Sydney, Australia

Sydney Opera House

Our next port was the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia, where we once again had the pleasure of spending two days.  This time we were docked out in the boonies, at the White’s Bay Cruise Terminal.  The best docking spot is at Circular Quay, next to the Opera House, but that is now reserved for ships that are too big to go under the Harbour Bridge (aka the Coat Hanger).  Last time we docked at Darling Harbour, but that has now been sold to a private developer, and cruise ships are no longer accepted there.  The developer is apparently turning the area into a nightclub and shopping area with lots of restaurants.  Because of our docking location we had to take a shuttle to get into town, but fortunately the shuttles ran every 15 minutes, and dropped us off at a convenient location.

On the first morning we had an American Express excursion, which was unfortunately not up to the usual excellent standards for their excursions.  The biggest problem was that nobody thought beforehand about the fact that we had to go through Australian immigration, which of course, meant waiting in line for a while.  In defense of the immigration people, the line moved fairly quickly, and it was a pleasant process.  However, we ended up leaving later than the time specified for the excursion, had to deal with rush hour traffic, which is considerable in Sydney, and the timing for the excursion was apparently set in stone.  That meant that for the primary part of our tour, which was at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, that we had maybe 34-40 minutes to see all the animals and have billy tea.  The latter was optional, but we were curious, so we did it.  We had to rush to see anything there.  

Billy tea is tea made from eucalyptus leaves.  It’s a campfire staple in Australia, but one we can live without now that we’ve tried it.  Everybody but one man was back on the bus at the specified time, and we had to wait an extra 20 minutes for him.  Too bad we all didn’t know about that ahead of time, so we could have enjoyed the animals as long as he did….

The other part of our tour, which we were lucky to make, was a ride on the ferry down the Parramatta River, back to Darling Harbour, where we boarded our bus again to go back to the ship.  There was nothing particularly special about the river ride, and we would rather have cut that part out and just spent the whole time at the Wildlife Park.

After lunch we took the shuttle into town, made the long walk to the Apple store and the yarn shops, and then found the pub we liked last time and had a beer.  Hart’s Pub, located on The Rocks, is a pleasant place with good beer, and the amazing thing about this visit was that the lady bartender was the same one we had met two years ago when we found the pub.

The second day we took the shuttle into town, hauling our computers, and headed for the Apple Store.  Once we finished with our genius bar appointment it was another long walk to get to Hart’s Pub to meet Susan’s sister and brother-in-law for lunch and beer, and we enjoyed that time, before heading back to the Apple store to finish up our business there.  Good food, good beer, good company, great city: we could not have asked for more.  This part of the city has now become very familiar to us.

Sail-away happened during dinner, so many of us left our tables to take photographs like the one of Sydney Harbor shown below.  The remainder of the Sydney photos we have to share are in this photo album.

Sydney Sail-Away, with Opera House and Coat Hanger Bridge

© Susan L. Stone 2015