I know that it might be quite boring to read about someone’s travelogues and travel photographs. Travel is such a personal thing, but I will try to be crisp and not to bore you with a long story.
After a good pause, I was informed to take up my next ‘onsite’ assignment in Sydney, Australia. Though, I was not very much interested to move out of country at this point because of some personal priorities, but, as business demands I have to be in Sydney. This is my first visit to the Australian peninsula. My flights were booked with Royal Thai Airways and I was all set to move. Flying first time with Thai Airways was a mixed experience. My Royal Silk class (Business) seat from Shamshabad to Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport was not so comfortable. I effectively utilized my three hours transit time in the Airport Lounge checking and replying e-mails. The flight from Bangkok to Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport was a much better one. I had good sleep and a good time pass with the co-passenger Professor Dr. Robert John Fischer. We chatted about his experience in Rajasthan, the missing link ‘cricket’, International Politics & Economy… Most importantly time flew very fast & I arrived in Sydney International Airport.
- After finishing necessary immigration & custom check, I along with my to-traveler & collogue Brajendra hired a Cab to reach Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay. This is going to be our temporary nest for next one month. First glimpse of the hotel room was disappointing. I wonder how $205 a day is justified for a room which even lacks a microwave oven!! Real surprise came when I come to know that I need to pay extra $100 per week for Internet Connection. With no arrangement for self-cooking, I have to satisfy myself with outside food everyday & even had to buy drinking water bottles (A$ 6 a bottle)….I need to burn lot of dollars. Adding to all these, the most frustrating part is the Television which has only 15 channels with some 5 news channel & 5 Sports channel. It is really a hopeless cable network; Thanks to my CNN IBN online streaming service, I am in touch with live IPL (read both Indian Political League & Indian Premier League) actions.
But there is a silver lining among disappointments. My work place was within a walking distance. It is going to reduce the hectic of catching a cab every day and will allow me to sense the pulse of the Sydney Streets!
Sydney, located at Australia’s south-east coast of the Tasman Sea, is the capital city of Australian state of New South Wales & with a population of over 4.5 million is Australia’s Business Capital and the largest and most populous city. The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet as a penal colony. The city is built on hills surrounding Port Jackson which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour, where the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are featured prominently.
The Opera House was visible from the window of my room (2402, at 24th Floor). The view of the Harbour area is really pleasant.
- On first weekend, I had a cruise tour from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour using Sydney Ferry Service. It is a nice 15 minute journey through the Harbour area. Darling Harbour seemed to be the most happening place in Sydney city. With lots of eat outs & amusement park it is really a nice place for hanging out. I had my lunch at the Indian restaurant “Zaaffran”. It was a costly lunch & not so recommendable because the food was just okay. For theater enthusiasts, there is an IMAX in the vicinity.
- Sydney Aquarium at the eastern side of Darling Harbour just to the north of the Pyrmont Bridge walkover is a nice place to visit. It showcases the world’s largest collection of all-Australian aquatic life featuring a number of habitats like sharks, tortoises, seahorses, penguins, stingrays etc… I thoroughly enjoyed the place and costs me A$44 only.
- Spending some time with the Pacific Ocean and its life, I decided to have a look to the surrounding parkland and found out the Royal Botanical Garden, which offers a verity of flora and fauna to its visitors. The Begonia garden, Herb Garden, a small Rain Forest Walk, the Bushland Walk, Palm Groves, Rare and Threatened Plants Garden, Palace Rose Garden, Succulent Garden with Desert landscapes demand a mention. The sleeping Grey-headed Flying-foxes with long wings is the most remarkable wild life in the Botanical Garden. They sleep during the day and feed on pollen, nectar and fruit at night.
- Shifting from Botanical Garden to a greater wild life, I had a visit to the local Toronga Zoo on the North Shore of Sydney Harbour. I took a cruise from Circular Quay to the zoo and it is a nice cruise tour. Toronga Zoo offers a vast verity of wild life to its visitors and a nice place to hang around. Some of these animals which worth mentioning are Black Rhinoceros , Platypus, Fijian Crested Iguana, Corroboree Frog, Przewalski’s Horse, Australian Sea-lion, Western Lowland Gorilla, Koala, Tasmanian Devil, Snow Leopard, Sumatran Tiger, Leopard Seal, etc… The zoo took the whole day and was really attractive and vast. The view of Sydney city from the zoo side will mesmerize visitors.
- Another great destination for wild life lovers is Featherdale Wildlife Park. This place is around an hour drive from the Sydney city. Featherdale has various wild lives including multiple species of Australia’s best known animal koala, which sleep between 18 to 20 hours a day and lives on certain species of Eucalyptus leaves. They can eat up to 1 KG of leaves every day and rarely drink water. The other major attraction is another Australian animal Kangaroo. There are various species of Kangaroos, of different sizes, heights and colors, available in Featherdale.
- The other mentionable place I visited in Sydney was the Blue Mountains. It is a mountainous region in New South Wales, Australia bordering Sydney’s metropolitan area. The Blue Mountain tourism starts in the city of Katoomba. This area is dissected by gorges up to 760 meters deep and a large part of the Blue Mountains is incorporated into the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site. The Giant Staircase walking track runs down a cliff into the Jamison Valley, near the Three Sisters, providing access to nature walks through the valley. The Three sister rocks are named as Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m).