Thursday, February 19, 2009

RetroTravel: Sydney

The land down under, Australia is one of most beautiful countries I have visited in the past! It is one of the most livable place on earth for me too. Particularly, Sydney - the economic and cultural heart of Australia which is also one of the most economic progressive city in the world. I remember it as one of the most friendliest place for tourists as its sites and landmarks for visits are all near the city of Sydney. The city of Sydney is one of the most modern and urbanized cities that I have seen.

The iconic architectural wonders of Sydney.
Australia is the only country that has a whole continent itself. World famous for its natural wonders and wide open spaces, its beaches, deserts, "the bush", and "the Outback", Australia is actually one of the world's most highly urbanised countries. It is also well known for the cosmopolitan attractions of its large cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. (

Sydney is the capital city of the south-eastern
Australian state of New South Wales, situated on Port Jackson, a waterway including Sydney Harbour, Middle Harbour, North Harbour, and the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers. With a population of just over 4.25 million, Sydney—the "Harbour City"—remains the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia. Sydney holds a reputation worldwide as one of the world's most beautiful and livable cities, brimming with historical associations and globally influential in the realms of culture, art, fashion, cuisine and design. The city is also home to many unique architectural styles, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on the planet. Sydney is a dynamic centre for Australian economic activity and one of the most important cities for finance in the Asia-Pacific region. Sydney was also the host of the 2000 Olympic Games, which successfully raised the city's global profile. Though comprised of a large, sometimes sprawling population, Sydney nonetheless retains many large public spaces and lush green park lands—the city is literally surrounded by national parks, which extend even into the suburbs and the shores of the harbour. (

Sydney is the city where we stayed. It is my first international travel out of the Philippines. I remember how excited I was to visit Australia back then when I was 9 years-old. On my first travel in 1992, it was only me and my mom. We stayed in her friends house who are long time resident there. Flights of Philippine Airlines then had side stops in Brisbane and Melbourne, so I got a glimpse of those cosmopolitan cities too. On my second visit the following year, I travel with my sister, Argee and with my mom again.

It is also during those visit that falls on the Holy Week season because of the months of March and April. I remember during that time when we visited there malls, there are no much celebration on Holy Week unlike here in the Philippines. But what I noticed is that they are more eager on celebrating the Easter Sunday. Their malls are already posted with Easter greetings during the Holy Week. And almost all stores are selling colorful wrapped chocolate Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies too. It was such a delight for kids like me then.

My impression of Sydney is that it is a very cosmopolitan city that welcomes all people of ethnicities to visit and see its wonders. But most importantly, it invites everyone to live in its friendly communities. The city itself has already the most number of tourist spot and places of of interests to visit. Most notable were Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

Downtown Sydney

Two of the most iconic place structures in Sydney that I have seen were the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Sydney Opera House has a large area for sigthseeing the movements in the harbour area of Sydney. It is situated on an edge that faces a wide body of water. If you will turn 360 degrees from the place you can see the Harbour Bridge, the skyscrapers of Sydney and the sailings of boats and ferries in the harbor area. But the priceless dramatic view of from the area is the Sydney Opera house itself and the Sydney Harbour Bridge from morning 'til evening. 

The Sydney Opera House is situated in Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour. It is a multi-venue for performing arts like theatre, opera and ballet presentations. It houses various concert halls, theatres and multi-purpose venues. So if you feel like watching operas or theatre performances, it is a great venue to see the performing arts of Australia. The Opera House is so iconic because of its outer designed after "shells" closely tucked together. It was perfectly placed in Sydney Harbour on the edge of the water that it looks like shells resting on the sand of a beach from afar. The Opera House was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007. It is one of the world's most distinctive 20th century buildings, and one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world.

Sydney Harbour Bridge is another iconic structure in Sydney. It is one of the most recognizable bridge in the world. You can greatly admire the view of this bridge from the Opera House. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. The dramatic view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of both Sydney and Australia. The bridge is locally nicknamed "The Coathanger"or "Colin" because of its arch-based design. It is also possible for tourists to have a bridge climb arrangement on the bridge for a fee but camera are not allowed to be with the climbers and has to pass some tests. (See Wikipedia: Sydney Habour Bridge)

One of Sydney's mega structure wonder - The Harbour Bridge.
360 Degree view of Sydney from Sydney Tower.
Around Sydney, we also visited Circular Quay and Sydney Tower (where a 360 degree view of Sydney can be seen). Circular Quay is a locality in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located on the northern edge of the Sydney central business district on Sydney Cove, between Bennelong Point and The Rocks. It is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney. Circular Quay is made up of walkways, pedestrian malls, parks and restaurants. It hosts a number of ferry quays and a train station. Sydney Tower is Sydney's tallest free-standing structure, and the second tallest in Australia. It is also the third tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere. The tower stands 305 m (1,001 ft) above the Sydney CBD, being located at 100 Market Street, between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets. It is accessible from the Pitt Street Mall, and sits upon Centrepoint (to which the tower is often referred), an office and shopping centre development. The tower is open to the public, and is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the city, being visible from a number of vantage points throughout town and from adjoining suburbs. The tower has a maximum capacity of 960 people. Travel from the ground to the tower is via three high speed double-deck elevators that reach the observation deck in approximately 40 seconds if on maximum speed, this depends on wind conditions at the time.

