Here are some pictures from our first three days in Australia. We flew from Tulsa to Los Angeles, to Sydney. A total of about 17 flying hours, not counting all the waiting in between. With the time change and crossing the international date line, we lost Saturday and arrived in Sydney on Sunday morning at 7 am. We did the whole customs/visa thing and even though we applied for a visa online before we left, they said our names didn't match our passports exactly because we didn't put our middle names on it. So we had to wait a little extra for them to fix that, but then we took our bags and got a cab to the Westin hotel in Sydney. We walked around our hotel area, got breakfast, and waited to check into our room. We spent the afternoon seeing the Harbor Bridge and Opera House and walking around The Rocks area. The Rocks was one of our favorite areas. It has the old architecture, hilly, tree lined streets, shops, and restaurants. We visited the Lord Nelson Pub which is supposed to be the oldest in Sydney. We ended up having to take a nap in the afternoon for a few hours. We woke up dead tired still and decided instead of walking to find a place to eat, we ordered Pizza Hut. There was one about a block away from our hotel. It was good too! We didn't make it up much longer after that and went to bed.
We had some trouble adjusting to the time difference. We'd go to bed early like 8 or 9 and Tony would wake up at 6 or 7. I managed to sleep until 8 most days though. Naps were also necessary for the first few days. Our hotel had a gym attached to it, so we ran a few of the days here too. The weather was ok in Sydney. The temps were in the 60s, but it was pretty overcast and even rained some. The rain came and went and we really only got caught having to wait for a shower to pass once.
In general we did a lot of walking in Sydney. We also went to the Royal Botanical Gardens which goes right along the harbor and gives you great views of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge as well as downtown. There were tons of runners in Sydney! Everywhere we walked there were people running. So we liked that! We also went to Darling Harbor where we went to the Maritime Museum and got to tour an Australian Navy destroyer and submarine and a replica of Captain Cook's 1700s ship he used to sail around the world. It was really neat because it was set up for a voyage and there were people on there to tell you stories and how they lived on the ship. Everything had a purpose and a story. Captain Cook is credited for discovering/mapping the eastern coast of Australia and his ship ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef where the crew had go ashore for some time for the ship to get fixed before they could return home. We saw signs for "Cooktown" when we went to Port Douglas. The museum part was less than impressive, but we really enjoyed the ships.
One afternoon we also took a ferry across Sydney harbor to Manly Beach. It was about a 30 minute ferry ride where we got to see the harbor better. Manly was a little town, not too crowded this time of year since it's winter, but we walked around a bit and got a drink at a bar close to the beach. The bartender had us tasting all kinds of Australian beers and gave us an education on them all. So we at least got to try something new.
Our next part of the trip was to the Blue Mountains. We left for there on Wednesday morning. That post will be coming soon!