Saturday 11th March 2017
We retraced our steps this morning via the now very chichi Woolloomooloo Bay to get the same views as last night but in daylight, stopping for coffee in the botanical gardens for our daily dose of caffeine. We had a quick stop at the Opera house to take the usual tourist photos of those grand cream sails, before walking through the rocks to the pylon climb at the bridge.
We’d thought about the bridge climb but opted instead to spend the $375 (I kid you not) on a taster menu in a local restaurant, and chose to take the pylon climb as we’d been told by Scott (the source of so much knowledge!) that the views were great.
There are a few stairs to get to the top – but once on the viewing platform the views are completely amazing and after a week of so-so weather we were really lucky to have sunshine and stunning views.
There is a mini museum which explains how the bridge was built and shows a video of the 9 years it took to build the 2 halves of the bridge and how, amazingly, the 2 halves met perfectly in the middle and are held by a central pin. It’s definitely worth doing if the bridge climb isn’t in your price range.
Coming down from the pylon, we used our Opal cards (we’re sooo local!) to jump on one of the iconic green and yellow Sydney Harbour Ferries and trundled over to Manly to see how the good folk of Sydney enjoy a warm, sunny Saturday in a city surrounded by beaches. It’s a quick walk through the town to the beaches, and today Manly was crammed, but it’s a surfing beach so the waves aren’t very swimming friendly and even the local lifesaving club was warning the surfers to stay out of the waves made giant by the recent storms.
We walked around the headlands towards Shelly beach and up onto the viewing point at Blue Fish Wall before heading back to the ferry and taking the journey back to Circular Quay. This has to be one of the best ways of seeing the harbour and with a $15 cap per day on travel with the Opal we thought we might as well take as many of the routes as possible – so jumping off that ferry we jumped on a final ferry that went under the Bridge and stopped at several stops – Luna Park, Balmain East, before we jumped off at Darling Harbour to get the train back to the apartment.
We’ve been watching the budget so hadn’t had an epic meal in Australia so far (other than breakfast in the Grampions… i remember you!) so Wayne had booked a table at a restaurant called Gastro Park just round the corner in Kings Cross for their taster menu.
The food was really creative, stand out for me was the liquid butternut gnocchi, which were perfect spheres of butternut soup served in a mushroom consommé, and of course the pudding! I’ve not had a pudding since I’ve been on the road – so if you’re gonna indulge – go big! And this delicious mess of honeycomb, chocolate and cream really hit the spot.