocks'

Yummy Pancakes from 'Pancakes on the Rocks'

Pancakes on the Rocks

Pancakes on the Rocks

Tuesday 31st August

My sister Leah left today to go to Singapore. She got a shuttle bus from outside the hotel to the airport at 12.30pm. It was weird saying goodbye; we have got so used to Leah being with us. We had been travelling on our own for 6 months, but have spent the last 2 months with Leah. It has been nice catching up with Leah and sharing time with her in a country that she loves so much. Leah lived in Australia for 1 year, 10 years ago and wanted to re-visit some of the places and people that she knew back then. We have mostly been staying with friends of Leah’s in Australia. We have been looked after so well and will never be able to thank them enough. They will be more than welcome to stay in our future home, where ever that will be. Leah went on to Singapore and will be spending 2 weeks there. She is staying with a friend of hers, who now lives there.

Sydney-Manly Beach

Wednesday 1st September We spent our last day in Sydney at Manly Bay. We got a ferry from Sydney Cover (by the opera house) to Manly Bay. The ferry cost us $14 (£8) each, for a return. The ferry took about 30 minutes to get there.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach

When we got to Manly bay, we took a walk along the beach. Then we went on a walk up along the cliffs. We came across an old defensive gun pit, from World War II.

Paul in a WWII Gun Pit

Paul in a WWII Gun Pit

We were able to see some amazing views from the cliff tops.

Looking down on Manly Beach

Looking down on Manly Beach

We really enjoyed our time in Sydney. It is a city I would like to revisit sometime in the future.

Ruth and Paul

Things to do in Sydney

Other things we did in Sydney

We did so much in Sydney, that it would take me ages to write everything in detail, but here’s a list to fill you all in on some of the things we got up to.

Thursday 26th August

  • Maritime Museum on Darling Harbour-Part of the museum was free to view, so we took a quick look around and also we got to see some of the tall ships outside.
  • Looked around Darling Harbour and the shops around Darling Harbour.

Friday 27th August

  • Visited Wooloomooloo Bay-We took a walk down the pier and looked at all the Navy boats on the pier.
  • Domain Park/Art gallery-The Domain park is connected to the botanical gardens. We went to visit the art gallery here.
  • We passed by the State Libary, Parliment House, Sydney Mint Museum and the Barracks.
Barracks

Barracks

  • In the evening we went to see Avatar at the Imax cinema. I preferred watching it this time round, on the big screen. There was meant to be an extra 8 minutes in the film, but I must admit I never noticed.

Saturday 28th August

Today we got a return on the train from Kings Cross to Bondi Junction, costing us $4.50 each (£3). Bondi Junction is about 2km walk to Bondi Beach. There was a beautiful coastal walk from Bronte Beach to Bondi Beach which we did.

Bronte to Bondi Beach

Bronte to Bondi Beach

The views along the walk were stunning. We could see right down to the beaches and cliffs along the coast. There was a massive grave yard that we passed by in Bronte, looking out to the sea. We noticed a lot of Italian names on the graves.

Grave yard in Bronte

Grave yard in Bronte

Walking Towards Bondi Beach

Walking Towards Bondi Beach

Paul along the coast by Bondi Beach

Paul along the coast by Bondi Beach

We had a great day walking along the coast. The weather was perfect and the views were amazing!

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Saturday evening me and Paul walked down to Darling Harbour, to watch the fireworks. We also met up with my sister Leah Briefly before she set off on a ferry around the harbour. Leah arrived in Sydney on Friday afternoon and came to stay with us in our hotel from Sunday 29th August-Tuesday 31st August. We met up with Leah Sunday evening. After leah dropped her things of in the hotel on Sunday, we walked down to Darling Harbour to take a walk around. Then we went over to the Opera House and got Copenhagen Ice Cream…YUM Yum.

I will write more soon about our day out with Leah and the rest of our time in Sydney.

Ruth and Paul

Sydney

Tuesday 24th August-Thursday 2nd September 2010

We flew with Jet Star from Melbourne to Sydney. The flight took 1 hour. When we arrived in Sydney airport we went to get our bags. We saw Paul’s bag coming around the belt, with the rain cover off and all the straps were  un-done. My Chinese Instrument was rolling around loose on the belt. Unfortunately the mouth piece of the instrument got broken. We went to speak to a member of staff to find out why the bags straps were all un-done-but they had no explanation, and just said they could of got caught. I guess I’ll have to go back to China to buy another one of those instruments…..that was a disappointment, but never mind.

