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Sydney – The City With A View

February 18, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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After some fourteen hours in the air I woke up on the first 747 aircraft of my entire life just as it began to make the final decent into Sydney, Australia. I lifted open the window, looked down, and there it was beneath me, not a cloud in the sky, a perfect view… The Sydney Opera House, The Bridge, and the most beautiful harbor in all of the world. I thought to myself surely this must be a dream… and then we landed! I truly believe Sydney is the key to a perfect balance of city thrills and natural beauty. It was a dream of both Tyler and I to travel here for quite some time, and after visiting we can both say the view from the plane was just a peak into what this city has to offer.

Our first stop in Sydney was the Taronga Zoo located just a short ferry ride away from the major city and well known as the zoo with a view. Once arriving by ferry you can access the entrance of the zoo by bus or by taking a gondola ride with view of the entire city including the famous Opera house and bridge. We of course took the gondola, and in my opinion the view alone is worth the zoo entrance fee. After entering you can choose to take a picture with a koala, giraffe, snake, or owl if you like or just simply wonder around the incredible zoo filled with wildlife from all around the world. We chose to take a picture with a koala, which was such a great experience being the first time we had ever seen one of these cuddly creatures. The zoo also has daily “keeper talks” for the different animals where you can learn how they are taken care of and fed. Of all the zoos I have visited in my life Tarogna Zoo was by far the top of my list. With the beauty of the location, friendly environment, and the incredible animals Tarogna is a magical experience at any age.

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognizable images of the modern world the icon of Australia. Situated on Bennelong Point reaching out into the harbor, this multi venue arts center is now considered a Wold Heritage Site. The incredible arcteciture of this unique structure holds a fascinating story along with it’s beauty. Not only did the architect never return to see the building finished due to controversy when a new political figure came into office, but the project exceeded the original completion date by ten years and over budgeted ninety-five million dollars. Conflicts were eventually resolved with the Danish architect, Jorn Utzon, and along with receiving the Pritzker Price in 2003 the Opera House holds an Utzon room dedicated to Jorn Utzon. It is the only room in the entire facility designed 100% by Utzon himself.

During our visit in Sydney, Tyler and I were able to take a tour of the Opera House visiting their most famous venue rooms. Each room was designed in a unique way to create the perfect reflection of sound making the performance’s acoustics flawless regardless if there was one or one thousand people in the audience. We were also fortunate enough to be there during Sting’s performance with the famous Sydney Symphony. Lucky to find tickets we watched Sting preform in the Forecourt venue hosted outside, directly in front of the entrance doors to the Opera House. While I am sure the performances done inside are amazing, the view of the Sydney Bridge at sunset during a live performance of Sting has to go in the top five most amazing moments of our lives!

The Sydney Bridge goes right along with The Sydney Opera House for being an iconic image of Australia. It is the world’s widest long-span bridge with vehicle lanes, pedestrian lane, bicycle lane, and a railway. Due to the arc-based design it has the nickname “The Coat Hanger”. The view of the Bridge and the Opera house from a ferry in the water is dramatically beautiful at any time of day. One unforgettable morning Tyler and I got up early to walk down and see the sun rise at Opera House and the Bridge, it was breathtaking and worth every yawn throughout the day.

The Rocks district of Sydney is just across the cove from the Opera House, right benath the bridge. It is the oldest neighborhood filled with the city’s historic past. The cobblestone streets and old buildings make this area a beautiful place to walk around. On The weekend there is a large market and while it can be filled with touristy nicknacks, it also offers some incredible local artists featuring Australian made clothing, accessories, and various types of food items such as jams, jellys, and dips.

The Sydney fish market was a fun and crazy experience. Like any fish market it was packed with people and tons of fish! As well as freshly prepared ready to eat meals the market also had a wine and spirits store, a bread and cheese shop, and a small fruits and vegetable market making it easy to make this your grocery stop for a good meal at home. We made our way through each of the vendors and then decided to order sashimi sliced fresh in front of us and go outside to sit and enjoy our lunch by the harbor.

Manly beach and Bondi beach are the two main beach destinations in Sydney. Bondi is located on the main island and draws a big crowd on the weekends. This hip young beach area is filled with fish and chip joints, fun bars, and laid back people. A trip to Manly beach is more of a getaway, as you have to take a twenty minute ferry to get to Manly. The harbor and sandy beaches feel like they are a world away from any type of city life. With the local tips from our new Australian friends we met on the Inca Trail Dave and Shelly, our trip to Manly was incredible. They told us about a small local harbor beach called Collins Flat that was down a bushy pathway about thirty minutes from the main harbor. The harbor beach was absolutely breathtaking with the crystal clear blue water and sand backed up to huge boulder like rocks in the mountain side. There were sailboats clustered together at the edge of the cove making the view of the harbor even that more incredible. With not a cloud in the sky we spent the entire day on Manly laying by the beach, relaxing in the water, and eating fish and chips on the harbor dock.

Tyler and I took another day trip to the Blue Mountains National Park where we saw the Blue Mountains and The Three Sisters. The park is also recognized as a World Heritage Site for it’s eucalypt forests. In the park there are a few interesting ways to see the views, the scenic skyway with a clear floor and the scenic railway being the steepest incline railway in the world… Pretty fun ride! Along with the amazing views we also learned the mountains appear blue because of the eucalyptus oil mixing with dust. The blue color is also more vivid in the sunlight as the heat causes more oil to be given off from the leaves. The misty color and fog make this a gorgeous and unique park worth taking a peak.

Our time spent in Sydney was a dream come true. The astonishing harbor and laid back vibe we found here made it very difficult to say goodbye. We loved everything the Aussies had to offer. If it weren’t so “bloody” far away from our family and friends I’d say we just might make it home!



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