SYDNEY – February 9
There is a
picture that Steve took of me and the kids in front of a flag that says
‘Welcome to Sydney”. We took it in the airport after coming off a
very bumpy plane ride across the Tasman Sea on
a 767 Qantas flight. Without repeating myself there were lots of different reasons why we left the
ship in Auckland but one of the small reasons
was that we heard that the Tasman Sea is one
of the roughest bodies of water in the world.
I thought, forget that I would rather fly
across. The irony, of course, is that
the voyage across ended up being one of the smoothest on record. Even the captain commented over the P.A.
system that it was unusually smooth. Go
figure!!! Actually it serves me
right. It was our first flight on Qantas
and apart from the weather, which cannot be controlled, the flight was
excellent. There are very few airlines
out there that offer that kind of service and it was very refreshing. We had a delicious meal. Well, I should say, everyone but me as I
cannot eat on an airplane. The drinks
were free, alcohol too! We all got an
ice cream bar as well. I definitely ate
that, couldn’t pass it up!
We had this
great plan to spend 2 weeks in Australia
and then fly to Exmouth to catch the ship but after
that flight our plans changed a bit. Poor Steve. I did
tell him that I would do it, fly that is, but he said that it probably was
silly to stay off the ship for that long when we are paying to be on it. I think he is only trying to make me feel
better but he was adamant that we get back on in Sydney.
to that picture we took at the airport.
If you notice in the picture I have a huge smile on my face and it looks
like I am ready to jump up and down.
Well, that’s exactly how I felt.
I don’t know why I had such emotion when we landed but it felt so
amazing to have finally arrived in Australia. Australia!!!! I never thought I would ever make it here
only because there is no way I would ever fly the 18 hours to get there. So when we were finally there after a month
long journey on a ship across a huge body of water (the Pacific) I felt
elated. I actually thought how amazing
the explorers must have felt when they sailed forever and then finally reached
a piece of land they had no idea was even there. When I thought about how far from home we
were and where Australia
is located in the grand scheme of the world it was mind boggling. Obviously I don’t get out much but it really
did affect me immensely.
airport we hopped in a taxi and made our way to the Sheraton Hotel located in
downtown Sydney right beside Hyde
Park. Steve and his amazing
computer got us booked into this beautiful hotel and when we walked into our
room I almost cried when I saw the King-Sized bed. Slight exaggeration but it was great to see a
bed that’s big enough to hold a grown man.
When Steve sleeps in the single bed in our room on the ship his feet
hang over the end. The hotel had just been
renovated and they did a terrific job.
The location of the hotel was great too.
It was not right at the harbour but that was a
good thing. The hotel was situated right
beside this beautiful park that had huge green spaces and walking paths and
these amazing trees that create a canopy over the walkways. We walked there every night of our stay and
the kids were able to run around and play while Steve and I sat on a bench with
our Starbucks coffee, having a relaxing conversation. We would then come back to the hotel and have
a swim in their rooftop indoor pool that had a fabulous view of Sydney and then get ready
for bed. We had asked for a cot for Nikolas but they sent a crib instead. We were going to send it back but Danika begged us to keep it and she ended up sleeping in it
for the whole stay. She goes through
these phases where she wants to be a baby one day and then the next she will be
posing in front of the mirror with a new outfit on and she looks like a 21-year
old. It’s frightening!!!
day we were in Sydney
we took a ferry over to the Taronga Zoo. I won’t go into detail about that trip
because Nikolas wrote a story about it and it pretty
much covers the whole story. What I will
say is that we thought it was the best zoo we’ve ever been to and we highly
recommend it as a must see. The kids got
to feed the giraffe’s apples and carrots and the gorilla exhibit is
was in a bird show. When we were talking
to a couple from another cruise, one of the workers came up to me and asked me
if Nikolas wanted to be in the bird show. Ha Ha! I laughed, because Nikolas
has a bit of a bird phobia, but I told her that my 4-year old daughter would
probably do it. Sure enough, when the
lady asked Danika if she wanted to be part of the
show she said Yes!
The lady told me that Danika would wear a
leather glove and that a ‘baby’ owl was going to fly up and land on her
arm. Sounded very cute
and wonderful. Well, when it was
time for Danika to do her thing we all looked up and
there was this HUGE owl flying towards her.
