A business trip means that I’m flying 23 hours to the other side of the world and I’m finally visiting Australia! I’ve two weekends at each end of the trip to do my own thing and I’m really in luck too, as it’s right in the middle of the Sydney light show that is only on for two weeks a year.
I’ve just over a day to see as much of Sydney as possible before my flight to Canberra, so at 07.00 I dump my stuff at the hotel and walk five minutes north towards The Rocks, which gives me my first view of Sydney’s most famous sights. Despite the grey skies, the Opera House takes my breath away. I’ve heard so many people say that it’s small and underwhelming, but I couldn’t disagree more. It’s significantly bigger than I expected it to be and perches on the edge of the harbour beautifully. The dark clouds actually give it quite a unique touch; I’ve seen countless photos of it and I think I’m actually one of the few tourists to see it without a brilliant blue sky!
I walk through the cute market on George Street and find myself underneath the enormous Harbour Bridge, which from an architectural point of view, is even more impressive than the Opera House. The latter is modern design at its finest, but the bridge is engineering brilliance.
West of the bridge is an odd area of council homes with a rural cottage feel, that have remarkable views of the harbour and yet some of them are in a terrible state. Bewilderingly, there are even a few that are abandoned. I have a delicious breakfast at The Terrace on Kent Street and suddenly the rain starts pummelling the city. It makes further exploration tricky, but isn’t bad timing as a couple of friends (who moved to Sydney 18 months ago) meet me for lunch and we hop from bar to bar and I savour some of the best local beers Sydney has to offer.
Harts Bar has a particularly good selection, but without a shadow of a doubt the highlight is the Shangri-La Hotel with its bar on the 36th floor, overlooking the harbour. Our window table offers a spectacular view and I feel like royalty drinking cocktails and watching the phenomenal light show, the best part being the lights that make the Opera House look like a huge sail blowing in the wind.
We have dinner at 20.00 but the jet lag kicks in and I’m practically falling asleep at the table so I head back to the hotel shortly afterwards.