Sydney Fish Market, a town more boring than Wagga, another didgeridoo, and a beautiful walk across the Harbour Bridge
How could you not live well in Sydney? I mean, public transport is beyond great, making absolutely everything accessible, and there is just so much to do and see. Today we decided to get up and head over to the Sydney Fish Market, just one of many things we wanted to do whilst in this beautiful city.
We hopped on the ferry at the Luna Park Wharf and headed over to Circular Quay, where we boarded the ferry to the Pyrmont Bay Wharf, just across from Darling Harbour. When we arrived, we walked a few blocks toward the Anzac Bridge where we found the largest fish market in the Southern Hemisphere, the Sydney Fish Market.
The market begins business, everyday, at 5:30, when the day’s catch, prior to going to auction, is examined by the buyers. We didn’t get there that early, but it would have been interesting to see the auction. The only other fish auctions, larger than the one in Sydney, are, of course, in Japan.
After walking around the market to each of the different seafood companies’ stalls, we decided to buy a dozen oysters at Nicholas Seafoods along with a seafood platter, which we shared at a table right next to the oyster shucking station. The oysters we had were from the Tasman Sea and were the best that I had ever had! At $15 for the dozen, they may have also been some of the least expensive! I would imagine the oysters would have fetched $40 or more at a restaurant in the city. The seafood platter was huge, and the three of us struggled to finish it.
After stuffing our faces with the freshest seafood in Sydney, we headed to Paddy’s Market via the Light Rail. I was really keen to get a second didgeridoo at the market and, after a quick look around, I found the one that I wanted! It is beautiful and is so different from the first one that I got! I’m still trying to figure out the circular breathing technique but my plan is to master the instrument by the end of this summer!
Even though it was overcast, we decided to head back to Circular Quay to take the ferry out towards Parramatta. We headed west passing a lot of residential areas as well as the Olympic Park, where there was still an Easter show going on. Deciding not to go all the way to Parramatta, we disembarked the ferry at the Rydalmere wharf; this was the biggest mistake we made all day.
We knew that we would have an hour in Rydalmere before the next ferry would take us back to the city, so we figured we would walk around for a bit, and maybe have a cup of coffee before taking our time getting back to the wharf. Little did we know that Rydalmere is a residential area and home to just about every car repair shop in Australia. We walked for a couple kilometers before coming across a coffee shop. By the time we arrived, it was time to head back to the Wharf.
We picked up a coffee to go and quickly walked back to the wharf. We arrived 20 minutes prior to the next ferry arriving but we didn’t want to have to wait any longer if for some reason we missed this one. We were pretty much ready to leave this part of town as soon as we could; there was just not much happening. We may have found a place more boring than Wagga…
The trip back on the ferry was great and made the trip out west on the river worth it. We went under bridge after bridge and island after island as we headed back into the city. After twenty or so minutes after leaving the wharf, we turned a corner to see the beautiful Sydney skyline in the distance. Soon after, we saw the Harbour Bridge. We took a few pictures if you could imagine.
For dinner, we decided to try the other Thai restaurant around the corner from our apartment in Kirribilli. It was hard to compare the meal to the other night since they were both great! I had duck again but this time it wasn’t at spicy as the other night!
After dinner, we decided to cross the street and walk up the steps to the Harbour Bridge. We started the bridge crossing while it was still light out and by the time we made it to the other side, the sun had completely gone down, only leaving the beautiful orange and yellow colors in the western sky. The sunsets have been quite amazing the last few nights.
Rather than walking back across the bridge, we took the train back across the river to Kirribilli, where we got off and walked the last few blocks back to the apartment. We stopped just outside the train station to grab a Magnum ice cream bar to finish up our day. A great end to another great day!
Tomorrow, we are planning to head north to the many towns and beaches on the Pacific Ocean.
Last Friday morning we woke up to start our journey north to New South Wales where we would be spending the rest of the trip in the beautiful city of Sydney. On our way there, we would make one stop, around halfway in the largest inland city of NSW- Wagga Wagga, informally known as just Wagga.
We arrived in Wagga understanding that it was Good Friday and there would more than likely be nothing open, as we were told by Linda at dinner in Bairnsdale. It seemed like some sort of crude joke when we rocked up (Oz speak for arrive) into the city of nearly 50,000 people and there was no one around. It was as though the population had hidden as if they had been warned that the Yanks were coming into town; I wouldn’t blame them had the yanks been a few of the people I know back home.
We left Wagga the next morning wondering what Wagga Wagga meant. We couldn’t come up with anything to describe the town since it seemed so boring. We later found out in the travel book that Wagga Wagga translates to “the place of many crows” in the Wiradjuri aboriginal language. I’m sure this was due to the fact that the only noise heard in town is the calling of crows. To be completely fair, we were only there on Good Friday, but I can’t see myself ever making the trip to revisit Wagga again any time soon.
We woke up early on Saturday morning to book it out of Wagga to escape the mosquitoes in our hotel room and to get to Sydney early. The drive was beautiful and we really made great timing since there weren’t too many cars on the road until we arrived in the city limits of Sydney.
We arrived at our apartment in Kirribilli, an area on the north side of the harbor overlooking the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. We were quite impressed with the views from the apartment and reasoned that it would be a nice apartment if we resided in Sydney.
Sicne we arrived so early, we had plenty of time to head over to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the Aussie Rules Football match between the Sydney Swans and the Fremantle Dockers. I really wanted to get to an AFL match with my parents while they were here, and this was the only match in Sydney during the week.
We headed down to the train station, a few blocks from the apartment, and each picked up a a MyMulti public transport ticket. This would allow us unlimited travel for the week on the trains (within the city), the ferries, busses, and trams. We agreed that at $43 per ticket, it was the best deal in Sydney. As of today, we have already surpassed the ticket’s value.