They failed to inform me that ‘baby’ owls are full grown when they leave
the nest. She was a real trouper and
even though you could see the terror in her face she still did it with a very
nervous smile to boot. We have a great
picture of that. As you can see in the
background it was a beautiful, sunny, very hot day.
The star of the Taronga bird
The next day
we decided to check out the monorail system in Sydney.
It looks like our skytrain at home. We got a family ticket and that got us on the
monorail all day and into the Powerhouse
Museum. Luckily for Nikolas
there was an exhibit on from Lord of the Rings.
He wrote a story about that too so I won’t go into too much detail
again. It was very interesting because
they had all the costumes and weapons they used in the movie. They also had little information videos
talking about how they created all the special effects and how they created a
lot of the monsters in the movie. The
make-up for one of the Orc’s took 10 hours to
apply. The guy actually sleeps through
most of it because they apply the make-up and mask during the night. It was very interesting for all of us!
we got back on the monorail and headed to Darling Harbour
and the Sydney Aquarium. It was great
too. It’s quite big and we saw some cool
sharks and a platypus. The kids loved it
and it was a super hot day so it was a good idea to get out of the heat and
head for some air-conditioning.
promised Nikolas that we would go for Chinese food
for dinner that night so we got back on the monorail and headed to Chinatown. There
is a massive Asian presence in Sydney, similar
to Auckland. The Chinatown
area is huge and when we got off the monorail we starting walking as we were
looking for a specific restaurant that Nikolas had
seen advertised on the T.V. in the plane.
We walked and walked and walked because Steve was sure that this
restaurant was just around the corner.
He finally did stop and ask directions but twice we were directed the
wrong way. After walking for almost 2
hours (I’m not joking) we finally found this restaurant and wouldn’t you just
guess that it was just down the street from where we initially got off the
monorail. Was it worth it, you ask? Yes.
The food was excellent, especially the sweet and sour chicken. The restaurant was called the B.B.Q King.
booked our room at the hotel for another 4 more nights but Steve decided to
cancel the rest, unfortunately, and we packed up the next morning because the
Q.E.2 was pulling into Sydney
that morning. When Steve had e-mailed
the ship to ask them if our rooms were ready we got a very brief reply from the
Purser’s Office (Mathew) that our rooms were “back in action” with a whole
bunch of exclamation marks. When we got
back on board and got to our rooms we found that our one room was actually not
“back in action” and I question whether he even bothered to take a look at our
rooms before he made that comment. Just
a hint of bitterness there, sorry! Steve
had to actually put one of the beds back on the frame and the closet floor
still had tons of dust and debris on it.
We were not too impressed. We
put our things away and decided to walk around the harbour
and sight see around the port.
Our ship was
docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay West. Circular Quay is the area that surrounds
Sydney Cove. There you will find The
first settlement. You’ll find historic
streets, shopping and dining, museums and galleries here. Circular Quay is also the ferry hub where you
find the ferry that takes you to Darling
Harbour. Circular Quay is also where you get the great
view of both the Harbour Bridge
and the Opera House. It reminded us of Granville Island in some ways but way bigger and
way more busier.
The restaurants are all along the waterfront and they all have tons of
outdoor seating. As you walk along you
just pass one restaurant after another with no real dividing line between them,
and they were all packed at all times of the day. Very expensive! Most entrees averaged around $25-30. Lots of seafood and lots of
Asian food. We went back to the
ship for dinner and the headed back out and went for a walk to the Opera
House. It was such a beautiful night and
just below the Opera House we stopped at an outdoor bar area and got two
glasses of wine and sat right at the seawall.
There was a funky band playing and there were tons of young
professionals at the bar having a great time.
The kids played on the stairs and we had a very relaxing evening.
morning we woke up early and met with Ann and Mel, Lana and Curt, as they were
disembarking that day. We had a quick
visit with them and then we packed an overnight bag and set out for the Sydney train. Last Christmas when we went to Banff on the Rocky Mountaineer Train we met a wonderful
family from Australia. Peter, his wife Keren
and their kids Kiera and Cameron had Christmas dinner with us and we really
seemed to ‘click’ when we were up in the Rockies. We had told them about our traveling plans
and we had kept in touch via the internet for the last year. They actually took time off work to meet up
with us and we were very excited to see them.
We took two trains out into the suburbs of Sydney and Peter picked us up at the train
station and drove us to their amazing home.
Steve calls it the Batten Ranch.
