Thursday, May 2, 2013

Australian Adventure (Day 6 of 21) - more city adventures!

         Day six involved another fun-filled day in the city.  Our first stop was to visit St. Mary's Cathedral, located at St. Mary's Road,which was conveniently near the city centre and a few steps away from Hyde Park. It was certainly a beautiful church and I couldn't help but be mesmerized by its wonderful  facade.  Its design was gothic in nature, made from yellow-block sandstone and has high majestic arches.  The architect who was responsible for this magnificent structure was William Wilkinson Wardell, from the 19th century. The ambiance inside the church was very solemn, peaceful and inviting.  It seems to be the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life, reflect a bit and have a one-on-one conversation with God.  For those brides-to-be, I'm sure they also wouldn't mind having to walk down its long aisle on their very special day.

In front of St. Mary's beautiful facade

View from the top
Feeling the ambiance

Another side of St. Mary's
Sunflowers by the church - reminds me of PvZ
           Upon exiting the church, I saw a familiar mode of transportation that I've also seen in my previous travels: the Hop On and Hop Off Bus.  If I was alone, I probably would have chosen this as a means to tour the city for a day or two.  For sure, I would have met new friends and fellow travelers with the same passion as mine.

Care to take a ride?
         The tour starts as early as 8:30 in the morning.  Apparently, there are two available routes, which are the red and the blue.  The red route's first stop is at Alfred Street while the blue route's is at Central Station. There are a total of 25 stops for the red route which includes Kings Cross, Opera House, Hyde Park, The Rocks, Fish Markets, and so on. On the other hand, the blue route only has 10 stops to places such as Sydney Tower, Bondi Beach and the Australian Museum.  A ticket for an adult costs about AUD40, while a child from ages 4 to 16 costs AUD25.  There's also a special rate for students and seniors at AUD35 and AUD30, respectively. However, a valid student id  should be provided to get a student rate, while a person is considered as senior if he or she is 60 years old and above.  Family tickets are also available at a rate of AUD110 for a maximum of two adults and two children.  A bus becomes available for each stop every 15-20 minutes if in Sydney, while waiting time if in Bondi is from 30-45 minutes.

An alternative way of going around Sydney
      After walking a bit,  we arrived at our next destination, which was Hyde Park.  Hyde Park is a famous place in Sydney, known for its vast stretches of open space and green grass.  It is found in the city centre, highly accessible through train, bus, or even bicycles.  It's a great place to chill out and relax especially for those having a stressful day.  Even if it's summer, I didn't have to worry about the heat of the sun because gigantic trees surrounded the park, offering a refreshing shade for the tired and the weary.  Looking around the place, I mostly saw locals having a picnic with their friends and some, who just seem to want to bask under the sun.  I find it funny how most fair-skinned people would love to get a tan, while those blessed with darker skin, would do almost anything (from trying whitening lotions and soaps) to get a fairer skin color. Anyway, as long as there seems to be a patch of grass, you would automatically find someone sun bathing on it.

Having a bit of rest under the shades of the tree

Sun bathing seems to be the trend at Hyde Park

Soaking up the sun's rays

          Somewhere along the vicinity of Hyde Park, the ANZAC Memorial Building could be found. It serves as a tribute "for all Australians who served their country in war".  Entrance to the building is free of charge and is usually open all year round except on Christmas Day and Good Friday. What fascinated me with the building was the dome where around 120,000 golden stars could be found decorating its ceiling.  The stars were placed to honor both "men and women from New South Wales who enlisted for service in the First World War".

ANZAC Memorial Building
Stars on the dome ceiling
        Our last stop for the day was the Sydney Tower Eye.  It is the tallest structure in Sydney where you can have the opportunity to have a 360 degree view on its observation deck, 250 meters above the ground.  It's definitely a must-see when in Sydney as it gives you a chance to appreciate the beauty of the city even more.  The tower can be found at the corner of Pitt Street and Market Street, smack in the middle of Sydney's Central Business District (CBD).  It can be accessed through the 5th level of the new Westfield Shopping Center.  If you seem to be getting a bit lost, don't fret! Because all you have to do is look up and I"m sure you won't miss it.  It's open daily from 9 AM to 10:30 PM, though the last ticket sales is at 9:30 PM.  When we arrived there, there were a lot of people in the lines and we were told that waiting time could last from an hour to an hour and a half.  But still, we persisted, and luckily, we were able to go up by only waiting for less than 30 minutes.

      Tickets for the observation deck, which is inclusive of a 4D cinema experience could either be bought on-line or "walk-up".  Rates are cheaper when you buy on-line, but since we had no specific plans for the day, we had to buy at a "walk-up" rate.  A ticket for an adult normally costs about AUD26 while a child's ticket (from 4 to 15 years old) costs AUD15.  A special rate of AUD82 for a family of four with a maximum of two adults are also available.

        To reach the observation deck, we had to ride on a very high speed elevator that can bring you to the top in just 40 seconds.  Thankfully, the ride up wasn't scary at all, though my ears might have popped just a little.  When the elevators opened, we were greeted by an incredible panoramic view of Sydney. Telescopes were scattered around the place for those who want a much closer view.  What's more is that these telescopes are completely free to use! For every window panel, there are also fun facts located at the bottom regarding the significant places to be seen in Sydney.  I definitely had such a great time enjoying the scenic views that Sydney has to offer.

Awesome view from the top!

Harbour Bridge

Captain Cook Cruises

Fun facts for kids and kids at heart
            For thrill-seekers, another activity available at the Sydney Tower is the Skywalk where you can enjoy the view of the city in the open air and by looking through a "glass floor viewing platform".  If you would be taking both the skywalk and the observation deck, the total cost for adults is about AUD69 and AUD45 for kids at a "walk up" rate.  Since we were pressed for time and were also on a budget, I guess I just had to try it the next time I get another chance to visit Sydney.

           To remember the day, we also got some souvenir photos.

With Tito Bru at Sydney Eye Tower

 Up Next: Day 7 - Discovering the Beauty of Parramatta

*This post is dedicated to my grandmother, who just passed away today.  Thank you Lola Nan for all the love and support you've shown me throughout the years. You'll always be in my heart.

With my Lola during my college graduation



  1. You made me excited to go to Sydney! We'll.miss lola. :(

    1. Thanks Angel! I'm super excited for you too! I'm sure your second time in Sydney would be awesome as well.

      We've got another angel watching over us. I can just imagine them having a party up there. :)

  2. Here's to your Lola Nan! She looks like a beautiful person!

    1. Thanks for the kind words JR. She was indeed a beautiful person both inside and out.


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