Thursday 28 February
Rose really early for our flight to Sydney. At the airport there had been quite a few delayed flights but, thankfully, ours wasn’t. Arrived in Sydney and caught their train to Central Quay. Their trains are triple decker affairs which was interesting. It’s a shame we can’t use them in our tube system as it would make them less crowded.
We got out of the train into a thunderstorm but we only had a short walk to our hotel so we put our waterproofs on and plunged out. Hotel has an Irish bar attached so we’re looking forward to some good grub this evening. After a short break to get ourselves wrung out we headed for the sights of Sydney. The Oriana is currently in the harbour and it dwarfs everything. It was still raining, so we did get wet, but after a while you can’t get any wetter and it was warm so quite pleasant most of the time. Took some pictures of the sights then went for a walk to find the Chinese quarter but we gave up as we were all tired and wet. Quick pint then off to our room to dry out.
Friday 29 February
Friday morning dawned sunny and dry’ish – a little bit of rain but we decided that we would do our Harbour cruise first. We wandered down and had to wait for a while for the ship so had an ice cream each (this has been a common theme throughout our holiday, just hope the extra pounds aren’t too excessive!) whilst watching an Aborigine guy playing his didgeridoo alongside a drum machine with another guy tapping out on a wooden block. Kevin liked it so much he brought the CD that they were selling and ….but no, more of that later!
The trip round the harbour was fantastic – Sydney really is a lovely city. We enjoyed seeing the Opera House at closer quarters and also some of the very expensive ‘real estate’. The guide was at pains to inform us of the selling prices – too rich for us! Then we stopped at the other side of the harbour – Darling Harbour – and decided to jump ship to visit the Aquarium. We did that, then also visited the Wildlife centre which was full of Australian insects, spiders, snakes, lizards, butterflies, birds, marsupials – you name it, they had it!
We then wandered back to the hotel via a shop that I’d visited when I was in Sydney with work last June. I’d seen a painting that I’d really liked but it was too big and expensive so I’d resisted the temptation to buy it. This time they had another one by the same artist which we both liked and…well, you can guess the rest. Whilst we were in the shop Kevin was talking to a guy who was playing/selling the didgeridoos and somehow we ended up with one of those too! Future guests can be assured of some interesting entertainment if he gets the hang of it!
That evening we went to bed exhausted but happy. Our sleep was short-lived as they started setting up the market outside our bedroom window at 4.30 am.
Saturday 1 March
Saturday morning dawned (early) bright and sunny and we had another ice cream and watched the street musician en route for the railway to take us back to the airport for our flight to Melbourne. This flight was uneventful and relatively short. We met Richard’s cousin, John, at the airport and he drove us to his home in Frankton on the outskirts of Melbourne. Actually it took nearly an hour and a half to get there so it’s probably a similar distance from Melbourne as we are from London! We’re staying in an old-people’s unit. Don’t laugh!
Sunday 2 March
We got up early to catch the ferry to Philip Island for the Australian round of the World Superbikes championship. We’ve often watched this on the television and never expected to be here so it was a great excitement for us to be watching it live.
The circuit is fantastic. You can walk all the way round and from a lot of vantage points you can see most of the track. The weather was great for us – what did we do to deserve it??? Or did Cousin John make special arrangements for us? (he is a retired vicar).
The local favourite, Troy Bayliss, won both Superbike races so the crowd was happy. So was I, he’s going to be my choice this year as there are no Brits in the championship.
Tired, sun-kissed and happy we returned to Wrinkly Bottom to finish this diary. Tomorrow we are going back into Melbourne to meet up with some friends and hopefully see some more of the city before flying on to Cairns for our final episode – Diving the Coral Sea.
I can’t believe it’s nearly over but we’re beginning to look forward to being at home now…our family and friends, our own bed, our garden (wonder if the daff’s will still be out?), our house….
We didn’t send out a blog or keep a proper diary once we left Philip Island but it seems a shame to not complete our trip report so here are a few highlights from the remainder of our Australian weeks.
We stayed for a couple of days with a work friend, Nanette, and spent a day touring round Melbourne.
We took a river trip and spotted this interesting piece of parking!
The tour guide assured us that London’s Blackfriars Bridge had copied them…
Nanette was the perfect hostess
Finally we spent a few days diving on the Coral Sea.
On our return we stayed in Cairns and enjoyed the seasonal weather (wet).
And finally, who could leave Australia without making friends with one of these little guys?