Talk to someone who doesn't live in Australia and they probably have heard of Sydney. It is not our nation's capital, (Canberra is our capital city), but it certainly is a city that is recognised world-wide, particularly through its icons - Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
So for my blog today, I am going to take you for an exploration of the icons of Sydney.
I took this pic from the airplane as we were leaving - can you see all three icons?....
Our apartment hotel in the Sydney CBD was perfectly located for exploring Sydney's icons. We picked up a free "Free in Sydney Map and Guide" from the hotel front desk and set off to explore.There are lots of tourist maps and information guides in Sydney, but this little free map is great to get you started, and we kept one in our pocket and camera bag the whole time we were in Sydney. There are Sydney Visitor Centres located near Darling Harbour and in The Rocks area. We studied our maps and pamphlets every evening to work out what we were going to do the next day.
Sydney has a great transport system - trains, buses, ferries, and we found this the easiest way to get around. And the best way to access this transport is by purchasing an Opal Card which you just swipe as you get on and off transport. You can buy a card when you arrive in Sydney, but if you are over 50 or have a concession card, I recommend you go onto the Opal Card website and pre-purchase your card before you leave, and you will get an aditional discount. Opal for Interestate Seniors. There are also cards for students, children, veterans, people with disabilities, etc. When we were in Sydney our travel with our Seniors Opal Card was capped at $2.50 a day, which made it very easy and cheap to get around Sydney.
On our first day in Sydney we decided to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, also affectionately known as "the coathanger". We caught the underground railway at the Town Hall station opposite our hotel and hopped off at the Milsons Point Station on Sydney's north shore. From here you can walk across the bridge back towards the city. I think this is a great way to do it as you are facing the magnificent city views as you walk across.
And it is free!
The Sydney Harbour Bridge construction started in 1924 and took 1,400 men eight years to build at a cost of 4.2 million Australian dollars. The general design for the Bridge was prepared by Dr J J C Bradfield and officers of the NSW Department of Public Works. The construction contract was let to English firm Dorman Long and Co of Middlesbrough. Six million hand driven rivets, 53,000 tonnes of steel and 95,000 cubic metres of concrete, were used in its construction. 272,00 litres of paint was required to give the Bridge its initial three coats of paint. The Bridge was opened on 19 March 19321. It now carries eight traffic lanes and two rail lines, one in each direction.
For more history of the bridge please click here - Australian story - Sydney Harbour Bridge
or here - Sydney Harbour Bridge
On the Sydney city side of the bridge you can climb up to the Pylon Lookout, for views over the city and see the exhibits about the history and construction of the bridge.
Here we are on the city side of the bridge looking back over towards the Luna Park fun park on the north shore.
Once on the Sydney city side you are in the iconic Rocks area. (But more about that next time). Near where you exit the walkway you will find the Australian Hotel. There is a vibrant pub and restaurant scene in Sydney and this pub is just one of them.
The original Australian Hotel was opened in 1824, but was relocated during the plague in 1900. This well preserved Edwardian building is a favourite watering hole for locals and tourists.
We tried the "Coat of Arms" pizza - half emu, half pepper kangaroo, with bush tomato, capsicum and lemon myrtle mayo. Delicious. They have called this pizza "Coat of Arms" because the emu and kangaroo are on the Australian Coat of Arms. Sorry, but I have no problem eating one of our iconic native animals.
Evidently the kangaroo and emu were chosen for the Australian Coat of Arms to symbolise a nation moving forward as neither animal can move backwards easily.
Now that we are on the city side we can walk around Circular Quay. A walk around the waterfront at Circular Quay will bring you past the ferry terminals and restaurants to the Sydney Opera House. Whether you see if from the water, land or air, during the day or at night, the Sydney Opera House, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is truly magnificent.
"Fusing ancient and modernist influences, and built on a site sacred to the local Gadigal people for thousands of years, the sculptural elegance of the Sydney Opera House has made it one of the most recognisable buildings of the twentieth century, synonymous with inspiration and imagination." - Sydney Opera House History
In 1955, Bennelong Point was declared the site for the proposed new opera house and on 15 February, 1956 Premier Cahill released an international competition to design a National Opera House at Bennelong Point.
On 29 January 1957, Premier Cahill announced that the winner of the competition was Design 218 by Jørn Utzon, the unknown 38-year-old Dane from Hellebæk.
The opera house was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973. The massive construction project was not without its problems. "Pressures piled upon its architect, Jørn Utzon, who left Australia midway through construction, never to return to see the building completed. Nevertheless, Utzon’s masterpiece would define his career, and redefine the image of Australia both to itself and the world."
To read more about the Sydney Opera House, its history and today, please click here Sydney Opera House.
It's a very popular place for strolling, sitting, meeting up for coffee or a meal in one of the restaurants, enjoying the sights of the harbour and city, and for wedding photos.
We decided to do the guided tour of the inside of the Opera House. This really is the only way to see inside, and you hear more about the history and stories of the "House". There are several different theatres of different sizes and suitable for varying productions. We would have loved to have gone to see a show, but there wasn't anything on the program when we visited that we thought our son would be interested in. Next time! But the guided tour was a great option.
During the day, or at night, equally beautiful.
We were in Sydney during Chinese New Year, and there were all sorts of displays, events, entertainment, etc on around Sydney, including light displays around the Circular Quay waterfront, like these roosters beside the Opera House.
Circular Quay has a vibrant nightlife, very different to the bushland which was here when Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney Cove and claimed the colony of New South Wales for Britain on 25th January 1788. You can learn more about Sydney's history by visiting these two websites:
Learn Sydney's History
The Rocks - History and Heritage
One of the best ways to explore locations around Sydney Harbour, and to view the icons of Sydney from the water is on one of the regular ferry services from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour or during one of the Hop on Hop Off harbour cruises.
The Hop-on-Hop Off cruise we went on did stop at many of the major attractions around the harbour, and went all the way to Manly, but we did find it a little difficult to co-ordinate the stops to get the best value for our money and time. We decided it might have been better to use the regular Ferry services to visit the places we wanted to go to, so please investigate what will give you the best value for your money.
But more about these harbour side locations in my next blog about Sydney.
Finally I wanted to tell you about our hotel (and no I didn't get a discount for blogging about them). If you are looking for an apartment for your stay in Sydney, you can't go wrong with the Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Town Hall. It is conveniently located in the Sydney CBD on the corner of Kent Street directly across the corner from the Town Hall underground rail station and within easy walking distance of the restaurants and night life of Darling Harbour. The apartment was spacious with a generous kitchen, separate dining-lounge room, balcony, a washing machine and dryer and different room configurations are available. There is a swimming pool and gym, and a cafe-restaurant attached. We were very grateful for the washing machine and dryer, as it was very hot when we visited in February, so they were put into use every night.
Click here to find out more about this hotel and the other hotels in the group - Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Town Hall
For more information about Sydney -
Learn about Sydney - Tourist Information
Things to do in Sydney
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed my little tour today of the icons of Sydney. Have you been to Sydney? What did you enjoy about it? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments.
I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.
I hope to return next week with more things to do and see around Sydney. Until then you might also like -
Crossing Australia - the Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor
Searching for Platypus and Great Short Walks in Tasmania
Rottnest Island Short Break, Western Australia
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection
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