We had only 1 full day here but managed to see quite a lot before heading to Auckland including catching up with John’s cousins Michael in Manly. Our first stop was Hyde Park Barracks as we were interested in learning about the history of Sydney and how the convicts from Britain shaped the city.
Britain used to send their convicts to the US, but as the US approached its independance in 1776, it refused to take them leaving Britain to find another solution. That solution was Australia and in 1780, they started shipping their convicts there. This building housed the convicts of Sydney whilst they build the city. But only the men were here- women and children prisoners were sent to another part of the country leaving Sydney with a dearth of women and a problem. So, they started an immigration program with Ireland- Irish women got free transport to start a life here and they were housed in this building (after conversion of course) whilst they waited to jobs and full integration into the town.
We then explored the harbour area on foot and got our first view of the iconic Sydney Opera House
Across the water from the Opera House is the beautiful Harbour Bridge. For $250 you can harness yourself to the bridge and walk on top of it which we would have done- if not for the pricetag! We walked part way across it on the road level and got a great view!
We could not leave Australia without seeing kangaroos and koalas! We saw several kangaroos in the wine country as we drove through the country but we hadn’t seen any koalas, so we snagged some cheap tickets to the Wild Life Sanctuary in Sydney to see some. They were even cuter in person and we were able to get quite close to them- they didn’t do a whole lot, mostly napped up in the tree all curled up in the fetal position but they were still cool to see!
There is also a resident crocodile- 40 years old and 4 meters long at the center.
After that we took a 30 minute ferry ride to Manly to meet up with John’s cousin Michael who moved to Aussie from the UK around 2007. We found a deal on beers beforehand then went to a great microbrewery for some excellent beer and dinner!
Return ferry ride and a nice walk through the park back to our place. On the way we saw a possum trying to get into the garbage bin. Although a pest to the Aussie’s, we found it cute and in typical tourist fashion, several pitures were taken:)