Story by Shelly Pfeifer, photos by Troy Pfeifer
Question: What world famous city can you climb a bridge, race 70km/hr in a boat, eat chocolate cake on a yacht, feed a kangaroo, have a wine tasting lesson, and learn to throw a boomerang? If you guessed Sydney, Australia you’re right!
Sydney has all of these things to offer plus much more. It is a gorgeous city with friendly people, pristine beaches and crystal clear blue skies.
One tour that Sydney offers is to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It is extremely popular and at any given time of the day and evening you can see groups of people in grey jumpsuits walking up and down the stairs that lead to the top of the bridge. It’s perfectly safe as you are tethered to the bridge and cannot fall. Not only does everyone have to pass a breathalyzer test before attempting the climb but no one is allowed to take anything with them to the top, including a camera. Not only are you several hundred feet above the water, but you are also a few hundred feet above the passing traffic below. A falling cell phone or camera could cause quite an accident.
Circular Quay is probably one of Sydney’s most popular harbors. Not only does it boast the best views of the Syndey Harbor Bridge, but it also offers easy access to the world famous Sydney Opera House. Darling Harbor is also a very busy destination. Among the restaurants and shops it also has a maritime museum, IMAX theatre, the Sydney Aquarium and an Aboriginee gallery where you can buy artwork created by the local Aboriginee people.
A multitude of tours in and around Sydney are available ranging from harbor dinner cruises to helicopter tours to wine tasting extravaganzas and visits to the Featherdale Wildlife Park where you can have your photo taken with the gentle Koalas and to feed ice cream cones to kangaroos.
A full day tour to the Hunter Valley Wine Country is well worth the trip even for those who are not experienced in the art of wine tasting. For one thing, the scenery is breathtaking. Rows upon rows of grapes mature amongst green fields and towering trees. Colorful flowers are in full bloom at every turn and just the peacefulness and serenity of the country is worthwhile.
For those interested in wine tasting you can choose from cellars that are small boutique shops that only sell their wine locally or you can choose to visit the wineries whose various wines can be found in the finest restaurants around the world. If you’re lucky enough, maybe your tour guide will know the wine specialists personally and can arrange an in depth lesson in wine tasting. He also might have a few tricks up his sleeve and teach you how to throw the boomerang.
Sydney’s Blue Mountain region, located in the Jamieson Valley, is also a spectacular tourist destination. Rolling hill vistas can be viewed from various look out points. Throughout the region are also clearly marked and well maintained trails that lead down into the valley. Some trails even lead to refreshing waterfalls. Scenic World is a popular stop for tour buses. After having lunch, take the steep trolley car down the side of the hill into the valley and then after a short hike take the tramway back up the hillside.
The Jamieson Valley has many small towns which to stop in and explore. There is a good chance you might come upon a local who will be playing a Didgereedoo. This is a round, hollow wooden instrument that ranges in length anywhere from 3’ to over 5’. It is a difficult instrument to play but when played right can make some amazing sounds.
On the way back to Sydney from the Blue Mountains is the Featherdale Wildlife Park. It is here that you can see all the animals to be found in Australia including the dingo. Not only can you pet the Koalas and have your photo taken with them but you can feed ice cream cones to the free roaming kangaroos. They can get a little pushy grabbing for the cone while you are kneeling down so be careful to not lose your balance and fall over into kangaroo poop.
If you’re aching to go swimming Sydney’s nearby harbor towns has some of the best beaches in Australia. The white sand leads out to the warm aqua blue water where you can ride a surfboard or boogie board. Palm, Manly and Bondi Beach are some of the more popular beaches for water lovers.
After a long day of exploring Sydney, you will be ready for a cold beer and a great dinner. Head to The Rocks which is a very old business district located in Circular Quay. Here you will have your choice of restaurants ranging from sidewalk bar and grills to casual Italian bistros to high class steak and seafood eateries. Oh, and after that, don’t forget to book your night harbor cruise on a yacht to have your chocolate cake