Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 11 (of 18): A Busy Day in Sydney!

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FRIDAY the 1st March

Morning Skippy! “What’s that Skip, another day in Paradise!?”

06.30am: Uh-oh, another bad night’s sleep! But who needs sleep anyway! 😵 onwards and upwards (hopefully!)

But Sydney waits for no-one – especially an ‘inPOMniac’ 🤔- and as it’s our final full-day here, we have people and places to see!

…and stuff to buy (Trish and John – we’re planning to get you your Opal Cards and a map of Sydney today).

Gosh, it’s a tough life! 😁

08.00am: But first, Breakfast in the Apartment before we slip into Tourist-mode!

09.00am: A quick check of the weather forecast showed another scorcher in the making.

09.05am: First stop today will be to the local Dymocks (Australia’s leading book-store) to pick up some maps for future travels (they’re cheaper out here), then it’s off to Darling Harbour for a good look round. It’s probably changed a bit since we were last here in 2016, and it’ll be good to see what’s different.


Actually, it doesn’t look like much has changed at all! Maybe more skyscrapers and (even) more water-traffic – still busy, still (in our view) very attractive. But wait! where’s the iMax gone that used to be in the corner? Looks like they’ve knocked it down…

Where’s the iMax gone?

…and they’re in the middle of replacing it with something else!! We remember seeing Mission Impossible Something there – and the experience was amazing! Good news! I read afterwards online that there’s going to be a replacement… only even bigger! Not sure if that means on the site of the original, or somewhere else in Darling Harbour, but it’s happening!

09.25am: Next stop, was the Australian National Maritime Museum located just over Pyrmont Bridge to the right.

There was a lot to see here and we probably didn’t do it justice, but it’s worth a visit (admission – A$32 each)

But before all that serious stuff… more Aussie humour. We noticed some massive fans on the ceiling as we entered the main area housing the exterior exhibits. Only here could you name your company…

Eyes front, and back to the Museum! Outside there was replica of the Endeavour, a WW2 Submarine and their WW2 battleship – The HMAS Vampire. We got to look at in some detail…

Impressive stuff and it was just a shame, we didn’t get time to look over the HMAS Onslow, their WW2 submarine too.

Away from the exterior exhibits themselves, the Museum was just as impressive inside…

…and not just at eye-level! Even on the ceilings, there was plenty of decorative sea-related exhibits…

..even the Shop was packed with above-average quality merchandise…

There was plenty we hadn’t seen, but that’s maybe for another time. We walked back across the bridge heading for our next stop.

The short walk from the Harbour to meet Andy

We were slightly ahead of schedule, so we dropped into the Queen Victoria Building (a heritage-listed late-nineteenth-century building designed by the architect George McRae).

Known locally as simply ‘QVB’, it’s worth a look to see how shopping areas can be beautiful too! (Keep your hands of your credit cards though, there’s some serious designer shops located here!) 😊

11.30am: Coffee time with Andy McLean at The Grounds of the City – an unusual name for what turned out to be a very good Eatery/Drinkery…

…with a ‘daily’ slice of cake too! Well, it would have been rude not to try it out – Hazel and Caramel Torte – portion size about the size of Tasmania! 😁

We had a good catchup with Andy, who was between clients, but we managed to get through cake, tea and a bottle of sparkling water.

12.35pm: After a bit more ‘retail therapy’ in David Jones (Australia’s answer to John Lewis) in Elizabeth Street where we bagged a couple of coffee-mugs, it was off to nearby Hyde Park – the 40 acre urban park smack bang in the middle of Sydney!

‘Plan A’ was to visit Hyde Park Barracks Museum (the early 19th century central convict institution and crossroads for tens of thousands of ‘wrong-uns’) but it was closed for major renovation.

12.45pm: Instead, we spotted a large Cathedral that we’d not noticed before on previous visits to Sydney. Definitely worth a look, especially as it had such a commanding view over Hyde Park – It turned out to be St Mary’s Cathedral built in 1851, but looking like it was built yesterday – talk about immaculate conception! 😊

It was very tranquil inside. Worth a stop, if you need a breather and/or time for contemplation.

1.05pm: We continued onto Macquarie Street heading ultimately for Sydney’s Botanical Gardens where we passed quite a few impressive looking official buildings…

The Old Mint
Parliament Building
The State Library

…including the Old Mint (now partly a restaurant) and later, NSW’s Parliament Building. Most impressive of all was the State Library (opened in 1826 and the oldest in Oz).

1.35pm: The heat was now beginning to build and so our final stop for the day was Sydney’s Botanical Gardens…


1.55pm: We planned to have Lunch in their Restaurant, but discovered it was closed for a private function! 😯 Instead, we ‘slummed it’ in their café a few metres away. It wasn’t gourmet (Fish & Chips for Ann, Piri-piri Chicken Burger for me) but we were starving!

2.30pm: We headed back to the Apartment, picking up a couple of Opal Cards for Trish and John along the way.

2.45pm: Wow! We certainly packed it in today! That together with the combination of the heat and humidity really took it out of us. I feel an extended siesta coming on! 😉

Tomorrow, we check-out and head for Canberra, courtesy of the well-known (out here anyway!) Murray’s Coaches. It’ll get us to our next destination by 1.30pm. See you there (virtually!)

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