SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 22, March 2017 - Page 56

fter spending time in Queensland diving the Great Barrier Reef, I was excited to explore more of the city side of Australia

and where better to go than to Sydney. Sydney is known for its Harbor Bridge, Opera House, and great food, I only had a week to stay and play, and there were a few things I wanted to do, but my first stop was the Opera House!

Opera House The opera house is Sydney’s icon, and one cannot visit Sydney without walking up taking a selfie on the stairs. There are tours given of the opera house several times a day. The opera house has five theaters with multiple shows performing each night. Take the early morning ferry to Manly Beach to get a view of the Opera house during sunrise. In the evening come down to the harbor and get drinks and appetizers while watching live bands at the Opera Bar or Portside Sydney.

Manly Beach The morning after visiting the Opera House by the water, I grabbed the early ferry to Manly Beach so that I could get pictures of the Opera House at sunrise. The ride to Manly is about 30 minutes, and if you catch the early morning ferry, you’ll get a great view of the sunrise climbing behind the Opera House. Manly Beach is a cute little area filled with shops, cafes and of course the beach. Since I took the ferry so early, nothing was open when I got there except a few cafes on the water, so I hung out and had some breakfast and tea until the shops opened. Manly Beach is worth spending half a day sightseeing.

Featherdale Wildlife Park Being in Australia, I was hoping to see two animals, kangaroos, and koalas. Featherdale Wildlife Center is located just outside of the city, by bus, and has a commitment to educating both locals and tourists at their open-air amphitheater about the animals. They also have a mobile education program for the local schools. When you first enter you will see kangaroos and wallabies roaming free. Yes, I was that tourist who took a few selfies with them. There is also an area where you can be up close to a Koala and get a picture, so, of course, I did that too. I spent about two hours here walking around and watching all the animals play. I even got to witness a baby kangaroo that was only three months old. For their first year of life, the joey only leaves their mothers pouch for a few minutes to a few hours at a time.

Bondi Beach Next on my list was the famous Bondi Beach. Known for surfers, skateboarders and home of Icebergs salt-water pool. I went early morning to catch sunrise and breakfast. The pool is impressive, and although I didn’t swim in it, you can go for just a $6.50 entry. I stopped and watched the skateboarders for a while and found out I missed Tony Hawk by ONE DAY! He was there the day after I came. There is a yearly skateboard competition held at the park. If you go early enough, you can beat the crowds and stake out your perfect sand patch to hang out for the day. If you want to do something besides sitting on the beach, you can do the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. This beautiful 6 Km walk is a trail that starts by Bondi Iceberg Pool and ends in Coogee’s suburbs. Along the path, you witness stunning coastal views, beaches, and rock pools. The walk will take a couple of hours each way to do.

Hunter Valley Being a wine lover and having been in Southeast Asia for two years, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of tasting good wine again. On my last day in Sydney, I decided to book a private van tour of the Hunter Valley wine region. We visited four wineries and vineyards where we learned about each of the wine we tasted and were offered some snacks. We also stopped for lunch and cheese and chocolate tasting along the way. The wine was so good; I winded up buying two bottles from the wineries to bring back with me. Hunter Valley is two hours outside of Sydney and well worth the trip.

Five Favorites from Sydney

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Robyn Hartzell robynaroundtheworld.com

March 2017 - Festure Destination

56 - SEVENSEAS