Arrived back in Sydney wednesday evening after a mammoth train journey.
Got up early Thursday and Friday to make use of my discount tourist card (I-venture). With this I had a two hour 'Sydney sights' walking tour. We ventured through Circular Quay, the Rocks, past the old government houses and finally through the Royal Botanical Gardens, where, ironically the most treasured item is not a plant but infact a book.
The Rocks is the oldest part of the city where the soldiers, convicts and immigrants lived. It comprises of many mews type buildings similiar to Uk towns and cities. The guide seemed very excited at the prospect of the houses having outside toilets. I didnt want to spoil his fun by notifying him that this is common in the UK. The oldest building in Sydney dates back to 1816. This area, as expected became very over-populated and polluted. Infact, a "nurses alley" was established so that nurses could commute between their homes and the hospital safely.
Later in the afternoon I explored the museum of Sydney, Hyde Military barraks, where many convicts and immigrants, in particular young Irish girls were housed during the 1800's. I also explored the Sydney Opera house, designed by Jorn Utzen. Sadly Utzen never had the chance to see the house completed as conflict with the government led to his resignation. Thus, parts of the opera house are typical Danish design but the vast majority is Australian.
My day concluded with a trek up to the top of Sydney tower eye where 360 degree scenic views can be had.
On Friday I walked the 200 stairs up to the top of the South Eastern Pylon of the Sydney harbour bridge to look out over the harbour. Construction of the bridge took place between 1924 and 1932, employing an average of 1400 people. The design of the bridge was a collaboration between a Dr John Job Crew Bradfield (a mouthful) and an English construction compant called Dorman Long and Co. Stretching 1149 metres, coated in 272,000 litres of paint and costing NSW 10,057,170 pounds, 7 shillings, and 9 pence, the Harbour bridge is a beautiful marvel. Work on the bridge was no easy job, working at dizzying heights and in a harsh climate, the bridge claimed 16 lives.
" A bloke called Kelly fell 150 feet off........into the water and survived with two broken ribs...his boots were split right open and....up around his thighs. They gave him a gold watch."
I took a bus to Manly and Bondi beach.
On NYE I, and three other girls from my hostel trekked down to reserve a spot in the botanical gardens ready for the evenings events we queued and waited for 15 hours, sharing the experience with 20,000 others . as the clock struck 9pm and the first set of fireworks were released from the Opera house and the Harbour bridge it was quite apparent that the wait had well and truly been worthwhile.
The rest of my time in Sydney, infact in the land of OZ was spent at Bondi beach, the botanical gardens and a visit to the Observatory. Next stop New Zealand!!