How to Explore Sydney’s Outlying Areas

Day 2 of my Sydney visit began with many options on things to do.  However, my legs felt like they needed some rest after all the walking on day 1, and it was alternating between rain, drizzle, and no rain.  So I opted to get on the Explorer buses that go on two different routes and that allow you to pay one fare and get on and off the bus at any of the designated stops along the way.  I love taking buses get acquainted with a city (since you can observe things vs. an underground train, for instance) so I went for it. While the red route stays close to the city’s center, the blue route heads to the outskirts towards Bondi Beach (the most famous of the Australian beaches).  See this link for more info.

The bus has a recording which highlights key city sights/sites along with some history and such things so one really does get good value from taking them (the bus drivers usually add more commentary as well).  For me, the Explorer bus rides helped me identify areas of town that I definitely would want to explore more during my stay.  The bus tours also allowed me to get out of the rain for a good bit of time (each route runs a 2-hr circuit)!  So I went off on the blue route.

First Stop – Watson’s Bay

Along the way to Bondi, I got off the bus at Watson’s Bay to have lunch at Doyle’s, a famous fish and chips place on the waterfront (Doyle’s website ).  It was very good and I had been hungry for a bit so the combination was a success.

I did a short hike from there along the cliffs in that part of the coast which was good because 1.  it was not raining, and 2.  I got off the bus and got to stretch my legs… From this vantage point, one can see the entrance to Sydney Harbor from the ocean. This ships look puny next to the cliffs on the far side!

Entrance to Sydney Harbor, Australia

Bondi Beach and Surfers

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Once I got to Bondi Beach, we were told there was a scenic trail connecting it to the next beach town over (where I could catch the next Explorer bus) so I decided to get off the bus again though it was drizzling (I was wearing a rain jacket).  The coastline was beautiful and the waves were roaring due to the weather.

Of course, surfers were out in full force.  I have never really paid attention to surfing before.  It does seem a lot of fun if you don’t mind waves thrashing you about.  However, by watching I realized surfers spend a lot of time just hanging out waiting for the right wave.  As I was trying to take some action pix, it seemed to take forever for them to get on a wave.  It seemed to me like it could get boring.

I stood on the roadside above one of the beaches (like 50 – 75 feet high) and I noticed how cars would slow down as they approached where I was standing.  After a few of those, I realized those were surfers checking out the conditions of that beach to see if they would surf there.  Some parked and changed right by their cars and some just kept going (I assume the conditions weren’t up to par for them).  It was about 2 PM on Thursday so I wondered if these guys just take a break from work to surf, if they are on vacation, or if they just don’t work.

End of Day 2!

So it’s the end of day 2 and my impressions of Sydney have gone from architectural & engineering awe after seeing the the Opera House and the Bridge  to awe at the beauty of the city and its natural setting.  The architecture can range from ultra-modern (Renzo Piano’s famous building) to the quaint buildings of the late 19th and early 20th century that you see not only in The Rocks area but elsewhere.

Typical homes in The Rocks area

The neighborhoods due east of the Central Business District all the way to the beaches all have distinct characters and unique charm.  How would one choose where to live??  (Of course, property prices would take care of that as many of these seaside areas are quite pricey, precisely due to the seaside location and charm”.)  I was expecting Sydney to be a modern city that was made pretty by its seaside location but my perspective changed dramatically today as I got a broader view at the different parts of town and realized there is a lot more to the beauty of the city than the seaside aspect to it.

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