We have been without internet access since we have gotten to Australia. In fact, we are now paying $2 to use an internet kiosk for 21 minutes. Anyway … we started our trip with an amazingly long flight from Chicago to Los Angeles to Sydney. I found the most amazing invention ... a head rest built right into the seat. Great! I wonder why these aren’t on all planes.
When we arrived, we rented a car and drove to Thistle Hill, a bed and breakfast located in the Hunter Valley wine country. My favorite part about this B&B was the “pet” kangaroo Chloe. We were able to get within one foot of her – adorable (see pic). We did go on a wine tour, which I would suggest if you have extra time. The vines are all being cut back and there are no leaves or grapes because it is winter, but the mountains and views are spectacular anyway.
When we got back to Sydney we took a day to walk around Darling Harbour, which is a touristy area with nice restaurants. Note: whether you are in Darling Harbour or elsewhere in Australia, be ready to spend at least $15-20 per lunch and $20-30 for dinner, not including your beverage. Even coffee is expensive, about $4 or 5.00 for a small.
We also did the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. We booked it online, and it was expensive ($179) … but totally worth it. Once you are at the top, you have an amazing 360 degree view of the entire city. There are two different climbs, both are explained online. The whole thing takes about three hours. You aren’t allowed to take your own camera, but you can buy the pictures afterward from them. If you look closely, you can see the bridge climbers in this picture. You walk up the one side to the flag, across, and back down the other side.
Overall, I do like Sydney thus far. However … it is cold!!! Winter weather for sure. We walked around today, and I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, sweater, track jacket and scarf. Bring warm clothes, especially if you want to just walk around the city. In addition, there has been rain the past two days. Bring an umbrella. It is a great city with a lot to offer, but it does seem dreary on days like today. Hopefully next week when you all arrive for the conference, the weather will improve a bit. Tomorrow, Dave and I will be going to the Blue Mountains on a train. We will keep you posted on that. Until next time …