On the water in Sydney


The roads in Sydney seem to be permanently congested. Even crossing the road in the Central business District seems to take forever as you wait for the pedestrian lights to turn to green. So getting around on the bus can be a slow process. Sydney is built on the water, which is a big contributor to the congestion, but the city take advantage of this by having a network of cream and green ferries centring on the Circular Quay. It’s a fun way to travel too, providing a different perspective of the city from the water.

On the second morning of our time in Sydney we walked over to Darling Harbour to take a look at the redeveloped docklands and also to catch the ferry round to the Circular Quay.



Darling Harbour, which is to the west of the Circular Quay, used to be part of the port of Sydney and the site of the NSW Railways central marshalling yards and freight consolidation centre. In the 1980’s when the port declined the harbour became largely derelict. However, in recent years, like many former harbours round the world, it has been redeveloped and reinvented as an area of leisure pursuits and tourist attractions. So today it’s the location of tourist attractions including the Australian National Maritime Museum, a Sealife Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World and a branch of Madame Tussards. It’s also the site of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre and a number of hotels. The quays are also lined with bars and restaurants.


We walked along the harbour to the ferry terminal at Barangaroo. A lot of (controversial)development with glass and concrete skyscrapers is taking place at this eastern end of the harbour which was once lined with dock labourers searching for work

We didn’t have long to wait for a ferry and set off on the route that called at Balmain East, McMahons Point, Milsons Point and then Circular Quay.

It was a lovely, sunny morning, although with a stiff breeze the water was a little choppy. but I managed to snap a few decent photos.

Looking back to Barangaroo


The Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the west


Coming in to  McMahons Point – lots of fancy yachts moored up here.


Luna Park at Milsons Point


Sailing under the bridge


Past the Opera House


Approaching Circular Quay


We took the ferry back to Darling Harbour a couple of times and also sailed the longer route across to Manly. An inexpensive way to take a tour of the Harbour!


Sydney Cove


Where to start writing up our trip to Australia? At the beginning, I suppose. On the first morning of our 5 day stay we headed down to Sydney Cove which was also where the city began – it was here that the colony was established in 1788 with the arrival of a First Fleet of British ships. Today it’s where most of the main attractions are located and the jumping off point for many others. The Opera House and Botanic Gardens on the east side and the Rocks and Harbour Bridge to the west.

We were staying in an “appart-hotel” near the Town Hall in the Central Business District (CBD). It was about a 20 minute walk down to the Circular Quay at the southern end of the cove, which is the hub of the city transport network of trains, buses and ferries. We’d passed through the evening before when we’d arrived and were taking a train from the airport to the Town Hall so we could check in our hotel. The train station is elevated and as our train pulled into the station we had a view of the Opera House and Bridge all lit up.

The morning was a little grim with grey skies and the weather forecast for the week didn’t look too promising. Fortunately that proved to be wrong as it brightened up during the day and was sunny and warm for most of the five days we were there.

Arriving at the Circular Quay we walked round to the west side of the cove to get a view of the Opera House and the see the Harbour bridge at close quarters. To do that we had to walk past the cruise terminal where a monstrous cruise liner was moored up. There was one there every day blocking the view across the cove from the west to some extent and presenting an unwelcome distraction when looking across from the east side. There was one of these monsters there every day, arriving during the night and departing in the evening. But I guess the mooring fees make a packet for the city.

We walked round past Campbell’s Cove jetty and the Hyatt Hotel to the Hickson Road Reserve, a small park facing the Opera House and with a close up view of the bridge.


After taking in the view we walked back through the Rocks – a historic working class area established shortly after the colony’s formation. Today it’s largely a tourist “attraction” with shops, cafes and bars so we stopped off for a “flat white” – a shot of caffeine was needed to overcome some of the jet lag.

We spent a little time looking round the Rocks (more of that in another post) before walking round to the other side of the Cove to take a closer look at the Opera House (another post about that iconic building to come).


Then on to the Botanic Gardens to the east, a beautiful, well kept park that extends around the bay to the viewpoint at Mrs Macquaries point.

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We had a drink and bite to eat in the rather excellent Botanic Gardens cafe and then walked round the bay to take in the iconic view of the Opera House with the Harbour Bridge in the background. Grey skies didn’t show this off to it’s best but still a “view to die for”

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and there were good views too of the skyscrapers of the CBD


Back round through the gardens, we noticed signs for something called the Calyx, so we thought we’d investigate. It was a new attraction which opened in June 2016 to celebrate the Royal Botanic Gardens’ 200th birthday, so after my previous visit 3 years ago.  It’s essentially a large glass house with a collection of 18,000 plants, which are arranged as living artworks on a “green wall” 6 metres high and 50 metres long. The current exhibition focuses on the theme of Pollination

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The afternoon wasn’t over yet, but I think this post has gone on long enough. So, to be continued ………..