10 June 2012

Harbour Bridge, the Rocks and Royal Botanical Gardens

I was delighted to find that everything I was eager to see in Sydney was in a walking distance. The Opera house, The Harbour Bridge, The Royal Botanic Gardens, The Rocks and Darling Harbour.
Spot the tiny people on top dressed in blue suits
The Harbour bridge is, with The Opera, an icon of Sydney and Australia. It carries motor vehicles, trains, pedestrians and cyclists from the CBD to the North Shore. For about $200 you can climb the widest long-span bridge in the world.
The Sydney Opera at night time
The historic area of the Rocks has it's name from the local sandstone from which the original buildings were made. It was often considered a slum, frequently visited by sailors and prostitutes. Fortunately it was decided to renovate the area, keeping the old buildings. It is now a cultural, sophisticated and thriving area, especially popular with tourists. Of course the hotel prices in the area is accordingly.We stayed at The Rocks-YHA, which gives you a decent double room, expensive for a hostel, but a whole lot cheaper than a hotel. The Rocks is simply flourishing with restaurants and bars. From the more casual such as The Fortune of War, claiming to be the oldest bar in Sydney, to really exclusive VIP ones with a red carpet. Most bars serve food until late evening. On the weekends you can buy arts, crafts and great food from The Rocks Market, definitely worth a visit. Annual events such as The Rocks Village Bizarre Markets by the moonlight in November and December, transform the area into an old fashion village market with entertainment, exhibitions and delicioso food.

Pretty little birds in the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens is a beautiful public garden in close vicinity to the Opera house. A green lung in the middle of the busy city, and a peaceful place to relax with a picnic in the sun. A colony of Flying foxes, a kind of fruit-bat, has long been inhabitants in the Gardens, and are accused of killing dozens of trees. They were supposed to be moved from the Gardens in May 2011, but was still there in December same year, when I was there. Except from the killing-trees part, it's hard to come across that they're pretty cute, a little bit like teddy bears with black bat wings hanging from the trees all over the Gardens.

Just hangin'
The Darling harbour streches from China Town to the King Street Wharf. The area contains an impressive amount of entertainment facilities. The Sydney Entertainment Center, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Star Casino and Entertainment Complex and the Sydney Aquarium are just some of the attractions. The harbour also holds a large variety of restaurants, all of them highly glamourous and expensive. The area have big, open spaces with fountains and spectacular sculptures. Have a relaxing walk, or sit down on a bench and enjoy the stunning view over the harbour. It is about half an hour walk from The Opera house, so if you have to be back there, the ferry is easy and accessible from the end of the restaurant stretch, and takes you all the way back to Circular Quay. I recommend the ferry either way, as you pass the Opera house and Botanic Gardens on the way.

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