Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Weekend in Sydney

After the graduation ceremony we had lunch at Tilley’s, a cozy café near our house and then went to Sydney for a long weekend. We stayed in the central business district and were within easy walking distance of all of the sights of Sydney. Though what we were most in the mood for was some time at the coast and so we went straight to Bondi Beach in eastern Sydney. Too cold for swimming but we did a coastal walk to Bronte Beach and spent the afternoon being tourists and eating at beachside cafes. Below you’ll see me at one of the many vantage points.

The next day we spent strolling around Circular Quay and vicinity. I always find it a bit surreal when in Sydney that I am only a couple hours drive from some world famous icons like the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, both captured from across the bay in the following photo.

That afternoon we spent several hours strolling around the Sydney Botanic Gardens which are just around the corner from the Opera House. While there were lots of interesting plants and birds to be seen, at one point in the day we saw a large flying object that we couldn’t quite identify at first. As this creature flew over our heads we both guessed it to be a huge fruit bat but were sad that we didn’t get a better look. Then I noticed two of them hanging in a nearby tree and we were very excited to get a closer glimpse. Then we turned our heads slightly and noticed that many of the trees within sight were literally dripping with these creatures!

Turns out they were Grey-headed Flying-foxes, one of the largest species of bats in the world, weighing up to one kilogram with a wingspan of up to 1.5 metres. Fascinating!

Sydney is situated on very extensive and quite amazing harbour and there is a ferry system running all through it. We took the ferry to Manly Beach and had a nice walk and ate fish and chips on the beach. All in all a very nice weekend getaway. When we take weekend trips we don’t often choose to go to big cities but it’s fun to be a tourist now and again. We spent the weekend eating (even some so-so Mexican which you can’t find very much of here) and enjoying the city life, but went home very glad that we live in nice, quiet Canberra!


And as a postscript (and to offer an excuse for why I haven’t posted on my blog in so long), we were away last weekend as well. I found a holiday beach house rental on the coast in the town of Bateman’s Bay which is one of the closest beach destinations from Canberra. So Brian and I and our friends Matt and Sarah spent last weekend on the coast in a house on the beach with a full size hot tub overlooking the ocean. Fresh Queensland prawns (like no prawns I’ve ever had before), local oysters, Lark Hill biodynamic wine, a BBQ and multiple blocks of cheese made for a pretty relaxing weekend...


  1. Were the flying foxes brought in for the botanical garden, do you think or are they indigenous to that area and just love the botanical garden for it's feast?

  2. I think that the flying foxes are native to the area but that their normal habitat has been destroyed by development. Sydney is absolutely massive. So they've moved into the Botanic Gardens and while they are native and very important seed dispersers for forest habitats, they are actually causing major harm to the trees that they frequent in the gardens. Not sure if this just because of intensity of numbers or what. The signs at the gardens suggested that they are using non-harmful means of discouraging them from hanging around. No pun intended.