Saturday, October 26, 2013

A visit to Darling Harbour

No visit to Sydney is really complete without seeing the Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and a visit to Darling Harbour.  In fact Pete doesn't think that he is actually in Sydney until he goes into the city!

We caught the bus into the city.  The outer suburbs have transit ways - separate roadways that only the buses can travel.  These transit ways certainly make travelling on the bus quite fast as they are not slowed by the traffic and get priority at the lights.  The speed limit on the transit ways is 80 kilometres per hour so the buses get along them quite quickly.  Coming from the west the bus travels to north Sydney and then crosses the harbour bridge.  There were two cruise boats in the harbour and they looked quite spectacular.

We got off the bus in the centre of the city and walked the two blocks to Darling Harbour.


As we walked we were discussing the monorail as it has been on the news quite a bit lately.  The single loop monorail connecting Darling Harbour with the central shopping area was originally opened in July 1988 but was closed in June 2013.  The transport system had been purchased from the private owners by the State Government in 2012 to enable extension of the light rail system and the to use the land for an extension to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

So the monorail ceased operating in June 2013 and is in the process of being dismantled and this work is continuing.  However, two carriages and about ten metres of tracks is being preserved at the Powerhouse Museum.  Some of the stations are being demolished but those which are privately owned may be renovated for other use.  It certainly seemed strange to see some of the rails still in place but abruptly finishing.

We walked the full distance around the harbour, stopping for lunch at one of the many restaurants and eventually walking until we arrived at the ferry terminal.  There is extensive building construction proceeding, with a lot of apartments being built in the area.  There is also a navy base and there was a lot of activity as the international fleet review with the arrival of about 40 visiting warships and 16 tall ships to participate in the commemoration of the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy's fleet into Sydney in October 1913  (we had initially planned to go into the city to see some of the ships but the weather turned foul so we gave it a miss).

We decided to take the ferry back to Circular Quay and as there is a very regular service we didn't have to wait long.  There are only about four stops between Darling Harbour and Circular Quay, the first being at the Maritime Museum within the harbour, then Balmain, and before too long we were stopping at Potts Point adjacent to Luna Park.
 Luna Park

There were two P & O cruise ships moored and the Pacific Pearl looked pretty impressive moored at the overseas terminal.  The other ship was moored much further around the harbour - perhaps it is a cheaper cruise and you don't get down town convenience.
Cruise Ships
After a full on day in the city it was time to head home, so we caught a train out to Blacktown and then the bus to our street.  We are pretty impressed that we have adapted to using public transport wherever possible, and for just $2.50 per person why wouldn't we?





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