So a fair bit of time has passed since I last update this blog and a fair bit has gone on, so I'm going to try and keep this entry brief instead of over-flowing with information... I'll probably end up failing.
Monday was the first day when I didn't have any activities planned, the company that I've come with (Ozintro) only arrange activities for the first week, so from here on I'm on my own, a lot of pressure to make the most of things. That being said, I've managed to keep myself busy and get up to something each and everyday (although I'm taking today as a lazy day to upload photos, update this blog and just generally recover from a non-stop couple of weeks).
Monday was a beautiful winters day and after spending a bit of time in the Ozintro office, I made the decision to book myself up for a Skywalk up the Sydney Tower. A lot of people seem to do the bridge climb up the Harbour Bridge, but there's a couple of reasons I didn't want to do this. First of all, the cost. The bridge climb is around $180-200 which is a heck of a lot compared to doing the Skywalk, which you can get for just under $50. The other main reason is that the Skywalk up the Sydney Tower takes you twice as high as the Harbour Bridge, therefore getting twice the views. The Skywalk itself was well worth it, and whilst you can't take cameras out with you, the views over all of Sydney can't compare to anything else. If anyone ever does it, make sure to pick a clear day like I did as you can see the Blue Mountains up to 80 km away. If you look out to sea from that hight and sea a ship on the horizon, it will be another two hours before it reaches the Harbour mouth, just to put things into a little perspective. After getting back into the Sydney Tower Observation room, I took the chance to get some panoramic pictures and purchase the photos that they take on the Skywalk. Usually I don't bother to buy those sort of photos, but I wanted to take something away from it and have a few extra bucks sitting around in my pockets.
On Tuesday it was a bit of a wet day, the second since I got here a little over a week ago. The great thing about Australia compared to the UK is you know when your next sunny day is going to come, so this one wet day didn't phase me too much. Instead I used it as an opportunity to get my geek on and visit the Australian Museum. They had an exhibit on the Deep Ocean that I found interesting and had some really cool exhibits on Dinosaurs and the history of Australia's wildlife. On Tuesday evening my group from last week went out for one more dinner as four of them were flying up the coast to Cairns the following morning. We headed off into Chinatown with the idea of getting Chinese... this idea failed miserably when we ended up in a Thai restaurant. The food was lovely, but I wish I'd asked for them to make it more mild, it was way to hot for me.
Wednesday was another lovely day, and whilst I spent the first part of my day at the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, I was outside checking out two of the vessels they had their, HMB Endeavor and HMAS Vampire. HMB Endeavor is a working replica of the ship that Captain James Cook sailed on when he made his round-the-world trip, eventually landing in Australia in Botany Bay where the airport is located. This was the only reason I came to the museum, I just wanted to see what it was like onboard a ship like those you see in Pirates of the Caribbean. I personally loved it and found it really interesting, the other ship HMAS Vampire however wasn't really my sort of thing, so after a quick look around, I promptly left and wandered up the edge of Darling Harbour towards Millers Point and the Harbour Control Tower. Whilst this is a pretty barren looking place at the moment, they're opening another park here in 2015 that looks like it'll be yet another amazing place to come and chill out. Walking around Millers Point towards Walsh Bay I noticed a building that looked a lot like the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. Knowing that Sydney had an observatory, I started to climb the concrete hill, winding in and out of side streets making my way towards it. The first part I came across was a wonderful little park, aptly named Observatory Park. From here I rested up, took my book out, and enjoyed views over Northern Sydney, Luna Park and the Harbour Bridge. After a half hour or so I decided to take a look around the Observatory and was surprised to find it was free entry (most of the museums in Sydney are a paid entry and then extra for any special exhibits that they may have on). After satisfying my inner geek yet again I wandered back towards the Harbour Bridge and down into an area called The Rocks. I knew of this place from a couple of travel books and was keen to check it out as the architecture differed from the very modern looking CBD. The Rocks is very old part of Sydney where the colony's early days took place, as a result there are a lot of narrow and winding streets which have a variety of restaurants and boutiques, rumored to be some of Sydney's best. Despite it's age, it retains a certain quality that makes it a beautiful area of Sydney.
Thursday was another early start, taking the opportunity to Skype a friend back home now that I had finally sorted out the WiFi at the hostel. After falling back to sleep around 8am and getting myself back up for 10am, I head out with the intention of making the most of the day before — apparently — it was due to rain. After heading back to a favorite place of mine, Hyde Park, and having a healthy breakfast of fruit and reading my book, I made my way back towards the Botanical Gardens. Any hint of rain from the weather forecast was quickly dispelled by the gorgeous sunshine and I wanted to take advantage of it by exploring bits of the Botanical Gardens that I didn't get to see the Sunday before last. After wandering through the Rainforest Walk and chilling out by the Main Pond, I finally took residence on a grassy little hill that has awesome views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Making my way back, I managed to get a close up of a Cockatoo on a low branch, beating the views I had on the Monday before last. I'm hoping to head back and feed them before I leave Sydney in a few days time. At around 4pm the time had come for me to catch my first train in Sydney from Town Hall up to Lindfield. This was quite a daunting challenge in a new city, but after getting my ticket, finding the right platform and boarding a double-decker train, I found myself wondering what I was worrying about. This was no different to catching the train or the tube back home. I was heading into the Northern Suburb of Lindfield to meet up with my Grandma's cousin, who had very kindly offered to make me dinner. Both him and has wife were excellent company and provided me with the first real home cooked meal since arriving in Sydney, one I was incredibly grateful for. I can't wait to get more home cooked dinners once I get home.
It's been a full on four days and I'm looking forward to chilling out this arvo and hopefully catching the Super Rugby that's on this evening. Friday seems to be brightening up so maybe I'll take the chance to wander up the Botanical Gardens and try and feed the Cockatoos and maybe do a little bit of shopping before the day ends. 3 days to go in Sydney.