Sydney, Australia, Day 1 Darling Harbour

View of the Pyrmont Bridge to the Harbour Center Shops and Convention Center

View of the Pyrmont Bridge to the Harbour Center Shops and Convention Center

The first day I was in Sydney, Jeff still had some responsibilities at the convention center for part of the day, so we spent the afternoon enjoying the sights around Darling Harbour and the Convention Center area.  We had lunch together at the Harbourside Shops and then toured the Chinese  Garden of Friendship near our hotel. The Chinese designed and gifted the garden to the Australian people during their Bicentenary. It was a lovely place to relax and the perfect antidote to jet lag!

Chinese Garden of Friendship

A lovely pavilion overlooking bamboo

A lovely pavilion overlooking bamboo

The reflection of a pagoda structure in a pond in the garden

The reflection of a pagoda structure in a pond in the garden

Sydney Aquarium

After a quick walk back across the Pyrmont pedestrian bridge, we enjoyed some of the sights on the other side of Darling Harbour.

One of the books I read while on this trip was Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country" It is a great book to read while touring in Australia.  I actually read it on the trip home.  I started it in the airport and I was laughing so hard that Jeff bought a SECOND copy of the book at the airport book shop, and we both read it on the flight back to LA.  Since I was about a 1/2 chapter ahead, I would giggle and then 10 minutes later he would laugh, and then I'd get to the next section and say, "wait till you read this!" and then he would laugh again.  This went on for the whole flight!  We were very fortunate that because of his miles status with American Airlines, we had been placed in 2 seats next to the galley that were all by themselves with walls in front and behind, and couldn't disturb other passengers!

Bryson brings humor to the realities of his travel in Australia. One of the quotes from the book is " Australia...has more things that will kill you than anywhere else." If you want to see some of those things that can kill you from a very safe environment, the Sydney Aquarium is an excellent place to do it!  Even if you have a longer trip planned and may be headed to the Great Barrier Reef to see these creatures in the flesh (and potentially take your life in your hands, according to Bill Bryson!), it is well worth a visit as an introduction before your onward travel. The aquarium does an excellent job of presenting the variety of ecosystems that exist within Australia's marine world and the environmental challenges faced by Australia.  

The variety and color of the coral in the south seas is incredible!  I only wish we had the time during this trip to see it in person while snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef!

The variety and color of the coral in the south seas is incredible!  I only wish we had the time during this trip to see it in person while snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef!

A huge ray in the Shark and Ray tank

A huge ray in the Shark and Ray tank

Some of those "things that can kill you" a huge crocodile..

Some of those "things that can kill you" a huge crocodile..

...and of course sharks!

...and of course sharks!

Australian National Maritime Museum

The Australian National Maritime Museum is located near the Convention Center. In addition to interesting exhibits about the seafaring tradition in Australia, there are several "in the water" exhibits on board actual marine craft, from an Indonesian work boat to a decommissioned submarine.

One fascinating exhibit is a vessel made of Victoria Bitters cans, an example of boats created for an annual "Beer Can Regatta"  held in Darwin.

One fascinating exhibit is a vessel made of Victoria Bitters cans, an example of boats created for an annual "Beer Can Regatta"  held in Darwin.

Harbourside Market Place

Harbourside Shopping Centre

Very near the Convention Center is Harbourside Shopping Center, a development of shops, restaurants and other modern diversions.  This are reminded me of similar developments like Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, or Baltimore's Inner Harbor.  It's a newer development meant to provide dining and entertainment options in the Convention Center area.  It's a fun diversion, and a great place to people watch locals enjoying their spare time.

To navigate to the next day of the Sydney, Australia Trip Report please click the button below.