Sydney Tower.

Other attractions in Sydney that I wish to visit next time were Taronga Zoo and Sydney Aquarium. Taronga Zoo is a city zoo in Sydney. It is located on the shores of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman. Divided into eight zoogeographic regions, Taronga Zoo is home to over 2,600 animals on 21 hectares, making it one of the largest of its kind. Sydney Aquarium is a public aquarium located in Sydney on the eastern side of Darling Harbour to the north of Pyrmont Bridge. The aquarium contains a large variety of Australian aquatic life, displaying more than 650 species comprising more than 6,000 individual fish and other sea and water creatures from most of Australia's water habitats. Its key exhibits are a series of underwater, see-through, acrylic glass tunnels where sharks swim above visitors, and recreation of a Great Barrier Reef coral environment. I would like to see the famed Bondi Beach. The closest ocean beach to the centre of Sydney, Bondi has become synonymous with Sydney's beach lifestyle, and is very popular with tourists, residents, and resident tourists. Aside from coastal sightseeing around the beach you can also swim and surf too! Surfing is one of the popular activities. Plus Bondi is also a great place to dine with numerous restos and drinking bars around.

Other cities that are interesting to visit in Australia are: Brisbane - the capital of Queensland and a gateway to numerous city sightseeings, museums and sandy beaches with an atmosphere of urban city. Melbourne - Australia's second largest city but also the shopping destination of the country aside from being the sport and cultural capital. It is also regarded as Australia's most European city in style. Perth - the most remote continental capital city on earth, on the south-western edge of Western Australia and offers some of the best beaches of the country and excellent wine tasting. Other cities to see in Australia are Cairns, Darwin and Adelaide.

There are other great sites outside of Sydney, these are natural wonders of Great Barrier Reef and Uluru (or Ayers Rock). Uluru is a single massive rock formation along with Kata Tjuta (a range of rock domes) are part of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Northern Territory state of Australia. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. While, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral formation in the world, located off the Pacific coast of Queensland, Australia. It is home to a spectacular array of marine life and offers awesome diving opportunities. It is a UNESCO world heritage site too.

But what I am longing to see is the Whitsunday Island. Based from the internet site pictures I saw, its white sand beaches are breathtaking especially in Whitehaven beach. Whitehaven beach's main attraction is the pure white silica sand, along a seven kilometre (four or five mile) stretch. Other unique attractions in the island are its islets and coves. What I like are the picturesque strips of white sands in a main inlet bounded by shallow waters. Day trip is possible as well as camping in the island. The Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 islands that lie off the coast of Queensland, Australia and form part of the Great Barrier Reef. The islands are one of the most popular Australian tourist destinations. The vast majority of islands are designated national parks and major attractions include access to coral reefs for snorkeling and diving, pristine beaches, especially Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island and clear aquamarine warm waters. They are well connected by two major airports on Hamilton Island and the mainland town of Proserpine. Over half a million visitors come to the Whitsundays each year.

One of the best natural wonders of Australia - Whithaven Beach.
Whitehaven Beach in Whitsunday Island.
What I also like in Australia is that it is home of unique animals like the Kangaroo and Koala. The two animals I believe are indigeneous or originated only in Australia. Kangaroo has been an iconic symbol for Australia while the Koala too in popular cultures, logos, mascots and emblems in the country. Other unique faunas in Australia are Echidnas and Platypus. Both are unique as the only mammals that lays an egg instead of giving birth to a young. Platypus is also endemic to Australia while echidna is a spiny mammal that resembles porcupines.

Kangaroo - one of the icons of Australia.
The cuddly Koala - an animal very associated with Australia.
There are still so many places to discover in Australia. In Sydney alone, four to six day stay is not enough to explore the places of interests of the city. Standard of living is high so there is a number of Filipino immigrants living there. As I have said, it is one of the livable place to live so there are many immigrants of different cultures. Sydney is one of the multicultural melting pot of the country. I wish to visit it again in the future especially the places I never been to in this country of kangaroos.

RetroTravel: Sydney is part of my RetroTravel series in which I share my old travel stories in the past during the times where digital camera is not yet popular hence the pictures. Sydney is my first international travel and one of my travels that I vividly remembers.  My trip to Sydney happened way back in April 24-27, 1992, my first trip and followed in March 30 - April 4, 1993. Some pictures came from and credited to Mcree and Michael Mcdonough.


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
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  2. I love Australia too! The people and the place. Hope to explore it again.

  3. @Andy: Thank you so much for reading.

    @Elsie: I love Australia too and I wish to come back and visit it again in the future...


All comments and reactions are highly appreciated.

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