25 May 1999


Royal Botanical Gardens

  • Fountain for Kings George in Hyde Park
  • Eucalyptus trees covering a walkway
  • The AMP Centerpoint Tower
  • We woke up with a good night's rest and a much brighter outlook on the day.  Breakfast was superb - a buffet of fruits, sausages, eggs and breads.  Then we walked out into the sunny morning.  Unlike yesterday, everything seemed fresh and alive as we walked through Hyde Park and admired its fountains.  It could be due to the sunshine, or to a good night's sleep.


  • Il Porcellino
  • Parliament House
  • Palm tree in the Botanical Gardens
  • The turf garden
  • Bats in the trees!
  • A collection of succulents
  • Sydney's skyline
  • The Opera House and Harbour Bridge
  • A massive fig tree
  • After pausing to photograph some historic buildings, our first stop was the Royal Botanical Gardens.  Even though it is their autumn, some flowers were still in bloom, such as their rose garden. There was a turf garden, which was used as a test area for the city to decide which type of grass to plant on the park grounds.  Then we walked into a richer part of the garden that featured some tropical trees. We heard chirping noises from above, and we looked up to discover hundreds of fox-faced bats clinging to the branches.  The bats came to the gardens a couple of decades ago, and they're starting to cause a problem.  It sure was spooky!  We then took a walk along the shore and viewed the harbor.  Today, everything was beautiful - such a difference from yesterday.  The lush green vegetation made for a soothing enviornment in which to relax - although we could still hear the sounds of construction from the city; everyone is desparately building for the upcoming 2000 olympics.


  • Daria and the Opera House
  • Tobin and the Opera House
  • We walked towards the Rocks via the Opera House.  Its interior looked very plush and very 70's: wood paneling, sculpted chairs, abstract-art-like light fixtures.  The white tops of the House are covered in tile.  Some tiles toward the ground were broken off - maybe by souvenier hunters?



    The Rocks

  • View of the historic Rocks district
  • Once at the Rocks, we hunted around for the visitor's center.  On its second floor, the history of Australia's settlement was described in a fascinating sequence of paragraphs and paintings.  The early days of Sydney - convicts that built haphazard huts along the bay, overcrowded conditions - made such a contrast to the city today.


  • Daria walking on the Harbour Bridge
  • We decided not to follow a self-guided tour and opted instead for just wandering through the back alleyways of the Rocks.  Many historic buildings remain, although they now contain restaurants or gift shops.  We walked along the Nurses Walk, the Suez Canal, and got up onto the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  We ate lunch at the Gumnut Tea Room, which had a lovely courtyard nested among the historic buildings.  The food was unique - sandwiches of exotic meats and vegetables served in Turkish bread.  This was a great place to relax and rest from all the hiking.


  • Luna Park
  • Sydney Aquarium
  • After having a quick drink at the Observer Tavern (a site where early surgeons would perform autopsies right on the bar), we headed to the Circular Quay Ferries.  We boarded the one for Darling Harbor, and we got off at the Sydney National Aquarium.  At first, we weren't impressed by the aquarium - especially when compared to the one in Baltimore.  But then we entered the underwater walkways - two tunnels that lead along the bottom of a giant fish tank.  We watched in awe as a gigantic manta ray passed overhead; its wingspan was easily 6 feet.

    We caught a later ferry back to the Quay, and then walked back to the hotel.  Then we set off to Kings Cross (the Red Light district) in search of a recommended restaurant.  We found it - the Bayswater Brasserie.  It was a modest but busy cafe that served modern Australian dishes.  I had a wonderful snapper dish served on sweet potatoes; Daria had grilled chicken on risotto.  The guide book said that film industry people frequented this place - but we did not recongise anyone.  We walked back to our hotel, remarking on the number of prostitutes that emerged onto our hotel's street.

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