We had a smooth arrival in Sydney. We got a train from the airport into the city. We knew of a few hostels in Kings Cross, so we just got the train to there. We got off at Kings Cross and checked into the Formulae 1 hotel. It cost $89 a night (£52). The room can sleep up to 4 people, for no extra cost. We knew my sister Leah was going to be staying with us for a few of the days, plus other rooms we looked at were more or the same price, so we went with this place. We could see the Opera house and Sydney Harbour Bridge from our room, which I was excited about.

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

On our first night we went for a walk in to the city. We were just 10-15 minutes walk from the centre. We walked over to Darling Harbour. The harbour looks really nice at night time. There are loads of restaurants and shops around the harbour. There is also a massive IMAX cinema (The biggest screen in the world). We went to watch Hubble 3D. This is a documentary about the Hubble Telescope in space. It looked amazing watching it on the big screen.

Wednesday 25th August

We were up and out by 8.30am this morning. When we get to a new place, we are always excited about adventuring around. First of all we visited Hyde Park. There is a beautiful fountain in the middle of the park, also St Mary’s Cathedral is found here.

St Marys Cathedral in Hyde Park

St Marys Cathedral in Hyde Park

Next we headed over to Sydney Opera House. There was a Japanese Marching band playing, so we stopped to listen to them.

Japanese Marching Band

Japanese Marching Band

After listening to the band, we took a walk around the harbour. The Opera House looks amazing up close. I’ve always wanted to see the Opera House, so it was great finally getting to see it! We walked over to the Opera House. I didn’t realise the building was split into 3 pieces.

Sydney opera House

Sydney opera House

Paul and Ruth in front of the Sydney Opera house

Paul and Ruth in front of the Sydney Opera house

We then walked over to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is the largest steel arch bridge in the world, but not the longest. We decided to take a walk over the bridge. This was a great place to get the best views of the Opera House. After walking over the bridge from Sydney Cove (The opera house) you will end up in Kirribilli.

There is a short walk directly opposite the opera house, which gives you some great views. We stopped here and ate lunch.

Looking over at the Opera House from Kirribilli

Looking over at the Opera House from Kirribilli

After lunch we walked back over the bridge and went to the Botanical Gardens. We have seen many botanical gardens around the world now, but I still never seem to get bored of them. There were loads of Cockatoos in the gardens. They kept landing on us, I think they were trying to see if we had any food on us.

Cockatoos in the Botanical Gardens

Cockatoos in the Botanical Gardens

Looking Nervous

Looking Nervous

When they started pecking my hand I decided to get some bread out so they didn’t eat me!!

We decided we would watch the sunset from the park. We found a perfect spot, directly opposite the opera house, with the Bridge behind it. It was close by to Mrs Macqarius Chair-this is a chair that was carved out for Mrs Macqaries by her husband, it was her favourite spot in Sydney.

Sydney Opera House Sun Set

Sydney Opera House Sun Set

This picture was taken in the same spot a couple of days later by my sister Leah

This picture was taken in the same spot a couple of days later by my sister Leah

More blogs on Sydney coming soon

Ruth and Paul

Melbourne City

Melbourne City- First day in the city

We visited Melbourne city Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th August. We got a daily train ticket from Seaford train station (near where we were staying). This cost us $9.90 each (£6) and allows us to use it all day on trams, trains and buses. The journey from Seaford into the city was about 50 minutes. We got off at Flinders street, which is a busy shopping street.

Leah, Paul and Ruth on the big Screen-Flinders St

Leah, Paul and Ruth on the big Screen-Flinders St

I had heard that Melbourne had a look of English cities. It felt very like England when we came out of the train station and it was windy and raining. In Brisbane we got away with just needing our jacket in the evening, but here in Melbourne we needed our rain jackets, scarves and clothes (which we borrowed from Rachel). The buildings also reminded me of England, with their old Cathedrals. St. Paul’s Cathedral is just across from Flinders station. We took a look around there first The church is beautiful with lot’s of decoration in the windows.

We then took the tram to Parliament, where we were given a free tour of Parliament.

Parliament

Parliament

We were feeling a little cold, so we went to a café opposite Parliament to have hot chocolates and cake. We are going to need to buy some more jumpers ready for New Zealand, as it’s going to be cool there also. We only bought summer clothes with us, as we knew we wouldn’t need jumpers for at least 6 months.

We looked around St. Patrick’s Cathedral next. (Found opposite Parliament).

St. Patricks Cathedral

St. Patricks Cathedral

We also visited China Town-It doesn’t feel so special after having visited China itself. It was just a small China town.

