New Year, New Sights in Sydney…

We started off the New Year with a bang at the Sydney Harbour Fireworks (which were amazing!) before continuing to do what we love the most – getting out & about and experiencing new things! So after a couple of days recuperating from our six month, non-stop trip across the world, we tried our first new ‘thing’ of the new year – Sushi!

While this may not sound that amazing to some, it was a big deal for us as neither of us are particularly keen on fish, with ‘raw’ fish being an absolute no-no! However, we were persuaded to try Sushi by our former Oz-Bus ‘Aussie Guide’ Mark who we met for lunch a few days ago. He took us to a place called Sushi Hero in Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross (the Sydney KC not the London one!). It was one of those conveyor belt restaurants where you just pick dishes off the belt as they come round, so Mark explained what each dish contained and we dived in. We were assured that Sushi didn’t mean that everything was raw fish and despite being tricked into a couple of fishy dishes we really enjoyed it! The tuna and crabsticks were delicious! Our first new experience of 2011 left us feeling very proud of ourselves and we’re glad we were ‘forced’ into it!

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Anyway, enough about our Japanese encounter and onto the rest of our Australian adventures…

It’s impossible to visit Sydney and not do the ‘cliches’ – i.e. gawping at the Opera House, walking across Harbour Bridge, taking a ferry across the harbour or going to the beach – so this is exactly what we did! Once we had said goodbye to the last of the Oz-busers to leave the city, we walked up to Circular Quay at the heart of Sydney Harbour. It was here that we got our first glimpse of the famous Opera House and Bridge.

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In a bid to capture the iconic picture of these two landmarks side by side, we decided to walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens to get a great view from a distance. The Botanic Gardens are a fantastic place for people to relax on a nice sunny day and we passed loads of friends, couples and families chilling out with picnics, reading books or playing games. We were also struck by just how many joggers used the Gardens. Jogging appears to be really popular in Sydney and with all it’s slopes and hills, we could see how it makes for a great workout! If you’re into birds, the Botanic Gardens are also perfect for a spot of ‘twitching’. Watch out for the Sacred Ibis (usually seen roaming the lawns), the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, White-faced Heron and the Rainbow Lorikeet.

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We walked all the way around the cove towards Mrs Macquaires Point at the North East of the Botanic Gardens. Here, we finally got the view we were after!

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Mrs Macquaries Point is famous as the place where the wife of Major General Lachlan Macquaire (New South Wales’ Goven0r between 1810 – 1821) used to sit and watch the ships pull into harbour. Her husband had some of the sandstone rock at the edge of the cliff carved into a bench for her – this is known as Mrs Macquaries Chair and you can go and sit on it for an idea of the harbour views she would have had each time she sat there.

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Once we’d taken in the views we strolled back through the Botanic Gardens and headed towards the Harbour Bridge. We knew people who had opted to do the ‘Bridge Climb’ over the top arch but at over $190 this was a bit out of our backpacker price range. Instead we opted to do the Cahill Walk which bascially entails taking a flight of stairs from The Rocks area up to the Cahill Expressway footpath. This runs all the way across the Bridge to Milson’s Point on the other side and gives you pretty much the same experience as the Bridge Climb (albeit from slightly lower down). The views of the Opera House were amazing and it was great to get a bit of exercise too!

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Having done so much walking already we took the train back into the city and went back to our friend’s apartment. That evening, we all went out for Mexican at a restaurant called Agave in Surry Hills. The food was fantastic, as was the Sangria, and left us thoroughly satisfied with our entire day in Sydney.

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