Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sydney - Sunrise at Opera, bloom in the sky

It was my returning day from Sydney. My flight was in the evening. My friend with whom I was staying had a flight to catch in the early morning. I decided to go with her and get dropped at Circular quay on her way from her suburb home. 

I am not an early bird. Except for catching the flight, I can count the days when I got up early in the morning. I was still sleepy when we drove towards the city. There he came!!!  Little Kangaroo crossing the road!!! It was a small Kangaroo running in a hurry.Driver had to apply the break. It was for few seconds. He was gone in to the bushes… Wow!! That was amazing. Seeing Kangaroo jumping across the main road in Kangaroo land. Driver said it is a very rare sight. He hadn’t seen in years Kangaroo on road. 

I think Kangaroo sensed my dream to see him on road freely roaming and he made that true!! Me happy happy !!

When Linsey dropped me at circular quay it was just 5.15 in the morning.Circular quay is a  hub of railway station, ferry and bus stop in Sydney Sydney was still in deep sleep.The big roads were empty. One or two people were going in and out of railway station. I like to experience the place than seeing many places in a hurry. That’s one of the reasons  I like to travel solo. My time my plan and my way of traveling. I didn’t have any plan for the day. It was my day to feel the city.
Opera early in the morning from circular quay

 I settled on a bench in the bus stop and started reading Jayanth kaikinis short story (it is in Kananda, my mother tongue). I was lost in the story. There was a coincidence.The story speaks about Opera house, Mumbai's theater.  The experince of the Opera house narrated in the story and this Opera ,to which I was a witness got mixed up in a surreal way! There is no connection between the two operas though, expect for the fact that yours truly was reading it in and viewing it  too!

 Then, here comes an uncouthly looking person. I immediately sensed something  wrong and walked away. He was a beggar. He followed. I stood in front of a ticket  vending machine for a while  wondering what to do. He stood there away for sometime and moved away following someone coming out of railway station.
Golden rays reflecting on Opera house platform

To escape from his sight, I started walking towards Opera which was just 3-4 minutes away. Oh! There was hue of colors. Eastern sky was in bloom. Standing on the Opera platform I forgot the beggar and was lost in the rush of new sun rays. Dawn was unveiling the darkness. I was spell bound with the beauty in front of me. 
Dawn at Opera house , Sydney
Sunrise at Opera house, Sydney
Ever bustling area  was yet to get active fully. It was so quite. The dark sky was giving birth to Sun. Suddenly the eastern horizon was in full bloom! Changing colorful clouds enriched the beauty of the dawn.
Fresh morning at Opera house, Sydney
I was standing there watching this event until Opera was soaked in the golden light.Joggers started entering in to the stage called a new day. Life started unfolding from the womb of dawn at Sydney.

Pls share best sunrises you have seen .... 

Other posts which may be of interest to you-
Sydney - beaches 
Sydney - 5 free things to do in Sydney

Thursday, May 22, 2014

5 things to do in Sydney for free

Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world. It costs about 500 Australian dollars (AU$) perhaps more (About 30,000 Indian Rupees) for a traveler to see important attractions of Sydney over a week’s time.I am talking about only entrance ticket. Forget about accommodation and other costs.
Just to give you an idea of how expensive it is – There is something called bridge climb. Climbing  harbor bridge for 3-3.5 hrs. Isn’t it interesting ? Of course it is. It offers amazing view   from the top of harbor bridge and it is exceptionally beautiful. However, how much does it cost ? Sky high price for the climb starts from 198Au$ and  goes up to  348Au$ depending on the slot you choose-day or night. Do you want to walk inside the Opera house – it costs 35$ ..and it goes on..

Well, I didn’t consider it as worth spending. Rather I would buy a return ticket to some other country :-)
How  to experience Sydney by not digging a hole in your pocket ? Here are 5 free things to do in Sydney

1. I am free Walking tours 

I knew, walking tours are pretty common in all the major cities. Started searching for one in Sydney.  I found couple of walking tours. However, I am free caught my eyes as they don’t fix a price for this tour. No booking! No reservations! It’s for free. They work on tips basis. As they claim ‘ Whether it is rain, hail or storm I am free tour walks everyday’. I joined them for 2 tours. Ross, my guide was brilliant. They are passionate about their city Sydney and they want to share it with  others.  

I am free  guide 
I  recommend to take their tours to get to know Sydney which even some of the locals wouldn’t have known. Day tour will take us from Town hall, CBD, Cathedral, some of the museums, Opera and Harbor bridge. They show us all we could see in 3 hrs. It is then up to us if we want to explore more about the place.Evening walk will take us to the old Sydney's small lanes which once has seen all possible crimes.
Is it Difficult to walk ?
Not at all. Anybody can do. It is not that all 3 hrs you will be walking. There are plenty of places that you have to stop and listen to stories in between. It is a good relaxing walk.

2. Museums

There  are a good number of museums with free entry. Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Australian currency notes, Macquarie the governor exhibition, Museum of contemporary arts, The rocks discovery museum, Sydney observatory, Government house,  Manly art gallery and Australian centre for photography are few places where we can just walk in. Isn’t it a big basket for free ?
Timings – Most of these museums  will be open between 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday.

3. Royal Botanic Garden

This beautiful Botanic garden is at a walkable distance from Circular quay. Circular quay is  hub for  Ferry, bus and train station of Sydney. This garden  is open from  7 am to 5 pm. I would recommend it for early morning jogging. Green manicured garden overlooking blue ocean is a must see. Best part of the garden is view of Opera and Harbor bridge. This will show Opera and Harbor bridge from the other side of the circular quay. Free walking tour of the garden is also available.

Botanical garden

4. Customs house

Located in the heart of the city, customs house is Sydney’s one of the best heritage building. It houses lot of events, exhibitions ,shows and premier restaurants. Are you a  book worm ? They have a good library reading room overlooking circular quay. It is open till midnight. One of the best feature of the Customs house is city model. 1:500 scale city model embedded in glass will give bird view of entire CBD of Sydney.

City model embedded in glass giving bird's view from top of the glass

4. Circular quay walk

Walk along this ever bustling area is a must for any visitor to Sydney. We get to see Opera on one side and harbor bridge on the other side.

Harbor bridge from circular quay

There are array of restaurants on both the sides. Quenching the thirst with beer in Opera bar is Australians one of the favourite pasttime I heard. We can even take a walk along The Rocks, Sydney's oldest area filled with history all around.
Opera from circular quay

Most of the places mentioned be can be reached by walk from Circular quay or can take bus. Bus # 555 is free. It plies between Circular Quay and Central station

I am sure this info is good enough for you to dig more into details. Hope this will help you to plan your next travel to Sydney. I am open to share any more information that I know.

Have you already been to Sydney before ? Are there any more places to be added to this list ? Pls share...