September 01, 1999

Here are some photos taken on my trip to Sydney, Australia.

First, here's a view out of the hotel. No, not my room, but around the corner. Yes, that's the Sydney Opera House in the center.

If you ever travel to Sydney, I highly recommend the Renaissance Sydney Hotel. It's in a great location, and the service was amazing...our little troupe was pampered the entire week we were there.

Here's a shot of the Sydney skyline I took on the way to the zoo. Note right behind the lighthouse structure in the foreground, is an almost Space-Needle looking tower:

The Olympics are one year away, and it seems like the entire city is under construction. It's hard to see above, but there are several construction cranes visible. I know I counted at least seven just looking out my hotel window. They have a lot to finish in the next year.

Needless to say, that tower needed visiting. The AMP tower stands 1,000ft high, almost 400ft higher than the Space Needle. Here's one of the shots taken from the observation deck:

I think this is looking North East (towards Seattle!). You can see the Opera House at the far left. The green hillside roughly in the center across the bay is where the zoo is located. The AMP tower also has a rotating restaurant (much like our favorite Needle), but as we found out, the view is much better than the food.

The Sydney inner harbor is a busy one. The area closest to the hotel, know as the Circular Quay (pronounced Circular "key" for some reason) is the center point for Sydney's bustling passenger ferry routes. One of them takes you across the bay to the zoo; while on that ferry, I shot this picture:

The ferry in the foreground is identical to the one this picture is taken from. The bridge in the background is the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge, the largest arch-bridge in the world. Here's a better shot of it:

If you look closely, you can see some little bumps on the top if the upper bridge arch (hint look directly below the left-hand flag). Those bumps are people. Last year they opened the bridge to tourists who want to climb to the top. For a modest fee (of course), and after passing a breath test and getting some basic instructions, people are taken up in groups of 6 to 12, all the while attached to a static line on the bridge with climbing gear.

Yes, I did. Here's proof:

The stylish suite I'm wearing is part of the deal. It has no pockets, and basically prevents anything you have on or in your pockets underneath from coming out and falling onto traffic down below. Everything loose attached to that suite somehow. They day I went up it was beautifully clear, as you can see, and with very little breeze. The result was that the suit, which goes on over your clothes, plus the exertion of walking up the 400 ft high bridge, made it a tad warm by the time I got there. It was, however, worth every step, even though two days later I can still feel the backs of my legs. (Interesting side note: they do not allow cameras on the bridge. They are deathly afraid that something will get dropped onto the roadway below. The climb guides are equipped with consumer model Kodak digital cameras, and take pictures at various points along the way. The pictures are downloaded and prints made available for immediate purchase when you return to the base. The photo above is a scan of a 5x7 print. I was very impressed with the quality.) 

So I did go to the zoo as well. Unfortunately the platypus was in a fairly dark enclosure, so I could not get a picture. He's smaller than I expected (maybe 18 inches), and very cute. Some other residents you might recognize:

That was taken from about three feet away. There were several, one of which was solidly and profoundly asleep. They sleep 20 hours a day, I'm told. Given the I am still quite tired from the trip, I'm jealous. Another:

And, no, that's his tail, and nothing else. The kangaroos were in a walk-through enclosure, so they could come up you if so inclined. Most were lazing about like this fellow here.

Also at the zoo:

No, that's not an Australian native, but he was quite handsome, and I couldn't resist the shot. Sleeping seems to be a theme with the animal pictures.

A last shot from the zoo...this taken back towards the city:

The venue used for one of the shows they put on (a free-flight bird show) has this amazing view as it's backdrop.

Sydney also has a monorail, which is only slightly more extensive than Seattle's. It's a full loop, from downtown to Darling Harbor, a shopping center a couple of miles north.

Sydney seems to be very much in tune with the water, with harbors, ships, seafood restaurants and water-related artwork all over. Here's one fountain that I liked a lot at Darling Harbor:

It's at ground level, and is a spiral of water running from the top to the center. Notice that a couple of the spirals do not carry water, specifically to people can walk down to the center, if they want to. In the background is the harbor itself.