Sydney and its Harbour – February 2015

Welcome to Port Jackson. That’s the actual name of Sydney Harbour. Who knew? It was given the name around 1770 by Captain Cook, the same navigator who explored Hawaii and New Zealand.

Welcoming us to Sydney was none other than Olivia Newton-John. The Aussies remain “hopelessly devoted” to her.

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Can you believe she was born in 1948?

Our airbnb in Sydney was just off Oxford Street, about two miles south of Sydney Harbour, so we had great views of the most famous parts of Sydney from our 16th-floor balcony. On several nights we could watch the fireworks over the Opera House roofs.


Not a bad view! It’s unique to get this perspective from the back overlooking the Opera House.

The walk to the harbor wasn’t bad either. Part of it was through Hyde Park, named after Hyde Park in London.


The shade from the canopy of green fig trees made the walk pleasant despite the heat.


Unveiled in 1932, Archibald Fountain is a beautiful centerpiece to the park.

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Theseus slays the Minotaur, day and night.

Just two years after the fountain was erected, the ANZAC Memorial was completed, honoring the efforts of the First Australian Imperial Force during World War I and the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.


The ANZAC Memorial with its reflecting pool.

The walk to the harbor continues through the Royal Botanical Gardens.


Always time to smell the roses. See the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background?

The harbor is busy! Several huge cruise boats were in port during our stay. The ferries all leave from Circular Quay. The train and buses stop here too.


Sydney Cove on which the town of Sydney was to be built (January 26, 1788): “It is one of the smallest in the harbour but the most convenient, as ships of the greatest burden can of ease go into it and heave out close to the shore.”

At last, the Sydney Opera House…


This view looks west from the Botanic Gardens toward the Opera House with a small glimpse of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.

Although the Opera House is now a recognized and much-loved icon worldwide, it’s just over 40 years old.  Construction took 16 years, with completion in 1973. The architect was inspired by the cliffs along Sydney Harbour to create the granite platform and used sections of a sphere to model the “sails.” Now yachts in the harbor repeat the sail pattern.


Imagine the skepticism Danish architect Jørn Utzon must have met when he described his unique design. “You want to do what?”


The structure’s outline is striking even at night.

The roof is made of white ceramic tiles. The intent was to provide a contrast to the buildings of dark red and brown brick around the harbor. Serendipitously, this white surface is great for multi-colored light shows. Our visit coincided with Chinese New Year. While we walked around the harbor one night we were amazed to see a totally different look to the opera house.


In China, red is a very lucky color, visible everywhere for Chinese New Year. So this is now the Sydney Chinese Opera House.


We met a couple Chinese visitors who were just as impressed as we were by the colorful display.

The Opera House isn’t the only impressive sight in the harbor. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is iconic as well. It is apparently affectionately called the Coathanger. It was completed in 1932. Imagine the harbor and bridge without the opera house at the time.


One of the most famous views in the world.

Sixteen people died building the bridge. Paul Hogan (who said, “Throw another shrimp on the barbie”) was a rigger on the bridge at one time.


Ferries like this leave from the Circular Quay to beaches all along the harbor. Lovely ride.


Another view…

A very popular activity in Sydney is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, now with several choices: climbing to the top, climbing halfway (why?), and climbing up the bridge pylon. The summit is 134 meters above sea level, not for anyone with acrophobia. A sign of the times: There is now a special Bridge Climb Mandarin! On this trip we just walked along the regular sidewalk.

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Don’t look down!


This photo shows climbers atop the bridge with Australian flags heralding great national pride!

Michael, Liz, and Chris did the bridge climb in 2000 when they went to the Sydney Olympics.


Michael, Liz, and Chris showed their own national pride.

The photo above has quite a story. Since bridge climbers are walking over pedestrian and auto traffic, the organizer is very concerned that nothing is dropped during the climb. “For safety reasons, you can’t carry anything with you on the Bridge.” Walkers leave personal items behind and wear jumpsuits. A company photographer takes a souvenir photo at the top. Somehow Liz snuck an American flag into her jumpsuit and pulled it out for the family photo. “Great!” said the guy at the top. “Not acceptable,” said the guy back on the ground. Our threesome left without a photo since they broke the rules. After extensive negotiating and some help from our Kodak Australia colleagues, we finally got a copy of the photo with the flag digitally removed. Through the miracles of technology, the flag has been restored to its (un)rightful place.


Early morning view of the Opera House from the pedestrian (non-climbing) level of the bridge.

Back to the present, these are our last views of the bridge…for now, at least.

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We’re driving on the left of course. At the top of the bridge on the right are some climbers.

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Looking up! (NOTE: Michael did not take this photo.)

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Leaving Sydney for another glorious day in Australia.

Next, we’re headed up the coast toward Brisbane, unexplored territory for us.

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1 Response to Sydney and its Harbour – February 2015

  1. Cindy Hamilton says:

    We were fortunate to be able to return to Australia last October for a short visit. Your Sydney pictures were great! Loved seeing different views of the bridge and the Opera House! (I took a zillion pictures there too.). You will love Brisbane! Hope you take the boat up the River to see the Koala Sanctuary. It is a must! The Ferris Wheel gives great views of the city too. Great walks along the River and over bridges. Missed the blooming season at the Botanical Gardens there. It must be spectacular! Can’t wait to see what you have in store at the Great Barrier Reef!


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