Drury Family Tour of Australia Part 5

02/08/2019 – Wolverine!

Arrived at our apartment at the Meriton Suites Zetland in Sydney, and it was lush – as you can imagine accommodation in the heart of Sydney is expensive so we decided to stay a little further out and we were very happy with it. We had a huge 2 bedroom apartment with everything you could want including hotel room service and housekeeping, a mall outside for food and supplies and we were on a high floor so had a great view of the city.

Once we dropped our bags and chilled for half an hour we did our usual thing of looking through half a forests worth of leaflets we picked up in the airport for what to do and I read out some stuff to Gill from the “what’s on” guide including that Hugh Jackman was appearing tonight. Gill huffed and puffed and tutted “oh I wish I had known, would have loved to see him” but of course this was part of my master plan to build up to the reveal of tickets I booked months ago! After the big reveal there were tears, excitement and then the realisation we needed to get to the other side of Sydney pretty sharpish.

Arrived in good time at the Qudos Arena, the seats were decent, not as close as Gill would have liked really (as not on the stage with him) but pretty good compared to others. To be honest the show was decent, I bought the tickets for Gill and tagged along to keep her company and ensure she didn’t storm the stage to “get her some Hugh” but I enjoyed it too – he’s pretty funny and he even did some wolverine bits to keep all the guys happy.

Yet more brownie points banked! – I’m doing pretty well this holiday, should have enough soon for a prize from the top shelf!

03/08/2019 – Sydney CBD

Started the day with a fab full Irish breakfast from the Mad Spuds Cafe and then then on to Paddington to have a look around the craft market. We then headed down oxford street and did a bit of Geocaching along the way. If you are not familiar with Gill’s new hobby, Geocaching is basically a global treasure hunt, you use an app and clues to go looking for hidden containers that hold a list of names of who found the container before you and generally involves a lot of walking and wiping all sorts of nasty things off your hands from feeling under park benches.

We then walked though Hyde park down to the harbour. We found ourselves walking through the adult entertainment part of town and couldn’t help laughing at some of the shop and bar names.

We had a pie and peas lunch in the famous Harrys wheels on the harbour front.

After lunch we walked through the beautiful botanical gardens to get our first look at the Sydney Opera house and Harbour bridge which is the cool iconic sight that you just have to do when in these parts.

After Stopping for a drink at the opera house Matthew declared that he didn’t want to keep walking around all afternoon so wanted to do his own thing – no surprise he ended up in an gaming café! Gill and I visited “The Rocks” next to the harbour, which is a really cool neighbourhood. We took a look around the market and some art galleries (loved the pop art one).

We also saw a load of free runners practising leaping though trees and walking on walls etc., made me feel very old seeing so much youthful energy so decided to do the sensible thing and go to the pub! And a nice pub it was, “The Hero of Waterloo” – a pub serving ale since 1842 and listed as a world heritage building. (it also has a trap door, in which they could shove any unsuspecting drunks inside, to press gang them onto the next available boat, so we only stopped for one drink.)

We then watched the sunset on the Barangaroo reserve (a nice bit of green on the harbour front) before heading down to the docks (doing a bit more geocaching on the way). We were headed to the cinema – we hadn’t seen the Lion king yet and the harbour was the home of the biggest Imax screen in the world!

Docks were buzzing with life, so many restaurants and bars and there was a boat show on, as we passed I looked longingly at the array of posh floating fishing platforms.

We couldn’t find the cinema, we looked everywhere, how the hell can the biggest screen in the world be this hard to find, after 20 minutes checking signs and maps etc. and even proclaiming “its somewhere behind this building site” we admitted defeat and googled for help, to discover that the huge construction site we had been around, under and over looking for the cinema was of course the cinema – they just knocked it down to build a bigger one!

Decided more beer was the answer, so went to the Hard Rock Café before making our way to the gaming Café to check on the lad, after a receiving a few grunts and tuts we surmised that he was fine and went back to the apartment.

