The Sydney Opera House as seen from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I added the flag later.

Karen and I were so fortunate to have six days off between house sits to enjoy the beauty of Sydney and area. The first 3 days we got to know Karen’s cousins and were toured around north Sydney and area.

Echo Park Viewpoint. Looking out over the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains. A wonderful area.

If you are ever in the Sydney area and have more then two days, you have to invest the time and check out the Blue Mountains. The roads there are great and the views are phenomenal.

Looking east from the bottom of the Furbur Steps in the Blue Mountains. I started to grasp why this area caused early explorers so many challenges.

We checked out The Three Sisters, Wentworth Falls, the Furbur Steps, Katoomba Falls, a cool hidden place called Mermaid’s Cave, and many sights in between. Finishing the day with a delicious lunch in the Megalong Valley. Our lunch ended as a heavy smoke settled over the valley from some safety burns that were being done in the Blue Mountains.

The view from Katoomba Falls across Jamison Valley toward Mount Solitary, with the Scenic World Tram crossing over.
This 310 metre railway claims to be the steepest in the world with angles of up to 52 degrees. After hiking down into the valley most are more than willing to pay the $19AUS for the one way trip out.
We were enjoying a lovely lunch until the smoke from a prescribed safety burn rolled across Megalong Valley from the Blue Mountains.

On our second day in north Sydney we got to check out numerous beaches, Barrenjoey Lighthouse, and a great pub. It is always enjoyable to see an area with locals who truly love where they live. Thank you Garry and Paula for your wonderful hospitality.

Any fans of “Home and Away” might recognize Barrenjoey Lighthouse. We hiked up with Karen’s cousins to check it out
Looking south from the north edge of Sydney at Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
One of the things I loved about the beaches around Sydney was the number of them that had 25 or 50 metre swimming pools right by the ocean. This 50 metre pool at Bilgola Beach is dwarfed by the ocean back ground.

Karen was able to find us an excellent hotel, Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar, just a block from Hyde park for our last three nights in Sydney. Due to the magic of Air Miles it was an incredibly affordable stay. We took advantage of “I’m Free” tours on our first morning to get a feel for downtown Sydney. This is a fantastic company who provide a great customer experience. The fact that you pay them whatever you feel they deserve after the tour is a great way to guarantee an enthusiastic guide.

Having the finer points of the Rum Hospital explained to us. I’m Free Tours are an excellent option for a walking tour of Sydney. This one was 3 hours and we covered a LOT of ground.
Forgotten Songs is an alleyway off of Sydney’s Angel Place where these empty cages are suspended and the songs of 50 different birds that used to live in the area are played throughout the day. A very peaceful find in a very busy city.
Atherden Street, the shortest street in Sydney at 28 metres long. It is located in the very interesting area known as The Rocks.

As we were staying only one block from Hyde Park it meant that a trip to the War Memorial and museum were a must do. Once again a fantastic, tasteful place of respect for the many personnel who have served Australia’s military.

This tribute to Aboriginal soldiers who served in the military is located in Hyde Park. The standing shells represent the survivors and the fallen shells the members who did not survive.
Anzac War Memorial and museum. A beautiful monument to the contribution of Australia’s military, located at the south end of Hyde Park.

I had a wonderful evening wandering around after dark doing night photography. Despite walking around the downtown core, with the normal collection of homeless, bar goers, and night creatures I never felt uncomfortable or targeted for my camera equipment I was slinging around. It is difficult to be low profile when you are setting up a tripod in the middle of a city street.

Sydney Town Hall is a great central location. It is where we started our walking tour of Sydney.
The reflection of St. Mary’s Cathedral in the pool over the Cook and Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre. It was cool to be photographing this serene scene with the sound of dozens of people playing volleyball right underneath me.

The Sydney Opera House….Wow! We decided after much research to pay for the guided tour of the Opera House. If you go on Trip Advisor you will read many reviews of disgruntled people who were unhappy with their tour. Not us. It was awesome. A big part of that was we showed up early and got bumped up to an earlier time slot for the tour. Because of that we got into both of the large performance halls and one of the theatres. If rehearsals are going on, tour groups are not allowed in, which would be very disappointing. Book early in the day. We were not allowed to photograph in the ballet hall because they were warming up, nor in the theatre because of copyright issues with the set design. They were still very cool. But boy did we luck out in the Concert Hall in the west shell. We were the only people in when we first arrived and it is jaw dropping.

This building is a photographers dream. The colours, shapes and style make for endless possibilities.
Because of the makeup of the ceramic tiles that cover the Opera House the colour appears to change depending on the lighting. Apparently they hold no dirt either. The tour guide informed us the tiles have not been cleaned in over 40 years. Other than some paint from a group of vandals.
The interior of the 2679 seat concert hall in the west shell. Home of the largest pipe organ of its type in the world. Over 10,000 pipes. A spectacular venue.

We headed out to Bondi Beach after the Opera House to check out this famous bit of sand. It is a beautiful beach, but on a weekday it is pretty quite and one has trouble understanding what the big deal is. However, the coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach is well worth the 2 or 3 hours. Lots of places to stop for ice cream or some well earned beer at the conclusion.

In a busy noisy Metropolitan city this coastal walk ranks as one of the high points in Sydney for me.
Looking out across the famous Bondi Beach. Mid week is definitely the time to check this place out.
Looking back at Bondi Beach from the coastal walk. A wonderfully sheltered beach. No wonder why it is such a mecca for beach goers.
Waverley Cemetery, just south of Bronte Beach on the coastal walk has to be one of the most scenic places to be buried. Wonderful view.
A couple of pints of 150 Lashes ale at Coogee Beach to celebrate finishing the Eastern Beaches Coastal Walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach.

Sydney is very much a very cosmopolitan city with a lot going on. It was well worth the time we spent there and I look forward to returning to explore further some day.

Now, back to our work. Looking after birds and fish on the shores of Lake Macquaire.




Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

8 comments on “Sydney and Area

  1. Wow! I like your photos very much! I’m more interested to visit Sidney! 🙂

  2. Some amazing photos Peter – I love the balance of words and pictures… but maybe I am a little biased due to the subject matter!! Garry T

  3. Amazing photos Peter! The Blue Mountains are spectacular. I have a similar photo of the Three Sisters too! That whole area has incredible views. I love Australia.

  4. Fantastic piece Peter.
    Really enjoyed the beach and evening photos.

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