We arrived in Sydney on Thursday afternoon (May 19) after a short flight from Melbourne. Sydney, to my mind, is in a class by itself when it comes to things to do and see. While Adelaide and Melbourne are fun and interesting cities, Sydney offers such a breadth of options that we could spend the entire 3 weeks here and still not brush on the edges. From the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, the historic Rocks precinct, the Blue Mountains, Circular Quay, 20 beaches, a world-class public transport system, and countless restaurants that cater to every taste from "Hungry Jacks" or "Subway", to $100 a plate steak.
Our visit so far has so far brought us to a tour of the ANZ Stadium - the site of the 2000 Summer Olympics. This particular venue is the only Olympic venue that turned a profit on the games. It continues to be a cultural and entertainment hub for Sydney and will be undergoing a facelift - to include a retractable roof! - over the next several years. I look forward to watching the transformation.
Later that afternoon, the students completed their scavenger hunt. This hunt had them find a variety of historic and cultural locations where they had to take a creative picture of their group and use those pictures to tell a story when they were done. The submissions were outstanding! We met them at a restaurant called "Bungalow 8" - an upscale venue located at the end of Darling Harbour - for refreshments... a very picturesque location to end the day.
Saturday was a free day. Students went in very different directions for this free time - some the beach, some shopping, some to the gym, others to the Opera House, and others just exploring the city.
On Sunday we had an early start - catch a 7 a.m. train to Katoomba - the location of a hop-on/hop-off tour company. This company offers revolving tour buses that drop you off and pick you up at over 25 pickup points. Each point brings the traveler to a scenic vista overlooking a variety of world famous rock and mountainous formations - such as Echo Point and The Three Sisters.
It was unfortunately very busy on this day since this is a long weekend here. Also, controlled burn fires in the mountains had a thick layer of smoke hovering in the canyons - limiting our visibility. Overall thought, it was a very fun and interesting day - albeit tiring! We hiked over 5 miles of mountain trail in all.
Pictures and posts from the students to follow over the next couple of days....