It is the largest capital city in Australia and spreads over several kilometers. So, what sights did we see when we arrived at Central Station at 10 am and had to be on the 5 pm return train?
We checked the large information board in the central foyer and then had the task of finding platform 23, complicated by little signage ON platforms, but plenty of arrows directing you TO platforms. We went three levels below ground, where we headed to Kings Cross, once famous as Sydney’s red light district, but at this hour of the day we were bound for Potts Point, an adjoining suburb. Plenty of heritage buildings, apartments and promising lane-ways, the area supports both the wealthy and the downtrodden.
Stopped in at The Butler, with a notion to returning for lunch and admired the great view.
After meeting family members, we took the train over the famous bridge to Milson’s Point. Lavender Bay was a short stroll and we entered Wendy Whitely’s Secret Garden. Following the untimely death of her husband, artist Brett Whitely, creative Wendy and daughter Arkie, began designing a garden on land that was something of a wasteland. Arkie died in 2001 and Wendy continued the work more ardently, subsequently spending 20 years converting it to a beautiful public garden.
The garden sits at the base of her own home, the tower of which is a landmark.
An impressive fig tree marks the start of it, with a sculpture/plaque at its base, etched with the words to a Van Morrison song and the famous Sydney icon beyond.
There is a choice of paths to take, some steeper than others but all of them well-maintained. The plants, the resting places, birds and wondering bush turkeys are all very peaceful.
Needless to say, we’d worked up a hunger, so off to somewhere quite natural –
The Botanist, Kirribilli. A great range of vegetarian options in a funky, opshop-style setting. Very well-priced and delicious meals. My favourites were the fried cauliflower, tahini, pomegranate, yoghurt, currents, mint and smoked almonds and then the grilled marlin, chermoula, roasted fennel and green olive.
Fortified, it was time to attempt Cahill Walk!
From Milson’s Point, go past the Burton Street tunnel to the Bridge Stairs, with the variety of signs indicating what you will see, what you can’t do and it is all free.
The views of the Opera House, City and Harbour are wonderful. If you take the Pylon Tour, it will cost $15 but you will be almost at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with stunning views and can get enviable selfies behind a very safe and secure wall.
The Pylon tour includes a 15 minute video that explains the building of the bridge, with historical footage and the 200 step climb takes you past photos, relics and articles depicting the journey of the workers and stake-holders. It is quite startling to see what people did in the days before OHS&W regulations – men sitting on girders, suspended high above the water, with no helmet, harness or sometimes shirt.
It was time to sprint for the next train and return to Blackheath from whence we had come. We needed to buy an Opal card, which is a transport card, and you tap it on an electronic recorder at stations when getting on and off the train. We travelled the whole day with a credit of $20 and we didn’t run out of money.
Some classic Sydney and something different. There is so much here to choose from, so do your research and do what you love.
Since first writing this post, a son has travelled to Sydney and utilised the Big Bus. It is a hop on, hop off, double-decker bus that takes you to the major Sydney city sights and/or the sights at the famous Bondi Beach. You literally hop on when you want and hop off when you want. The commentary is pre-recorded in 7 (?) languages but nearby attractions are not necessarily signed. It is a great way to get around to the Opera House, Bridge, Botanic Gardens and other sights, for $49.50 online. You can hop off at 3 particular stops and joint the other tour.
Pretty hard to miss. It can take as long as you like, between 8.30 am and 5pm. Try this website for more information: https://www.bigbustours.com/en/sydney/sydney-routes-and-tour-maps/
Take water and a hat. Safe travels.