Day Two: Exploring Darling Harbour.
Downstairs with coffee and the papers by 8:20,
we are up early today for breakfast…well, relatively early for the new us. The morning bustle on Oxford Street is persistent. We are organizing ourselves for a stroll and a wander: final destination, Darling Harbour
Sullivans Hotel (now called The Arts Hotel) is situated in Darlinghurst and on the border to our immediate east is Paddington. Oxford Street, as you move further north towards Liverpool Street and downtown, is somewhat seedier and run down. Paddington has charm, charm, charm. Ornate, wrought iron balustrades grace the second floor balconies of these small but graceful row houses. There is a feeling of New Orleans in the neighbourhood.
The Darling, Darling Harbor
Breakfast done, we head out to try and figure out the Sydney public transit system. Buses, underground trains, a monorail system and harbour ferries that sometimes connect and sometimes do not make up the transit system. We buy a 10 fare bus pass and decide to walk the 20 minutes to Darling Harbour and The Rocks. It is a beautiful sunny day but very hot and muggy. Darling Harbour looks a bit like Toronto’s Ontario Place but situated in downtown Sydney. The newness of the site tells us that this was more than likely built for the 2000 Olympics. We are too early for the many pubs and cafes and harbour shows that normally take place but it is still a nice stroll nonetheless.
We walk over Pyrmont Bridge, a historic swing bridge that is now pedestrian and monorail only, head north and wind up in the area known as The Rocks. This quaint, historic area is essentially right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and just west of Circular Quay. Named after its rough terrain, the area grew and survived as a mostly working-class area until the 1960’s when Sydney went through a wild and somewhat unchecked building process. The locals protested and the area claims its fame as one of the major tourist attractions in Sydney. (Take that as you will. The locals think of it as a tourist trap of commercialized history, but we had a pleasant lunch and stroll there.)
We head back to Circular Quay and wait for the number 380 bus to take us back to the hotel. This is the Bondi Beach bus and very quickly is full with all sorts of riders, many with their surfboards! Our day ends with a huge rolling thunder and lightening storm to break the muggy summer heat.