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Sydney is one of the world's great cities - it has everything to offer, high standard of living, comfortable climate, beautiful scenery, world famous architecture, bizarre wildlife, juicy steaks, cold beer, although arguably it's a bit of a cultural wasteland. To me if felt like a cross between the UK and San Francisco, but with rougher nightlife. Given the chance, I'd go back in a second.

Ever since I was about 5 years old, I'd wanted to go to Australia. I can't remember why, perhaps it was because I fancied going somewhere very far away, or maybe I just like the name. Anyway, my opportunity finally came up in spring 2008, but ony for about ten days during leave from offshore.

City view

Sydney as viewed from Taronga Zoo, on the north side of the harbour. On the left is the Sydney Tower, and on the right the world-famous Sydney Opera House.

The Sydney Opera House was built back in the 1970s by a Danish architect to give the city an internationally recognised icon, and they didn't go far wrong. As viewed from MacQuarie Point with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.

A day at the opera?

Town hall

The following day was much sunnier, and I got some really good shots of the sweeping curves of the opera house. It was designed to look like a yacht in full sail. To my surprise the roof is slightly yellow and ceramic, as opposed to the painted steel I'd always assumed.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge as viewed from Circular Quay, one of the integrated transport centres of Sydney. The bridge went up in the 1930s during the depression, and the four granite pylons at the anchor points are only decorative, not structural.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge

For a ridiculous sum of cash, you can don a grey suit and climb the great arch of the bridge. For 10% of that you can climb one of the granite pylons and get a view that's almost as good.

Downtown Sydney as seen from the harbour bridge walkway.

Sydney from the bridge

Opera house sun shades

These sunshades complement the opera house very nicely.

Sydney Tower in the background with the golden capsule, and detail of the opera house tiling.

Opera house detail

Sydney Tower

Sydney Tower from below. There are a couple of revolving restaurants in the tower, which affords the highest view in the city. The capsule at the top was put in place by hoisting it up the support shaft from the bottom.

The ANZAC Memorial honours the war dead of Australia and New Zealand.

ANZAC Memorial

We are not amused

Don't forget who's in charge around here! Statue of Queen Victoria outside the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) shopping mall.

There were loads of these birds wandering around the parks in Sydney, obviously tagged and quite unafraid of people. I still don't know what they're called.

Mystery bird

Surf's up!

Bondi Beach, one of the many urban beaches throughout Sydney. What a great facility to have on your doorstep!

I took a walk from Bondi beach all the way to Coogee beach, and in passing came across this graveyard with shiny white memorials that wouldn't look out of place in Santorini.

Not bad graveyard setting

Bronte beach

Bronte Beach is not far south of Bondi, and offers a more secluded beach experience.

Along the Bondi-Coogee path there were umpteen fearsome looking spiders hanging ominously above. I don't know what type they are, but as a general rule I stayed away from anything like that in Australia!

Scary spider

Gordon's Bay

Gordon's Bay, a quiet and pleasant little cove on the way to Coogee Beach.

No trip to Oz would be complete without seeing the Koalas, so I did just that at Taronga Zoo, one of the best zoos I've ever visited.


Downtown Sydney

I was struck by just how pleasant and scenic a place Sydney was to wander in. Downtown as viewed from the botanic gardens.

Sydney is one of very few cities in the world that have a true monorail system, which I thought was great. However, I'm not sure whether it was planned as well as could be, as I never had any cause to use it and it only does a loop round Darling Harbour.


Never smile at a crocodile

Australia is chock full of nasty beasts that'll as soon kill you as look at you, the saltwater croc being no exception.

Also in the Sydney Aquarium, examples of the kinds of character you don't want to meet whilst out catching a wave...


Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour area as viewed from across the water. Sydney is a great confluence of land and water. I stayed in the white building on the right with the crane apparently coming out the top.

Power boat trips around Sydney Harbour! I kept to the much more sedate ferry from Circular Quay, however.

Power boat trips

Sydney at night

This is one of my most favourite night time shots, taken after we had dinner on the beach at Doyle's Fish and Chips in Watsons' Bay, with spectacular views back across the water to the city.

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2008