Next we got tram No. 30 from Central station to the Docklands, and we walked along the waterfront. There were loads of shops and restaurants along the waterfront. It had a lovely relaxing atmosphere here.

There is a free tram that you can get around the city, called the circle tram. It takes you round in a loop. This is the old traditional trams. We took this tram around the city.

Free Circle Tram

Free Circle TramWe got a tram to Lygon street. This is known as the Italian Quarter of the city. This is where you will find all the Italian restaurants and bars. We got talking to a man in a restaurant who was from Sicily and hadn’t been home for over 20 years.

Day 2 in the City

This morning we visited Victoria Market in the city. This is open every day apart from Mondays. We looked around at the souvenirs and I also bought some Cinnamon Almonds.

We went to Visit St. Francis Church.

Then we walked over to South Bank where the Casino is. South bank is a really nice walk way along the river, with restaurants and bars. We looked around the Casino. The Casino was massive, much bigger than any one that I’d seen before. Also in the casino there was a theatre, cinema, bars and restaurants.

We really enjoyed our time in the city. It had an English feel to the city, with old cathedrals and buildings.

We also went into the city one more time with Beth (Rachel and Jared’s daughter), on Saturday 21st August. She loved coming into the city with us. We took her around the botanical gardens, docklands and went for dinner together.

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Ruth and Paul

Great Ocean Road-Queensland

I have got behind with my blogs, so I thought it was a good idea to share teh writing with my sister Leah. This next blog was written by her. I will add my bit to the end.

Thursday 19th August Ruth, Paul and myself took to the road to see the Great Ocean Road. Before leaving on my trip around the world I had never heard of it, but while I was up in the Daintree north of Cairns I met a lady from Melbourne who told me about it. That’s the beauty of meeting new people from around the world, you get to hear about new places to discover. I’m so glad I heard about the Ocean Rd, it was amazing. We hired a car for the trip as there is no other way of getting there and we wanted to stop lots along the way.

We probably could have spent a few days along the Great Ocean Rd exploring the area, as there are lots of walks and areas to see inland from the ocean, but we decided to do as much of it in one day. Our main aim was to make it to the 12 Apostles as this is one of the main sites along the way.

Ocean Road is recognised as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road follows the stunning coastline of Victoria’s south-west. Stretching 243 kilometres from Torquay, just south of Geelong, to Allansford, just east of Warrnambool, the road winds along cliff tops, up to breathtaking headlands, down onto the edge of beaches, across river estuaries and through lush rainforests offering panoramic views of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean at every turn.

Building the Great Ocean Road

The road was built after World War I by returned servicemen and stands as a memorial to those who served in the 1914 – 1918 war. What an amazing memorial to those who served their country. Not only does it make Victoria’s Southwest coastline accessible, but the views you get to see along the way are breath taking.

We started out just after 6am so we could get to the beginning by sunrise. We have been staying in Seaford which is on the other side of the bay. So we had to make our way up to the city and around the bay before we could even start our trip.

The first stop on our journey was Geelong. This isn’t technically part of the Great Ocean Road, but a nice place all the same, so we stopped on the seafront before heading to Torquey.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our road trip. Although it is winter here in Australia at the moment, until I came down to Melbourne I hadn’t been too cold. Both Cairns and Brisbane have quite mild winters with day time temperatures getting into their 20’s. It could be seen as a very good British summer. However Melbourne isn’t quite the same and I’m told that they are having the wettest/coldest winter in 10 years! Typical! But the sun was shining and was even warm enough for Ruth to take off her jacket and just have her t-shirt on. And as it is winter we didn’t have to deal with the crowds of other tourist that you might get at other times of the year.

This first stop on the road is Torquay, this is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. We stopped here briefly to take a few photos before heading on our way. We didn’t really have any plan about where we were going to stop or when, we just took it as it came. As long as we made it to the 12 Apostles before sun set I was happy :) As I was driving, which I didn’t mind doing, I kept asking if there was anything I was missing out on behind or to the side of us. I had to keep reminding myself to keep my eyes on the Road and not on the scenery. It was so beautiful, it was hard to sometimes. But the road is by no means straight, so I had to focus.

Scenic Lookouts

The Great Ocean Road offers some of Victoria’s most stunning views of the Southern Ocean from lighthouses, lookouts and viewing platforms. Discover the famous Twelve Apostles, rugged cliffs, picture-perfect sandy beaches, islands and ancient forests from some of the best places to stop and savour the panoramic vistas.

Below is listed some of the lookouts and sites to see along the road. We didn’t stop at all of them and once we got to the 12 Apostles we turned back along the inland rd as the sun had gone down.

