On my final morning in Brisbane I was collected by minibus mid-morning. I talked to the concierge about Australia Zoo and he was pleased that I had a good time and that I think it’s definitely the best zoo I have visited – including Singapore, London and San Diego. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m in Australia now or not but there was definitely something special about my visit there – make sure you visit if you find yourself in the area north of Brisbane.
The flight from Brisbane to Sydney was about half the length of the flight from Cairns to Brisbane – not much longer than an hour. Upon arrival I was transferred by minibus to my hotel – the Travelodge at Wynyard. It’s in a great location only 5-10 minutes walk from the harbour and within easy reach of the bus routes if I need them. There wasn’t much time left for real sightseeing so I concentrated on just finding the things I planned to see and do during my time here such as BridgeClimb and the Explorer bus stops.
Yesterday was my first full day in Sydney and I decided to pack as much sightseeing in as I could arrange so that I had some free time for anything that comes up later in my stay. I had a hop-on hop-off ticket with Matilda Cruises booked so decided to use it as soon as they opened to get my bearings around the city and harbour. My hotel isn’t far from Darling Harbour so decided to get up early and walk it. After exchanging my ticket it was a little while before the first boat of the day arrived but I was one of the first people on board so got a good seat. The boats do a continuous loop around the entire harbour all day and you can hop on and off wherever you want that it stops and I highly recommend if you want to be able to explore everything around the harbour. There are stops in Darling Harbour, at the zoo, Watson’s Bay, Circular Quay and a few other places.
The first stop I got off at was Taronga Zoo. I didn’t go into the zoo itself but just up the hill from the zoo there are some walking trails that my guide book mentioned had great views of the harbour so thought I’d check them out – and I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t know why this place isn’t recommended more as it was a nice place but the tranquility was part of how special it was so I’m glad it wasn’t overcrowded. After an hour or so I walked back to the pier to catch the next boat to my next stop, Watson’s Bay, where I intended to have lunch. I ate at Doyle’s on The Beach which is a very popular but expensive restaurant. I chickened out and had the steak as I didn’t know what most of the fish were – but it was one of the nicest steaks I have ever had.
After lunch I relaxed in a park and then it was back to the city centre where I got on the Bondi Explorer bus. It was running early so stopped for a few minutes at a couple of locations where we were able to get good photos. I decided to get off properly and explore around The Gap park though as there are some amazing views of the harbour entrance there. It has some very rough waters and rugged scenery which is probably why so many people commit suicide there. I did see some whales off in the distance too which was nice as I’ve never seen any in the wild before!
I got back on the next bus and made my way to Bondi Beach which is a place nobody can visit Sydney without seeing. I just wish it was better weather as I had only been there for 10 minutes when a storm came in so I had to cut my time on the beach itself short. I bought a few souvenirs in the tourist shops, took some photos then got the Explorer bus back into the city. The last Matilda boat of the day was just coming in too so I decided to save myself some time and catch it to it’s final stop at Darling Harbour so I could visit the aquarium.
As I had an explorer pass I got a discount at Sydney Aquarium so made use of it. It’s not the biggest I’ve been to but contains animals I’ve never seen anywhere else including Platypus, Crocodiles, Lizards and, as we’re in Sydney, a Finding Nemo exhibit with examples of all of the fish from the move (except the sharks, of course). They had an underground tunnel too with Turtles, Rays, Sharks and some weird fish I’ve never seen before. One of them followed me and then decided to have a staring contest – it won as I don’t think its species blinks!
It was getting late by the time I left the aquarium so headed back for a good nights sleep. I’m due to climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge this morning so needed all of the rest I could get!
Wish me luck!