Today was our last day in Sydney and we really only had a morning there before we needed to get out to the airport and fly home.
We gathered at a cafe near the hotel for breakfast, somewhere that had mushrooms as part of their breakfast menu.
After breakfast a couple of us headed off for some last minute shopping/sightseeing. The last thing I needed to check off my to do list was visit the Apple Store, so we headed off down George St past some beautiful old buildings.
Strangely everything was closed and Sydney seemed like a ghost town at 9:00 on a Sunday morning!
At last we found the Apple Store after walking what seemed like a really long way, but it didn’t open till 10:00. Sadly I worked out that if we waited for the store to open, had a very quick look round, NOT buy anything, walk back to the hotel, pack my suitcase and meet everybody in the hotel lobby at the arranged time, I would be really pushing it. So we gave up that idea, found the one coffee outlet that was open, found a nice place to sit and enjoy our coffee and headed back to the hotel.
The flight home was not as fun and exciting as the flight to Sydney, but at least there were no hold ups and things like check in and airport security was really easy at both ends. Strangely however there was a sad lack of shops open at the Sydney airport. Not sure if that was due to renovations, but most stores were empty and looked abandoned.
The view from the plane while we waited for take off was awesome – the city looked really close and hot!
This morning we set off for Bondi Junction by train to do a spot more shopping at another huge Westfield mall and a great super discounted chemist with amazing bargains. On the way to the train station we saw some unusual looking birds which apparently are called Ibis.
After shopping we headed back to the hotel to dump our shopping and head out for lunch.
We caught a taxi from the hotel out to Darling Harbour for lunch where we found a groovy bar and grill called Bungalow 8 right on the waterfront with a great menu. We ordered a delicious jug of Sangria to go with our lunch.
After lunch we took a leisurely stroll along the waterfront for about one minute – suddenly the sun was too much and I had to head for the nearest bit of shade. Shortly we ended up at some wildlife place and I bought a cap which allowed us to go back out into the sun. From there we caught a ferry to Circular Quay which gave us great views of Darling Harbour and even stopped at Lunar Park.
A surprise bonus of this little excursion was we got to go under the Harbour Bridge and photograph the Opera House again.
Once at Circular Quay we caught a different ferry out to Manly. We wanted to do this for two reasons:
I knew there were great opportunities to photograph the front of the Opera House from that particular ferry and…
There is a song called Reckless by Australian Crawl that has the lyrics: “as the Manly Ferry cuts its way to Circular Quay.”
The ferry was jam packed with people (mainly young surfer type dudes) which seemed really strange coz I don’t remember there being anything interesting at Manly for cool people to do. I went to Manly when I was 16 and all I remember was an old run down aquarium and a very small almost abandoned fun park. There was so many people I started to feel a bit like Rose on the Titanic – “there weren’t enough life jackets”. But we survived and because of all the people it took ages to get off the boat.
Once on dry land we headed for the information centre so I could find out what was going on. Turned out it was the Australian Open of Surfing.
The surf beach was only five minutes walk away so we joined the fun.
Here’s me lovin every minute of it. We even went for a refreshing paddle in the surf.
Sadly we had to drag ourselves away from Manly and head back to the hotel in time to meet up with everyone for our last dinner in Sydney.
Near our hotel there were a lot of Chinese new year celebrations going on, so we ended up in a Thai restaurant and got to enjoy all the fruit carving, food stalls and dancing on the street.
Up early to check out the view from the roof top swimming pool before the champagne breakfast with my friends who had flown to Sydney to help me celebrate my 50th birthday in style.
After breakfast and many glasses of fabulous champagne we set off for the Harbour bridge so I could take photos of the Opera House. Along the way we walked past the Sydney Tower and many beautiful buildings and stopped at a Starbucks to give us the strength required for the big walk across the bridge.
As we approached the bridge even the weather god wanted to help us celebrate my birthday by presenting us with clear blue skies. The view of the city and the Opera House was stunning and I just couldn’t get enough of photographing everything.
One of my friends and I even walked up hundreds of stairs to check out the view from the Pylon Lookout. Up the lookout was a movie, spectacular views and even a shop.
Next we walked around Circular Quay all the way to the Opera House itself so I could touch it.
Once inside we headed to the shop where I found the Lego version of the Opera House. That was so cool coz it was the Opera House inside the Opera House.
Check out my Lego blog to see the one I built back in April:
After exploring the Opera House we had a pre-dinner cocktail in one of the harbour-side bars. I think the drink was called a Sydney Sling which seemed appropriate.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the incredible QV shopping mall where I found an amazing toy shop and bought an Air New Zealand jumbo jet model. I wanted to buy this particular model because Air NZ don’t fly Boeing 747s anymore.
The last part of my birthday was spent up the Sydney Tower in the revolving restaurant “Orbit”. The evening was fabulous, great company, great food and spectacular views. The staff even suprised us with a Happy Birthday plate decorated in chocolate words.
Too excited for words, we arrived at the airport to check in for our flight to Sydney. This was the first time I could use the self-check in with my new passport which made everything so easy.
The flight to Sydney was loads of fun with great service. However the plane was delayed a bit due to its late arrival from somewhere, so it was very exciting to finally see it dragged in to place.
The weather forecast was for thunderstorms so it was very exciting to arrive in Sydney on a sunny and only slightly cloudy day, We were even sitting on the best side of the plane so we got a great view of Sydney and the Opera House before landing.
After dumping our bags we walked along Pitt St to make the most of the late night shopping at the massive Westfield Mall.
Videos taken outside the Westfield Mall – awesome buzz: