And so it ends.
Another incredible month in New Zealand and Australia. Typically when I return from a long holiday people bombard me with “where next?”. As I was watching the tiny islands of the New Zealand fade away en route to Australia, I was thinking about that too.
Germany is on the books for this year. A combo Iceland-Sweden-Norway trip for 2017. Of course, my almost annual trek back to New Zealand to complete the Great Walks is likely going to skip a year, you know, for variety’s sake.
At least that sounds good to me on paper today.
It was our last day in Sydney and one of my travel mates was keen to see Bondi Beach before we left for New Zealand. Perhaps I was just good at advertising my previous visits to Bondi but not even the overcast, windy day dampened her enthusiasm, so off we went. The weather improved a little and I did get some reasonable photos.
Swin, surf, snorkel, bake, stand-n-model or walk the miles of coastal path connecting beach after beach sporting impossible views – you can take your pick at Bondi. I definitely recommend the 10-mile return walk from Bondi to South Coogee, its easy and quite stunning; definitely keep an eye out for the street art. Afterwards you’ll be surprised that in days gone by this area was a working class suburb where immigrants first set foot on Australian soil. No wonder they stayed, who wouldn’t?
Next up, New Zealand!
I took a ferry out to Manly Beach simply to get a wide angle shot of the Sydney Skyline. While that was a good idea in principle, it turned out that day would be the hottest day in Sydney’s history, some 30 degrees above normal, topping out at 106. Heat aside, it was also hazy and all of my distance shots were poor. However, on the hottest day of the year, Manly Beach was a good alternative to the always-busy and far more popular Bondi Beach.
From the ferry exit you can take a short walk (3 miles) around to North Head, which is the scenic outlook across to the Sydney Skyline. From North Head you can then wander around to Manly Beach proper. Inland from the beach there are loads of restaurants which, not too surprisingly, focus on seafood.
I liked Manly for its views back to Sydney, its pockets of quiet, isolated beauty and its wider swatches of beach mobbed with overheated Australians doing their best to cool down.
Usually I wouldn’t mention a botanical garden but in Sydney the Royal Botanic Garden occupies the space between Gallery NSW and the Opera House. You’ll likely want to see at least one of those so the gardens are a fantastic route with peekaboo views of the skyline. Its a huge space with some interesting, if not odd, plant life. When you make to the Harbour’s edge, stellar views of the Opera House await.
Art galleries for me are usually a 1-hour stop. I typically have an exhibition in mind and might take in some of the permanent collection, time permitting. The Art Gallery of New South Wales was an anomaly; I spent the better part of day here.
Why? Likely a consequence of being raised in a family with an artist; I have an appreciation for all art, even if my preferences lean toward the contemporary. That’s the thing here at the Gallery NSW, they have good representation across styles and periods with several special exhibits typically warranting a view.
The real pull here, aside from whatever special exhibits are on the display, is the Aboriginal art; my understanding is it cannot be seen elsewhere. On previous visits this art was on display in the lower levels without any advertising, I found it totally by accident. At that time there were some legal issues with taking photographs of the art. Now the collection is front and center on the main floor; the museum worked it out so the art can be photographed. The following, as I learned, are all abstract representations of landscapes where the artists were raised.
One of the special exhibits was the following by a Chinese artist titled “Speaking with the Ancestors”. It was the wide swatch of red that drew my eye away from the Buddhas I was viewing in the Asian Art wing. Photographs of the all of their relatives throughout time, washed in red, hinged together and occupying the entire floor space. It was the scale and physicality that were impressive. I have plenty photos of my relatives but they are on my computer, not occupying the floor space of one whole wing in the Gallery NSW.
The rest are just a sample of the gallery I found interesting.
Its definitely an impressive visual anchor for the Sydney skyline. But when you get up close, particularly inside, it is even more impressive. Previous trips to Sydney I was all over the outside and inside with my camera but his time I wanted to get the perspective from angles further away. The distance shots are from 1) Midway across Sydney Harbour Bridge 2) Aboard a ferry to Manly Beach 3) A place in the Royal Botanic Gardens known as Mrs. Macquire’s Chair. These are all destinations in their own right, bonus that they offer interesting views of the Opera House.
You can read all about the drama surrounding the construction of the structure on the internet. You may already know the original architect quit after a row with some City Planning droids over insufficient payments. How the Opera House how was built in the midst of the controversy is interesting. That’s a historical footnote however, whats more important is being there in person; a tactile experience beats everything else, including the following media, which do not do the iconic structure justice.
More about Sydney to come!
This is a record for me; only 2 weeks and I have my 1264 pictures from this visit to Australia and New Zealand downloaded and all sorted. I’m apparently becoming more particular about what shots I will take, last time I was on holiday for 24 days I had 5000+ pictures.
This makes my third trip to Sydney. I strongly suspect there are other cities in Australia but I rather like Sydney for its cultural richness, fast-paced lifestyle, postcard beauty and some of the most friendly, straight-forward people around. In 2017 when I return to Australia, I’ll likely visit Melbourne. But until then here are some highlights from Sydney.
More about Sydney in coming days.
UL | From Manly Beach
UR | From the ferry to Sydney returning from Manly Beach
LL | Zoom from Sydney Harbour Bridge
LR |Zoom from Darling Harbour
UL | Sydney Harbour Bridge
UR | St. Mary’s Cathedral
LL | ANZAC War Memorial
LR | Climbing Station, Darling Harbour
UL | St. Mary’s Cathedral
UR | Sydney Hospital
Lower |Wildlife, Wooloomooloo