Sydney Harbor Cruise, Sunday, 12/4/16

For our first morning in Sydney, Road Scholar had us out for an introductory walk to the harbour beneath the Big Bridge, exploring the area known as "The Rocks," led by our site coordinator, Brian, and gaining insights into Sydney's colonial past.  Haha, something Brian said initially was that Sydney was full of cranes, and I whooped with joy, so to speak, thinking Whooping or Sandhill Cranes ... till I realized he was speaking of giant building cranes.  Oh well!  We did see plenty of them, like a city stretching its neck up and up.

We covered quite a bit of ground, eventually ending up at Scarlett's for a pretty darned good lunch.  I enjoyed the delightful fresh table flowers.

After lunch our Road Scholar group walked to Circular Quay (pronounced key), where we boarded the John Cadman II for our two-hour Captain Cook harbour cruise, an activity everyone was looking forward to.  The weather was warm with intermittent clouds and sun, and the boat had plenty of roaming room.

Motley crew?
None of us sat for very long before we were up and ogling the scenery.

Once aboard and under way, I can tell you we didn't have to listen to a canned spiel that couldn't be heard under any conditions, no matter where you might be, inside or out.  I'm happy to report we had a live, "champion MC" (with a great sense of humor) to provide the commentary about what we were seeing.  Very cool.

Ibby, Bernice and me in front of (or behind?) the Opera House.

1816-2016 [near the water line]
Celebrating 200 years of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney with a year-long party.

Fort Denison Lighthouse, with its Martello Tower.  Sydney Harbour has roughly 150 miles (240 km) of foreshore, of which the city claims 37 miles (60 km) -- that's a huge harbour.  It has a number of islands:  Shark, Clark, Goat, Rodd, and the rocky island, Mattewai, that means "touch the sky," aka "Pinchgut."  Up until 1857 the common practice was to maroon disobedient convicts on this island.

The skyline is already high and apparently reaching upward.

I've never seen so many boats of every size, style and description in a harbor, ever.
This appears to a sailboat race.

One of the racing sailboats.

Apparently a rite of passage for high schoolers at the end of year -- leaping off the rocks into the water.  I'm not sure how chilly this water is, but they're young ... they'll survive and laugh it off!

Hornby Light.  Beyond is the Tasman Sea!

Um ... it was actually fairly good, kinda.

Admiralty House on the harbour northern foreshore is the official Sydney residence of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.  Once known as "Wotonga," it has commanding views across Sydney Harbour to the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.  The original building on the site was completed, as a private dwelling, in mid-to-late 1843.  I think it's open to the public once a year, usually in spring, though security concerns may not allow this anymore.  Too bad, it'd be grand to see inside.

Some of our group mixed in with other passengers, looking up at the bridge walkers. Truly, about four supports to the right of the flags, you can see maybe six or eight people, all but invisible to the naked eye (they look smaller than ants).  You'll have to enlarge the photo once or twice to see them.

Part of Darling Harbour fanfare.

Sailor-man is in hog-heaven!

Harbour ferries go back and forth.

I'd rate this cruise an A+ for anyone who wants a good overview of big, beautiful Sydney and its environs, plus a fair amount of history while on board.

* * * * *

We surveyed our hotel after the cruise, and I spied an indoor swimming pool on the seventh floor, down one from our room on the 8th.  Woo-hoo, maybe in the morning .... 😤

The group sauntered along the western fringe of Darling Harbour to rendezvous for a dinner at Blue Fish.  The day was still so fine we sat inside, but the restaurant was all open to the outdoors.  Very nice.  You might recognize those two at the back left with their arms in the air.  Uh-huh, me and Jimmy.  Fun to a part of this great group.

Jimmy:  Fish and chips, left.  Nickie:  Grilled Lemon Sole.

How'd I do?
I think I did a good job cleaning my fish -- it was delish!

Walking back toward our hotel along the waterfront.

Never saw a graceful water fountain like this one.
It worked, and the water tasted fine.

I whispered my "wish list" to the scariest-looking Santa ever!
And then got the heck away from him!

An enjoyable first-full-day in Australia.  Look at these city lights!  Arm-in-arm, Jimmy and I weren't in a hurry and took our sweet time returning to our hotel.  It was a relaxed ending to lovely, lovely day.


  1. Wow, it's a big place!

  2. By golly, I saw the people doing the bridge climb ... not ants, they look like gnats! Thanks for the harbour tour. May have to make do with the ship's sail in and out ourselves ... no idea what Mui's friend has in store for us for sightseeing ... so much to see and do.

  3. Sydney looks like a truly beautiful city, reminds me a bit of Vancouver, B.C., or Seattle, and maybe a bit of San Francisco thrown in. Really does look like a great city to explore, probably one of the best in the world I would imagine. I'm still partial to Istanbul but have to admit I haven't seen Sydney.

  4. Anonymous7:24 AM

    Your travelogue is so interesting. You took many more photos and notes than I did. Reading your account brings back the details of the trip so vividly, which greatly aids my fading memory! I wish you guys were along for all of my trips, for documentation purposes as well as for your company. Nickie, now I feel badly for knocking you around with my backpack, not realizing you were such a valued addition to our trip.

    Happy New to you guys!


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