It’s a beautiful home on five acres and it backs onto a creek. Their backyard looks like a jungle with not a
house to be seen for as far as the eye can see.
Steve fell in love with their swimming pool because it was created to
look like a natural pond with huge rocks in place of a diving board. To top it all off there is a huge rock
waterfall that flows into the pool and the one end of the pool has a low lying
ledge so the water looks like it is flowing off the edge of the ridge it is
on. They have a two-level backyard with
a huge grassy yard on top and another down this big hill. Beyond that is just wilderness and Peter took
us down but we couldn’t quite make it to the creek because the terrain was
quite steep and treacherous. We felt
like such ‘city folk’. They were the
most gracious hosts and we felt so totally relaxed and comfortable there, it
was truly amazing. It felt like home and
the kids went swimming and played with their very cute dog named Sonny. Cameron had play station so Nikolas was in heaven.
Nikolas and I also went to watch an indoor
soccer game that Cameron was playing in and it was a great experience for Nikolas. Having a
home cooked meal was such a treat and that night when we went to bed it was
amazing to hear absolutely nothing but the sounds of crickets. The next morning when we were packing up the
kids were begging us to stay. We are so
very grateful to the Battens for the wonderful hospitality!!! They drove us
back to the city and on the way we stopped at the site of the Sydney
Olympics. It was amazing to see the
arenas and stadiums that were built for the games and we toured inside the
aquatics centre. What an amazing
sight!! It made us excited for the upcoming
us to the Sheraton at Hyde Park because we
were meeting Mel and Ann there. When
they disembarked they decided to stay at that hotel because we had raved about
it. We were to meet them for lunch
because they were leaving the ship and touring around Australia. We are going to try and meet up with them
when we come back to Australia
later on in the year.
is truly amazing. They have this aura
about them that is just intoxifying. They are so fun to be with and the kids just
adore them, especially Danika. She does not leave Ann’s side and just beams
when she looks up at her. We had a
fabulous lunch at the Circular Quay with the ship just behind us and then it
was back to the ship for us as Mel and Ann stood at the pier and waved us
good-bye. They had made so many friends
on board that you could hear people yelling good bye to them from all over the
actually cried when we were waving from the ship. As we left Sydney there was quite a crowd on the pier
waving us off and there were tons of passengers on deck with a band playing in
the background. It was quite the
board turned out to be okay. It was nice
as we walked through the ship to hear so many people say “Welcome back”. We had a great little break from the ship and
we were happy to be back ‘home’.
was founded on Jan 26 1788, when the 11 convict-bearing ships of the First
Fleet arrived from England
to establish the colony of New South Wales
(now the state that Sydney
The city was named after Thomas
Townsend, the first Viscount Sydney, who was Secretary of State for the
Colonies of Britain
at the time of NSW’s founding.
Convicts were transported to Sydney and New
South Wales from 1788 until 1840.
was officially created a city in 1842.
Bridge was completed in 1932, and the Opera House was
opened in 1973.
is home to over 4.1 million people-well over half of the state’s (NSW) total
population of almost 6.7 million.
18.7 per cent of Sydney’s households earn over $75,000 a year.
7.3 per cent of the workforce are unemployed.
Steve) received Feb 7
We are in Sydney and have been traveling the City for
the last 3 days.
This place is big, beautiful and is
very touristy, something we are not real fond of. Yes, we really like it here
and the kids are having a blast, but everything is quite expensive and the
Aussie’s attitude towards the tourist is not happiest. You see we just came
and absolutely loved that City and the landscape, the nicest people we have
ever met. Then we came here and were maybe expecting something like the Kiwi’s
had to offer and are maybe a little disappointed. We are all doing fine and
heading back to the ship this morning (Tuesday Feb 8) and are looking forward
to spending a few more days and discovering more of what Sydney has to offer. The detour we took from New Zealand to Australia was just what the doctor
order and have been told our rooms on the ship are
complete, so we are heading back to the QE II.
We will let our 9 year old tell you
what we did while we were here. He just learned how to use the font on the
computer, so look out!
at the Zoo By Nikolas,
the Giraffes at the Sydney Zoo
I am not ready to write because I want
to go swimming and I don’t feel like writing. I am having a good time but the
stinking homework sucks!
