October 13th, Monday, we left San Diego on our way to Australia for Bob’s 45th Reunion of the University of British Columbia Metallurgy Department. We decided to begin our adventure by taking the Amtrak from Solana Beach to LA; it is a beautiful scenic ride along the coast most of the way and much more relaxing than driving. We then boarded a supersized jumbo jet (cattle car) for the 14 hour flight to Sidney.
On Wednesday morning (having lost a day) we arrived in Sydney and our friend Ted Cully met us at the airport. Ted, and friend Jean were wonderful hosts and tour guides while we spent the next few days sightseeing around Sydney. We visited Sydney’s heritage listed Royal National Park, established in 1879, the world’s second-oldest national park, called ‘the Royal’ by the locals. Beautiful views of the coast with many hiking trails that we would love to explore, but it was on toward the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge. This $52 million bridge opened in Dec 2005, is a balanced cantilever bridge, and is one of only seven off-shore parallel to coast bridges in the world. It is 1,495 feet in length, 135 feet at is highest point, and links the coastal villages of Coalcliff and Clifton.
Then it was on to the Village of Burrawang located in the picturesque rolling green hills of the Southern Highlands of NSW, where we had lunch at the Burrawang Hotel outside in the beautiful gardens with spectacular views. We stopped at the Morton National Park on our way back and took the short walk to view the 266′ tall Fitzroy Falls. What a wonderful day exploring the Southern Highlands of NSW with Ted and Jean.
The next day we took the train into Sydney where we visited the Queen Victoria Building. The Romanesque Revival building was constructed between 1893 and 1898, designed as a marketplace, and has been restored to its original beauty in the late twentieth century. The photos capture the beauty and uniqueness of this shopping mall. We walked to Darling Harbor and checked out the ship, the Endeavor, a replica of Captain Cook’s ship, which Ted sailed on as a crew member a few years ago. Then it was on to view the iconic Sydney Opera House from the ferry under the Harbor Bridge. We the returned back to Ted’s for a well deserved cappachino and a chance to feed the local wild birds that are regular visitors to his back deck.
Our last two days we spent on Ted’s sailboat, “Tahaa II “, sailing from Pittwater to Refuge Bay where we moored for the night. What an amazing peaceful, tranquil experience for our final two days in Sydney. We saw lots of strange jellyfish, great boat races and enjoyed the secluded beach in Refuge Bay.
Thank you Ted and Jean.