04/08/2019 – Bondi Beach

Jumped in an Uber over to the famous Bondi Beach this morning, even though we were in the heart of winter it was still warm and pretty busy with people enjoying the surf. We had a brilliant breakfast at Trio before having a walk on the beach.

It was the middle of winter but the beach was busy, can’t imagine what its like in the summer, was pretty cool watching the lifeguards doing their thing having seen them on the TV.

After a morning exploring Bondi beach Matthew decided he wanted to do his own thing and so jumped in a taxi back to Sydney. Gill and I had a look around the local market. Before we left Bondi there was one more thing to tick off, there was a cliff overlooking the bay so we walked up there to take that all important picture of . . . . Hugh Jackman’s house, yes that’s right we were now officially stalkers (well 1 stalker and one grumbling husband)

Gill had earlier mentioned that he lived here at Bondi and because he was in town he would be here, and jokingly said “if i knew which house, we could try to see him” I don’t know if the next bit is brilliant or scary but 5 minutes later after some skilled research Matthew proudly showed both a map and satellite view of Hugh house, if he doesn’t become a zoo keeper as planned at least I know he will have a job waiting at MI5 if he needs one.

Unfortunately after checking out both the front and back (sorry Hugh) he didn’t come out to sweep Gill off her feet so we walked down to catch a bus to Watson’s Bay. Throughout this trip one thing holds solid throughout all the places we have visited is that Australians are really nice people. A great example was when we boarded the bus to Watsons, the driver told us we couldn’t use cash or credit card, you needed a Sydney Travel card to tap on and off. Gill asked where we could get one and the driver replied “in the general store at Watsons when you get off at the other end!” – how nice was that, as we got on he even joked – you can sit at the back with all the others that haven’t paid – what a legend!

We walked to the top of the cliff at Watsons and were rewarded with some great views in all directions. After exploring around and finding some lovely little green parakeets we decided to take the ferry to Manly.

We had to wait 20 minutes for the next ferry so went to get a beer on the harbour front and had another experience of Aussie hospitality. I went to the bar and ordered a beer, the barmaid asked if I was eating here, when I said no she pointed to a sign that said bar use was for restaurant customers only. I showed my disappointment, I was gasping for a pint, to which she then said “are you going to eat here, really I can only give you a beer if you are going to eat here” I replied in the negative, that I had a ferry to catch to which she smiled and replied “i’m just checking again, are you going to tell me that you will go around the other side where I can’t see you and order some food at some point so I can serve you a beer” I caught on, and smiled – “oh yes of course, I feel a little peckish now” – “good” she said, “what can I get you” – I love Aussies!

Manly was nice, a long busy beachfront and shopping street, reminds me of a UK seaside destination and in keeping with that theme the only thing on the menu was Fish and Chips from Manly Ocean Foods – very nice it was too. I recommend a trip to Manly if you have a couple of days in Sydney, not only does it have its own merits, but the views of Sydney harbour bridge and the opera house are fantastic.

On the way back we made contact with Matt, who after having a wander around had of course ended up in a gaming cafe, we went back to the apartment and left him to it. We did however pickup a rather nice treat from a local bakery on the way back, Little Piglet chocolate deserts and they were very yummy!

05/08/2019 – Yet More Critters

Well it’s been a whole 3 days since we were poking any critters so I guess the urge got the better of us as we were on the gate for the 10:00am opening of Sydney Wildlife Centre and Aquarium. Right in the heart of the harbour and it is surprisingly pretty good, the wildlife park is just for Aussie animals and we got to stroke and meet another Wombat so Matthew was really happy.

The sea Aquarium is decent and has all the usual stuff, but what made it special was that it has 2 of the only 6 Dugongs in captivity in the world – watching this “sea cow” munch his way through copious amounts of Lettuce was a real highlight.

After a morning scratching our itch for seeing animals we headed to authentic Italian “Cafe Amici” for a pasta lunch which was yummy! Matt then did his disappearing trick to the gaming Café and Gill and I hit the shops! Knowing that this was our last afternoon of shopping in Australia as our next and last stop was the middle of the desert to see Uluru it was now a game of skill in trying to estimate how much stuff we could buy and fit into our rucksacks.