Jay & Nicole Visit Australia 
February 2010

(click any picture for enlargement)

In early 2010, Jay and Nicole were living in Israel and looking for a warm place to visit.

A friend mentioned she was going to visit Australia and, since it would be summer there, they decided to join her.

The itinerary from Tel Aviv was rather complicated ... as always:
... to Amman, Jordan
... to Bangkok, Thailand
... to Hong Kong, China
... then finally to Sydney !

Our original plan was to spend five weeks and see as much of Australia as possible.

We quickly realized the country was so big that we couldn't see it all ... so we decided to focus on the Eastern coast and save the rest for future trips. 

We arrived in Sydney and met our friend Claudia, who flew in from Bangladesh.  We were then picked up by Ursula, Claudia's friend who works in Sydney.  After the long series of flights, we were very appreciative of the 'pickup' service.

Sydney has 4.5 million people, spread out over a large area.  Ursula lives in Coogee, a nice beach neighborhood established about 150 years ago.

From our new "home base" we hoped to explore the many beaches and the famous downtown area.


Ursula found a nice penthouse apt. at the top of a steep hill. 

From her terrace, we got a view of the entire area.  Coogee is quite popular, with most people living in multi-unit buildings.

We could also see the nearby coast, which was much more rugged than I had imagined.

The cliffs were similar to those found along the west coast of the USA.  Quite often on this trip we found ourselves comparing Australia to California.

The beach was the main attraction; on the Australian National Day it was crowded, but pleasant. 

 The people looked, and acted, much like in any other part of the world ... except they talked funny  :)

 Overall, the Coogee area was excellent in every respect; a great place to live or play!

 We ate very well and used the terrace whenever is wasn't too hot or wet.

 The beautiful, but noisy, lorikeets kept us entertained; we were pleasantly surprised by the birds.  

As in any big city, traffic and parking was a problem.  Sydney has an efficient mass transportation system, so we got a one-week bus & ferry pass.  

Along the bus routes we saw streets full of small shops ... very European looking.

The major landmarks, as seen from a ferry:  Downtown Skyline, Opera House and Bridge.

The tall buildings made a beautiful skyline.  The waterfront area contain restaurants, shops and other attractions.

Tourism is one of the main sources of income.  They did an excellent job of catering to us ... but we paid for it, as the prices were quite high!

The Opera House, built in 1973, is the most recognizable landmark and consists of large 'shells'.

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There is an opera theatre in one shell & a concert hall in another ... as well as 4 other smaller venues.

The Sydney Harbor Bridge was built in 1932 and allows cars, trains & pedestrians to cross.
It is the widest long-span bridge in the world and also the tallest steel-arch bridge.

This bridge is called the ANZAC, after the "Australia and New Zealand Army Corps".  It was finished in 1995 and thus looks more modern.  

There is long series of bays and rivers cutting in from the ocean; serviced by a fleet of ferries.  
We took a ferry from the downtown area and went inland, all the way to the last stop.  

Water provided the best method of transportation, so the first inhabitants crowded along the banks.

Note from Jay: I have to apologize for the darkness of many pictures.  It was very bright when we first arrived, so I changed the camera settings and forgot to turn them off when it got cloudy ... sorry! 

As we went further inland the area got more affluent, with nicer buildings and many boats.

Towards the end of the 40 minute ride, the river got smaller and the homes got bigger.

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There wasn't much at the end of the line, so we took the next ferry back; a cruise ship for us?

We then walked in a park along the river, which had a colonial fort and views of downtown.

<== An ancient evergreen tree that had rotating leaves of different sizes; unique!

Gigantic bamboo plant  ==>
with a shoot as big as a 
person ... and sharp too!  

This tree had a strange fruit ... ... which was making a noise ?? Up close, they were ... bats!

These bats are called "flying dogs" and you can see why; they were cute and fun to watch.  
The city is trying to move them out of town, as they are eating up all the tree leaves.

After a few days in Sydney, it was time to leave the city ...  click here for Road Trip #1


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