26/09/2014 - 15:22

Sydney lives up to its reputation

26/09/2014 - 15:22

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Sydney is an amazing city with lots of iconic attractions, so it’s hard to summarise a week there in short-form, but I’ll try – I love visiting and experiencing what it has to offer, but have no great desire to live there.

Sydney lives up to its reputation

Sydney is an amazing city with lots of iconic attractions, so it’s hard to summarise a week there in short-form, but I’ll try – I love visiting and experiencing what it has to offer, but have no great desire to live there.

I spent four years living in Sydney in the late 80s and early 90s before returning to hometown Perth, and while the excitement and diversity is sometimes alluring, it also comes with congestion, noise and other baggage.

The Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are probably the two most photographed attractions, and for good reason, but I still think Sydney’s natural harbour setting is its greatest asset.

One day after arriving, on a glorious Spring afternoon, we caught the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly.

I’ve taken this trip many times before, but will never tire of it. It runs past many of Sydney’s finest attractions, natural and man-made.

Manly Beach, with its long expanse and reliable surf break, is another iconic attraction.

It also provides a handy reference point for Perth residents who fear multi-storey development along the oceanfront.

Manly has lovely old apartments and pubs, but also has modern hotels, shops and apartments up to eight storeys tall.

It doesn’t look or feel anything like the Gold Coast, which is what the anti-development lobby at Cottesloe seems to fear. Instead, it feels like a vibrant community that has evolved with the times.

A lesser-known attraction near Manly is Shelley Beach, a small, sheltered cove that is popular for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Driving out to North Head, just past Manly, is another way to take in the majesty of Sydney Harbour.

The high cliff top viewing platforms provide wonderful views across to the city, south to Bondi and east to the ocean.

We saw seals playing in the ocean below us, near to where the surf was crashing on the rocks. It’s also known as a good spot for seeing whales.

Before leaving Sydney, we also took a trip to spectacular South Head, nearby Bondi Beach and the beautiful Watson’s Bay.

There are so many wonderful spots, we didn’t find time for the Bondi to Bronte cliff top walk, which many rate as Sydney’s number one attraction.

The Harbour Bridge climb has become one of Sydney’s most popular drawcards.

For those of us who don’t enjoy heights, simply walking over the harbour bridge is more than enough. It affords spectacular views from what I consider a very high vantage point.

The walk led us to Miller’s Point, an area that features an abundance of 19th Century and early 20th Century heritage buildings. It’s similar to The Rocks, but without the commercial, touristy developments.

There are plenty of different museums in Sydney, and we made it to just two.

We had a great day at the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour, which includes a naval destroyer, submarine and patrol boat, and a lovingly restored sailing ship dating from the 1870’s.

We also visited the science focused Powerhouse Museum, which has everything from steam engines to space satellites and ballroom dancing costumes but didn’t hold our attention to the same extent.

Sydney’s inner suburbs have a high-energy buzz, in daytime and in the evening.

There are lots of restaurants, cafes and shops, and an eclectic collection of people.

It’s good fun just soaking up the sights and the atmosphere in places like Surrey Hills and Darlinghurst.

One gem we discovered was Mamak, a very popular Malaysian roti restaurant that always has queues out the front.

Somebody in Perth should bring this concept to the west.

We went there on a cold, wet evening so we had to wait only about 10 minutes.

Normally it’s much longer.

This is an edited version of Mark Beyer’s blog post, which can be read in full at http://markbeyerontheroad.wordpress.com/ 

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