Torquay to Lorne

  • Bells Beach
    Ocean and beach views from lookout platforms at Bells Beach Surfing Reserve. Access from Torquay via Bells Boulevard, or the Great Ocean Road.
  • Addis
    Impressive ocean, beach and sandstone cliff views toward Bells Beach and Anglesea. Point Addis Road, off the Great Ocean Road, between Torquay and Anglesea.
  • Anglesea
    Breathtaking coastal views from elevated memorial lookout. Just up from the Great Ocean Road, via Harvey Street.
  • Aireys Inlet
    Drive or walk up to Split Point lighthouse. Ocean views over Eagle and Table rocks. There is another lookout at the end of Boundary Road, off the Great Ocean Road.
  • Cinema Point
    Spectacular views back towards Eastern View, Fairhaven and Aireys Inlet from one of the road’s highest vantage points. There is a signposted turnout on the Great Ocean Road about 8 kilometres west of Aireys Inlet.
  • Lorne
    Teddy’s Lookout is one of the best along the road. It provides stunning vistas from its platform high above the coast where the St George River empties into a small cove. Off the Great Ocean Road, at the end of George Street, it is a short walk through the bush from the car park.

Lorne to Moonlight Head

  • Mt Defiance
    Panoramic ocean views toward Artillery Rocks. Turn out just off the Great Ocean Road, between Lorne and Wye River.
  • Cape Patton Lookout
    Spectacular views east towards Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek. Off the Great Ocean Road, east of Apollo Bay
  • Marriners
    Marriners lookout is a five-minute fairly steep walk from the car park, but it’s well worth the effort for its panoramic views of Apollo Bay and far out to sea. Drive a few minutes north from Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road, there’s a turn-off to Marriners Lookout Road.
  • Cape Otway Lightstation
    Built in 1848, the lighthouse stands 91 metres above the ocean. Built to guide ships safely through the narrow Bass Straight entrance, the tower now offers spectacular views of the rugged Otway coast. Located 20 minutes west of Apollo Bay. Entry fee applies.
  • The Gable
    The Gable lookout has magnificent views to the Moonlight Head. It is a short walk to the lookout platform, which seems to hang off the top of the cliff 70 metres above the waves. Turn off onto Moonlight Head Road after Wattle Hill.

Moonlight Head to Port Fairy

  • Twelve Apostles
    Parks Victoria has created boardwalks, tracks, and viewing areas to ensure you get the best views of these spectacular rock stacks. Off the Great Ocean Road east of Port Campbell, there are also staircases to the beach at nearby Gibson Steps and Loch Ard Gorge.
  • Bay of Martyrs car park
    At the outskirts of Peterborough, just off the Great Ocean Road, is this ideal place to see the stunning rock stacks of the Bay of Islands. They are particularly beautiful at sunset when the islands and Massacre Point are backlit by the sun.
  • Bay of Islands car park
    Just west of Peterborough, off the Great Ocean Road, the Bay of Islands car park provides excellent views of this remarkable group of islands.
Twelve Apostles
Outside Apollo Bay the road winds through the centre of the Great Otway National Park with its beautiful untouched rainforests, before returning to hug the coast for the entire length of the Port Campbell National Park. This is the most famous section of the Great Ocean Road featuring an amazing collection of rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles which have been carved out of the headland by the fierce waves of the southern ocean.
It was beginning to get late and we still had a short way to go before we would reach the 12 Apostles, so we decided we couldn’t make any more stops so we would make it before the sun set. As we were driving along the sun was beaming through the clouds and being the fanatical amateur photographer that I am I couldn’t resist stopping to take a photo, but I knew we weren’t far so thought it would be OK. I guessed we would make the 12 apostles by sun set and maybe this would turn out to be even more beautiful than seeing it in the middle of the day. But as you can see from the photo to the left there is no colourful skies that you usually get with a beautiful sunset. After I stopped to take a photo of the sunset and the closer we got to the coast the winds began to pick up and then the rain started to come down thick and hard. When we stooped at the 12 apostles lookout the rain was coming down so hard and the wind blowing so fast we were almost being blown over trying to take photos. But we had driven too far to not see this beautiful site.
So what had started out as a beautiful day ended up in a storm with strong winds. But it was an amazing day, I’m so glad I got to drive along the Great Ocean Road!
 
This really was a great drive. We loved every bit of it. It was just so nice to have the car and be able to stop when we wanted. A lot of people reccomended this drive to us and now we can see why.
We will write more about our time in Melbourne soon
Ruth and Paul

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