Welcome to Sydney
On a magnificent blue sky summer’s day Sydney opens her arms to us, sailing in from the Pacific. The nor’easter is delicate and helpful to round North Head. My heart is arace with the sheer beauty of the hectic zigzagging of ballooned -out regatta spinnakers, threading a silver wake through gently bobbing marker buoys.
A busy beautiful place.
On high alert our eyes wide for scanning we join the throng of Sunday arvo on the harbour. The Manly ferries with their meter high wash, plough through the flotilla, exerting their right of way. Down around the Sow and Pigs, we first glimpse of ‘The Coathanger’, famous and proud, the bridge straddles the harbour from north shore to the city pressing at the water’s edge.
The Opera House.
Like a giant jester’s hat, the Opera House sits on verdant parkland banks, stealing all attentions with a promise of culture, sophistication and fun. Our eyes feast on clusters of high rise, the tall spike of Centre Point Tower and World Square emboldened with shimmering sheets of sky scraping glass.
Steer in nearer to land and the history of Sydney unravels in waves of sculpted stone and tarnished copper domes. Sandstone in abundance holds the stories from early settlement, convict built and preserved as a proud monuments to pioneering sailors and colonial gentry.
Sail under the harbour bridge.
In a busy, messy affair of joggle and hustle, motor launches and million dollar yachts, the tall ships go agliding and racing skiffs sweep around us. With sunset bright in our eyes, we slop along past the insane wide grin of the foreshore fun zone, Luna Park. The noisy rides and a colourful Ferris wheel aspin with Christmas holiday children, giddy on excitement, fairy floss and fizz.
Bow to the setting sun.
We furl our flapping head sail and weave a ginger path through another ’60 footer’ regatta, trying to keep out of their determined way and sneak around the moored yachts. We pick up a safe mooring at Balmain in the old Iron Cove.This is the most beautiful harbour city in the world and with no pressing schedule, I know I’m going to like it here.
Sydney On New Year’s Eve.
We jostle a position outside Farm Cove just near to Lady Macquaries Chair, for an unsurpassed view of the spectacular Fireworks on Sydney Harbour. BANG and it starts, with a KABOOM that thumps its way through my chest. CRASSHHH as the spray of fire and color rains down over black glass water, contrasting and mirroring the heavenly explosions. Waves of pink and green smoke drift through the tallest city buildings and little children squeal in surprise and awe.
A civilised beauty.
With 70,000 water craft at midnight on the harbour, I expect trouble from such a mobbing. But no. We welcome in the new year with smiles and good cheer, all aware of our good fortune to be part of this outlandish event.
I walk the alley ways and streets of the leafy inner city suburbs, surprised at the peace and quiet. Sandstone terrace homes proclaim their dates of origin proudly on their apex..1889, 1905. By Euro standards it is not an old city, but the history oozes from nooks and crannys at every turn in the road.
‘The Rocks’ precinct.
The Rocks is a masterpiece of preservation telling a quintessential story of convict hard labor. It is a tribute to the colonists who endured the harshness of a foreign land. I easily imagine the day to day life of early settlers here. These inner suburbs bear landmarks and monuments for poets and cricketers, governors and explorers of days gone by, Banjo Patterson, Sir Donald Bradman, Blaxland and Macquarie.
Modern murals, futuristic architecture and historic icons blend comfortably in the back streets. High fashion on high streets and cool coffee houses compliment each other amongst swathes of restaurants and retro funkadelia stores. Vivid and lively, charming and clever, welcoming and progressive, I’m swept up in the gentle kerfuffle of Sydney City life.
Bushland by boat.
We take in the sights around two mansion clad hills and a channel of luxury water craft, down town central Sydney fall away. Less than two hours of cruising up the middle harbour passage, we glide into the silence of real Australian native bush. It is so pristine it is hard to believe we are near any civilization.
Remnants from another era.
Restorations along the way describe a past life of ammunition storage facilities and bygone conflict. Historic relics dot the banks, whispering clues to a savagely protected new found land. Now, a peaceful anchorage with healthy fish, this is a haven of natural beauty.
Back towards the sea.
Drifting on a whimsical tide, we bobble over to Manly Cove where the water is sparkling like deep green emerald . The holding here is good and comfortable, but popular in a north easterly blow and wide open to weather from the south/west. Private hidey hole beaches with soft sand and steep stone cliffs, beds of giant kelp rim the eastern edge of the Cove.
We happily paddle in Kayaks or swim to shore, it is safe, to visit the old quarantine jetty and infirmary. I’m surprised by colorful reef fish among the amber weed. A turtle and some dolphins ignore us, like all city dwellers do.
On the Homeward Leg.
We detour out through the heads for a quick fish on a light swell before heading back to base. BINGO, snapper and a small barracuda fresh for dinner. Oh it will be hard to leave here.
- Long and Lats 33° 52′ S, 151° 12′ E
- Name of Airport: Sydney Airport
- Currency; Australian Dollar AUD
- Temperatures; 16 to 26 degrees Celsius
- Climate; Temperate with occasional extremes of heat and cold. Winter Rains.
- Languages spoken by the locals; English and Australian (Strine)
Thank You …Ta
- Port Of Entry; Neutral Bay
- Distance from Airport to City: 8km
- Capital City of New South Wales; Sydney
- Local Transport; Buses, trains, ferries, taxi, hire car. uber
- Local Beer; VB, XXXX, excellent boutique beers.
- Food; Fresh Seafood aplenty, all international cuisines available.
- Affordability; Expensive but manageable if the AUD is low.
- Visitor’s Highlights; Catch a show or take a guided tour inside the Sydney Opera House. Take a 2 hour train trip to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains to see the ‘Three Sisters‘.
- Camp out in the city centre on Cockatoo Island and catch a concert like ‘Cockfest & Big Day Out‘.
- The Sydney GLBTIQ Mardi Gras is on every March plus you can always catch a trashy game of Tranny Bingo at the Petersham Inn on Wednesday nights.
Two secrets for you
- Visit Shark Bay, inside the eastern harbour with your picnic, for a shark proof swim, with a fabulous view of the Harbour Bridge and the city.
- Get a ticket to the ‘Roar and Snore’ Luxury overnight camp out at Taronga Park Zoo on the north shore. Sleep at the zoo, under the Sydney City stars, view the Australian nocturnal animals, hear the lions roar and settle, feed breakfast to the residents and a BBQ at sunset overlooking the harbour.
To The Ship’s Master
- Official Border Control Requirements for yachts and pleasure craft entering Australian waters.
- Important Information about Goods and Services Tax Refunds on departure. http://www.sydneyairport.com.au/prepare/departures/tourist-refund-scheme.aspx
- The vessel featured in this article is for sale, currently lying at Far North Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef. To find out more go to www.acatamaranforsale.com
I hope you can get to Sydney one day, too.
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