Note: Australian spelling will be observed here.
Sydney has changed quite a bit since my last visit 12 years ago. There are many more Asians now, particularly Chinese, and my ear picks up several Eastern European accents. The city has truly become a hub of multi-culturalism, “multi-culti” it’s called, a mix of cultures combining to make one delicious whole, especially where food is concerned. I observe that Sydney loves its yum cha (Chinese tea and dimsum), adores ramen and Greek food equally, and is absolutely crazy for their sushi rolls and sushi trains (more on these in the succeeding installments).
Sydney is sunny and sensuous, a very cosmopolitan city whose allure centers on its scintillating harbor that spans roughly 20 kilometers inland from the Pacific Ocean and out towards the east. In Sydney, I feel that the water is never very far from wherever I am. I love it here.
This is the heart of Sydney where the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House adorn the landscape like the glittering jewels they are.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, with its immense steel arch, is a star to behold . Sydneysiders (as the locals are called) have dubbed it “The Coathanger.” Constructed in 1932, it spans 503 meters (1, 651 ft) and takes 10 years and 30,000 litres of paint to repaint. Everybody wants to be near the Harbour Bridge during New Year’s Eve when 1,600 rockets shoot up from the arch one by one. This is a rather more subdued view of the bridge as seen from Blues Point. Another view of the Harbour Bridge, this time as seen from Circular Quay, a Harbourside attraction providing connections to other locations in the city via ferry, train, bus, and taxi. The Sydney Opera House is the iconic landmark that the world associates with Sydney. Beautifying an already beautiful harbor, the building is covered in a million shimmering white tiles that adorn the shell-like sails. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, it was built between 1959-1973, with its apex reaching 67 metres (221 ft). Walking across Pyrmont Bridge on our way to Darling Harbour. Hovering just above is the Monorail which services a 3.5 kilometer loop of seven stations. This photo and below captures views of the impressive yachts that dot the Harbour. Seen here is Cockle Bay Wharf, which is on the eastern side of Darling Harbour. When I travel, I’m drawn to taking photos – aside from food – of intersections and buildings. Here’s a shot of the latter as seen from Darling Harbour.
The Rocks is just west of Circular Quay and depending on where I go, exhibits a charm that’s singularly touristy in some parts and quaint and charming in others. The area is dominated by several historic buildings, as this is where Sydney was born in 1788 when the First Fleet culminated its journey from England.
Eschewing the more famous Bondi Beach, we’re in Manly Beach after an enjoyable 17-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay. Manly Beach is Sydney’s first seaside resort and was named by Governor Phillip who, upon catching sight of the Aborigines sunbathing on the beach, thought them quite “manly” (commanding). Like a little beachside city, Manly abounds with everything from surfing, shopping, eating, and gallery-hopping. A carefree attitude prevails here, a salute to the area’s unofficial slogan of “Seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care.”
Views of Manly Beach from the Manly Wharf. In the photo above, Oceanworld Manly is seen on the extreme right. Manly is divided into North Steyne (seen here where the crowd crosses) and South Steyne and is linked via a pine tree-lined promenade called the Corso. (photos below). Witness my propensity for photographing intersections.
It starts to drizzle as we ride the ferry back to Sydney. The air turns nippy and the sky is cloaked in grey. It bathes the buildings in an iridescent glow. I sit back, seeing and soaking it in, and I sigh.