We had a couple partial days in Sydney thrown in. We were in Sydney for one night when we came back from the Blue Mountains before we left for Port Douglas. On our drive back we stopped at the 2000 Olympic Village just outside of Sydney. Of course we remember some of theses Olympics, but it was 10 years ago! The campus is huge, but it is kind of weird to see all these huge venues built and it to not be very crowded. We wondered if things were just empty or what. Some businesses had offices there, people were swimming at the pool, and they use the stadium for football or rugby games, but the rest seemed pretty deserted but still well kept. We decided to stop and check out the Olympic stadium and took a tour of it. We ended up being the only ones on the tour but we got to see some footage from the Opening Ceremonies, learned how they scaled down the stadium to make it more usable, saw the locker rooms, and got to go on the field. We even got to stand on a real medal podium from the Olympics. I thought that was pretty cool.
Next, we drove to our hotel which was in one of the beach areas of Sydney called Coogee, which is close to Bondi which I guess is more popular. We didn't think we'd be able to get in the water because it was kind of cool, but we did want to do this cliff walk between Coogee and Bondi. The weather had other plans. It rained off and on all day and it was super windy. The beaches definitely did not look like we pictured. So we spent the afternoon either inside or walking just a little bit and hoping not to get poured on. We did make it to Bondi just to check it out. We had a good lunch though at a cafe that had organic/natural sandwiches, soups, etc. Dinner was also interesting because we ate at a burrito place. We've tried Mexican in some places where we probably shouldn't have, but this was actually pretty good. Plus it was a nice break from Italian food. We had chips and salsa, and Tony had a burrito and I had a quesadilla. We called it an early night after we had one drink an a bar down the street because there wasn't much else to do. Plus we got up early to go to the airport for our flight to Cairns.
We were also in Sydney for a night when we came back from Port Douglas before we left for to come back home. We got in around 5 in the afternoon and decided to try the train to our hotel. We stayed in the same Westin we did the week before. It was great to already know our way around the area and to know what to expect. The train worked out great though! A little cheaper than a cab and a short ride. Of course we dragged our heavy bags up some stairs, but we found the elevator near by the next time. Once we checked in, we did some souvenir shopping and had a pre-dinner drink at the Opera House Bar which had great view of the harbor. It was still raining off and on and a little chilly, but we managed to stay places long enough to not have to deal with getting rained on. We stayed by the Opera House until the lights came on, watched for a little bit, then went back to the hotel to add some layers before we went to dinner. We had been excited about our last dinner in Sydney because we found out the had a Meat Company. We had been to one of these for Tony's Mom's birthday in Dubai and thought it was great. So we saved this for our last night as a last vacation treat. The food there is so good! We had a calamari appetizer, wine, and meat skewers (chicken for me, beef for Tony) with mashed potatoes. It has a cool, relaxed, but upscale atmosphere. Plus it was in Darling Harbor which was close to our hotel. We were stuffed but had to get some dessert, so we stopped at a McDonalds for a McFlurry and a sundae. It was a nice and relaxing last night in Sydney.
In the morning, before we left for the airport, we wanted to go for a run because we'd be sitting on an airplane for 14 hours. We joined all the local runners down at the Royal Botanical Gardens, around the Opera House, and through downtown to and from our hotel. We ran about 6 miles with some pretty cool views. We loved running there! We also somehow got breakfast with our hotel reservation, so we had this really great buffet and stuffed ourselves then got ready to leave for the airport.
That wraps up our days spent in Australia! We had a fantastic time and would defnitely go back, especially to Port Douglas!