We went to the Sydney zoo today and I had a
We saw a huge komodo dragon and it was
so cool! Fact: komodo dragons eat deer, wild pigs, and possibly humans! Oh by
the way we went
there on a really fast ferry and then we went on cable car up a big huge
mountain to the entrance. Ok back to the zoo, We also
did another really cool thing………… WE FED GIRAFFES!!!! Well me
and danika did. But it was really cool we fed them
old apple slices with herbs on it. And we also saw really big tigers and one
was in a really bad mood because another tiger went into the other tigers spot
and the bad mood tiger charge and fought the other, and the bad mood tiger was
very nasty cause he clawed the other harmless tiger on the side of its
face! We also saw a huge feircem elephant who was probably having a real bad day
because he was trying to break out of his cage and it wasn’t a very nice sound
either cause all you could was booooooming!!!
Crashing!! And chains snapping so it was freaky.
was one of the main actors in a bird show in the zoo. She did not want to do it
but my parents bribed her with a toy. The lady who asked her to do it said it
was going to be a baby bird but it was a humangus owl
with huge claws and my sister felt the claws even with padded leather glove so
she was pretty freaked until she got that toy. He he he! We also saw some huge 2 feet turtles that looked like
they were 200 years old. We also saw some cool gorillas and monkey and we found
a secret window that had a great view of some. One came right up to the window
and ate food! He was sooo cute! (that’s
what a sissy girl would say by the way)I would say he looks awesome! Yep! There
was one big huge fat gorilla and he was the big boss! He was charging at all
the other gorillas cause he needed some food. (He’s
actually called a silverback.) I really
liked the zoo and I hope you enjoy my story about it cause im
da best writer in the family! (just
I really like Austrailia and I hope I come back soon.
By: nik the pik
Did you know the Komodo dragon live in south central Indonesia
on an island called Komodo. This island is an national
park and protected
the government of Indonesia.
These giant monitor lizards can grow up to 10 feet long, 300 pounds and live up
to 100 years. They mostly eat wild pigs, Goat, and Deer. I would like to see
Komodo island but I wouldn’t want to camp there.
daily family stroll through Hyde Park
Museum, Sea World and China Town
At the museum there
was a lord of the rings exhibition and it was so cool! They had all the swords
the characters used and they all had dents from hitting things but some were
plastic weapons. There were also some really cool shields and armour. They had Gimlis armour they had legolases armour and they had gandalfs
staff and clothes. They also had aragorns armour and by the way they had all the weapons with the armour. They also had some of the orcs
weapons and armour. Me and my sister and my dad got
pictures of us as hobbits and it was so cool because they made it look like one
person was bigger than the other. It was sooo funny!
We got one picture of danika being bigger than me and
one with me bigger than my dad. You were
aloud to see how they created Gollum, and the main orcs
it was so cool cause the people who played the orcs had to sit in a chair for 10 hours and were painted
and they got rubber masks and glued them to there faces. They actually slept in
the chair! So it was really cool but its only around
for a limited time.
We went to the
and it was great! We saw really nice fish and some were really big. We also saw
a 20 pound crayfish and it was absolutely huge! We also went thru a little
glass tube and saw huge sting rays and sharks that were over 10 feet long that
had huge sharp teeth! We also went thru a small room that was glass every were
even glass floors and we saw weird big fish that looked like sharks mixed with
sting rays. We also saw a fish that looked like Elvis. THE TANK THAT HAD THE
GLASS ROOM IN IT WAS HUGE! It had all the fish and sharks you could think of it
was cool. They also had all the finding nemo fish in
most of the tanks cause there was A FINDING NEMO EXHIBIT ON.
Today we went to
china town because it’s the most popular Chinatowns
in the world and we had an ok time but not great because we wanted to eat at a
Chinese restaurant called b.b.q king. So we asked a
man and he said two blocks down that street then turns left so we did. But it
wasn’t there?! So we asked two ladies were it was and they said across the road
and turn right at a golden tree so we did. BUT IT WASN’T THERE!!!? WE WERE SO
ANGRY AND TIRED SO WE ASKED 2 GUYS AT A BAR AND THEY TOLD US WERE AND WE DID
IT. AND IT WAS THERE!!!!!!!!!! AND IT WAS WORTH THE WALK IF YOU CAN BELIEVE
CAUSE WE WALKED OVER 12 BLOCKS AND THE FOOD WAS UNBIELIVIBLE!
Next stop Melbourne, so we will talk
to you from there.