Some Thoughts on Australia So Far

Our time here so far (almost 2 weeks) can be split into two – Sydney and the coast.

Sydney

  • Although it was Christine’s first visit, she had obviously seen, heard and read much about the place but she was still not really prepared for her first sight of the Opera House “in the flesh”. It took her breath away and she considers it to be the most beautiful building that she has seen.
  • A city of 4.5 million was always going to be a bit of a shock after 3 months in New Zealand.
  • The Opal Card for public transport makes for a really cheap way of getting around although what constitutes a “journey” (you get free travel after 8 journeys in a week) takes some working out.
  • It was hot! Unseasonably so.
  • The Reading Room in the NSW Library is a lovely place to sit.
  • Away from the main sights, it looks much improved compared to Stephen’s previous impressions which were that it was a bit “scruffy”.
  • Just round from the Opera House is a bay called Wooloomooloo. What kind of a name is that for goodness’ sake??!! Eight of the twelve letters are “O”s!!
  • It goes without saying that the sights are lovely and it is one of the great cities of the world.

The Coast

    • Before leaving Sydney we didn’t really know what to expect of this part of Australia but we have been bowled over by how lovely and unspoiled all the beaches are.
    • Going to sleep to the sound of surf is wonderful.
    • There are some very colourful birds here.
    • There are some excellent cyclepaths along the coast in parts.
    • So far cycling along the Prince’s Highway has been quite tolerable and not as bad as we feared. But we have some long stretches on it in the coming days.
    • Although there are exceptions (there always are), drivers are more considerate to cyclists than in NZ.
    • Roadkill was everywhere in NZ. We have seen almost none here.
    • The road signs warning against wildlife on the road show a kangaroo but we haven’t seen one yet. (Just like the UK. Who has seen a deer on the road other than in northern Scotland?)
    • Campsites are a little more expensive than NZ, perhaps 10-20%. The kitchens provide fewer facilities on average – other than barbies.

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