When most people think of Australia, they think of kangaroos, the outback and shrimp on the barbie. Warning! There is a far more intriguing adventure that awaits you down under, so let’s get to it. First, let’s start with the piece de resistance, The Sydney Opera House. I was fortunate enough to be on a yacht in the Sydney harbor with members of the America’s Cup team when I first saw this architectural masterpiece. Its design is truly breathtaking. The water was blue, the sky was blue and we sailed towards the straight to New Zealand. I was intoxicated with awe. All I could think of was one day I will travel to see the Kiwis.
I stayed in a place called Double Bay, the Beverly Hills of Sydney. The locals have a saying, “Double Bay, double pay.” I did not find it overly expensive, but I did find it very charming and upscale. I took the train over to King’s Cross, to see what was up with the local popular culture. There I found a McDonald’s, bars and several shops for tourists. Australia has some of the best sheep- skin items I have seen outside Ireland. Check out the wonderful sheep skin rugs and slippers in many of the shops and be on the lookout for some wonderful loose opal stones, too.
The bars were open and airy. The drinks were reasonable and the patrons friendly. I visited a bar in Double Bay where dogs are allowed inside and found the canines well behaved at their master’s feet. I was told that this is a common practice in Sydney.
If you get tired of the city, take the train out of town to the dog races. The scenery is spectacular, the ride is comfortable and you might even win some money. The venues are clean and upscale, so dress nicely. The stables are close. You can see horses, the jockeys and their trainers (I didn’t see horse racing, but I believe I saw the track). The people were quite friendly and informative. It is a daylong activity and at night, to my surprise, there was a man outside at the entrance with a wagon selling baked potatoes stuffed with chili and cheese! Que delicioso!
Sydney itself is a beautiful, clean city. It has an exotic overtone, but the natives speak English. It is virtually impossible to get lost and full of life. If you make it down under, plan on staying at least a week or two. I didn’t make it to the outback, but I plan on returning someday. G’day mate.