We made it to Central Station where we had to catch a charter bus to Moore Park, where the SCG was situated. On the bus we met an older couple who were Sydney Swan club members and helped us navigate the outside of the ground. They were extremely nice and just after getting off the bus, the gentleman gave me his 2012 members hat. I couldn’t believe his generosity; actually I could because I’ve been living in Australia for a few months now and have come to realize that everyone here is so munificent. Here’s a guy that we had just met on the bus to the match, giving us directions, and going out of his way to make sure we were barracking for the right team! I will never forget it!
The SCG is one of the most famous venues for cricket and is small enough to allow everyone in the stands a close encounter to what’s happening on the field; the capacity is only about 40,000 spectators. The first cricket match played on the ground was in 1848, quite a long time ago! The ground is also home to the Sydney Swans, the team we were supporting that afternoon.
After buying our tickets, we headed into the stadium and found our seats, directly across from the iconic Members Pavilion. We sat around for an hour or so waiting for the match to start, watching the stands fill with people wearing red and white in support of the home team. There were even a few people wearing purple in support of the Perth team; a long trip for a fan if you ask me! The game was rough and turned out in the Swans favor! I have really come to love this sport and will greatly miss it when I move back home.
On the way back we decided to go to Circular Quay to see the city as the sun faded in the horizon just under the Harbour Bridge (from where we were standing). We took a stroll down to the Opera House and were stunned at the size of the expressionist art complex. Looking up at the tiled roof and beautiful architecture, I really had to pinch myself because I realized that I was in Sydney and was really looking at one of the most photographed and famous Australian icons. When I turned around, I also had to pinch myself when looking up at the Harbour Bridge towering over the ferries, yachts, and sailboats in the water. This city is gorgeous and when it is lit up at night, there is no other city like it in the world. My dad, so far this week, has said that Sydney has characteristics of many cities he has been to, including San Francisco and Hong Kong, but agrees that there is nothing quite this extraordinary.
After dinner in Circular Quay and a run-in with John Cleese, yes, THE John Cleese of Monty Python, we headed back to Kirribilli via the ferry. This gave us a fantastic opportunity to take pictures of the lit up skyline and surroundings.
Yesterday, we took the ferry over to Darling Harbour from the Luna Park dock, just down the street from us. We took a quick look around Darling Harbour at the different yachts, military ships, and submarines, as well as the replica of the HMAV Bounty. We then headed up the street to Paddy’s Market, a covered market home to all sorts of trinkets as well as fruit and veg.
We walked back to the Harbour from the market, past the Hyde Park (a familiar park for many cities around the world), and the Sydney Eye. We eventually came to Circular Quay after walking for quite a long time. We decided to have a quick lunch under the bridge and a walk around the area just west of Circular Quay, home to a street market full of crafts and trinkets.
After arriving home via the ferry, I decided to go for a run across the Harbour Bridge and back. It wasn’t a terribly long run, but it allowed me to see the skyline and the Opera House from a different angle, and helped me work off some of the fish and chips that I had at lunch. The views from the bridge were spectacular and will certainly be an incentive to go for a run later in the week again!
Due to some rain, we decided to have dinner in Kirribilli, trying out one of the Thai fusion restaurants just up the street from the apartment. We split a bottle of wine and each ordered something different from the seemingly endless menu. Thankfully they had their menu numbered, like any great Asian restaurant, to keep the Yanks (me) from embarrassing themselves trying to pronounce the menu items for the waitress! I’m not afraid to give the name a go but I like the ease of just saying a number! The system also allows people to try new things because they don’t feel like they need to always go with the Pad Thai, because they know how to pronounce it!
Today, we headed over to Circular Quay to catch the half hour ferry to Manly Beach. As soon as we arrived at the ferry station, I decided to experience life in the shoes of an Australian for the day. To do this, I just took mine off and walked around barefoot. Why not, right? I haven’t seen any signs saying “No shoes, no service!” I kept my shoes off the whole time until we decided to hike up into the bush into the Sydney Harbour National Park.
Manly Beach was spectacular. A little crowded, the town was full of restaurants and small shops and a ton of surfers causally walking around in their board shorts with their boards under their arms, like a fashion accessory. I loved it there, and would love to go back to get a surf lesson!
Lunch was amazing! Dad and I ordered the daily special, consisting of a bowl of mussels, prepared in a tomato broth or an Asian style, spicy broth, accompanied with a pint of beer. My dad settled on the tomato mussels with a pale ale, and I settled on the spicy mussels with a stout beer. Mom, on the other hand, enjoyed a free cider (we brought a coupon), and a lamb burger. We still, and I still, haven’t had a bad meal yet in Australia!
On the way home, on the ferry, we decided to get off at Circular Quay and walk home to Kirribilli via the bridge. The cool temperature and ocean breeze made the views even more pleasurable from the bridge walkway. As we passed over the bridge, we kept looking up at the climbers on the “Bridge Climb” experience, wondering if we wanted to do it. I don’t know how the views could get any better, but I’ll bet the climbers can see the ocean from their vista at the top of the bridge.
For dinner, we decided to take the ferry to Darling Harbour. We settled on a nice dinner an beer at a restaurant just up the street from the water. It was great to see the harbor lit up at night, and was surprised to see so many people out on the last night of the holiday weekend. We took the train home from the Town Hall Station.
Tomorrow we are planning to get up early to head west to visit the Blue Mountains. We will be driving to Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains National Park, and will more than likely just play the day out as it comes to us! I know my mom would really like to see the “Three Sisters” rock formation!
I’m sure there will be more to come tomorrow…
Welcome to the blog I wrote while student teaching at Bairnsdale Secondary College (BCS) in Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia.